Confessions of a Toonamitaku | Jeff Harris, September 2003

On Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Code snagged a great interview with Toonami producer Sean Akins over at ANX. Check it out here right now in case you missed it. On Wednesday, September 10, 2003, I gave my analysis of the interview, like people really care what I have to say. Egotripping aside, I made a couple of points here for your perusal.

But I've been thinking, maybe I've been seeing the interview from a selfish perspective. Perhaps I should have waited some days to think about some things. Now, I have been thinking about how we got to the point of arguing whether or not Toonami is aimed towards the wrong audiences as well as whether or not Toonami as a block is obsolete. There is one thing I think we can all agree on:

Toonami is not the same block as it was when it began. Whether that's a good or a bad thing, that's a real question.

The fact of the matter is from 1997-2000, Toonami was a completely different beast than what it is now, and everybody knows that, even the jaded fans that want to thrash those that still support and defend the block today, calling the supporters of the block "Toonamitakus."

Toonami is supposed to be aimed towards the 6-12 demographic, predominately young and male. I was never in the target audience group for Toonami. I was 20 when I started CNX and I'm 25 now, old by Cartoon Network's standards. The thing is that for a block that is supposed to be aimed towards the 6-12 year old demo, it always skewed older folks. Afterall, with popular franchises that newgrown anime fans wanted to see, who could resist it? Toonami had potential all over it.

Then came the summer of 2001, a year when all hell broke loose for us older types when the new regime of Turner decided to capitalize on the Toonami brand name by coating the block on an already stagnant Kids' WB afternoon block. In February 2002, many of the older Toonami fans decided to join the Adult Swim bandwagon permanently when the Saturday evening anime block began. Afterall, Adult Swim Action gave the masses nearly uncut anime on a weekly basis. Plus, Toonami had basically gone to the toyetic franchises.

Meanwhile, a little over a year later in March 2003, Cartoon Network created Saturday Video Entertainment System aka SVES aka Saturday. It basically culled many shows from both Toonami and Kids' WB along with a pair of Cartoon Network originals (Samurai Jack and Justice League) to create an action block. Kind of funny that Cartoon Network decided that they had to make a second young-skewing action block in a spot that would have normally gone to the Toonami brand. The similarities between Toonami and SVES is unavoidable, but if you face facts; is SVES better or is it doing Toonami right?

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