Of course, during the 2012 April Fools' Day stunt, the third incarnation of TOM returned with no notes about what happened before, fully embracing the First Law of Resurrection.
The 11/3/12 edition of Toonami confirmed they were different units, but still hasn't explained the changeover.
There's currently a webcomic in the works which will explain everything.
The 2012 revival...why? Who decided it was a good idea to make Toonami more "adult" and air it at midnight? Especially since [adult swim] is the midnight 'adult' anime block on Cartoon Network. Why not try to get new viewers by airing it earlier, instead of pandering to former fans who are high off nostalgia?
...Because those are the very fans that helped bring it back to begin with?
It's less risky that way. It's already a huge experiment. Only if the ratings are successful will they maybe decide to show it earlier.
This is a case of embracing the Periphery Demographic. Even at its hight the original Toonami was popular with an audience that skewed far older than what was being aimed for and now that the younger kids were that age too, why not aim it at older kids/young adults?
I'll admit that the "more adult" Toonami is a little weird for me (I think it will get better once they break it in. Probably why they have been using the word 'bitch' so much.) but the point is that Toonami is, at least in the present, not a proven block. So the logical way to get it back up is to re-introduce it into what is most likely its original audience. If you are worried that the "nostalgia high" as you called it won't keep Toonami up; you are probably right. The old shows have drawn back the crowd but it will take new shows to stay on TV. I think they are anticipating this. If you are worried about the possible lack of new audience... well... A good portion of Adult Swim watchers are mid-teens. So I would assume that it will catch some new followers if it succeeds. Either way, it's understandable if it is not 'exactly' what you want but that is kind of an inevitability when such a long hiatus is taken. Support it if you enjoy it; don't if you don't.
It's rather simple, really—lots of reused footage. You'll notice, for example, that the animation for the week three intro is the same as the first two, just with TOM talking instead of "#BringBackToonami" playing, and that this animation gets reused for damn near everything and only needed to be rendered once. His lack of mouth also helps. Beyond that, you'll notice the majority of the TOM segments are his voice playing over anime footage. The short answer is they can afford it because it's being used sparsely.
Also CGI has been becoming cheaper and cheaper throughout the years. That is why it is now viable to have simple Youtube videos (such as Freddiew's) with fairly good CGI.
The redone Toonami has gotten by with shows that were cheap or easy to get, yet have been, for the most part, quite good. Once it got to this point, it was pulling in the funds so it can start taking on the big hits (Naruto, Soul Eater, One Piece and Sword Art) to make it its current juggernaut status of late Saturday/Early Sunday TV.
How does Toonami manage to make hits out of misses? Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon bombed when they first came to America, Eureka Seven didn't do so well on Toonami and Deadman Wonderland flopped, yet those series do well on Toonami. I'm sure there are other examples I don't have....how does Toonami do it?
DBZ and Sailor Moon not only got the advantage of finally airing on a network that had a specific niche (they premiered and bombed in syndication and on USA Network, respectively), but being packaged with similar American shows to make them go down easier. Eureka Seven first aired during [as] anime's "wilderness years" and wasn't particularly well-promoted—though it's worth noting that it's still not a "hit", and rides pretty close to the other reruns. And Deadman Wonderland was clearly made with more American sensibilities in mind, so of course it'd have more appeal over here than in its native Japan.
How can Toonami air Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Disney just got the rights to it.
From their tumblr 'They [Disney] bought the rights to future Clone Wars stuff, but CN still has the rights to run the series it co-funded, for now.'
Does Toonami still have rights to any of its April Fools Day programing? Particularly Dragon Ball Z, which I have been told a hundred odd times is SpongeBob property now.
When the April Fools Day stunt was pulled off, the Toonami crew basically asked if they could "borrow" a single episode from a show, and the distributors basically gave them the episodes for free. However, when the block came back, the distributors wouldn't give them the shows themselves. In other words, no, they currently don't have the rights to said shows (especially Dragon Ball Z, which is currently owned by Nickelodeon along with the rest of the Dragon Ball series) sans Bleach.
The shows weren't given for free, but rather in exchange for free promotions of the DVD sets of the shows acquired for the evening.
Does Toonami still have the rights to older programs it aired, such as Deadman or Casshern? I know they still can air Sym-Bionic and Stand Alone, but what about all its other finished run programs? (Bar Thundercats, which I know they no longer have.)
We're not privy to the details of the deals that were made to acquire those.
Can Toonami reference any programs it aired that it doesn't have. Like lets say they get a new version of Sailor Moon, can they say "If only we had Goku too..."?
They were able to take a jab at American Dragon Jake Long without any negative repercussions. They probably could reference a past show if they wanted to.
There is no rules on Toonami's end restricting who they are allowed to buy shows from, no.
What makes a Toonami program a "hit" or not? In the revival; there are 7 programs who have made million view hits on episodes; Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Soul Eater, Sword Art Online, Deadman Wonderland and Thundercats. What makes them better than other programs in the early parts of the block; like GXP, Samurai 7, IGPX, Sym-Bionic Titan and Casshern Sins? It is just the timeslot? Or is there something more?
For the first six you mentioned, they're all part of the shonen genre, meaning they already appeal to a wide and large demographic (it helps that Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece are insanely popular). As for ThunderCats, it did air right after Naruto for some time, so it managed to hold onto a lot of viewers.
How do you tell the difference between a show that is former Toonami (GXP, Eureka) and those that are 'on regular rotation' (Sym-Bionic, Big O)
Shows in regular rotation are shows that Toonami isn't currently showing, but still has the right to. Former shows are ones that stopped airing because their rights expired.
Yes, but how do we know which are which?
When a show leaves the lineup, the Toonami Tumblr usually says whether it will be back or not. Toonami has the rights permenantly for Big O Season 2 and Sym-Bionic, for example, and the rights for GITS and FLCL have been continuously renewed since they first played on Adult Swim.
The crew recently announced that Naruto Shippuden would be premiering in January. My question is how they're able to air it now when they previously couldn't. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I can understand, since it's a Cartoon Network show that they can air despite Disney owning Star Wars now, but Disney had an iron grip on Shippuden and wasn't intent on letting go (even if they weren't getting much use out of it). Did Viz Media have anything to do with this?
Perhaps they have an agreement, review our games and show our Star Wars product for us, and you can have Shippuden. Wouldn't be surprised if Toonami will be obliged to review a Disney Game (Perhaps Kingdom Hearts 1.5)
Not 1.5, 2.5. They want the game that's coming out reviewed, not the one that's been out for a few months already.
Why are western shows based on DC Comics properties (Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Beware the Batman, etc.) not considered eligible choices for Toonami? The closest thing I've heard to an answer is that DC Comics doesn't want to be associated with an adult TV network, but I seriously doubt that for two reasons…
What's up with the new schedule for Jan 4, I mean sure its a good idea to have original Naruto remain on the block, but not to restart it, and moving Clone Wars to 5:00? Well, there goes any chance of Final Act in March