A Month after Toonami's Return: My Thoughts

He's Baaaack.
I probably should just make this into a youtube video, but since I don't like how I sound on camera you instead get blog stuff.

Keep in mind at the time I was in highschool so watching cartoons was supposd to be lame; something you just didn't do because the animation age ghetto thing was in full force. Keep in mind in the ninties here in the United States the only real main-stream cartoons not aimed at kids were Beavis and Butthead, Southpark, and the Simpsons.

Beavis and Butthead had already been off the air, revived, had their movie, and been gone about this time. Southpark was huge in Comedy Central but it was aimed more at adults through use of a cartoon, plus it was only sorta getting started so other than a few articles here and there proclaiming it to be the new B&B there wasn't much to say. Plus I didn't really watch it. The Simpsons. Well The Simpsons was ten years old at that point and firmly rooted. Still it was more sitcom than anything else (which is fine but it is what it is.)

Edit: Found a youtube that has all of the April 1st material between the cartoons. Replaced the April fools intro video with that because it seems more appropriate.

How I remembered it.


You can find any of this just by looking through wikipedia if you want facts and numbers so I'm going to go into personal experience.

Toonami ran from late '97 to late 2008 (tweaked this way and that throughout.) At first there was no TOM, no Absolution. It was more a space ghost spinoff and the lineup was Hanna Barbara Cartoons from what I remember. Wikipedia says Voltron was on there but I don't remember it. Mostly remember Jonny Quest and Robotech from the Moltar Era.

Quest was fine. I liked it and it seemed to do a decent job reviving a franchise I'd sorta kinda remembered but managing to avoid the problems of a never-aging cast by letting the kids grow up.

The stories were interesting, breaking with the trend I remember of having each episode for most cartoons being self contained and not really needing to be shown in any order. You had Surd, Zin, and a few others to remind anyone that remembered the originals that this was the same series. Thankfully we didn't get Hadji pulling Hindu Mind Tricks as a Deus Ex Machina, and i can only remember him pulling it a couple times in the whole series run. The CGI for the Questworld segments looks. Well... Terrible by this point, but at the time it blew my mind. Have to remember Even though I was in highschool by that point computers weren't exactly part of daily life outside of school so those segments had punch back then they're kinda lacking on re-watching now.

Then we got Robotech. Great I know this is going to cause most of the internet to go flame and pitchfork on me, but I liked Robotech. Here's a writeup of the production and timeline of the franchise. Sure it was an 80's cartoon but in 85 I was like... Three. Seriously I remember Transformers being it for me in way of giant robots until the the nineties when I would sit and watch Exosquad and a few other things I didn't realize were riding on the whole japanese giant robot genre til... well... I saw this.

Then I dug around; learned it was based off something from Japan called Macross and then poked deeper into the whole history and why Harmoney Gold did what they did, why it didn't last, and that there was more to Robotech than what I saw on Toonami. Sure there's censoring compared to what was straight from japan, but given the show was from the 80's, back when the moral guardians demanded any cartoon include a life lesson or something educational somehow worked into every episode this was breaking new ground.

Then came 1999. The Year of Anime for me. The Matrix came out. My older brother got a Dreamcast. I'd finally gotten an email address that wasn't tied to Juno. Batman was on during the week, and then there was Tenchi Muyo and Gundam Wing.

Maybe a little background will help. Anime, Western Animation, whatever. It doesn't matter to me where something is made so long as I like the content. However living in the bible belt does not lend itself to getting mitts on anything not on TV, especially when you don't drive or have money. For me Cartoon Network was it for animation. I mean sure I knew stuff was out there, but this was back when ISDN was about as fast as you could go Online (OK cable based broadband was just getting started, but it was freaking expensive) and there wasn't any sort of thought about Youtube or any sort of video streaming. Just wasn't happening.

He's got ninety-nine problems,
and these bitches are the main ones.
Tenchi was... Interesting. It wasn't the first cartoon I'd seen that tried showing character relationships (that would belong to Batman,) but it was the first (and actually so far really only) harem comedy I'd been exposed to.

Quick Definition here: Harem Comedy. One guy. Lots of girls. All living in the same house or are otherwise interacting on more or less a daily basis.

I usually don't like the whole thing because. Well. Something about it just creeped me out and on reflection the concept felt strained. However the show itself was funny. The clash of personalities and backgrounds were amusing, and when it got into the action bits those actually were quite satisfying. I mean the whole thing sounds like a joke doesn't it? A Space Pirate, a Princess, and a Police Officer all crash in a college kid's house. Hilarity Ensues.

I had a few friends at the time that wondered what happened with the backstory shifts and characterization changes between the different versions of Tenchi that played. Simple. You had alternating continuities similar to but different from eachother. I liked that each series kinda took it's own spin on things and by the time Tenchi came out I was able to google around and find a few basic details to work together. Great. Groovy. I've tried watching other harem type comedies, but I dunno maybe it's the fact I've grown up, maybe most of 'em suck. Either or I just can't say I like the genre as a whole that much.

I like Giant Robots.
Gundam Wing is an interesting bird here. Let's start with  this actually being an attempt at marketing Gundam at women. Gets kind of obvious when all the boys are all 'pretty', and by pretty I mean some kind of messed up anime pointy chin huge eye pretty.

Fine. Whatever.

The action still held up pretty well. Sure you could point out the dumbing down of the political overtones and a few other things like no real space psychic thing going on like in the older Gundam shows (or even the newer ones) but this was the first one I'd seen and even going back on youtube the animation seems to hold up pretty well. There were lots of explosions, an intrestingish plot, and you had a computer assist system for pilots that could potentially fry your brain from sensory overload... or maybe cranking your mental processes up to 11. Either way only a handful of people managed to not go crazy (conveniently all of these were main characters) whenever using the thing.

Decline.

There were other shows. Reboot, Yu-Yu-Hakisho, G-Gundam, and some other stuff. It's just after I washed out of College I just didn't have much interest in keeping up. I don't want to sit and blame Shonen Jump's material for it since I kinda drifted away before Naruto and the like really got Huge (or even there) so the slow stepping back from the three hours every weekday plus Saturday night to a couple hours and then Adult Swim becoming it's own beast.

Then I start watching adult swim nights whenever I'd stay over to help my grandad as in-house help and couldn't wrap my head around it. Family guy? King of the hill marathons? Live Action?

Yea. Cartoon Network had officially gone to hell for me by that point. Oddly enough this is right about the time I start trying to shift away from fan fiction and focus instead on original material with my writing. Dunno if that's coincidence, if something happened other than my disillusionment with Cartoon Network somehow was responsible, or what.

Even with Toonami more or less being Gone I still liked what it had been. Sure Tom, The Absolution, and all were just between cartoon filler, but it was Interesting and I'd actually hoped they'd be given a few proper shows like they did with the Intruder and a few of the between cartoon clips that hinted at more going on than just show announcements, but it wasn't going to come back. You can never go home.

And Then...






I didn't find out about this til the next day since I haven't really watched Adult Swim in years and why would I bother watching when I didn't know right?

I didn't see the Memorial Day re-launch either, which I know is a bad thing since the less people watching the less chance we'll get Toonami to stick around.

Sure right now it's a few quick segments and lots of recycled footage (none of it from the old days though unless they rerendered some stuff in high def.) It's just I've heard Tom's voice actor is doing this for little to nothing because he liked the (show? Segments? What do you call the Absolution segments of an anime/cartoon block?) We don't have Sara, or much really due to costs. It's also at a bad timeslot for me personally (too late at night) and the lineup is hit and miss (Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell, yes please!)

It's back though, and though I don't like the whole 'Toonami is Back Bitches' thing eh. So long as Tom doesn't start swearing every other word it's fine. I just hope williams street will give the whole thing a bigger budget so more can be done.

Like have Toonami on more than just on Saturdays.

Ah well. A guy can dream right?




Only Toonami.


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