10 Year Anniversary of "The End of Toonami"

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wonderfly

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#1
10 years ago, on this date, Toonami was cancelled.



On a side note, this particular Youtube recording was posted that night, 10 years ago. I'm glad somebody recorded it and posted it for the ages on Youtube.

So where were you on that night? Did you tune in on "the night Toonami died"?
What are you memories of that night (or of that time period in Toonami history)?


In retrospect, do you think that it was good for Cartoon Network to cancel Toonami (in that in paved the way for "New Toonami"?). Or do you feel there should've been a way for Cartoon Network to continue Toonami from 2008 onward?

Your thoughts?
 

wonderfly

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#2
Toonami by that point was a 2 hour block, from 9 pm to 11 pm on Saturday nights. On this date in 2008, the final line-up on Toonami was as follows:

2 episodes of Naruto
1 episode of "Ben 10: Alien Force"
1 episode of "Samurai Jack".

From the Toonami archived forum here at Toonzone, I found the following talkback threads of what aired that night:

Naruto: "The ANBU Gives Up? Naruto's Recollection."
Naruto: "The Missed Target"
Samurai Jack "XXVI" AKA "Jack's Sandals"

I can't find a talkback thread for the episode of "Ben 10: Alien Force" from that night (it was a rerun, but so was Samurai Jack, so I'm not sure why Samurai Jack got a thread...other than it was the final episode to air on Toonami)...
 

wonderfly

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#3
In reviewing the Toonami archived forum here at Toonzone, I found the following threads that shed a little light on what it was like on Toonzone, 10 years ago (and no, you can't post/revive these threads, but these are fun "time capsule" discussions)...

On August 31st, 2008 (3 weeks before being cancelled) someone posted this ominous thread:

"Do you still watch Toonami?"

And then on September 19th (the day before cancelling) rumors start swirling online of an important message coming from Toonami...

"A message..."

Many speculated as to what the message would be, with some hoping it was a new T.I.E. (Total Immersion Event, like "The Intruder"), but others correctly predicted it was an announcement of the block being cancelled.

But then, after the block had aired, after TOM 4 gave his "This is goodbye" speech, and people realized that "TOONAMI IS OVER?!?", then the commemorative threads started appearing.

The next day, on September 21st, these thread were posted:

"Who else is watching old Toonami stuff today?"

"So now that Toonami's cancelled...what's going to air on Saturdays instead?"

"How many of you legit cried?"

"When did Toonami...die?" (a thread asking when Toonami began it's downward spiral).

And then as the days went on:

"Where there's a will, there must be a way" (fans speculating on how to bring back Toonami)

"How are you feeling?"

"I can't help but wonder how Steve Blum feels."

"So what did you do on the first Saturday in the post-Toonami world?" (that one was posted on September 28th, 2008, one week later).

As the days and weeks went on, there were threads for discussing episodes that were available on "Toonami Jetstream" (Cartoon Network's online Toonami service), along with additional commemorative threads and speculation threads, but in the end, with nothing really "new" to discuss, the Toonami forum here at Toonzone came to an end and was closed down, around May, 2009.

Until 2012 came along...
 
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Gold Guy

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#4
Wow, time flies. It doesn't even feel too long ago.

I remember being really disappointed in Cartoon Network at the time (little did I know, it would be the first of many times CN caused that emotion). For me, after Toonami ended, that's when I began watching the channel less and less.

Personally, I think Adult Swim is a way better place for Toonami, especially in today's market. They seem to have a lot more freedom, with no execs or censorship boards breathing down their necks.
 

Light Lucario

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#5
I'm pretty sure that I saw the last hour of classic Toonami. I know that I watched the Samurai Jack episode, so I probably would have watched Ben 10: Alien Force too. It was strange seeing them announce the block's cancellation with that bumper, but after being on the air for so long, they probably wanted to provide some sendoff for long time fans.

I do remember people being upset over Toonami being cancelled for years. I think that initial backlash might be hard to remember after Adult Swim brought it back, but people talking about wanting to bring Toonami back was a topic that came up fairly often. It didn't help that Toonami had been reduced to such a pathetic state during its last couple of years, so it went out on a whimper rather than a bang. Not to mention the nostalgic value of the block made the situation worse for a lot of people.

Personally, I don't think that Toonami's cancellation bothered me that much. It was sad that it had been reduced to just a four hour block with half of the slots being for reruns, but I didn't have that kind of personal connection to classic Toonami that a lot of people had. While I'm sure that I caught some of the shows when it was on weekdays, I don't think I watched Toonami more regularly until after it moved to Saturdays, which might have been after the block already reached its peak. I could understand why other people more invested in the block were upset. If I had the same kind of emotional investment in classic Toonami like I did with Kids' WB, I'd probably be in the same boat, but I just wasn't that into the original Toonami block to feel that bad over its cancellation.

Plus, I honestly think it was for the best. Given that Toonami was on life support back then, taking it off the lineup was really the only possible option left. Cartoon Network treating the block better would have been more ideal, but it was clear that doing so just wasn't an option. If they wanted to keep Toonami around, they wouldn't have left it devolve into a shell of its former self in the first place. While Cartoon Network had some blocks after Toonami, most of them have been pretty short lived. They've also been mainly focused on their own series instead of getting third party content for quite some time. Their treatment towards Pokemon was especially bad during the last few years they had it on the lineup. Ash got to the finals of a Pokemon League for the first time in XY, but there was no promo to emphasize this and it was still stuck in a deathslot. Given that he still lost, I don't think it needed to be in a primetime slot, but some kind of promotion to show that it was a big deal would have been nice. If Cartoon Network didn't want to keep Pokemon when we were right in the middle of celebrating the franchise's 20th anniversary, shortly before the then new Sun/Moon games came out and Pokemon Go's popularity was at its peak, then there's no way that they would have been interested in any other anime, let alone keeping a block like Toonami around.

Besides that, Adult Swim is just a much better place for the block. They have more control over what is put on the air, so there aren't any executives forcing them to air shows like Hamtaro. They can air anime uncut for the most part and most of the people familiar with Toonami in 2012 would have been within Adult Swim's demographic instead of Cartoon Network's. The block has been able to do really well for itself after being revived. It went from just being a three hour block to now starting at 9PM full of new episodes. While there are some shows I wish that they didn't pick up or just plain don't like, it is amazing to see how far Toonami has come in a relatively short amount of time on Adult Swim. It wouldn't have had a chance if it was still stuck on Cartoon Network proper.
 

Kitschensyngk

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#6
Cartoon Network as a whole was starting to lose interest in anime. First Adult Swim gets rid of weeknight reruns and starts airing Code Geass and Moribito premieres at 5am...and then this happened.

It was so heavy. Like losing an old friend.

Then they start filling their schedule with cheap Flash-animated Canadian imports and live-action reality shows...DBZ Kai ends up on Nicktoons...Naruto Shippuden ends up on Disney XD...Adult Swim Action only gets one or two new shows a year with barely any promotion and Bleach premieres carrying the block...

Dark and desperate times those were.

Then one April Fool's Day in 2012, when everyone's expecting yet another showing of Tommy Wiseau's The Room...
 

ToonJay723

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#8
I don't have that much memories with Toonami. Back when it was airing weekdays I think the only shows I remembered watching on there were Dragon Ball Z and Hamtaro. I wasn't at my house after school I was at my babysitter's house with a bunch of other kids and they all voted to which channel we watched every 30 minutes. Looks like those were the only Toonami shows they wanted to see.

When it moved to Saturdays I didn't watch it consistently. I caught some of Zatch Bell and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo and DBZ reruns here and there. I mostly watched Teen Titans and Naruto through Miguzi.

Wish I could have grown up with it more. I've watched some of the shows classic Toonami aired during this decade like Justice League/Unlimited, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Rurouni Kenshin and I've liked them all.
 
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#11
10 years ago, I never took the time to look up all the scuttlebutt and stuff that was happening behind the scenes of Toonami. Thus, when I saw the final block in 2008, I had no clue it would be the last time I would see it on CN proper, though, upon noticing that the bumpers were nothing but silence, I had a gut feeling that something serious was going to happen. And when it did, boy was I gutted. I had to take a day to fully comprehend what had just happened. For the years between then and the 2012 revival, my heart felt just a little empty inside. Sure, we had the ASA block, but at that point, it was nothing but Bleach and reruns being shoved at us week after week.

Thank god for April Fool's Day 2012.
 

Golden Geek

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#14
I'm probably one of the youngest users in this thread, but since I got into anime around 2010/2011, I've been aware of and was clamoring for the revival of Toonami. I definitely watched that ending multiple times on YouTube and felt melancholy over the death of a block I'd never gotten to witness.

A world in which Toonami had stuck on main Cartoon Network all these years would be interesting - we'd have Dragon Ball Super and My Hero Academia with Cartoon Network branding on them for sure, but at what cost? Would Adult Swim Action have faded away entirely?
 

animePWNS

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#15
Whoa, that was my thread posted a week after that night. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised back then, the block had become a shadow of its former self.
I'm enjoying the new block, saving reruns for later at night and not repeating game reviews or music videos for several weeks.
 
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#16
I was only upset insofar as the last vestige of the original Cartoon Network was gone. As far as Toonami itself, I still watched it, but it was merely a shell of the weekday Moltar and original Tom block that I grew up with. By Tom 2's time, I had discovered Adult Swim, and Saturday night Adult Swim Action weened me off of Toonami very quickly although I still watched Dragon Ball (stopped watching after the 2nd martial arts tourney) and G Gundam (whole thing). The last show I watched as a kid. as opposed to a young teen on Toonami was Rurouni Kenshin, and I was so cognizant of the blood removal and violence edits having seen Adult Swim that I was totally turned off and realized I had outgrown it. I got back into Toonami during Gundam Seed's run and followed casually, but I already knew it was for little kids, not teens.

So basically, it was disheartening because I didn't like a lot of the kiddy shonen that played during Tom 4's time, but when it was announced that there was big news out of Anime Weekend Atlanta 2007 regarding Toonami, I thought they might put it back on weekdays and at least put on good shows that both kids and teens and even adults could enjoy, but all that came out of that was Master Control and Tom 4.

Toonami now is mediocre imo, and because it took over for ASA, I want to see more of Hellsing Ultimate, Parasyte, Gundam Unicorn type series, something along the lines of an Animidnight or Ani-Monday selection, not the same heavy shonen stuff that turned original Toonami fans off from Tom 2's time onward. Basically, I thank Toonami for introducing me to some of my favorite childhood toons, but I think overall I don't share the same taste that its producers do.
 

jaylop97

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#17
I remember the last few years of the OG Toonami, it wasn't that good as it was in its first few years due to how Toonami's management was changing within those last few years.

However the revival sure did bring back Toonami to the quality that was pretty cool.
 

wonderfly

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#18
"When did Toonami...die?" (a thread asking when Toonami began it's downward spiral).

I keep coming back to this thread, as it does chronicle the decline of Toonami pretty well (though I would alter/add some things from that time period). Using that thread for inspiration, here is my list of the things that led to the decline/death of the original Toonami! When each of these occurred, it was a "uh-oh" moment for Toonami fans, a signal that the Toonami brand was getting less and less strong (that it was dying).

1. January 2003: The cancellation of the Toonami Midnight Run. It was cancelled to make way for weeknight Adult Swim. Yes, the "Midnight Run" had been running on fumes for most of 2002 (airing 80's "G.I. Joe" reruns in the last couple months of it's existence) but it was sad to see it go away, and fans of the Midnight Run from 2000 and 2001 (like myself) would miss the block. This would be the first "uh-oh" moment, with Toonami's Golden Age (which started in the Summer of 1999) beginning to slow down.

2. March 2003: The switch from TOM 2 to TOM 3. There was a warning sign that they couldn't even bother to do a TIE (Total Immersion Event) showing how we got from TOM 2 to TOM 3. Beyond that though, this was the era of "Dragon Ball Z is ending, what do we do now to keep fans interested?!?" The final 20 episodes of DBZ aired that March/April, and that was it. Toonami didn't launch straight into Dragon Ball GT, they wanted to see if Rurouni Kenshin or Yu Yu Hakusho could carry the block, and it just didn't work out...

3. April 2004: The move to Saturday nights. Yes, it was needed, in a way, to help re-energize the block, but it was the end of an era.

4. April 2005: "Dragon Ball GT" ends it's run (in April 2005), thus ending all "Dragon Ball" material on Cartoon Network. It was the end of an era, though DB GT wasn't anywhere near as popular as DBZ. Besides that though around this same time: The 2004 cast of shows were cancelled/replaced. Yu Yu Hakusho, Gundam Seed, and Megas XLR are all removed around this point, replaced by arguably weaker shows like "Zatch Bell!" and "The Batman" (both added March 2005), and One Piece (added April 2005). "Rave Master" would also be cancelled by June 2005, and Toonami would start airing "Transformers Cybertron" and "Yu-Gi-Oh" reruns that summer.

5. September 2005: Naruto begins airing on Toonami. The emergence of Naruto as a phenomenon can either be seen as a hindrance to the block, or the show that extended the life of Toonami for several months (or a year) beyond when it should've been cancelled. But in the months and years to come, Toonami would rely more and more on Naruto marathons (the lack of variety would be noticeable as time went on). Plus, the divisive "Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo" would begin airing one month later, in October.

6. May 2006: Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans are removed from the Toonami line-up. New episodes for Teen Titans ended in January, but it was still in reruns until May. Justice League Unlimited's final episodes aired in May, and then it was removed. The Toonami original series IGPX is removed from the Toonami line-up the following month (in June 2006). The handing of the block over to Naruto continues. "Pokemon Chronicles" starts airing in Toonami that June.

7. March 2007: The revamp. The introduction of TOM 4. Pretty self-explanatory here.

8. October 2007: The Toonami block is shortened to 2 hours (9 pm to 11 pm). Again, pretty self-explanatory. More than just an "uh-oh" moment, all of the warning signs/alarm bells were blazing by this point.

9. March 2008: The removal of Dragon Ball Z and One Piece from the line-up. "Dragon Ball Z" had returned in reruns in April 2007, airing the "Funimation" dub of the early episodes for the first time on Cartoon Network (replacing the Ocean Dub early episodes from the 90's). But by this point, DBZ and One Piece were removed around this point, leaving Naruto as the only heavyweight on the block. In their place, they would air non-hits like "Blue Dragon" and "Ben 10: Alien Force", along with reruns of Samurai Jack.

10. September 2008: The end arrives. Toonami is cancelled. Again, if it wasn't for Naruto, the block arguably might've been cancelled sooner. But the block certainly went out with a whimper, despite TOM leaving us with a "Bang!".
 
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Light Lucario

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#19
I definitely remember people being upset when shows like Pokemon Chronicles and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX were on the lineup. While I did enjoy watching those shows, they definitely weren't really fitting for the block. Toonami airing shows that really didn't fit with the main aspect of the block happened a few times during its last few years I remember when they even aired Bakugan back when it was really popular, although I think that they only aired the first episode or two on Toonami before it was removed. I'm pretty sure people still weren't happy about it.

The removal of One Piece shortly after the Funimation dub started caused some huge outrage here. It was pretty tough going through the old Toonami section for awhile partly because of that backlash. I could understand it to a degree since the Funimation dub didn't air long enough to get attention, people really wanted One Piece to take off in the U.S. and they were probably worried that the lack of a TV deal would have a negative effect on the new dub. Fortunately, the Funimation One Piece dub is still doing fine, even after being taken off the lineup again, but that initial backlash to the first time the Funimation dub was removed was pretty intense.
 
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#20
G.I. Joe was the best thing about SVES (which replaced the original ASA). I remember catching 4 or 5 episodes during Christmas break '02 when it was on Toonami Midnight Run, it was back to back with G Gundam, which was on during the day. I really liked it, it was like an old school Toonami type of show. I was happy when Discovery Kids had the relaunch as The Hub back in 2010 and I could watch it every night along with The Transformers, which I had never seen.
 

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