Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Anime Industry Then and Now Section 3: The Anime Boom Era Part 2 : They Got Those BOOM Anime Babes That Make Me Think The Wrong Thing, Toonami Era

After doing some research (thank you Wikipedia), I decided to go on about how Toonami heralded the Anime Boom era. To me, Toonami (and later Adult Swim) were more or less the “anime channel” for the everyday man. In its early incarnations, Toonami was a kind of “retro haven” for classic cartoons that aired in my childhood. The standouts being Thundercats and Robotech. Toonami was actually my first exposure to Robotech, which eventually led into me getting into Macross. Around 1999, Toonami caused two major events. After airing the reruns of both Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon, they pioneered their anime original status by resurrecting both series. It was here that DBZ earned its newfound popularity that made the series almost as iconic as it was in Japan. While Sailor Moon never received the same attention it was able to air the remaining three movies, the remainder of the second season as well as the following two seasons.
After this move, Toonami began to invest in more anime series. They brought Ronin Warriors back on the air in reruns, they resuscitated ReBoot (yeah, not anime but given how the later seasons turned out definitely aiming at the same fan base), and then the crowning achievement Toonami became the home of GUNDAM! Selectively airing Gundam series based off of popularity we got Gundam Wing (2000), Gundam 0079, Gundam 0080, Gundam 08th MS Team (all 2001), G Gundam (2002), with things winding down with Gundam Seed (2004). Gundam Wing also, seemingly, set up the existence of Adult Swim by having uncut airings of the series during Toonami’s Midnight Run.
Throughout the early 2000s, Toonami continued to expand by giving public exposure to much anime including the Tenchi Franchise and Outlaw Star. It also caused a few phenomenon’s to happen. The first one was airing Big O. Big O apparently did so well on Toonami it convinced the Japanese studio to commission a second season. The second event was Dragon Ball FINALLY getting its proper 143 episode run on TV. What really made things excellent was years BEFORE it got a proper DVD release CN was the only place to see the re-dubbed first 13 episode of the series.

The crowning moment of achievement for Toonami was the acquisition of the Naruto anime series in 2005. The series was a “golden child” for Toonami but it also was the last great hurrah of Toonami as things went downhill gradually after this year and the anime recession began claiming victims.

Still, Toonami played a major roll in giving anime a lot of exposure during the Anime Boom Era.


  1. I remember people saying that Cartoon Network co-produced "Big-O," though it may have only been the second series (or season). I did watch a fair amount of anime on Cartoon Network back in 2002 when I first got into anime.

  2. The first season was completely Sunrise's doing, but it was Cartoon Network's airing and ratings of the first season that made CN outsource Sunrise to get the second season made. Fans were happy, then ultimately disappointed when they saw haw that season ended.