September 20 2008 was n tragic day for animation fans worldwide. After slowly killing it with mediocre programming and a god-awful redesign of its iconic host, T.O.M, Cartoon Network put an end to its iconic evening animation block, Toonami. The block that had helped popularize anime in the United States and had launched the Dragon Ball Z phenomenon along with other iconic shows such as Yu Yu Hakusho, Gundam Wing, and Rurouni Kenshin, was dead.
Or so it was thought!
Yes, at long last the king of Action-Animation
is returning to cable television. Following an April 1st airing of Toonami on Adult
Swim, the fan reaction was apparently positive enough for the network, known
for its adult-oriented late night programming, to bring Toonami back, starting
May 26, 2012.
While this is of course great news overall, I
do have a few concerns about how this relaunch will be handled. Firstly,
Toonami is scheduled to be shown only on Saturday nights; from midnight to 6
a.m. Adult Swim already uses this time for anime programming, so it could just
be giving its usual anime lineup a Toonami coat of paint. Secondly, I've never
really been a big fan of Adult Swim's style. As incompetent as Cartoon Network
was by cancelling Toonami, they at least always kept it classy during its run. I’m
not sure how I feel about Adult Swim using the phrase: “Toonami’s Back, B****es”
to promote the return of something that was so important to my childhood.
Another question I have is whether the block
will re-use the stock footage of the original Toonami, as was done for the
April 1st airing. An important part of Toonami has always been the packaging it
used to present its shows. While the old footage is certainly nostalgic, I
would much prefer the new Toonami to be well, new. Something like what the
NeoToonami fan project has presented would be ideal:
Please hire these guys, Adult Swim.
Regardless of what form the new Toonami takes,
starting May 26, I sure won't be sleeping on Saturday nights from now on!