Toonami Returns on Adult Swim

Yes, you read the title correctly. If you are someone like me who had all but given up on watching anime on Saturday nights on Cartoon Network, then this bit of news will come as a surprise. The return of Toonami has been a long time coming but the suddenness of this event is quite amazing.

It all started as a very elaborate April Fool's joke. Anyone tuning in on April 1 got the shock of their lives when Tom showed up with the whole Toonami block. That night, along with airing the Adult Swim's staple show BLEACH, Toonami also pulled out a few random episodes from "classics" such as Gundam Wing, Yu Yu Hakusho, Blue Seed, Trigun, Tenchi Muyo! and even the original Astro Boy.

Now while I thought that was very nice of Cartoon Network to do a throwback for April Fool's Day, I had no idea that night might have been a testing ground for bringing the Toonami block back, at least according to About.com's Anime community. After that night, things went back to normal on Adult Swim. Fast forward one month to last Wednesday (May 23). News starts flying around the Internet that Toonami was indeed returning to the line up on Cartoon Network as part of Adult Swim's Saturday night programming. Not only was it returning, it was also going to debut two... technically... new shows, "Deadman Wonderland" and "Casshern Sins." Too good to be true? Quite possibly. So of course, all this excitement raised questions about whether it would be the old Toonami that we know and love, would Steve Blum still voice Tom, would the formatting still be the same?

I stayed up last Saturday to find out once and for all. I had been assured by Anime News Network that Steve Blum would reprise his role as Tom, the Absolution would still be there and the format would still be similar to the original Toonami. The only thing that would be different is the noted absence of Sara and the voice over guy who did the original previews for the show. Midnight rolled around and what do you know, the Absolution shows up with this funky new rap intro and Tom comes strolling in announcing, "Toonami is back bitchas!" No joke. And so, the anime continued to air on Saturday with the following line-up:

12:00~12:30: BLEACH
12:30~1:00: Deadman Wonderland
1:00~1:30: Casshern Sins
1:30~2:00: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2:00~2:30: Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd GiG
2:30~3:00: Cowboy Bebop
3:00~6:00: Rinse and Repeat

For those keeping score at home, yes, you are minus the Big O, FLCL, and InuYasha with this schedule. Now if this is still a bit underwhelming to you, there is a reason for that. Apparently, Toonami is operating on a shoestring budget according to Jason DeMarco, former producer of Toonami. If you were expecting more big ticket anime series, you're just going to have to keep watching on Saturdays so the block gets its viewership points and hopefully more money to buy licensed anime. At this point, DeMarco notes that licenses are very expensive to buy and Adult Swim can't compete with its competitors who own the rights to shows such as Naruto and Dragonball Z. It is also the reason why they couldn't pull all the frills out for Toonami's return... it just costs too much these days.

I won't rant to you my thoughts of hearing Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins dubbed. I won't rant to you about the scheduling or Adult Swim's (and on a greater scale, Cartoon Network's) lack of purchasing power on the anime licenses front. I won't even comment on how I think calling your audience "bitchas" is a poor marketing move (even though maybe I'm a prude and that is just how the world works these days). However, I will kindly ask that if you want to see your big ticket anime on Toonami at some point in time-- even more than that, you just want to keep Toonami on T.V.-- please watch it on Saturday nights at midnight on Cartoon Network. Call your cable or satellite provider if you don't have the channel or you canceled it years ago. Also, think about tweeting Jason DeMarco to thank him for resurrecting a part of our childhoods.

You just never know. If Toonami can be resurrected, there is still hope for bringing back Sailor Moon!! XD

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