So what are the alternatives? THE INTERNET Of course!
Now there are a ton of sites that stream anime. There's a ton of site that will stream whenever you want to watch something. There's Youtube. However none of it has that feel the old toonami had. It's very rare you can find something that can spark the same vibe something old did without actually going back and digging it out of the attic and waxing nostalgic. Gaming companies have had a hit or miss history with remakes of old franchises (Megaman, Gunstar, Mario, etc.)
I've heard the phrase 'you can never go home' get used concerning the old material and an inability to catch the magic a second time. Neotoonami proves this phrase wrong.
What is NeoToonami?
The 'This project is non-profit and is not affiliated with...' disclaim on site fails to capture it. In short it's a fan project that aimed to recreate the look and feel of Toonami. They did this as a labor of nostalgia to fill a space left when Cartoon Network canceled Toonami (never-mind the shortening the block from every afternoon for three hours plus the Midnight Run to Naruto Saturdays.)
Then Toonami got un-canceled. There was talk of letting the project die. After all It was back. Why have a competing thing going on when splitting the community is just going to mean Toonami gets canceled again due to lower ratings (to say nothing of getting sued.) However it was decided that things had gone too far to just stop, and with toonami being a Saturday Night only event there wouldn't be any sort of overlap, and even if there was the 7 - 10 (eastern) block would mean you could go from one to the other without anyone's feet getting stepped on.
I'm not that big of a One-Piece fan and there were other things going on so I didn't see missing it as that big of a problem outside of not seeing the stream intro or grabbing screenshots of the new ship. You have to remember I didn't get to see the Monday Startup so don't know what the First Intro was like except they have Tom, Sara, and the New Ship to play with. Was I excited? Sure. Unfortunately I'm watching on what amounts to a big screen netbook so I was worried the stream might not work for me. Fortunately Justin.tv (the steam provider) proved about as solid as I could reasonably expect with only a minor hiccup now and then (I guess caused by wimpy hardware.)
There are plans for specialty blocks (Subspace, and The Black) but for now we have weeknights 9pm to 11pm Eastern.
10: The Spectacular Spiderman
10.5: Power Puff Girls Z
11: Gurren Lagann
Thoughts: Strong lineup. I'm not that big a fan of One Piece since Luffy gets on my nerves but they picked up the better version (There's two versions of the English dub, one sucks, the other doesn't. They got the not-suck version thankfully.) Dragonball is in the actual dragonball era (red ribbon army and all) so we're not up to screamy grunting for a half hour of nothing happening, plans are I guess to go from Dragonball, through Z, to GT. Spectacular Spiderman is something I didn't watch since it was at a point where I didn't have cable, but I like what I've seen. power puff Girls Z is... Strange but it's interesting and there's a tradition of having something quirky on (Sailor Moon, Hamtaro, etc.) Gurren Lagann is... well... It fills out the mecha-beating-the-crap-out-of-things slot quite nicely from what I can see.
X-men is... well like'em or not (I have awesome powers that defy the known laws of physics WAAAAAAHHHHH!) I watched it as a kid. I liked it then, and even though parts of it don't hold up that great now (some of the dialogue makes me cringe and I seriously want to punch jubilee in the face for being a fairly blatant millstone that Never Seems to Ever Freaking Learn) it's a nice bit of nostalgia that also lasted about five years so unless there's a vote to swap it out after an arbitrary point we aren't going to get rid of it any time soon.
The Stuff Between The Stuff
Well just any stream can have shows, but what about the parts that make toonami... toonami? During the brief clips i'd heard before this point I worried over Tom's voice, ditto for Sara. However hearing both in context I have to say they work quite well (any voice heard by itself with none of the ambient noise around will have your ear focus on all the little things that get glossed over when you have the beeps and the woosh and the other little environment sounds.) The Ship sounds are spot on, the humor is there ('Luffy may have dreams of being a Pirate, but you don't have to be. Buy (x) on DVD now from (Y)'.)
Yes there are commercials. Get over it. There's only one per show and you have one commercial between shows.
Thanks Mister N for the correction.
All the pictures I've shown on blog? The neotoonami guys made them all from scratch. Not one frame of recycled Cartoon Network footage to be found. All very polished. All very well animated. They have, in short, captured the feel of toonami from the shows, to the host, and yes even the commercials help add to the feel.
If anyone from Cartoon Network is watching. Don't sue these guys. If anything HIRE THEM. They're doing all this because of something that they saw and didn't want it to disappear. They have Talent and Drive. The reason we had to wait this long is they all have regular jobs and lives and the like that's kept them from doing this sort of thing full time. I cannot say this enough. Hire Them. If nothing else let the stream live because the stream itself and the site is doing everything it can to promote the Actual toonami, so you get free advertising and lots of fan chatter. It would be a shame to see that go away.