Gephyrophillia | Watch This Space #113

Originally Posted on 04/17/2004 by Jeff Harris

Look at those li'l Clydes go!Night One of the new Toonami has come and gone. This was a revamp from the tip to the toe and welcome in the eyes of most fans of the block. A lot of what was new was excellent and a breath of fresh air. Others kind of grated on me a bit, but that too passed as the night progressed.

With that said, here's what I think about the new Toonami:

PROS: Original AND Custom Intros for most of the Toonami shows
Holy crap! If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. Tonight, Toonami did something that people thought would never ever happen. In addition to the custom openings Toonami watchers either loved or loathed, the block also showed the original openings to the bulk of shows on Toonami. When Duel Masters and later Jackie Chan Adventures showed their original openings, many saw them as a fluke that will never happen again. Then when Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball GT showed their original openings, the fluke proved to be "the real deal." Custom and Original intros for all to see. That peace between the purists and the customites was shattered when the original opening to Gundam Seed didn't air. Pity. Still, the fact that t4/5 shows with dual openings isn't a bad thing.

The Killer Graphics
There wasn't any doubt that the new graphical packaging of Toonami wasn't going to deliver. It's just that nobody expected them to be THIS good! TOM's still v. 3.0, but he looks a little beefier than the last time he was seen, and darker too. He's more of the controller of the block than usual, letting Sara do most of the talking. The Absolution v.2 also was better animated. Sara, who was noticably missing for most of 2003's revamp, has a kind of virtual body, perhaps hard light with a new design. She was definitely more visable tonight than TOM was. Perhaps the producers wanted to show that Sara was going to be around for the long haul. And then there are the Clydes! These Clydes weren't emoticon satelites like the previous ones were, nor were they dumbed down spherical droids like the initial ones were (maybe those designs were destroyed when the Absolution v.1 was destroyed!). Instead, they were research and data retreval robots in the tradition of the original Clyde49. They're almost a cross between the original Toonami mascot and bumblebees that can transform into self-contained pods not unlike Clyde49. The animation has improved dramatically over the years. Wonder what they got next?

The Strongest Lineup in a long, long time!
You add a little comedic action from a self-parodying anime and an almost old-school favorite, add in a pair of high-octane fighting with a major dose of Gundam with a twist of something unseen by many in the form of a film, and you have the strongest Toonami lineup in some time! DuelMasters may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I think it's poised to be one of the funniest anime series to hit the airwaves ever. Bionicles wasn't your typical Toonami movie, but it did showcase excellent computer animation, a great script, and phenominal voice acting. Jackie Chan Adventures may be currently seen throughout Cartoon Network and may be a limited run series filling in time until Megas XLR (btw, GREAT promos for this mindblowing hilarious and eagerly-awaited series), but it's presence in tonight's broadcast. What hasn't been said about Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball GT? The fan favorite and the new kid have been very entertaining with the many twists and turns seen tonight. Of course the piece de resistance was the US premiere of Gundam Seed. Wow! What a show! At first glance, it seems to blend the best elements of Mobile Suit Gundam with the best elements of Gundam Wing. Can't wait for next week's installment to see where the story goes. All and all, it was a great night.

The Eyecatches and Schedule Cards
Nobody really pays attention to the eyecatches of Toonami. These stand-alone pieces of computer-animated perfection were seen throughout the night. Most of them showcased the new Clydes (one of the eyecatches did a thorough examination of the new features and new technology behind the new icons). The schedule cards were different as well. Pics shuffled with the show that you're watching, the next show, and the show after that, not unlike the episode cards in the earlier Toonami looks.


The Commercial Breaks
Over the years, Cartoon Network has been known as being the only channel with limited commercial interruptions. As of tonight, Cartoon Network (or at least Toonami) has changed that policy by adding three smaller commercial breaks in one series. Now, this wouldn't have been noticed if this was another channel, but since it's Cartoon Network, it stuck out like a sore thumb to many. Perhaps it's a tradeback for the fans wanting both Toonami and Adult Swim on Saturday nights. But still, if more commerical spaces mean that we'll see both Toonami and Adult Swim on Saturdays as well as custom and original openings on Toonami, not to mention smoother transitions from one show to another, I fail to see where the breaks are a problem.

No Gundam SEED Original Opening
Just when you thought it was safe for original and custom openings, CN decided not to show the "original" Gundam SEED opening. Still, one would have to wonder . . . isn't the original Gundam SEED opening a little to, how can I say, controversial for this post-halftime, uberprudish, rampaging society of ours? Granted Bandai may have a separate "custom" made opening for the US television market as they did for Brain Powered, but Cartoon Network wasn't going to take any chances airing it for some reason. Perhaps this "official custom" opening will make it on Toonami one day, but tonight, Gundam fans were disappointed to not see the original opening along with the custom one.

In conclusion, the new Toonami may have has a miniscule negative factor, it was still the best edition of Toonami in years, and I look forward to the coming weeks with more premieres and new shows on the horizon!

*end transmission*

Jeff Harris,
The X Bridge Creator/Webmaster
April 17, 2004


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