The first Panel I went to at Otakon was titled Toonami: Celebrating 20 Years of being A Golden Generation. For those that do not know Toonami is an animation block on Cartoon Network that currently airs on Saturday night from Midnight to 6am. This panel explains the history of this program and for many of us various fond memories which this article will mostly be about.
To start here is a brief history of Toonami. Toonami’s official air date is March 17, 1997 and was run by Moltar. Moltar was originally a Space Ghost Villian but was used to host what soon became Toonami. This program would air between 4-6pm on Weekdays. This block contained Beast Wars, ReBoot, Thundercats, Dragon Ball Z, and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and lasted till July 10, 1999 when the brand was relaunched. At this point T.O.M and the Absolution was introduced. Along with this came shows such as Ronin Warriors, Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, and the ever popular G Gundam. All this and more can be explained via Wikipedia. So go check it out, it is filled with fun facts. This would be a long article if I actually went through the entire history of Toonami and I already take forever to write (chuckles).
This panel was packed to max capacity. I was lucky enough to have a press pass to get in or else I would not be writing this article. All of these people were in the room because Toonami was THE after school anime/action program when we were younger. Many of us would rush home from school so we wouldn’t miss our favorite shows. The panel took us back to those days once again to relieve those glorious moments and even more so to remind us of our roots in anime. To remind us this is how we use to get our anime fix in and how Dragonball Z would constantly restart when Goku beat Recoome after arriving on Namek. Then after various time slot changes eventually Toonami was canceled. Some people in that room believed that the Internet killed Toonami and personally I agree. I think the internet played a big part in this because anime was becoming easier to find and access. No longer were be bound by the chains of waiting for a Dub version to come out. Loyal Dub fans still found a way to get their fix in of course.
So after 4 short years off the air Toonami returned stronger than ever thanks to very loyal fans and the Internet (Its funny that the Internet killed and resurrected Toonami), but this Toonami was different. This version seemed to have matured with us because of the time slot and the anime it shows (Midnight to 6am). 4 years later and Toonami is still going strong with its wide variety of anime and having a fantastic Dub cast. While I have moved on from Toonami, I will never forget what T.O.M. and crew has done for me and I will always have the utmost respect for this LEGENDARY program.
I went to this panel for the nostalgia factor. It was enjoyable to remember watching all the anime of old and see my beginnings once again. The panel host did a fantastic job. He made everybody feel the exact same feeling and really hit it home with the videos of the multiple T.O.M.’s of old. While Otakon 2017 is still very far away and there isnt a guarantee that this panel will be there again that doesn’t mean you cant take that trip yourself. Youtube is your friend. Use it.