'The People's Toonami Site'

Author: Andrew

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April 26th: Welcome Back, Jack

To the surprise of many viewers, Samurai Jack returned to the Toonami line-up a few weeks ago, along with Blue Dragon's arrival. Initially, Jack didn't even get show specific bumpers - so Toonami faithful speculated that the show would only be on for a few weeks. Thankfully, Jack has been on for about a month now and shows no sign of leaving.

I'm going to take a moment to dwell on what makes this schedule change especially intriguing. Samurai Jack is a fantastic series, but it's not commonly associated with Toonami. All but a few of the episodes premiered outside of Toonami, both on the network's prime time line-up and briefly on the Saturday night block that pre-dated Toonami's move to Saturdays (typically refered to as SVES). Jack's time on Toonami thus far has been very limited, which is honestly a bit of a shame because I (like many) consider it to be one of the best action cartoons ever made. Cartoon Network seemed to purposefully keep Samurai Jack off Toonami back when the block was on weekdays, but eventually did allow it to rerun on weekday Toonami briefly in fall of 2003, and it also streamed in its entirety on Toonami Jetstream. Toonami's best claim to Jack fame is undoubtedly when the block premiered the final four episodes of the series, along with a re-showing of the first season of the Clone Wars miniseries. Toonami got to start an hour early that night for another hour of Samurai Jack, making a full 5 hour night of Genndy Tartakovsky's award-winning animated adventures. But as I already said, Samurai Jack isn't usually brought up in conversation when people are discussing the shows that made Toonami, Toonami.

So what does the return of Jack mean exactly? It could mean a lot of things. It could be the precursor for another artistic series like Moribito, which could join Toonami if it isn't heading to Adult Swim instead. It could be to spark interest in Jack with a new generation, to prepare audiences for Genndy's continuation of the series (which is hopefully coming sooner rather than later.) It could be because Adult Swim asked the viewers if they should air it and they got a rather mixed response...but a generally positive one. Or it might be just another one of the network's whims. But honestly I was somewhat anticipating this move. I do not know why, exactly, but for some reason I thought they would give Jack another chance on Toonami.

It can't be proven yet, but it looks like Jack has struck enough of a chord with the youth of today to keep its spot on Toonami for at least a few more weeks, but the network's occasionally out-of-date schedules always make me worry how short-lived a good thing will last. There's no telling when CN will say "hit the road, Jack", but however brief it may be, it's great to see the cunning samurai sneak back onto the line-up. It's a sign that the network still wants to provide the viewers with quality action animation during Toonami. Who knows? Maybe Megas XLR will be next. I could go for some giant robots right about now.

I'll now take this moment to salute Samurai Jack for giving us hope in the face of an uncertain future. That shouldn't come as surprise I suppose...it's the premise of the show.

Thanks for keep'n it real, Jack.


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