See You, Space…Man…Robot…Thing

This past Saturday was the final Toonami. I didn’t catch it. I didn’t even know Toonami was ending. My first response was, “Why is it ending in the first place?” Having a specific “block” of shows is, underneath all the layers, simply a marketing scheme, and this marketing scheme was 11 years old and had gone through multiple transformations. Still, I realized that anime fandom in America owes a lot to Toonami.

The effect Toonami had on kids and budding fans was unmistakable. It was on Toonami that kids too young to remember the 80s well got their first exposure to Robotech and Battle of the Planets. It was on Toonami that legions of girls saw Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell and thought that they would be an excellent couple. It was on Toonami that Dragon Ball Z truly began to take off and cemented itself as one of the most successful anime franchises in the US (not to mention the entire world).

The two biggest changes to Toonami are probably the two extra blocks that resulted from it. The old Toonami timeslot was taken by the new “Miguzi,” which was meant for younger kids. Older kids could still watch their Toonami, with more anime than ever before. Adult Swim is partly the result of those midnight uncut showings of Gundam W, where Cartoon Network began to realize that people were willing to stay up that late to keep up with their favorite show. For better or worse, Toonami defined Cartoon Network just as much if not more than the Cartoon Cartoons which followed and preceded it.

Still, 11 years is a very long time to be around in TV land, and in the end it was a good run.

2 thoughts on “See You, Space…Man…Robot…Thing

  1. “For better or worse, Toonami defined Cartoon Network just as much if not more than the Cartoon Cartoons which followed and preceded it.”

    I think that’s the thing. While I’m surprised that I don’t feel that much in it’s passing (probably because the current programming didn’t interest me anymore after Bo-bobo and One Piece were gone :P), I do know that there was a nice impact for the network itself, and probably more importantly for the American anime fandom/industry. So it’s a symbolic blow more than anything else. It probably also shows how the shifting trend of watching anime has changed as the Internet has become a larger and larger force, for example. Toonami was canned due to low ratings after all, right?


  2. Wow, I didn’t even know that Toonami ended. Well, I guess showing the same ol’ stuff as well as anime that no one really cares for will do you in eventually.

    I’d like to remember Toonami as it was. I remember back in the day (late 90s-early 00s) when DBZ and Outlaw Star were on. I loved it when they showed way different anime late at night. By different, I mean anime that wasn’t DBZ or Dragon Ball. Of course I’ve watched loads of anime since then, but it was Toonami that gave me my first taste of mainstream as well as a little bit of something else.

    You know what they say: You always remember your first.



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