TV Block Progress Report: Toonami (2012)

It’s so weird to think that earlier this year, the twitterverse exploded on April Fools’ Day when Cartoon Network decided to bring back their Toonami block for a night… and what a night it was. Now ten weeks into the official re-birth of the ol’ action cartoon block and I must say that I’m enjoying the direction The Absolution’s being steered to.

It could have been painfully easy for the corporate bigwigs to bring back the programming block only to drop the ball upon delivery a la what Kids WB did when they “brought” the block over as a part of their network. Thankfully, Toonami has lived up to its original message of “building you a better cartoon show.” Not only has the block been built back up from scratch, with all new animations and lines from the one and only Steve Blum back as the voice of the host TOM, but old tidbits that gave the block some charm are back in the form of new game reviews and inspirational speeches.

You’d think with Toonami hitting all the right notes that all other parties involved would be nothing but ecstatic. Then you remember it’s anime fans we’re talking about, and that happy possibility flies out the window.

Like my previous TV Block Progress Report, I feel like I have to identify my place in the Toonami (er, I guess “anime” if you really want to in this case) fanbase before going any further on the topic. While I’ve dipped my toes in the mainstream (your DBZs and your Sailor Moons) as well as the slightly more obscure (Bakemonogatari, Space Brothers) I still identify myself as someone that leans closer to a casual fan that happens to take extreme interests in a handful of titles every now and then. As such, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the return of Toonami.

Amazingly enough, with exception to Cowboy Bebop I’ve never watched any of the shows in Toonami’s current lineup (if anything, read the Bleach manga over watching the anime) prior to them being aired on the block, which is a big help in keeping things fresh for my viewing. Like I said about the block’s April Fools airing, Toonami has done an excellent job in allowing me to bask in the familiarity of some shows while also putting me in a good enough mood to take a chance on watching the rest of the lineup as well. In particular, new additions Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins fit in well with the block’s new yet familiar feel. While I’m not too keen on Casshern myself, I will say that both shows are able to deliver a more adult vibe that would have never flown on the old Toonami while still offering the fisticuffs that only an anime can provide. Some may say that such a deviation from classics like Dragon Ball or even the kinda-sorta classic Naruto will be the block’s undoing, to which I say if sticking to the shows that drove the block into the ground in the first place is a good thing, then I’d prefer Toonami make the bad choice.

As it stands now, Toonami has the perfect mix of old and new shows and in-between clips, going above and beyond what anyone could have asked for in the lineup’s first ten weeks. Hopefully, ratings are going swimmingly, and the block’s budget will be enough to include the addition of other fan favorites like co-host SARA and the Clydes. Last week marked the end of Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd Gig, and the last episodes of Bebop and Deadman will be following in the next two weeks, being the perfect time for a shift in the lineup. Ignoring the very real possibility of re-runs, I’d personally be open to the addition of one (and only one) show from old-school Toonami that actually made its premier on [adult swim] prior—Yu Yu Hakusho. The series was definitely a sleeper hit with fans back in the day, and considering that its final saga was shafted, having been moved to Cartoon Network’s 5AM time slot, I personally think another chance should be given on this show. Realistically speaking, more recent shows that could fit well in the block are Death Note and Durarara!!, both of which aired during the awkward Toonami-less period where [as] tried to handle anime themselves.

Whatever the decision is, it’s clear that Toonami is back with a vengeance, continuing their mantra of making sure that the revolution will be televised… and that [man]kids love it.

About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic ( to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (

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