Toonami logo from April 27, 2013 to present.
|Premiered||March 17, 1997
July 30, 2001 (Kids' WB)
May 26, 2012 (Adult Swim)
|Closed||June 30, 2002
September 20, 2008 (Cartoon Network)
|Channel||Cartoon Network (1997-2008)
Kids' WB (2001-2002)
Adult Swim (2012-present)
|Format||Action programming block|
|Runtime||1 hour (2000-2003 [Midnight Run])
2 hours (1997-2000; 2001-2002; 2003-2004; 2007-2008)
3 hours (2000-2001; 2002-2003; 2012)
4 hours (2004-2007)
5 hours (1999-2000 [Midnight Run])
6 hours (2012-present)
6 1/2 hours (2014)
Toonami is a late-night animated programming block on Adult Swim geared toward action-oriented programming, primarily consisting of American cartoons and Japanese anime. The name is a portmanteau of the words "cartoon" and "tsunami", suggesting a "tidal wave" of animated shows. Toonami first aired on Cartoon Network from March 17, 1997 to September 20, 2008. On May 26, 2012, Adult Swim began airing a newly designed Toonami, which continues as a Saturday night action block. During its original run, Toonami was famous for showcasing action anime that were popular with American audiences, such as Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo!, One Piece, Outlaw Star, and Naruto.
- 1 History
- 2 International versions
- 3 Music
- 4 Games
- 5 Online video services
- 6 Programs list
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Toonami was Cartoon Network's primary action-animation block. The block, which made its premiere on Monday, March 17, 1997, initially replaced Power Zone, Cartoon Network's most recent incarnation of the Super Adventures block which had been a staple on the network since October 1, 1992. Toonami was originally a weekday afternoon cartoon and action block hosted by Space Ghost villain-turned-producer Moltar at the Ghost Planet Industries building from 1997 to July 9, 1999.
On Saturday, July 10, 1999, Cartoon Network relaunched Toonami with a new environment, the Ghost Planet Spaceship Absolution, and a new host named T.O.M.. The night also introduced the Toonami Midnight Run late night block which was originally a five-hour Saturday night block (technically Sunday) at midnight EST until March 2000, when it moved to weeknights in an hour-long format until January 2003.
On Saturday, April 17, 2004, Toonami was moved from weekday afternoons to a Saturday evening slot, where it aired regularly for four hours starting at 7 pm EST. Beginning October 27, 2007, it was cut back to two hours starting at 9 pm EST. On September 20, 2008, Toonami aired its final broadcast. However, on May 26, 2012, Toonami was brought back as a Saturday midnight action block on Adult Swim.
Total Immersion Events
Starting in September 2000, Toonami presented special interactive events known as Total Immersion Events or TIEs. These TIEs took place both on-air during Toonami and online at the official site, Toonami.com, and always occurred the week that the block's most popular series, Dragon Ball Z, returned for a new season. The very first TIE was The Intruder, which introduced T.O.M.'s companion, an AI matrix known as S.A.R.A.. The Intruder was an eight episode mini-series that aired during Toonami from September 18, 2000 up until September 27, 2000. It results in the rebirth of T.O.M., upgrading from a short Bomberman-esque character (voiced by Sonny Strait) to a taller, stronger, darker, deeper-voiced incarnation temporarily dubbed as T.O.M. 2.0 (voiced by Steven Blum), though it was the same T.O.M. who still hosted the block.
The following TIE, Lockdown, aired between September 17–21, 2001, and included the introduction of CartoonNetwork.com's first MORPG as well as a record-breaking amount of page views and ratings for the network. In Lockdown T.O.M. fights to save the Absolution from an attack by a giant trash compactor. Trapped in Hyperspace, the next TIE, ran for the week of September 16–20, 2002. The ship's computer, S.A.R.A. is infected by a computer virus and T.O.M. is trapped in hyperspace. His race eventually destroys it before the absolution hits Earth. The Intruder and Lockdown aired in the UK, but did not achieve the same amount of success as their American airings.
The TIE in September 2003 was a diversion from the T.O.M. and S.A.R.A. adventures and introduced a new, 2D universe. Immortal Grand Prix (IGPX), created by Toonami producers Sean Akins and Jason DeMarco and produced by anime studio Production I.G, aired in five short installments and served as a pilot for the second Toonami original series, which premiered in November 2005 (a brief note: although Megas XLR was the first original American-made franchise to actually debut on the block, it was initially a Cartoon Network original that was planned to air on Friday nights; other Cartoon Network action properties, namely Samurai Jack, Teen Titans, and Justice League, aired on Toonami but were not exclusive to the block until their final seasons).
The Midnight Run was a Toonami block that ran from 1999-2003, running from 12:00 am EST to 5:00 am from 1999 to 2000, where it was moved to the weekdays and ran from 12:00 am to 1:00 am until 2003. It consisted of anime such as Sailor Moon, Voltron, Robotech, Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, G Gundam, Gundam 08th MS Team, and Outlaw Star. Midnight Run tended to have slightly more blood and violence than its day-time counterpart, at one point even running an uncut version of Gundam Wing. One special edition that started on Friday, August 31, 2001, featured music videos from Gorillaz, including "Clint Eastwood", Kenna's "Hellbent", and from Daft Punk's Interstella 5555. Another event was Dragon Ball Z taking over the Midnight Run for a week starting on March 26–30, 2001. The Midnight Run returned by name to the Toonami block October 6, 2012, when two western animated shows were added to the lineup, Thundercats and Sym-Bionic Titan.
Toonami Rising Sun
A Saturday morning incarnation, Toonami Rising Sun typically ran from 9:00 am to noon. It later ran from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and later 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This block was somewhat hampered to avoid competing with sister network Kids' WB.
Kids' WB version
From July 30, 2001, until June 30, 2002, Kids WB aired a Toonami block that was, more or less, the Kids' WB lineup with the Toonami name. It was critically panned by industry observers, who noticed the action branding of the block did not translate content wise, which had added shows like Scooby-Doo and "The Nightmare Room", a live-action series created by Goosebumps author R. L. Stine. In spring 2002, Kids' WB announced that they would drop the Toonami name from their weekday lineup, once again making the Toonami brand exclusive to Cartoon Network.
Giant Robot Week
During the week of February 24–28, 2003, Cartoon Network aired on Toonami Giant Robot Week, a five-day special based on mecha series, which were licensed by A.D. Vision. The series shown were Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gigantor, Robotech, Martian Successor Nadesico and Dai-Guard. In the evening of the final day, the channel finished its salute to giant robots with the film The Iron Giant.
Toonami Rules Saturday Nights
On April 17, 2004, Cartoon Network moved Toonami from weekday afternoons to Saturday evenings with a new demographic of preteen and teen audiences while adding a new lighter-toned action franchise, Miguzi, to weekdays in its place.
Toonami also replaced the block known as Saturday Video Entertainment System or SVES. One big reason for the move from weekdays to Saturday nights was because some of the shows on the weekday lineup (such as YuYu Hakusho, Cyborg 009, and Rurouni Kenshin) became too violent for a weekday broadcast on the network (although reruns of the TV-PG-rated Naruto aired throughout early 2007 on weekday afternoons at 5:30 pm EST, though CN stopped all Miguzi promos before the show started). The new Toonami line-up showcased anime like Naruto, Rave Master, Duel Masters, Gundam SEED, One Piece, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Zatch Bell, and Pokémon Chronicles, as well as premiered North American productions like Teen Titans, Megas XLR, Justice League Unlimited, and IGPX, Toonami's first and only original production co-produced by Production I.G and Bandai Entertainment.
A Month of Miyazaki
On Saturday, March 18, 2006, just past the block's ninth anniversary, Toonami began airing A Month of Miyazaki, a four-week celebration of the works of acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki. Like sibling station TCM's similar marathon in January 2006, Toonami aired a different movie every week between Toonami anniversaries (the marathon began on the weekend of the ninth anniversary of the block and ended the week before the second anniversary of the block's move to Saturday nights). The films scheduled for A Month of Miyazaki (which all aired uncut and unedited as per Miyazaki's policy not to have his films altered). However, there were many complaints due to the large number of commercial interruptions during the films, with commercial breaks cutting in about every 20 minutes. The movies were as follows:
3.17.07 (Toonami's 10th anniversary)
On January 27, 2007, a teaser commercial aired during the Xiaolin Showdown marathon on Cartoon Network featuring close up shots of larger Clydes (the remote robot explorers that have been a fixture of Toonami since the beginning) along with the date 3/17/07 and T.O.M.'s chest emblem glowing blue.
On March 17, 2007, Toonami celebrated its 10th anniversary with a new packaging and numerous montages celebrating the block. T.O.M. was revamped into a shorter robot who was a commander of a jungle control room with a trio of new robots.
The montages included a look at past hosts, former logos, and a decade's worth of clips and voiceovers from shows that aired on Toonami. There were a total of 4 montages, all of them having different clips. Three of them were one minute long.
As part of the anniversary (and to coincide with Cartoon Network's March Movie Madness event), Toonami planned another month of movies:
- March 3 - The Invincible Iron Man
- March 10 - Mosaic
- March 17 - Hellboy: Blood and Iron
- March 24 - Stan Lee Presents: The Condor
- March 31 - Spirited Away and Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo
On Saturday September 20, 2008, Cartoon Network ended Toonami. Employees who worked on the block moved to other parts of the channel. Toonami Jetstream remained with the Toonami name until January 30, 2009. At the end of Toonami's final airing, the host, T.O.M. (voiced by Steven Blum), ended the block with a brief, final monologue, backed by the song "Cascade" by Tycho:
|“||Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After more than 11 years, this is Toonami's final broadcast. It's been a lot of fun, and we'd like to thank each and every one of you who made this journey with us. Toonami wouldn't have been anything without you. Hopefully we've left you with some good memories. So, until we meet again, stay gold. Bang.||”|
April Fools' Day 2012
On midnight of April 1, 2012, just past Toonami's 15th anniversary, Adult Swim, which generally changes its programming for April Fools' Day, began to play The Room (as they had done the past several years). The scene then switched to T.O.M. (in his third incarnation) aboard the Absolution, greeting the viewers while commenting that it is April Fools' Day, before introducing that week's scheduled episode of Bleach. The Toonami-related programming and bumpers continued throughout the night, featuring Dragon Ball Z, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, Outlaw Star, The Big O (Season 1), YuYu Hakusho, Blue Submarine No. 6, Trigun, Astro Boy, and Gigantor. T.O.M. also presented a review of Mass Effect 3 and promoted the recent DVD releases of the series featured.
The following day, Adult Swim posted a message to their Twitter page, simply stating, "Want it back? Let us know. #BringBackToonami". On April 4, Adult Swim followed up this tweet with one stating, "#BringBackToonami We've heard you. Thank you for your passion and interest - stay tuned." On April 8, Adult Swim aired 2 bumpers about the Toonami tweets and answered with "[we're listening]" and "[we're looking into it]".
Adult Swim revival
On May 16, 2012, Adult Swim posted a message on Facebook announcing that Toonami would return on May 26, with a similar message on Twitter, ending with #ToonamisBackBitches. The network issued a press release later that day confirming the block's revival as a Saturday late-night anime block. Toonami made its return with all new bumpers, game reviews and an updated animation of TOM. This midnight timeslot block features more mature programming than any of its predecessors. The initial lineup continued some of the Adult Swim Saturday anime block programs and premiered two shows, Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins. On August 18, the initial Toonami 2012 program lineup was changed, with Samurai 7 and Eureka Seven replacing Deadman Wonderland and Cowboy Bebop. In addition, the program time slots within the block were rearranged.
On September 26, it was reported that Sym-Bionic Titan and ThunderCats would join the block, taking the 2 am/1 c and 2:30 am/1:30 c time slots, respectively. It was also reported that the remaining 3–6 AM period formerly used to repeat the Toonami block would be replaced with two episodes (one hour) each of Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. This new schedule began on October 6, 2012. On November 3, it was confirmed that Tenchi Muyo! GXP would join the lineup along with Inuyasha. On November 22, it was confirmed that Toonami would air uncut episodes of Naruto and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would start over from its first episode. Additionally, it was confirmed that Bleach would enter reruns for eight weeks, beginning on December 1.
On January 6, 2013, Toonami introduced a new blue color scheme after using a similar scheme to introduce Inuyasha on November 3 of the previous year, although a green scheme was used on March 17 to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. New episodes of Bleach began on January 26. On February 16, Soul Eater began airing on Toonami, replacing Samurai 7. During Momocon, new designs for both TOM (a sleek, slimmer design which bears similarities the character's second incarnation) and the Absolution were unveiled, along with the announcement that overall design of the block would be changed. It was also announced that Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone would air on March 17, and that One Piece would be added to the lineup on May 18. On March 26, it was announced that the Toonami original series IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix would return to the block on April 27. On April 27, the relaunch came to fruition, featuring an all-new design, and supporting host SARA, returning to the block after being removed in 2007. However, Sally Timms did not reprise her role for the character. Instead, she is voiced by Dana Swanson.
On May 24, 2013, Aniplex of America revealed that Sword Art Online would air on Toonami in August (announced by SARA in a special clip). On June 26, it was revealed via Toonami's tumblr that Sword Art Online would now premiere on July 27. Additionally, it was announced that ThunderCats, whose rights had expired, would be replaced by the second season of The Big O on the same day. On June 30, it was revealed that FLCL will air in the future, with no confirmed date announced yet. On July 30, it was announced via the Toonami tumblr that Star Wars: The Clone Wars would replace Eureka Seven beginning August 17, and that will be airing on August 31. On August 31 the block had a suprise airing of Kick-Heart after Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance It was announced on September 26 that both FLCL and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex would begin runs on the block on October 26, replacing The Big O and Cowboy Bebop, respectively. It was further announced on September 29 that the rights to Cowboy Bebop would expire following its current run. On October 25, it was announced via the Toonami tumblr that a three-week series of movies would air during December in lieu of regular programming. Additionally, it was announced that the anime series Space Dandy would premiere on the block dubbed in early January, before the Japanese premiere of the show. It was also noted that Toonami will expand to the 11:30 pm hour in early January, with Space Dandy leading the block.
On November 6, it was announced that Naruto would be leaving the block on November 30, with Naruto: Shippuden coming to the block the night that Space Dandy premieres. Toonami announced on November 15 that the three-week series of movies would be extended by one week, encompassing the entirety of December. Additionally, it was announced that the films Akira, Summer Wars, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, and Trigun: Badlands Rumble would air on December 7, 14, 21, and 28, respectively. On November 22, it was announced that Blue Exorcist will join Toonami in March 2014. On November 23, Toonami was sponsored by Microsoft for a special Xbox One event. On the same night, Toonami unveiled a new set of Clydes, the Clyde 55s, along with further animation for the Absolution.
On September 9, 2012, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific announced that they will launch a 24-hour variation of the Toonami block launching on December 1, 2012. Glenn Bartlett, the man in charge of Toonami Asia has confirmed that their host NAMI, lives within the same universe as TOM and SARA, and has expressed interest of their paths crossing one day. 
The channel launched on December 1, 2012, as announced, replacing Boomerang.
In December 2, 2002, Toonami premiered on Cartoon Network Latin America, replacing a similarly themed block, Talisman. Toonami aired shows that were already on the lineup such as Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, and Pokémon as well as served as the home of Inuyasha. Over the years, Toonami added shows like YuYu Hakusho and Saint Seiya, as well as the revamped versions of Cyborg 009 and Astro Boy. However, the block had to move to the late-night slots on CN Latin America due to protests of violent scenes on the block. Mexico moved Toonami to midnight in October 2003 while the rest of Latin America moved the block in November 2004.
In 2005, Toonami had short-lived weekend schedules, which were later replaced by the premiere of Adult Swim in Latin America (October 7, 2005).
In March 2006, Toonami revamped their lineup to include more adult-oriented series, such as Love Hina, taking advantage of the schedule and the refusal of anime on Adult Swim, as well as to compete against the anime channel Animax (now Sony Spin) for new anime series. In June 2006, Toonami premiered anime movies in two monthly variations: Dragon Ball Theatricals (which had 17 different Dragon Ball movies), and Toonami Movies (general animated action movies).
In 2007, Cartoon Network cut Toonami completely. The movies were no longer aired, save those of Dragon Ball Z. After its cancellation in Latin America (March 26, 2007), the anime programming of the channel gradually vanished, currently the only anime which air on CN LA are Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z Kai. In January 2010 the block Animaction was created, showing on Wednesday evenings. This block broadcast both action programming and anime programming. This block was removed in April 2011.
UK & Ireland
In its original run, Toonami always proved a haven for dance/electronica music throughout its history, using original compositions; first by skater/artist Tommy Guerrero from 1997 to 1999, and then by Atlanta-based composer Joe Boyd Vigil from 1999 to 2002, many of which were compiled in the CD Toonami: Deep Space Bass in 2001, which is now out of print. In 2003, DJ Clarknova (the alias of Toonami founder Jason DeMarco) took Toonami's beats (both old and new) and mixed them with sound bites from recent Toonami and Adult Swim shows. This resulted in an hour-long compilation of Toonami remixes, called the Toonami: Black Hole Megamix, but for unknown reasons was never published. However, the Megamix recently was hosted by Toonami Digital Arsenal, a popular unofficial Toonami multimedia site. DJ Clarknova then released another Toonami album, entitled Toonami Supernova Megamix, on Christmas Eve of 2012 as a free download through the official Toonami Tumblr webpage.
From 2003 through 2008, Toonami relied on original and library tracks from various artists from publisher Ninja Tune. On rare occasions, videos from musicians such as Daft Punk, Linkin Park, The White Stripes, Beck, and Gorillaz aired on the block.
Infrequently, Toonami has aired reviews of video games. These reviews, delivered by T.O.M. and occasionally S.A.R.A., are fairly short and air during commercial breaks. The reviews score games on a 1 - 10 system: 10 signifying an excellent game, 1 signifying a very poor game. (The score system was originally 1 - 5 until 2001.) Two games were given a "?", Dropship: United Peace Force for PlayStation 2 because of many failed attempts to get past Level 6, and Slender by Marc "Parsec" Hadley of Parsec Productions because of not finding all eight pages in time, and the fright of looking at the Slender Man.
T.O.M. also made a cameo appearance in the Cartoon Network MMORPG "Fusion Fall" as a NPC.
Online video services
On March 26, 2001, Cartoon Network launched Toonami Reactor, their first online streaming video service. The three-month service featured streaming episodes from Dragon Ball Z and Star Blazers, the latter of which was an online-exclusive series. Editorial content was provided by the now-defunct Animerica Magazine, published by VIZ Media. After the three-month "trial run" was over, Cartoon Network took it offline and completely revamped it.
On November 14, 2001, Cartoon Network relaunched Toonami Reactor with all online-exclusive programs such as Star Blazers, Patlabor, The Harlock Saga, and Record of Lodoss War as well as videos from Daft Punk and Toonami-themed games. In the summer of 2002, Toonami Reactor was revamped again under the Adult Swim aegis and, with a joint venture with VIZ's Weekly Shonen Jump, programmed it as "Adult Swim Pipeline."
On April 25, 2006, a little over five years since the launch of the now-defunct Toonami Reactor, Cartoon Network and VIZ Media announced plans to launch Toonami Jetstream, a new ad-supported streaming video service featuring Toonami series like Naruto, Samurai Jack, Megas XLR and IGPX and the internet webcast premieres of Hikaru no Go, MÄR, Eyeshield 21, The Prince of Tennis, MegaMan Star Force, Kiba, MegaMan NT Warrior, & Zoids: Genesis, the latter two of which never ended up being streamed.
Toonami Jetstream launched on July 17, 2006 (after a brief unofficial sneak preview that began on July 14), and offered episodes of Naruto, Hikaru no Go, MÄR, Zatch Bell!, Pokémon, Blue Dragon, Samurai Jack, Kiba, Storm Hawks and Transformers: Animated.
On January 30, 2009, Toonami Jetstream ended its run. Since then, many of the shows aired until cancellation aired on Cartoon Network Video on its main web site.
In 2012, Adult Swim rebranded their action videos section as "Toonami shows."
Cartoon Network (1997-2008) / Kids' WB (2001-2002)
- Cartoon Roulette (composed of Space Ghost, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, Mightor, Shazzan, Teen Force, The Impossibles, and the 1940s Superman cartoons)
- The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
- Beast Wars: Transformers
- Dragon Ball Z (syndicated Ocean Group version)
- Sailor Moon (syndicated DiC version)
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Blue Submarine No. 6
- G-Force: Guardians of Space
- Gundam Wing
- Sailor Moon (Cloverway version)
- Superman: The Animated Series
- Tenchi in Tokyo
- Tenchi Muyo!
- Tenchi Universe
- Batman Beyond
- Dragon Ball
- Gundam 0080
- Gundam 08th MS Team
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Outlaw Star
- The Big O
- The New Batman/Superman Adventures
- G Gundam
- G.I. Joe
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
- Samurai Jack
- Transformers: Armada
- Classic Zoids
- Cyborg 009
- Dragon Ball GT
- IGPX: Micro Series
- Justice League
- Martian Successor Nadesico
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Star Wars: Clone Wars
- Superior Defender Gundam Force
- YuYu Hakusho
- Astro Boy (2003)
- Duel Masters
- Gundam Seed
- Jackie Chan Adventures
- Justice League Unlimited
- Megas XLR
- Rave Master
- Teen Titans
- Transformers: Energon
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
- Dragon Ball Z (uncut)
- One Piece (4Kids dub)
- The Batman
- Transformers: Cybertron
- Zatch Bell!
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes
- Pokémon: Battle Frontier
- Pokémon Chronicles
- The Prince of Tennis
- Wulin Warriors
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
Adult Swim (2012-present)
- Deadman Wonderland
- Casshern Sins
- Cowboy Bebop
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG
- Eureka Seven
- Naruto (uncut)
- Samurai 7
- Sym-Bionic Titan
- Tenchi Muyo! GXP
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- Toonami opening, January 6 2013
- Toonami promos from January 6, 2013
- "TV GUIDE, YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE.". February 3, 2013.
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- "One Piece to Air on Adult Swim's Toonami Block". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Sword Art Online to Air on Toonami starting in August". Anime News Network. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "WELL, WE GOT BACKDOORED AGAIN…". Toonami. June 26, 2013.
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