cn takes toonami behind the barn

Cartoon Network pulls the plug on Toonami.

(Because Andre asked so nicely for this post.)

For people not familiar with Toonami, it was the action cartoon block for people in the United States from the late 90s to early 00s. Robotech, Sailor Moon, ReBoot , and other nostalgic shows anchored the original offering, but Toonamie really took off around 1999-2000 when they unleashed Gundam Wing, Tenchi, and, most importantly, Dragon Ball Z.

Toonami introduced many people in the States to anime, and DBZ would be a perpetual anchor for the block. Eventually, Cartoon Network would decide to invest in their own shows, providing hits like Samurai Jack, enjoyable shows like Teen Titans, and palatable offerings like Megas XLR. So what went wrong?

Toonami has been stuck in no-man’s land for a while. Adult Swim picked up most of the older viewers, and most of the younger viewers never latched onto the supposed “hits” like Naruto and One Piece. Once Cartoon Network stopped showing any interest in developing their own shows, it was pretty much the end for the once venerable franchise.


I think, more importantly, Toonami grew stale and was afraid of taking chances. When it was still a new programming block, pretty much everything goes. I mean… how else did you get something like Powerpuff Girls sandwiched between Blue Sub No. 6 and DBZ? Toonami used to take chances on shows from left field like Tenchi and old school shows like Superfriends, but the recent Toonami just tried desperately to cater to 12-16 year old boys who’d rather play PS3 and bittorrent pr0n or the latest fansubbed anime.

MAR? Blue Dragon? Ben 10?! That’s the best you can do? No wonder Toonami was doomed. Honestly, it was doomed when CN took away the weekday slot and banished it to Saturday night. But honestly, does it matter? Toonami hasn’t been the style or representation of what it was for years. It’s just become a loosely connected package of shows tied together by a buff robot (I think it went downhill when they took away Tom’s beer gut– that was the beginning of the end).

Though it doesn’t help that most of the shows that could have injected life into Toonami wouldn’t fit under its umbrella anymore like Black Lagoon or Gurren Lagann— Adult Swim and others have taken that mantle– and with questionable programming choices and the loss of Futurama there, I’m not sure how much longer Adult Swim will hold out either (doesn’t help Code Geass is bombing). And, of course, it does reek of desperation when Cartoon Network is replacing the Toonami slot with live action movies like Spiderman and a live action Ben 10.


33 Responses to “cn takes toonami behind the barn”

  1. “Palatable”?! “Palatable” my sweet ass. Megas XLR owned. Still to this day the best original CN series. Or at least best to not get the DVD treatment (goitta give props to Samurai Jack).

  2. The Code Geass dub IS pretty awful though…

    Being in Canada, I guess our version of this would be “Bionix” on YTV. It also got banished to Saturday evening (from Friday, which is terrible) and is also now showing Naruto, Bleach and Blue Dragon, when it used to show DBZ and Fullmetal Alchemist. Nothing against Naruto and Bleach, but geez… so many useless episodes hurt my head.

  3. I am starting to wonder what [AS] is planning to do with Code Geass. They just moved it to its 5 AM Time slot, so I garuntee that will cost them alot of viewers. I think it would have been better to put it at 11:30 instead of FMA, but oh well.
    And I cringe at the thought of TTGL on CN. What in gods name would they do to it to make it appropriate for that age group. But I still think there will still be Naruto on Saturday Nights. If it was popular enough to get an entire 1 hour slot, so I doubt they will take it out.

  4. Madness!

    Also, Megas was pure awesome. I have yet to find a more abusively hilarious parody of sailor moon AND power rangers. Not to mention that Coop, a fat and lazy gamer, made for a better twist than another genius kid with morality issues or a super athlete who suddenly knew how to pilot a highly advanced machine despite barely any/no training.

  5. But i thought amerikkan kids liked naruto?

    anyways ZOMG MUTIO IS HOT

  6. Mutio looks like LL…

  7. I remember the first time I saw a live movie on Cartoon Network. I had to double-check that I was on the right station. I mean, really… “Mouse Trap” instead of… oh, I don’t know… a cartoon?

    [shakes head] So we have a music video channel without music, and we’re on our way to a cartoon channel without (new) cartoons. These are among the reasons I haven’t subscribed to TV since 2005.

  8. Oh Toonami, I remember the days of Samurai Jack and Megas XLR and a bunch of other shows I’m too braindead to remember. So I take it that Samurai Jack is going to be taken off the air for years again.

  9. Sad but true my friend. Sarabatta Toonami.

  10. Oh Toonami…

    Zoids, Pokemon, Tenchi, even Sailor Moon; in all their bastardized forms, their names still reverberate nastalgically in my heart. It wasn’t just about starting me in anime, some of my best friends were made from irrelevant debates about Goku and Vegeta’s relative power levels or which Gundam we would pilot. Seeing Toonami go down like this is like watching a part of my childhood die.


    I will imagine that yours was a glorious memorial with a 20 gun salute. Rest in peace my friend.

  11. Man the old toonami was great. Outlaw star, gundam wing, dbz and tenchi. I miss them all(but now i have the untainted dvd’s)

    The old toonami promos where the best, remember the gundam wing ones?

  12. RIP

  13. aggressiveness and taking chances is what the old joe gibbs did with the redskins. they seemed to do real well then.

    he was way too conservative the second time around, which was why they went nowhere the second gibbs go around.

    toonami never went anywhere, but that’s somewhat of the problem. if they continued to keep putting out great shows, we would’ve continued to tune in. after about 2003 or so is when the decline began.. the crap they began to throw out there…… oh man, it was bound to die sooner or later from that point on.

  14. They never did show Star Blazers like there old promo aid showed did they?

  15. I’m actually suprised that you considered my request. (I’m Andre by the way)

    For a block of television programing I haven’t watched in a long time I was suprised at how sad it made me to hear about the cancellation of Toonami. It was a shadow of its former glory and full of fail but when I think about all the fantastic shows that came out in its glory days I realize that it represents a very big part of my childhood. It practically shaped who I am as an adult and made me realize that there is a big world out there and I need to experience as much as I can. Say what you will about DBZ, Gundam Wing, and its ilk but you have to admit that it was like nothing else like them and the rest of the Toonami Lineup back then. Even now I wonder if there really are any anime series out now that could really bring anime out of its slump like those classics could.

    As I sit here recovering from nostalgia bombs being thrown through out 4chan over Toonami’s death I can’t help but think that my childhood is really gone now. God I’ll miss those afternoons running home from school to catch those opening intros to my fav shows. I’ve always joking that I’m crying MANLY TEARS over something but hearing this sad yet expected news gives it a whole new meaning.

    Until next time Toonami *Forms fingers like a gun*: “Bang….”

  16. Oh the good old days. Sitting down after school watching Cyborg 009 or Dbz, after taking off my shirt getting some soda and leftovers from last night’s dinner. You will be missed.

  17. Toonami was my gateway to anime, with Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragonball.

    Then again a lot of CN shows aren’t really that great, the only ones I can stand are Flapjack and Chowder. Otherwise I’d rather watch Courage reruns/

  18. Toonami died once they changed Tom to a Disney reject.

    Outlaw Star and Tenchi owned weekday afternoons for free.

  19. Reboot was the best thing to ever come out of Toonami, ah how I miss those days :(

  20. My, how times have changed. Toonami started back when I was studying in the US (or not long before), and I clearly remembered Blue Sub 6, Outlaw Star, Big O and other shows I haven’t heard about even though I was an anime fan.

    In my dorm I was the “odd” one when DBZ started, but 3 sessions later following the show was practically a religion amongst many of the people there.

    Thinking back though, there was a similar boom when Akira showed up and when Evangelion split the internets into Reinet and Asukanet. I guess these things come in wave, and like waves, recedes back into the ocean of obscurity.

    But seeing Suzumiya Haruhi every time Tylenol shows its ad here, I say we’re making progress. I want that poster.

  21. Toonami was great because I ended up watching all of it, even shows I probably wouldn’t consider (Powerpuff girls, Sailor Moon) and still enjoyed it (or grew to). Eh, if it wasn’t for Toonami I don’t think I would have broadened by anime-viewing horizons.

    Toonami in it’s glory days made anime the cool thing to watch and talk about. Nowadays, not so much. If I had to guess it’s because Adult Swim’s shows are much less action oriented, like the Saturday morning cartoons we know and love (everybody loves giant robots that mess up the place or some silly guys karate chopping each other), and more for niche audiences, aka paranoia agent, GitS which relies more on plot and mystery than MOAR EXPLOSIONS.

    Oh well, guess kids today had better things to do than watch filler ninjas and strange bordering on creepy pirates. It’s been fun, you deserve a viking funeral Toonami.

  22. I will miss toonami
    It showed me greats like
    Rurouni Kenshin and Yu Yu Hakusho.
    With beer-gut TOM, it was one of the greats of my youth.
    I will miss thee,

  23. Mutiooo~…she was my favorite character from Blue Submarine No. 6. I need to rewatch that sometime….

  24. Also what tidal said in his second sentence.

  25. I don’t blame Naruto and Bleach for the long, tedious death of Toonami. After all, if Toonami had just been 2 hours of DBZ and Pokemon everyday, it never would’ve gotten as popular as it did. Mentioned before, there was a great variety of animes and non-anime toons to watch, with DBZ as the ageless mainstay, but flanked by magical girls, giant mechs, harem comedies, time-traveling samurai, and dancing hamsters. They even threw in a feature length film on occasion.

    The logistics of leaving the weekday afternoon slots was also too huge a blow to recover from. Again, DBZ would’ve never survived the once-per-week airing Naruto and co. had to suffer through. Children’s entertainment needs to be on every-freakin’-day; repetition and regularity is what keeps the kids’ attentions.

    Optimistically, the death of Toonami can give network execs pause to examine the mistakes and successes of the past. Maybe CN will do brilliantly, and bring huge ratings to their new original shows. Or maybe, like how the world realized how much they missed the red & blue after the death of Superman, Cartoon Network will understand how much they need Toonami back, and then maybe they’ll give it another shot, when they’re good and ready.

  26. Ahh…. Toonami, now that me back. Watching anime on american television was the best thing that happen to me. If it wasn’t for Toonami, I would have never heard of GUNDAM. Ore wa… gundam :D. I use to watch everything that came on tv. sailor moon, DB 1 DBZ 2 and DBGT 3, etc. Now I don’t hardly even watch the telly anymore. It too bad that shows like Megas XLR and Samurai Jack not long. Only original show that had an ending was the Avatar, now that some American cartoon television at it very best. Three words, Anime ja nai

  27. Other than recognizing it as where my interest in anime started, and as home to some unique shows and concepts at it’s best, I’m sad, but it’s not overwhelming.

  28. Well in my country there was Toonami for about a month, then it vanished without any traces. It was in fact the same shows as before, but with CGI cutscenes between 2 cartoons. Nothing like DBZ or any kinda anime or good show… well it kinda sucked. The only anime that reached here on CN was Naruto :( (ok there is an anime channel, with Death Note and Bleach with terrible dubs, but the channel itself starts at 11 pm, so whatever…)

    ANyway you lost Toonami, but we never really ever had one :(

  29. Kind of sad. I mean I haven’t watched toonami in years, (hence the problem) but it was something I really remember when I was a kid. It was my first real exposur to anime. Like I remember watching DBZ everyday after school and then Gundam wing with the same intensity. I don’t think I’ve been that way about american broadcasts of anime again. Seriously, the dubbing wasn’t even that bad for Gundam. I mean even at that time I preferred subs to dubs but they did a good job then. Now, when I hear naruto, i just cry. Crap dub quality+ repetitive shows + lack of innovation = dead block.

    Adult swim isn’t doing much better. CN hasn’t really had the same advertising push like in the old days either. Like i knew what anime was on and when. I didnt even know about Code Geass was on CN untill i started watching the fansubs and was like 20 episodes in.

    Anyway, GG Toonami, I’ll miss you bro.

  30. So what went wrong?

    You forgot Mizugi.

  31. Bang.

  32. I just have to say this again…


  33. Psssh. I hate the live action movies they show now. They are on EVERY OTHER STINKING CHANNEL. Code Geass is bombing? o-O I really liked that show….Most of the good stuff is on so late, that I am not up….
    Not to mention when they were reshowing FMA and I was watching, they replaced it with boondocks….now boondocks is fine and dandy but it isn’t FMA.

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