So Toonami's back, what are Zechs' impressions of it's return?
The classic block of action animation returned this past Saturday. The fans had their say and Cartoon Network gave what many critics of the network have wanted since the block was canceled back in 2008.
We knew already that it wouldn't be like the old Toonami, nor would it be what was shown on March 31 and April 1. So how did things measure up? For those who didn't catch the vignettes, here's pretty much what went down during the new Toonami block (the other half is below):
I am not surprised at how Cartoon Network, or should I say Adult Swim, spent most of the money on the two new anime and some new animations for TOM and the Absolution. No Sara, YET, but for a first outing this was exactly what I was expecting: short, cheap, and simple.
For those clamoring for the return of something Gundam, be patient. With Dragonball property: Dragonball, Dragonball Z Kai (the original Dragonball Z), and Dragonball GT are tied up with Nickelodeon. One is going to have to realize that what we saw during April's Fools was probably the last time we'll see Dragonball Z on Cartoon Network until the license is pried from Nick's fingers.
Considering this was less than two months since April Fool's showing, you have to give kudos to Adult Swim for getting all this done fairly quickly. The new TOM and Absolution animation was flawless and the new tweaks make it so the characters retain the old but showcase the new, more adult-geared Toonami. The quick intros harkened back to Toonami of old (when Moltar from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast was the host, not TOM), because that's what this is geared toward: adults who want that nostalgia again. Though if you want the block to succeed and get what we want, you're going to have to put up with all the new programming and some of the old Saturday shows Adult Swim still have airing during Toonami.
I confess fully liking the fact Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is part of the block. Yes, I also understand that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop are important anime as well but they aren't really Toonami-related and could use a small break. Don't get me wrong. I love both programs. It's just that you can only watch the same episodes so many times.
Personally, I was hoping Big O, a show that originally was around these Saturdays, was going to stay. After all, it originally debuted on Toonami. It was one of Toonami and Cartoon Network's greatest achievements. It was so popular it got a second season only due to it being a hit on Toonami. Of all the anime that aired, Big O deserves to be on this block given that the series thrived. Of course, that's not to say that Adult Swim isn't doing just that what I wanted out of Bebop and Ghost. Big O is getting a much needed break. When it comes back, I'll probably re-watch those episodes if they're shown again and hope they give it a new Toonami-styled intro. If not they could always go for the old school approach:
So what about the two new shows: Deadman Wonderland and Casshern: Sins? Well the later to me just seems perfect for Toonami. The whole robot on a redemption and motive quest reminds me of a lot of anime Toonami showed in the past. The former wasn't bad either just that with its adult nature it showed to me the new identity Toonami is trying to capture.
The only problem for me this night was so much anime. Toonami, at its core, wasn't just the celebration of Japanese Animation, but it was for all animation of the world. Japan just got the better deal given it had so much to plunder from. It surprises me Adult Swim just doesn't give the entire night to Toonami. The programming before with Boondocks and Venture Brothers seem just a perfect fit. Even more, why they haven't shown repeats of the new Thundercats show boggles me. The block is tailored to get an older crowd to watch the show.
Overall, this was a good start for the return of Toonami. It showed mostly new things, but mostly kept the attitude that so many loved about the block. It was a nice opening volley. For those who wanted the older cartoons that once aired on the block, all I can say is just be patient and they'll get to them. If you consider the time and patience that went into the April's Fools, just know we'll get what we all want for the most part. Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, and other fan favorites will no doubt return eventually. For now, just sit back and enjoy the fact that Toonami is back. Oh, and keep supporting that fact Toonami is back. The more people watch, the more Toonami can grow and dominate like it used too. If it doesn't, I'm going to enjoy this ride for as long as Adult Swim goes with it. Welcome back old friend, you've been missed.
Written or Contributed by: Zechs