We got some breaking news guys, straight from the front line of the internet. It seems as though “Toonami”, the beloved after-school action block that brought us such shows as “Dragon Ball Z”, “Tenchi Muyo!” and “Outlaw Star”, will be making it’s much-anticipated return to Cartoon Network on May 26th. This comes after a massive “Bring Back Toonami” effort launched on both Facebook and Twitter, where countless fans let their voices be known that one night of pleasure was simply not enough and that the time slot and it’s host were greatly missed and longed to return. What got us to this point? Well, let’s take a trip back through time and see what lead up to today’s announcement.
On Saturday, September 20, 2008, after a marked decline in ratings, “Toonami” left the airwaves after eleven years of being on the air. The time slot, hosted by a robot known as T.O.M [As voiced by Steven Blum…], signed off the airwaves with an emotional farewell:
Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After more than 11 years, this is Toonami’s final broadcast. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’d like to thank each and every one of you who made this journey with us. Toonami wouldn’t have been anything without you. Hopefully we’ve left you with some good memories. So, until we meet again, stay gold. Bang.
Fans across the internet mourned the loss of “Toonami”, as it was one of the most popular slots on Cartoon Network, and for some, the introduction into the world of Japanese animation. The “Toonami” faithful were also dealt a second blow when “Toonami Jetstream”, the online version of the TV time slot was discontinued. Few held out hope that the time slot would return to US airwaves, even though there was no sign that Cartoon Network would bring the time slot back.
That all changed on March 31, 2012. That night, instead of the standard “Adult Swim” block, T.O.M, in all his digital glory, returned to the TV screens after a four-year absence, emceeing what would be known as “The Night No 90’s Kids Slept”. Viewers were not only reunited with T.O.M, but they were also reunited with classic “Toonami” shows such as “DragonBall Z”, “Yu Yu Hakusho”, “Outlaw Star”, “Gundam Wing”, “Gigantor”, “Trigun” and “The Big O”. Throughout the night into the wee hours of the morning, fans blew up Twitter and Facebook, making #Toonami the most popular trending issue of the evening. One common question that echoed amongst fans [asside from “Why does Ryoko in “Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Oki” sound like Koushiro from “Digimon Adventure?”] was “Is “Toonami” coming back?” Many fans, myself included, mearly thought this was a cruel April Fools day prank, as Adult Swim has been notorious for pulling some whoppers in its day. However, a few days later, Adult Swim tweeted the following:
Want it back? Let us know. #BringBackToonami
Fans across the internet soon let their position known in great volume as they mobilized their resources; creating Facebook pages supporting “Toonami”, and retweeting the “#bringbacktoonami” hashtag countless times. Even anime voice actors like Steven Blum, Kyle Hebert, and Mike McFarland lended their voices to the movement, using their fan pages to voice their support for the revival of “Toonami” and encouraging their fans, some who might not even be old enough to had experience the original “Toonami” run, to show their support. It was an awesome showing of fan support, and one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in my entire anime lifetime.
Then Wednesday, May 16th, after a few vague tweets on Twitter and a few bumpers on “Adult Swim”, their answer was announced. In a picture that was as blunt and to the point as only T.O.M could be, “Toonami” announced it’s return to the airwaves on May 26th. The only other information provided on the revival is that “Toonami” will include “new original anime programming” along with some of it’s previous series. [Source: Anime News Network] It is also reported that “Toonami” will run once a week on Saturdays, during the Midnight to 6:00AM time slot, which could mean that “Toonami” will be replacing the “Adult Swim” action block. No other information is available at this time, and trust me, when I find out, you guys will find out, but suffice it to say, that Saturday, May 26, 2012 is looking to be yet another sleepless night for children of the 90’s.