Gephyrophillia #214

Originally Posted on 11/03/2009 by Jeff Harris

I guess you've heard the news by now that Toonami is not returning to the airwaves anytime soon. I still think that at more than half of those lamenting the end of Toonami were actually complaining they have no place to watch Japanese animation. Those individuals really didn't care about Toonami the brand rather than Naruto the show by then, so it really didn't matter that half the team behind Toonami actually managed the new You Are Here block.

So, while otakus were watching the American dream of an anime series on the air every day and every shelf disappear before their very eyes, You Are Here continued to thrive and surprisingly impress those that watched it. It helped propel Cartoon Network to record highs in the remainder of 2008 and a strong audience in early 2009. Then, the powers that be got stupid.

Cartoon Network gambled on their CN Real concept to put live-action reality shows on Wednesdays and Saturday nights and filling up any open space they had with repeats of those shows. They promoted the hell out of those shows while, on the flipside, they didn't premiere any new Cartoon Network originals at the time, cancelled Chowder, and pulled the plug on the Cartoonstitute project. The end result? CN Real failed. Badly. Cartoon Network had its worst ratings period since May 1998. They've backtracked a bit in August slowly bringing back older, more popular franchises, particularly Teen Titans and Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends and dialed back their on-air promotions of the CN Real a bit. A very tiny bit. The less said about Andrew W.K.'s shilling over the summer for the live-action shows, the better. They still promoted live-action programming at Cartoon Network over the live-action offerings, and for some reason, they've constantly acknowledged that the well-received Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins was Cartoon Network's highest-rated program ever, it was based on an animated series and had a built-in audience.

But over this past weekend, while Cartoon Network were finishing up airing their annual Halloween showings of Goosebumps (though I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see a series of animated horror-inspired shorts from TCM of all places airing sporadically on the lineup), a strange anomaly popped up on the Saturday schedule grid. Three acquired shows (Bakugan, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, and Battle Force 5) and three Cartoon Network originals (The Brave and the Bold, The Secret Saturdays, and the return of Justice League Unlimited) have taken over the primetime lineup. Some people were hoping that this was indeed the second coming of Toonami, though when it was eventually revealed it wasn't, some weren't too upset (you guys are maturing; I'm so happy!). Some people are just glad to see some of their favorite action shows air in primetime on a night that's alright for fighting. Instead of seeing it as a Toonami type of block without the Toonami brand name, let's see this Saturday night action block for what it really is.


It's vindication to the Toonami fans that believed Cartoon Network never should have gotten rid of the Toonami block in the first place and proof that both Toonami and You Are Here could have existed side by side as they should have been. It's vindication for those fans that believe that action-animation has a place, and it's not just for one night a week. It's vindication for those that publicly stated that the live-action experiment is, was, and will always be a mistake at Cartoon Network. CN Real was a failure in execution and presentation. The new Saturday block is a reward for our patience and for testing our faith. See it as such and be glad of it.

Enjoy the electric blue glow of the new Saturday night block, my friends. It's not Toonami 2.0, but it's a very nice start.

*end transmission*

Jeff Harris,
Creator/Webmaster, The X Bridge.


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