The Intruder is an original mini-series that aired on Toonami throughout the month of September of 2000, consisting of 5 episodes ranging roughly 2 to 3 minutes in length.
TOM is having a conversation with SARA, the A.I. of the Absolution, when SARA receives an intruder alert. The Clydes are sent out to investigate, and discover that the hull of the ship has been breached. TOM, armed with a laser pistol, goes on foot to find out who has invaded the ship.
Referred to as a "Toonami Immersion Event" (or T.I.E., for short), the mini-series served as a transition between eras, switching TOM from a pudgy Bomberman-esque model voiced by Sonny Strait to a leaner and more muscular model voiced by Steve Blum.
The Intruder provides examples of:
- All-CGI Cartoon: As with Toonami's bumpers, the entire series is animated entirely in CG.
- Audience Participation: After the Intruder was expelled from the ship by way of the engine being ejected, the official Toonami website would allow viewers to pick a new engine for the ship.
- Back from the Dead: After the Intruder makes short work of TOM 1, SARA downloads his A.I. matrix and brings him back as TOM 2.
- Blob Monster: The title villain, the Intruder.
- Came Back Strong: Implied with TOM 2, who effortlessly shatters his glass pod upon activating and can easily remove a jetpack with one hand, instead of straining to use both hands like he did in his previous body. However, he takes care to never directly confront the Intruder as TOM 2.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Averted. While ships in the universe of Toonami can still move faster than what our technology so far can, judging by TOM seeing a travel to a repair shop with a one-engine Absolution as practically being right in the backyard when SARA states it's two light-years away (with TOM saying it would only take about a month for them to arrive). They do get around to getting a hyperdrive, though.
- Handguns: TOM has one equipped early in the series.
- The Hero: TOM again.
- Hero Killer: The Intruder kills TOM's original body.
- Jet Pack: TOM puts one on before going outside the ship to investigate the breach.
- Keet: TOM shows shades of this after the Absolution gets its engine replaced, excited to pilot the ship again with a new engine.TOM: This is awesome!
- Sapient Ship / Spaceship Girl: Alluded to when TOM needs to order another engine for the ship, as he consults with SARA and asks if she likes the choice presented.
- Sequel Hook / The End... Or Is It?: After the Absolution flies off into space with a new engine, the Intruder floats across the screen while "The End?" appears. It was followed up 15 years later.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Later in the series, TOM wields a laser shotgun against the Intruder, to no effect.
- Starter Villain: The Intruder is only one of a few villains TOM would face in years to come.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: How the Intruder is ultimately defeated... for now.
- This is the same for the end of Episode 2 of the TIE.
- Wham Episode: Before The Intruder, the character of TOM and the setting of the Absolution were just window dressing for the programming block; this miniseries established that the world of Toonami is in fact a narrative world in its own right, where TOM can have his own adventures just like the characters in the shows that Toonami broadcasts. There have been several miniseries and tie-in comics set in the Toonami-verse in the years since. The Intruder also formally introduced SARA — who has been a mainstay ever since — and introduced the Clyde drones — which have been iterated on every few years since. TOM's ability to save a copy of himself and download it into new bodies — which ties into the block's now traditional visual overhauling every few years — was also established in this miniseries.