As we drift through outer space aboard the Absolution,
With TOM back in active duty as captain,
In charge of bringing superior anime action.
Yeah... Toonami's back, bitches,
To celebrate TOM's return to television."
Toonami is an influential programming block that was previously broadcasted on Cartoon Network, consisting primarily of Western action-adventure cartoons and anime, airing on weekday afternoons from 1997 to 2004, and later Saturday nights from 2004 to 2008 and beginning again in 2012 on [adult swim].
The block features incredibly high production values for its commercial bumpers, advertisements, and ARG campaigns, which included high-end 3D graphics, a soundtrack consisting of then-uncharacteristic (for a children's block) drum-and-bass and ambient music, and a consistent setting and narrative. Toonami had a hand in uncancelling several syndicated series (Dragon Ball Z, ReBoot, and Sailor Moon), and it premiered several series on its own, both anime (Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, all three of the original Tenchi Muyo! series) and Western animation (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) and Megas XLR). In regards to anime, fans and historians both credit Toonami for single-handedly ushering in the mainstream Japanophilia boom of the early-to-mid 2000s.
Toonami began life as a spinoff of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, with Moltar broadcasting action cartoons from the Ghost Planet. Cartoon Network later Retooled the block with an original host character, TOM (standing for Toonami Operations Module), broadcasting from the Cool Starship Absolution (with Spaceship Girl SARA joining the cast later). The network also created story-based events and online games associated with TOM and the Absolution (the first of those events, The Intruder, resulted in the upgrade of TOM to TOM II). The tenth anniversary of the block brought yet another retool, relocating the Framing Device to a jungle planet with a new incarnation of TOM and several other new Robot Buddies; fans widely think of this version's cast as largely inferior to the previous versions of TOM and Sara.
Cartoon Network exported Toonami to other nations' versions of the network; it even became an entire network thanks to a revamp of the spinoff channel CNX (before degrading into "CN Too"). The Kids' WB! weekday afternoon block also tried to adopt Toonami's brand for about a year from 2001-2002, but the programming didn't fit the block's image, and the Toonami branding soon went away. On December 1, 2012, Turner launched another Toonami channel in Asia, the success of which has led to yet another Toonami channel being created in Thailand.
Fans of Toonami recognize the block — or, more accurately, Toonami's "Midnight Run" — as the Spiritual Ancestor of [adult swim]. Several anime series that aired on Toonami ended up airing on [as] during the latter block's first year.
Cartoon Network eventually cancelled Toonami due to flagging ratings—a direct result of moving the block to Saturdays only and filling it with reruns, then-flagship show Naruto working through the now-infamous pre-Shippuden Filler Arc (ironically, Toonami was mere weeks away from the last filler episode at the time), and the higher-ups' need to retool the network itself. The final edition of Toonami aired on September 20, 2008 (surprising fans who had no knowledge the network had cancelled Toonami), and the "Toonami Jetstream" streaming video site subsequently went offline in January of 2009.
On April Fools' Day 2012, [adult swim] "revived" Toonami for one night; while it mainly reused clips from the past — and showed episodes of classic Toonami shows — it also featured new lines recorded, a special Bleach bumper and an all-new review of Mass Effect 3.note At its 2012 upfront on May 16th, [as] officially announced the return of Toonami after the resounding success of the April Fools special; the block would rise again on May 26th, 2012, with a mix of old and new programming.
The new Toonami started off on a limited budget, with a lineup made up of anime left from the [as] action block (such as Bleach, Cowboy Bebop and so on), cheaper new anime (like Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins), before expanding to a full six hours with returning CN original favorites Sym-Bionic Titan and ThunderCats (2011).
As of November 4, 2012, during the Daylight Savings hour, Toonami confirmed that TOM 4.0 is still around. 3.5 and 4.0 are two different robots altogether. TOM 3.5 was seen chatting with TOM 4.0, asking how the latter was enjoying his extra hour. TOM 3.5 says at the end that they'll have to explain 4.0's story someday sooner or later. On March 10th, a TOM 5.0 was confirmed to be coming in April. With a online comic that will tie him and all of the TOMs together. TOM 5.0 and the new Absolution officially debuted on April 27th, and brought SARA back as well. TOM says it's been a long time since they last talked.
The Toonami budget continued to increase, bringing high profile shows like Naruto Shippuden, Space Dandy, and Attack on Titan, expanding to a 6.5 hour lineup, and seeing redesigned Toonami bumps to coincide with [adult swim]'s April Fool's Day 2014 bumper redesign.
January 2015 saw the block reduced to a 3-1/2 hour long lineup lasting from 12:00 to 3:30 AM due to what the higher ups at [adult swim] considered to be unsatisfactory ratings, removing the 11:30 PM timeslot and almost the entire back half, as well as resulting in many shows airing on the block suddenly going off the air. However, a string of high profile additions including Kill la Kill and the second season of Sword Art Online shows that the block is still going strong. Some of these hours were gained back throughout 2017. This year also marked the opening of an official online streaming channel for Toonami. It contains episodes of various Toonami shows playing on a loop, as well as episodes of Toonami Pre-Flight (a streaming show featuring Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin, veterans of the block, taking questions from fans, reviewing movies and games, and occasional segments with Steve Blum and Dana Swanson). It used to carry a version of the entire block that users could watch for free (provided that they lived in the U.S.), although this practice has since stopped.
There are an official Tumblr blog and Facebook page for the [adult swim] block. The latter is used for communicating with the Toonami staff for things such as Q&As. The former used to serve that purpose, but nowadays, it mostly posts content related to various Toonami shows and nothing more.
Toonami currently plays or rotates the following series:note
As of November 10, 2018:
- 9:00 PM - Dragon Ball Z Kai
- 9:30 PM - My Hero Academia
- 10:00 PM - Naruto: Shippuden
- 10:30 PM - Boruto
- 11:00 PM - Dragon Ball Super
- 11:30 PM - Mob Psycho 100
- 12:00 AM - Attack on Titan note
- 12:30 AM - JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
- 1:00 AM - Black Clover
- 1:30 AM - Hunter × Hunter
- 2:00 AM - FLCL Alternative
- 2:30 AM - Pop Team Epic
- 3:00 AM - Lupin III The Italian Adventure
- 3:30 AM - Samurai Jack
Upcoming Shows / Movies
TIE (Total Immersion Events)
These are special event story arcs that showcase TOM in a dire situation. The name comes from the fact that even though the shows are still playing, the event is still happening offscreen in the bumpers, so TOM and Sara wouldn't be able to greet the viewers until the threat is resolved. In the heyday of the block, there would also be some games and comics online that would tie into the event.
- The Intruder (2000): The first TIE. An red blob attaches itself to the Absolution. TOM heads off to confront it but finds it's a very vicious foe.
- Lockdown (2001): TOM and Sara answer a distress call and find themselves in a ship graveyard. Their controls are suddenly locked by an unknown entity on one of the ship trapping them there. The duo have to rely on their viewers to pilot armed miniature robots named DOKs to destroy the entity and free them.
- Trapped In Hyperspace (2002): TOM tests out a new hyperspace function. But a computer virus invades the Absolution's systems and sends the ship hurtling through hyperspace. The only way to free the ship is for TOM to jack directly into the ship's mainframe and confront the virus directly.
- The Intruder II (2015): Sequel to the first TIE. TOM answers a hail from a nearby ship only to find out it's a trap from a very familiar foe looking for revenge.
- The Intruder III (2016): While milling around on a planet, a sudden storm and hostile sandworms forces TOM back into the base Sara and he are staying in. However the worms soon break into the base's lower sections, forcing TOM to defend himself. It turns out that the worms were trying to tell TOM that Shogo 162 was dying, and that the Vindication is a spaceship, with the base being the bridge of said ship.
- Countdown (2017): TOM suddenly finds himself whisked into the future, while a future version of himself replaces him in the past and starts a countdown aboard the Vindication. The present day TOM must now find out what's going on, but finds himself targeted by hostile Clydes.
To see an index of past Toonami series, check out the Recap page.
Tropes related to Toonami's framing sequences:
- All Adult Animation Is South Park: Averted with the [adult swim] version of Toonami. While the block can air TV-MA rated fare like Black Lagoon and Hellsing Ultimate thanks to [adult swim]'s lesser restrictions, such shows are action shows with dramatic stories first and comedies second (assuming there's any comedy at all), a far cry from almost anything that airs on the regular [adult swim] schedule. Pop Team Epic is the closest any show they've ever aired has come to this, although it only has a little bit of swearing and not much raunchy humor.
- The Announcer: For many years Peter Cullen served as the block's announcer; by the time Adult Swim brought the block back he had retired from voiceover work for anything other than the Transformers franchise; Howard Parker (one of the AS announcers) then replaced him. Jim Cummings did voiceovers for the Kids WB version (as he was one of KWB's main V Os).
- April Fools' Day:
- As stated, the block was dusted off for a one night stand on April 1st 2012 on Adult Swim! The fandom rejoiced so much, it's become known as the night no 90's kids slept◊, and the movement afterwards has come to be known as The Toonami Renaissance.
- Ten years prior to the 2012 revival, The Joker sent a computer virus into the Absolution. It forced the computer monitors to display Joker's image, and it played four episodes of Batman: The Animated Series back-to-back. TOM eventually removed the virus, and the block ran as normal. This happened the same year as Trapped in Hyperspace, which also featured a computer virus, so it could be Foreshadowing.
- On April 1st, 2017, Toonami lost its 11p-12a timeslot due to Rick and Morty airing a new episode on loop. Toonami started its run with Dragon Ball Z Kai (without Samurai Jack and Super) due to that timeslot loss.
- On April 1st, 2018, Toonami started off normal, with English airings of Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters, and Black Clover as usual. Once the clock turned to midnight however, the entire Toonami block started airing in Japanese with English subtitles. This included their regular programming such as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Hunter × Hunter, Naruto: Shippuden, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, but also extended to the mature content warning and the bumpers with TOM and SARA. Also featured in that night's lineup was a stealth premiere of FLCL Alternative, the film Mind Game, a video game review of NieR: Automata, and the short Scavengers (all in Japanese of course, with the exception of Scavengers, which has no spoken dialogue and was probably meant to serve as a transition back into the normal English lineup).
- Art Evolution: Toonami has kept on the cutting edge of CGI since it began, but state-of-the-art graphics in 1997 and in 2012 are very different things, so it stands to reason that this trope is in play. The fact that its characters and sets are almost entirely shiny metal, something CGI does very well, has certainly helped.
- Arc Number: 49 is the Absolution deck on which the Intruder is first discovered in the Total Immersion Event that bears its name, and the protocol TOM asks SARA to enact in the trailer for Intruder II. (Of course, it's also the number of the first Clyde model, so it's possible the production staff just happens to really like the number.)
- When SARA asks the ship what is going on in Intruder II, she says that it's the Absolution. The registration key? 031797. Broken down, it's 03/17/97, Toonami's birthday.
- For a few weeks in the end of July/beginning of August 2012, the twitter accounts of assorted Toonami staff (e.g. Steve Blum, and especially Jason DeMarco) mentioned a couple things having to do with the number seven, and the latter revealed seven new things were coming down the pipeline. It was even mentioned in the "Life" speech. All of this turned out to be a buildup to the premiere of Samurai 7 and Eureka Seven on the block.
- The Artifact: "We won't be intimidated by criminal threats!" comes from one of the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, which completely disappeared from the line-up around 2000 and never came back. Regardless, the audio bite continued to be and still is in a good number of promos.
- An Arm and a Leg: TOM 5 has his left arm rendered useless during episode 4 of The Intruder II. In the next episode, he rips it off to dispose of the tracking unit built into it so the Intruder can't find him.
- Aspect Ratio: For 4:3 shows, Toonami tended to stretch them out vertically to fill out the 16:9 HD feed, in line with Turner Broadcasting's policies. Starting with Dragon Ball Z Kai, they've begun using stylized pillarboxing to preserve the aspect ratio.
- Audience Shift: The original Toonami aired during the daytime with programs aimed at kids and pre-teens, then when it was moved to Saturdays and its fan base grew up, its programs aged with it. Finally, when Toonami was uncanceled, not surprisingly it was placed in the [adult swim] watershed hours as the fans who demanded its return were now young adults or older.
- The Asteroid Thicket: One of these was seen in 2003.
- Back from the Dead: TOM has come back on at least two occasions.
- Bishōnen: Acknowledged on their site, in regards to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:Are boys prettier than girls? JoJo has a Bizarre Adventure in store for you!
- Bowdlerization: A good number of the anime series Toonami got its hands on suffered through this to get to air. A few shows got a reprieve from the censorship thanks to the Midnight Run (Gundam Wing, most notably). YuYu Hakusho made an interesting jump from [adult swim] for some 26 episodes before being transported to Toonami for the remainder of its run, and as such fans got to see the unedited version first. However, as of the new [adult swim] revival, censorship, while still present (mostly to censor nudity and heavy swears like "fuck"), is much more of a non-issue.
- While Adult Swim's Toonami usually just bleeps out profanity, Deadman Wonderland had such a ridiculous amount of swearing that they eventually got Funimation to rewrite the dialogue so that it wasn't bleeped every few seconds.
- Initially played straight with Toonami Pre-Flight, as any instances of the F-bomb (whether they came from Jason, Gill, or a video clip) would be muted. However, later episodes eventually started letting some F-bombs drop uncensored, to the point of Pre-Flight now being an aversion.
- When Toonami aired the first episode of My Hero Academia, they accidentally played an edited version which removed a use of the word "shit". All future episodes have aired using the original uncensored versions, though.
- Broke the Rating Scale:
- When TOM did video game reviews (usually during commercial breaks) one game received a "?" rating, Dropship: United Peace Force for the PlayStation 2, as TOM had no idea how to rate the game since he could never get past the sixth level. This was accompanied by repeated footage of TOM losing on that level. (he said it was driving him nuts) The synopsis on Toonami Digital Arsenal reads "A robot loses his mind over a video game. Hilarity ensues." And you know what's even more hilarious? To this day, they still haven't beaten it.
- This trend would be repeated on the 7/22/12 broadcast when TOM saw fit to review Slender, he gave it a ?.?/10 because he was too scared to rate it properly.DON'T LOOK AT HIM!
- Reviewing the Skyrim expansion pack Dawnguard, TOM plays with this.Toonami gives Skyrim One Hundred out of Ten, and Dawnguard an 8.
- He gives Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag a score of ARRRRRR because he hasn't finished the game and doesn't want it to end.
- He can't give Player Unknowns Battle Grounds a proper score because it technically hadn't been "officially" released as of the review. The best he can give it is an "Incomplete".
- Button Mashing: TOM complains about how much his thumb hurts at the end of his review of Dust: An Elysian Tail.TOM: Man, my thumb hurts...
- Call-Back: The new Toonami's "Building a Better Cartoon Show" promo is a direct update of several Moltar- and TOM 1.0/2.0-era promos. It even uses the same audio clip every similar promo shared, a line from the Superman Theatrical Cartoons: "We won't be intimidated by criminal threats!"
- When Bleach started rerunning again in December 2012, TOM lifted a line from when he referred to Dragon Ball Z in the original Toonami run: "If you squint hard enough, they almost look new."
- TOM 3.5's Reruns promo is a line-for-line recreation(or perhaps rerun?) of the same exact speech given by Moltar over ten years prior.
- The teaser trailer for The Intruder II features the same blaster◊ used by TOM 1 in the original Intruder special.
- This Toonami promo for Star Wars: The Clone Wars uses the same music that was used in Toonami promos for Star Wars: Clone Wars.
- The promo for the Cooler's Revenge movie used a soundtrack frequently used in old Toonami's DBZ promos and intros.
- The Toonami trailer for Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans gets most of its narration and music from Toonami's first Gundam Wing promo.
- The famous "Dreams" promo has been called back to several times. A Space Dandy-themed version aired to commemorate the finale of that show; it was remade as a TOM speech in 2016; and the Outlaw Star footage used at the start of it was resurrected as a teaser for that show's HD rerun.
- The Cameo: TOM 1.0 appears in Cartoon Network's - and Toonami's - 20th anniversary music video.
- Canon Discontinuity: When Toonami came back on the air, TOM went from his fourth iteration to an HD version of his third incarnation (known as TOM 3.5). No explanation was given for the switchback from the decidedly different TOM 4-era aesthetic, leading to this trope being assumed by the fans. However, the whole issue was completely flipped on its side when a conversation between TOM 3.5 and TOM 4.0 discussed the matter that the latter's story would have to be told sooner or later. In other words: 4.0 is still around. Well... was, anyway.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Toonami was pretty good at averting this, and seeing as most blocks don't bother with continuity at all, that's fairly impressive. However, the 2007 season dropped all pretenses of keeping the plot straight - TOM v.4 replaced v.3, and SARA and the Absolution both disappeared entirely for no apparent reason.
- SARA's absence was due to her voice actress Sally Timms being unavailable. As of April 27, 2013, that is no longer the case.
- As for Tom's sidekicks, Flash and D in the 4.0 era, they've basically been tossed to the wayside, because the fanbase believes they're best left forgotten.
- This was the case for when TOM 3.5 became TOM 5. No explanation was televised for how TOM 3.5 is replaced with TOM 5, or the new Absolution, as the Toonami crew did not have the budget to do so. It was promised that an explanation would eventually come about these things, but as of 2018, it all still remains a mystery.
- Naturally, Moltar was gone for good after TOM replaced him as the host and the block shifted away from the Space Ghost Coast 2 Coast spin-off elements. And now his voice actor's dead. What fun.
- Swayzak from Trapped In Hyperspace hasn't been seen since Episode 4 of that event, excluding a cameo in the Rez review. (One must wonder how he got back in the Absolution for that...)
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The first half of Deadman Wonderland's run on Toonami was essentially this, as the show contained vast amounts of heavy cursing that would have needed to be censored. It got so bad that, halfway through the show's run, Funimation started rewriting the dialogue so that Toonami wouldn't have to bleep out a swear word every five seconds.
- Black Lagoon is also this, considering how many times the F-bomb alone is dropped per episode. note
- Comic-Book Adaptation:
- Five issues of Cartoon Network Presents were Toonami based. It featured stories based on the Cartoon Roulette with Moltar commenting in between them.
- The Intruder II had a webcomic that helped set-up the event.
- Concussions Get You High: After the events of Countdown, TOM cuts to a commercial break during JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders by saying he loves himself some good "Jonami".SARA: Don't you mean "Toonami?"
SARA: Are you OK?
TOM: I was shot in the head!
- Content Warnings: The new Toonami begins with displaying one of these.Toonami may contain mature material some viewers may not find suitable.
- Cool Ship: All three Absolutions and the Vindication.
- Crisis Crossover: TOM stopped by Earth during the events of the Cartoon Network MMORPG Fusionfall, apparently due to troubles onboard the Absolution; here he was in a variant on his 3.0-era body, with the Clyde 51s around too.
- Curse Cut Short: Done twice in TOM's review of Nioh.TOM:Arggh. What a crock of sh-
SARA: TOM, is everything ok?
TOM: What!? Two of those crow things at once? That is some bullsh-
TOM: There's your locator, assh-
- TOM also used the A-word during the fifth episode of Intruder II.
*** There's also the ending for Countdown, when Future TOM floats in space.Future TOM: Well, sh-
- Darker and Edgier: The 2012 revival, compared to the original run. TOM mildly swears, the shows are more mature, and the games reviewed are usually M-rated.
- To put it into deeper perspective, we're talking about a block that censored most of its mature viewer-oriented programming because it used to be on when the youngsters were still awake, and parents could get pissy about the content. Let's say the content warning is more of an excuse to avoid a Lighter and Softer image.
- The "Version 5" revamp featured a darker color palette, a slimmer and angrier-looking TOM, and a smaller Absolution.
- This effect was seen in shows Toonami picked up during 2014, with more gory and violent anime like Attack on Titan, Black Lagoon, and Hellsing Ultimate. The latter two aired with TV-MA ratings, to drive the point home.
- Before the revival, there was Rurouni Kenshin, which ended up getting so dark and heavily censored for broadcast that Sean Akins admitted that it probably should've gone to [adult swim] instead.
- The promos and bumpers for the fifth season of Samurai Jack invoke this aspect. The block has been criticized by certain fans before for airing western animation, which is often perceived as "kiddie". As such, the promos and bumpers use certain bits of footage to affirm said fans that, no, this fifth season is most certainly not "kiddie".
- Deadpan Snarker: TOM and SARA were both very prone to snark during the story arcs.
- TOM's also very snarky when pointing out low points in his game reviews. He sums up the plot of Deadlight with a wry "Yawn."
- Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked in TOM's review of Metro: Last Light."Life can be pretty grim, but there are a few... distractions." *Shows a half-naked pole dancer swinging around.*
"The game is simple, but there's something about it that grabs me. Ahem..."
- Earlier, in his Beach Spikers review:
- Double Entendre: Toonami commercials have stated that Toonami is the "the second best thing you can do by yourself". (Up to Eleven for fangirls who are turned on by TOM. Yes, they exist.)
- Dub Personality Change: The UK version of TOM went from a cool Big Brother Mentor sort of character to an Excited Kids' Show Host.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Toonami has always (mostly) stayed its course when it comes to its goal of providing action animation, but the block has certainly evolved since 1997, to the point that recent fans who look into the block's history might see something entirely different.
- A lot of modern Toonami fans assume that it's purely an anime block. While it currently airs a substantial amount of anime (and Toonami has always had periods where the lineup was nothing but, to the disdain of Jason DeMarco and the rest of the production crew), back in '97, it initially started off with mostly western animation, with the closest things that the block aired that could be considered anime being Voltron and Robotech. It wasn't until it picked up Sailor Moon and later the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z that more and more anime started airing.
- TOM wasn't even the host when Toonami first started. The block was instead operated by a villain from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, who ran things on Ghost Planet Industries. Even when TOM finally came around and the operations were moved over to the Absolution, TOM himself was shorter, more pudgy, and had a completely different voice. It wasn't until The Intruder that TOM transitioned to a leaner, more muscular design and his more familiar voice that fans now associate with him.
- The [adult swim] revival of Toonami initially started off as essentially a rebranded [adult swim] Action block, holding over many of the shows airing at the time with only two new acquisitions, as well as airing a 3-hour lineup from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM, with the block repeating itself at 3:00 AM.
- End of an Age: The block's cancellation is considered by quite a few fans to be the end point of the '90s-'2000s anime boom, as well as a major sign of Cartoon Network's rapidly worsening Network Decay.
- Bleach's run ending on Toonami in November 2014 got this reaction from some.
- Establishing Series Moment: Toonami's airing of Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins the first night it was revived on [adult swim] established that this was a darker, more mature Toonami meant for older audiences.
- Every Episode Ending: A simple title screen with the word "LATER" in the block's current text style.
- Fan Sequel: Several fan-run streaming sites exist, with some even doing original bumps. None of them are 100% legal, though, so no links for you.
- Fan-Art: During the TOM 2.0 and TOM 3.0 years, there was a period during which you could mail it into Cartoon Network and it'd be showcased on-air.
- Sometimes, Adult Swim also showcases the fan art of the current era they receive during its bumps.
- Fan Vid: Throughout its entire history, Toonami has created Fan Vid-styled montages of scenes from their shows, often revolving around dramatic monologues either from the shows themselves or written especially for the video (and read by Peter Cullen). For example, "Advanced Robotics."
- "A boy has the right to dream..."
- In Space!
- TOM's speeches.
- Pardon our dust...
- They've continued the tradition since the revival: Building You A Better Cartoon Show
- To Hell With Fear
- Reruns 2.0, a remake of the Moltar-era Reruns promo.
- Life, the return of the classic "motivational" speeches.
- True Story
- Live To The Fullest
- The Choice Is Yours
- Fantastic Ship Prefix: The GPS Absolution. Since Toonami was originally a spinoff of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which had shows being broadcast from Ghost Planet, this prefix probably stands for Ghost Planet Spaceship.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Absolution has a hyperdrive to travel through space. The jump itself looks like a tunnel in space, like how this trope is often depicted. TOM figures one of the best ways to pass the time during the jump is to watch a few movies. But of course in one Story Arc...
- Filler: Discussed on Pre-Flight. Jason and Gil's consensus on filler episodes is that they have an equal chance of being either good or bad, and that their negative reputation is mostly undeserved. They also tend to poke fun at the hatred filler episodes receive, such as jokingly asking if the entire Trigun anime is filler due to the differences between it and the original manga.
- Four-Fingered Hands: TOM 2 and TOM 4 both had four fingers on each hand. TOM 1 had only 3 fingers, while TOM 3 and TOM 5 have all five.
- Four Point Scale: Out of all the video game reviews done on the show, it was rare for anything to get a score below 7 out of 10. No games ever received a 5 or lower on that scale either. In fact, the majority of the games tend to receive a similar rating, either 8 or 8.5. When questioned about this, the creators have said that they just don't review games they don't like, because they prefer not to inject negativity into what they air. They don't have a dedicated game reviewer since they aren't mainly a video gaming program, so they have to be selective on what they review.
- Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: Intruder II begins with TOM and SARA discussing the this puzzle, but with a cabbage instead of grain.
- G.I.F.T.: The core issue of this is discussed in TOM's "Respect" speech. Everyone wants to be right, everyone wants to win, but everyone always comes off as a jerk due to general Internet anonymity, instead of respecting others and giving kudos to those who deserve it.
- Genre Throwback: TOM's version of Moltar's "Reruns" speech.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar/Precision F-Strike: Toonami's preview clip for the movie Oblivion has one uncensored use of the word "fuck".
- Toonami's review of Splinter Cell Blacklist had TOM calling the new version of Sam Fisher a total dick.
- During the block's original run, sometimes the occasional mild swearing (usually "Damn") would slip past uncensored. The most well-known example is likely when the original run of Outlaw Star had Gene saying "you lying bastard" intact.
- Happy Birthday to You!: During a bump on Toonami's anniversary, TOM says that he would gladly sing "Happy Birthday", but they don't have the budget for it.
- Hate Dumb: Invoked: TOM addresses the issues and differences between hatedom and criticism.Don't be afraid to listen to criticism, but always-ALWAYS ignore the haters.
- The Hero: TOM was always portrayed to be one through the years, especially during the story arcs.
- History Repeats: Toonami began its earliest days with a limited budget and lineup strictly limited to shows whose licenses were cheap to pick up. Over ten years later, in 2012 during the re-launch? Well....
- Early Toonami ran a "Rerun" promo with Moltar stating how reruns are inevitable but they hate them as much as the fans do, and they try their best to get new stuff as possible. ... the new 2012 Toonami made a revival of that same promo with TOM 3.5 and footage of their current shows, but with the same script!
- The original, Moltar-hosted Toonami had ThunderCats (1985) as part of its lineup. Take a random guess as to what was added to the revived block.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars is a similar case. The 2003 version premiered on Toonami during the TOM 3 era, and was popular enough to spawn a similarly-named show in 2008 that sadly never got the chance to air on Toonami (due to premiering just barely after the block was cancelled). During one Q&A, however, the Toonami crew announced what show would be replacing Eureka Seven after it ended...
- Humongous Mecha: In February 2003, Toonami dedicated an entire week to giant robots (referred to as "Giant Robot Week"), where they showcased popular mecha shows owned by ADV Films throughout the week (specifically Neon Genesis Evangelion, Martian Successor Nadesico, Robotech, Gigantor, and Dai-Guard).
- In Name Only: Toonami on Kids' WB!.
- Insistent Terminology: Toonami has always marketted itself as being a block dedicated to Action Cartoons. In other words, a block for both action Anime and Western Animation.
- Jump Scare: TOM nearly jumped out of his own chair during his review of Slender... before he even showed any game footage. It just got worse for him from there.
- Killer App: Toonami itself is cited as one, since its popular and acclaimed programming introduced the West to the anime phenomenon. As far as the programs themselves are concerned, Toonami had three of these during its golden age.
- Sailor Moon, the Trope Codifier for Magical Girl Warrior, was the first anime that aired on the block (unless one counts Voltron and Robotech as anime), and it had enough of a following that it got two more seasons and all three of its movies dubbed as a result of the newfound popularity. It paved the way for Toonami's airing of several other anime programs.
- Dragon Ball Z, widely considered the pioneer of the Shōnen (Demographic), was a smash hit, garnering some of the best ratings Cartoon Network had ever seen and at one point had become the highest rated show on all of television note , beating out other prime time shows like The Simpsons! While it was already well-liked in Japan, Toonami's airing of this series, along with some others, helped popularize manga and anime all throughout the West.
- Gundam Wing, aired back to back with DBZ, introduced the Gundam franchise and the Humongous Mecha genre to the Western mainstream. It was one of the first "serious" anime to premiere largely uncut on a mainstream Western network, and its inclusion on the "Midnight Run" block indirectly led to the creation of [adult swim] as we know it today. Its success, alongside that of DBZ, is cited as the source of the major anime boom of the 2000s. Its airing of the Endless Waltz OVA is, to this day, the second highest rated program ever in the history of Cartoon Network.
- During the TOM 3.0 and TOM 4.0 eras, Naruto was the block's biggest hit, garnering spectacular ratings (even during the filler arcs) and becoming a pop cultural phenomenon throughout the entire United States for quite some time. They weren't shy about milking it for all it was worth, either, and it's still doing well in the revival.
- Following the revival of the block, Bleach pulled the most weight as far as ratings are concerned. It was the first program to air on the block, straight at midnight, and it was used to anchor the other shows. Naruto and One Piece did great as well, with both even surpassing Bleach in ratings on a couple occasions. Though not to the same extent as the first three shows, Soul Eater was impressive as well, occasionally garnering over a million views.
- ThunderCats (2011) deserves a special mention for pulling off million view nights at several points, despite its shorter vintage and being a western show instead of anime.
- Sword Art Online also deserves a special mention for not only gaining over a million views, but also surpassing Soul Eater and One Piece on one occasion. Even when it wasn't gaining a million views, it still did impressively well, considering that it aired at 2:00 AM EST, which isn't the best time of the night for premieres.
- Dragon Ball Z officially returned to being Toonami's killer app via Kai, having broken the ratings record once held by Bleach. [adult swim] even gave it an encore run at 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays, with One Piece following suit for a few weeks at 8:30.
- Knight of Cerebus: The Intruder. Cue justified Oh, Crap! from TOM and SARA when the thing pulls a He's Back in 2015.
- Lampshade Hanging: Even TOM was puzzled as to why Hamtaro was on the block.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- TOM's intro to a 2013 Momocon panel jokingly invites the audience to "guess which one's [TOM]." Of course, Steve Blum is actually attending.
- When the first episode of FLCL Progressive was aired as a surprise on Toonami for April Fools' Day 2018, the first bumper was of a scene where Haruko kicks through Kana's window in slow-motion. Neither Kana or the audience saw it coming.
- Legacy Character: Different versions of TOM have hosted the block over the years and a conversation between TOM 3.5 and TOM 4.0 prove that the block has been hosted by completely different TOMs altogether.
- Level Grinding: TOM's only (fairly minor) complaint about Ni no Kuni is that there is a lot of grinding involved. Once the game picks up though, it feels like you're part of a Studio Ghibli film just as you should, as they did develop the game, so it's really easy to overlook such a minor flaw.
- Lighter and Softer: This was the reasoning towards things like Toonami airing shows like Hamtaro and SD Gundam Force, as well as the design of TOM 4. In fact, the Cartoon Network iteration of the block in general started to slant towards this near the end of its life, as the higher-ups thought that the block was skewing too much towards older viewers (this is despite the block moving from weekday afternoons to Saturday nights in 2003).
- Lucky Seven: How TOM describes Samurai 7 and Eureka Seven.
- Mood Whiplash: This effect is sometimes unintentionally achieved when Toonami airs certain shows in a certain order, such as when they at one point aired the light-hearted and comedic Space Dandy right after the ultra-violent and dark Hellsing Ultimate.
- Musical Episode: Once in 2001, Toonami aired an animated music video block, consisting of videos by Gorillaz, clips from Daft Punk's Interstella5555 and original music video bumpers. They would later dedicate a Midnight Run night to airing the first four videos from Interstella 5555.
- To help promote the release of Run the Jewels 3, Toonami aired "Run the Jewels Night", where the usual music for the bumpers was replaced with tracks from the album and also aired a music video with the "Panther Like A Panther" track.
- Mythology Gag
- When TOM introduces the Lucky 7 duo, the sad music from the first run's final night plays as he says once more "Well, this is the end, beautiful friends." After a Record Scratch, TOM assures us that Toonami isn't ending this time, just Deadman Wonderland.
- TOM described a new line-up as the "Midnight Run".note
- On the September 28, 2013 sign-on, SARA said "in the pipe, five-by-five". This is something that Flash (one of TOM 4's companions) said in the sign-on of every TOM 4-era Toonami block.
- According to the Momocon Intruder II teaser, the Absolution's registration key is "031797"—broken down into sets of two digits, it's March 17th, 1997, the day Toonami premiered.
- Never Say "Die": Much of its programs thankfully averted this, which contributed to its edgy factor. Gundam Wing received this for its daytime airings, but was fortunately allowed to say "kill" and "die" during Toonami's Midnight Run block.
- One of the rare and unfortunate examples of this trope played straight, however, was Gundam SEED. Granted, it was Bandai Entertainment, NOT Cartoon Network, who requested this to sell more toys. However, this forced American fans to wait for the Gundam SEED DVDs to hear the words "kill" and "die", since [adult swim] (which replaced the Midnight Run) had no interest in showing the uncut version of Gundam SEED.
- Noodle Incident: When Moltar hosted the show, he mentioned that he used to date (15-year old) Sailor Jupiter, but something happened that caused them to break up.
- There's also no explanation for why TOM v3 was replaced with v4, or went back to v3 for the April 1st airing and subsequent relaunch (though Canon Discontinuity is probably responsible for the latter). Or, for that matter, how TOM 3.5 became v5.
- During the Dawnguard review, TOM mentioned he used to be a Vampire Hunter "way back," not just in-game but in his universe as well.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: TOM's review of Dragon's Crown, a game that earned most of its attention for its hyper-sexualized character designs (especially the Sorceress and the Amazon). TOM doesn't even mention the fanservice and focuses solely on gameplay. Considering the Beach Spikers review, this is absurd!
- The Nth Doctor: The Clydes are the most prevalent example—the 49 was a single satellite unit, resembling a flying saucer with big eyes, during Moltar's reign. Once TOM stepped in, Clyde 49 became Clyde 50s (floating security cameras around the Absolution). The Clyde 51s were basically floating, solar-powered emoticons. The DOKs, unofficially Clyde 52s, added limbs to the design (amongst other things). The Clyde 53s were complex beetle-like structures with elements from each of their predecessors. The singular Clyde 54 vaguely resembled the Clyde 50s, but with a humanoid face (much like TOM v.4). The Clyde 55s, which were only seen once prior to the Absolution III's destruction in the Intruder II event, were basically floating heads with big eyes and rocket boosters. The current Clyde models, the 56s, are two differing models which fit the Fat and Skinny / Those Two Guys roles; their appearance harks back to the older Clyde 50s with their singular eyes and small limbs. The Bad Future from the Countdown event had heavily armed Clyde 57s.
- TOM was destroyed and rebuilt twice. The presence of the fourth version was never explained. The presence of TOM 3.5 was never explained as well.
- SARA also changed from a face on a screen to a full-on hologram, and most recently a pixie-like form (to better defend the Absolution and the Vindication), and even the Absolution was replaced three times. (The origin of the Absolution III was - and is still - unknown.)
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The Moltar era started each transmission as such:This broadcast is intended solely for the enjoyment of our audience. Any rebroadcast or retransmission without the expressed written consent of Toonami and Cartoon Network is strictly prohibited."Well, I just got off the phone with our lawyer, and he said this isn't a conflict of interest. I heard of the show, so I checked out Dragon Ball Z Budokai for the PS2."
- Overly Narrow Superlative:
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": TOM mused upon this while leading into a commercial break during the airing of Summer WarsSo maybe, "Password" isn't the best password to have?
- Podcast: Toonami Pre-Flight, a live-streaming show hosted by Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin that streams on [adult swim]'s website once a week, where Jason and Gill answer fan-submitted questions, provide sneak peaks at pieces that will broadcast on Toonami, and showcase fan-made promos and AMVs. It initially streamed on Fridays, moved to Tuesdays for a while, but is currently back on Fridays.
- On the fandom side, there's the Toonami Faithful Podcast, which keeps track of the block's ratings and Twitter trends, and discusses any recently announced news regarding the block. The hosts also occasionally conduct interviews with the Toonami staff, as well as voice actors who play a role in any Toonami-related show.
- Precision F-Strike: TOM begins the full revival on 5/26/2012:Toonami's back, bitches.
- His review of Halo 4, he mentions the new enemy of the series, the Promethians.
- Rated M for Manly: The Toonami reboot is more focused on this. A bit justified though, since most American anime viewers demographically wise are male viewers ages 15-40.
- Real Song Theme Tune: A variation. While Toonami has used a lot of music composed specifically for the block (by such artists as Joe Boyd Vigil, Chris Devoe, Danger Mouse aka Brian Burton, and Pelican City), starting in 2003 Toonami started using songs by artists attached to the Ninja Tune label a lot for promos, bumpers, and intros. For the 2012 revival, Toonami mostly pulls from electronic labels Ghostly International and Warp Records along with using some classic tracks by Pelican City, Burton, and Devoe, plus music that's commissioned by [adult swim] itself.
- Record Needle Scratch: One Toonami promo begins playing "Cascade" by Tycho, the music infamous for playing during TOM's farewell speech during Toonami's initial cancellation. Then he says "Well, all good things come to an end." Cue the scratch! TOM then reassures the audience that it isn't Toonami this time, and that Deadman Wonderland has run out of episodes, so they're bringing in Eureka Seven and Samurai 7. Doubles as a Fake-Out Opening.
- Retcon: The TOM 4 TRANSMITTING promo would seem to indicate that TOMs 2-3.5 and TOM 4 are not and never were the same person. This is a direct contradiction of TOM 4's reminiscing about the TOM 2 era during the tail end of the original run, but many fans think it's for the best.
- The official Tumblr stated that they were more or less twin brothers - the same AI in more than one body. Therefore, it stands to reason that based off of when TOM 4.0 was made, he'd have some of the other's memories as well as his own.
- Retraux: The 2012 April Fool's run recreated the TOM 3 era visually, but survived purely off recycled footage. However, the Tenchi Muyo episode came from the 3rd OVA, which wasn't around at the time the show was aired on the old Toonami.
- The 20th anniversary celebration had new replica bumpers of the "Pipes" packaging.
- Robot Buddy: TOM will always be ours. Also the CLYDEs and Flash & D.
- Saturday Morning Cartoon: Toonami had a short-lived Saturday morning block called Rising Sun, introduced shortly after TOM 2 came along. Not even lasting a year, it was eventually cancelled the same year it started (2000) in order to prevent competition between Cartoon Network and its sister network Kids' WB.
Fight or flight? I choose fight.
- During the final intro, TOM psychs himself up by chanting "Pagua Sanpha, Pagua Sanpha!", the chant used by the Kei Pirates in Outlaw Star, which TOM repeatedly mentioned was his favorite showcased series.
- The "Bang" quote is also the last line uttered by TOM during the "final" broadcast.
- TOM starts off his review of X-COM: Enemy Unknown 2012 by quoting (and mimicking in a monotonous voice) the famously overused ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US! meme.
- Oh hi, Adult Swim! Got the test results back, and you definitely have April Fools.
- One of the bumpers for Bleach had this line.
- "Ichigo's back in black, and more badass than ever."
- Silence Is Golden: During the original run's final night, no one spoke during the Samurai Jack bumps.
- Starting with the promo for Kill la Kill, the production crew took this approach with promos, opting to leave out Howard Parker's narration and simply showcase clips from the show in question, resulting in promos very much reminiscent of classic [adult swim] promos.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: SARA and TOM, during their review of Morrowind.
- Something Completely Different: Toonami's lineup for the Fall Daylight Savings Hour of 2013 was intentionally kept a surprise to the viewers, and consisted of Korgoth of Barbaria; an Adult Swim pilot called King Star King- which featured the same twisted animation and expected content of Super Jail!; and the previously shown anime short Kick-Heart.
- Spaceship Girl: SARA is the Absolution's AI and also has a holographic body.
- Sports Stories: Toonami has dabbled with a couple shows that fall into this genre (specifically, The Prince of Tennis and Eyeshield 21, both of which were part of Toonami Jetstream, though only the former actually aired on the TV block itself). Jason and Gill also dedicated an episode of Pre-Flight to discussing their favorite sports anime.
- Stock Footage: Due to the revival's much more limited budget, a fair amount of things were recycled. A lot of the off-Absolution-themed bumpers are the ones from the original Tom 3.0 era, and most of the talking animation is variations on this. Thankfully, good editing and shifting camera angles make it not too glaring. As such, it becomes easy for Youtube users to do this.
- Story Arc: There have been many.
- The Intruder: The first and considered a Wham Episode by many fans. A red blob attaches itself to the Absolution and slowly eats at the engine. TOM goes to fight it but ultimately fails and his body is devoured. This releases his new body, TOM 2, who manages to jettison the engine and the blob out into space. Viewers were then allowed to pick the new engine for the ship.
- Lockdown: The Absolution comes upon a distress signal that leads TOM and SARA to a spaceship graveyard. The ship's controls are locked down, trapping TOM there. TOM and SARA find that the problem is coming from a nearby ship and an entity whose signal is keeping the ships trapped. As TOM is stuck on the Absolution, he sends his probes (controlled by their viewers) to destroy the entity and free him.
- Trapped in Hyperspace: TOM tries out a new hyperspace function but a computer virus named Swayzak (not related to the British electronic duo) attacks the ship during so, leaving the Absolution stuck hurling through hyperspace. The only way for TOM to free himself is to plug himself into the computer grid and confront Swayzak directly. The confrontations were part of a flash game the Toonami site was holding.
- There were also two web-exclusive comics: Swarm and Endgame. Swarm was TOM's Origin Story, while Endgame was TOM 3.0's Origin Story and the Absolution Mk. 2's creation. A third comic is in the works that will explain the TOM 4.0-era, its connection to TOM 3.5, what happened to Sara and the Clydes, and it will lead into TOM 5.0 and the Absolution Mk. 3.
- A mini story arc happened during the commercials during the 04-06-13 Toonami airing, having TOM slowly unscramble a garbled visual feed that apparently originated from Earth. He says that he'll have it finally ready to show for next week's airing. Unlike the other story arcs, this was actually promotion for Oblivion. All the commercials of the story arc end with Adult Swim advertising "#Oblivion" at the end and next week's airing had TOM showing off the unscrambled visual feed: a clip from the movie, evidently the Toonami Faithful's award for getting the #Oblivion hashtag trending during the miniarc's broadcast.
- Intruder II: Sequel to the Intruder. First announced on February 5th 2014, on Toonami's official Tumblr page. Eventually premiered from November 7 to December 19 in 2015. Has its own trope page.
- Subbing vs. Dubbing: An invoked example of the great debate. TOM and SARA answered a few questions while announcing to the world that Toonami has a Tumblr page...SARA: FNOG asks, "why can't you air subs on Toonami?"TOM: Yeah, we get that one a lot. Subs are subtitles, for those of you who don't know, and I know a lot of you guys would like to roll like that, but subtitled shows just don't work on TV. Sorry, can't happen.
- The Tumblr itself has tackled this one in more depth, pointing out that subs have been consistently proven to be a ratings killer. December 31st, 2016 almost marked the first time Toonami showed something with subtitles: the Animated Music Video for Porter Robinson and Madeon's song "Shelter". However, they accidentally aired a shorter version of it which excepted the subbed scenes.note
- April Fools Day for 2018 was something truly special. Once the clock struck midnight after the English airing of Black Clover wrapped up, the rest of the block was entirely in Japanese, including the content warning, TOM, and SARA. Starting with a special airing of FLCL Progressive & Alternative, followed by Mind Game. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Hunter × Hunter, Naruto Shipuuden, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop, Gi TS 2nd Gi G, and Scavengers followed after. The Jojo's subtitles were erratic and didn't always show.
- Super OCD: TOM became so obsessed with ensuring that everyone had enough juice to survive in Pikmin 3 that he wasn't going to give a proper review of the game until it was perfect.
- Besides that, it's implied TOM's diagnosed with OCD.
- Take That!:
- When Naruto was on the air pre-cancellation, TOM talked smack about how there were a lot of "False Heroes" or "Haters", probably to those criticizing the block, as well as making a few jabs at Disney Channel's American Dragon: Jake Long, snottily saying Naruto could beat him in a fight and throwing away a video tape with the logo of the show on it.
- The line "Filler never felt so good!" from the Toonami promo for Star Wars: The Clone Wars can be interpreted as a subtle one towards fans that constantly complain about filler episodes.
- The intro they made for Hamtaro is one towards the higher-ups at Cartoon Network, as the only reason the showed aired was due to Executive Meddling.
- On Pre-Flight, Jason and Gill are not afraid to take potshots towards Toonami and Cartoon Network's two main competitors on television, especially in regards to their promotion methods.
- Nicktoons Network had aired Dragon Ball Z Kai and assorted DBZ movies for a few years, but in 2014, Toonami aired Cooler's Revenge, as a prelude to DBZ Kai proper airing on the block. Their promo concluded with the line, "DBZ where it belongs."
- That One Level: In-universe examples.
TOM: It's drivin' me nuts.
- TOM can't beat the sixth level of Dropship: United Peace Force.
- TOM said that he usually beats a game before he reviews it, but decided that Catherine was worth reviewing while he was still playing. Giving the game a score of 7.0/10, he describes the puzzles as painfully annoying and the mechanics as super-cheap - a fairly obvious way of saying that he hasn't been able to beat it.... yet.
- TOM finds himself unable to beat Slender due to, well...
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: TOM seems to have picked this up since the revival. It's part of the marketing campaign too, with the official hashtag for the start of the relaunch being #ToonamiIsBackBitches. The current official hashtag is simply #Toonami.
- Too Awesome to Use: Turns out that TOM falls victim to this when reviewing Fallout 4, having 10 different Fat Mans, 9 suits of Powered Armor, and an implied-to-be-large collection of flannel wear.
- Totally Radical: While TOM says things like "Ride 'em, cowboy." and "Drop it like it's hot." when reviewing games, he still sounds like a badass.
- Trailers: Toonami was famous for putting together professionally well-made trailers for the programs it aired. The pre-debut trailer for Gundam Wing was so good that Bandai Entertainment asked for—and received—permission to start using the Toonami trailer instead of its own to advertise the show's DVD release.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Both Played Straight and Averted.
- Toonami aired a commercial for IGPX, telling of how Team Satomi was in the finals, facing off against Team White Snow during the commercial break for Bleach. The episode of IGPX that would air later that night still had them fighting Team Velshtein just to even get that far.
- Averted in the case of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All of the initial promos initially only showed Jonathan Joestar, to hide The Reveal that he dies and passes on the role of protagonist to his grandson Joseph, who passes on the role of protagonist to his grandson Jotaro, and then on to other members of the Joestar bloodline. Played straight in terms of the giveaway Viz Media and Toonami were running at the time, where most of the prizes were merchandise from Part 3, Stardust Crusaders.
- An advertisement for Attack on Titan explained that the episode would delve into the secret identities of the Colossal and Armored Titans, while directly showing the respective characters as each one was said. Even for people who haven't seen the series, they straight-up gave gave it away.
- Their promo for Pop Team Epic strongly implied (but didn't outright say) that the second half of each episode is just the first redubbed with different voice actors. On the other hand, it didn't reveal the existence of Hoshiiro Girldrop.
- Trash the Set: Intruder II ends with The Absolution being destroyed in order to defeat the titular villain.
- Twist Ending: The intro for the April Fools' Day block.
- The Voiceless: TOM, oddly enough, on the Kids' WB! Toonami.
- Unnecessarily Large Vessel:
- The Absolution is incredibly huge, but it only has one operator (TOM) and a handful of assistants (The Clydes). Considering its only used as a broadcast center, who knows what they need all that space for.
- Averted for the TOM 5 Absolution. It's much more compact.
- The vessel the Intruder uses to launch his attack on TOM 5 in Intruder II looks more like a spacefaring monolith than any readily-recognizable spaceship.
- Watershed: For a while, Toonami aired specials after the watershed hour as a special block called the "Midnight Run". Among other things, they aired episodes of Gundam Wing uncut, as opposed to the slightly-edited versions that aired during the day. Midnight Run was essentially an early version of [adult swim].
- Webcomics: Toonami had two of them. The first called Swarm explained the origins of TOM 1, while the next one called Endgame explained how TOM 2 became TOM 3.
- Wham Episode: Two sort of meta-examples.
- The first was the end of the initial run. The beloved block's cancellation had received little fanfare and was not widely known when it happened. So it took many people (even 4chan) totally by surprise.
- The second, much less depressing example, was the totally unexpected April Fools' Day revival. Most people expected [as] to air The Room as it had for the past few years. Instead, we got TOM.
- In the more traditional sense, there was The Intruder miniseries for Episodes 4 and 5: where TOM dies and then gets reborn as TOM 2.0.
- The [adult swim] block's time being shortened to 3 1/2 hours. Quite a downer for the normally-optimistic Toonami fandom, especially as their acquisition of Kill la Kill was announced just days before.
- Pop Team Epic being announced for Toonami. The presence of non-action shows was hinted at before by De Marco, but it felt pretty strange to see it actually happen.
- Wham Line: "Oh hi, [adult swim]!"
TOM 4: "Well...this is the end, beautiful friends..."
- Before that was TOM's depressing and devastating farewell to all the viewers. Especially to viewers who didn't know of the block's cancellation at the time.
- Wham Shot: TOM 4 TRANSMITTING
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Around when Tenchi Muyo! GXP was still airing and both One Piece and IGPX were confirmed to air, the Toonami crew announced that a "mystery show" was going to replace Tenchi Muyo! GXP. From that point on, even long after Tenchi Muyo! GXP was replaced by One Piece, every upcoming show announced (including One Piece, as well as IGPX, Sword Art Online, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars) was speculated to be said mystery show, but the crew has disconfirmed all of them. As of this edit, the crew has not said what this mystery show will be, nor have they, if this is the case, admitted that any of the previously mentioned shows were actually the mystery show all along.
- A new show was planned to replace Lupin the Third, Part IV when it ended, but it got delayed due to certain circumstances, and a rerun of Space Dandy was quickly put on instead. It's not known precisely what it is, if they still plan to air it, or if it has already aired.
- With This Herring: TOM, after being rebuilt, was expected to (and proceeded to) destroy Orcelot Rex with a fork. He did it and it was glorious.
- Workout Fanservice: TOM provides some when he's warming up at the beginning of the summer 2005 preview.
- X Meets Y: In the review for The Last of Us, TOM described the game as "Metal Gear Solid meets ICO, with a little Resident Evil thrown in for good measure".