Toonami is turning 20 years old. I still can’t believe that. It feels like just yesterday that I was watching the halycon days of Toonami’s programming block with FLCL and LupinIII and even into the glory days of Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note and Cowboy Bebop. When I read Steven Blum’s tweet about it I was totally shocked. When you think about it, it has be a long and storied journey from Toonami’s beginning to being the powerhouse it is now. So from one veteran fan to another, here’s a sincere and loving thank you to Toonami.
When I was a little girl, my aunts weren’t very fond of anime. They saw it as too violent, mature and sexualized for me as a young impressionable teen. Anime and manga were strictly censored, and for a period even banned from the house. I’ll never forget the moments where I’d sneak into the living room or my aunt’s bedroom late at night (those were the only rooms with TVs) and plug in my huge stereo headphones into the audio jack and listen to InuYasha dimmed and with closed captions on so I wouldn’t miss an episode or timing my DVR to record the repeat showing of the same show just in case I missed my time zone’s showing of a new episode. Toonami helped show me so many animes that literally changed my life all while Steven Blum as host Tom said some of the most philosophical monologues I’ve ever heard. Memories were made. Music was masterfully used and the community formed because of an around being a Toonami Faithful kept me going through my troubled teen years well into my more mature adulthood.
For a brief time, Toonami was taken off the air and it sent shockwaves throughout the fan community. We had lost our home. We had lost the place where we sat and watched anime; but that was short-lived. Toonami came back online and filled with anime and nostalgia and it did briefly fill the void left behind by the cartoon block on Saturday evenings.
When it was announced that Toonami was returning, I was so excited. And even though the currently line up isn’t my favorite, I’m so grateful for all the new upcoming fans who get to experience Toonami like I did. I’m so glad they get to have the same community and fun I got to have when I was a young and new otaku. I’m amazed and proud that Steven Blum sounds just as good as ever and the nostalgia of hearing his voice brings back warm memories of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. There are series that have been saved by Toonami’s popularity. Shows that were not very popular or were obscure gained mainstream acceptance due to the power of Toonami.
I want to thank you, Toonami. You made me who I am now as a fan, cosplayer, panelist and person. You gave me friends that I’ve kept for most of my life. You’ve given me series that helped me express emotions I didn’t know had words. You helped give me a voice when mine was muted behind the pressures of family, school and personal insecurity. You helped me become me. And that is something powerful, unique and something I can barely shape into coherent words.
Thank you, Toonami.
A Proud Toonami Faithful