Cartoon Network's action and anime-focused Toonami programming block returned to Sunday nights last May following a four-year hiatus, with plans to re-air much of its classic content while developing original programming and continuing to acquire freshly-localized anime. This past weekend at the MomoCon anime convention in Atlanta, Toonami staff announced its plans for the block's second year back, including launching a new logo, hosting the American TV debut of the 2010 Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone animated feature as part of its 16th(ish) birthday on March 16, unveiling a redesigned TOM and his Absolution ship for hosting duties in April (alongside webcomics fleshing out his own original storyline around the same timeframe), plus plans to air Funimation's uncut version of One Piece beginning later this year.
Toonami also clarified on its Tumblr that the March 16 block will include, "a few other goodies airing on our birthday, so don't miss it! And no... NO HINTS. You gotta watch! :)" The Toonami staff also teased that "We are still exploring short series to air, short series fans, so we'll let you know if and when we have announcements in that area!"
The new TOM 5 and Absolution ship will not only serve as TV hosts, they'll also appear in "an online comic that will tell the story of How TOM 3 became TOM 4, how TOM 4 became TOM 3.5, where Sara and the Clydes are, and how we got TOM 5 and the new Absolution."
Many of the specifics behind Toonami's One Piece's broadcast plans are still up in the air, with Toonami writing that, "We're not sure yet it if will replace Tenchi GXP or come in later, and we're not sure where we will start in the episode order. We'll let you know more in the coming months."
Debuting as an action cartoon block hosted by Space Ghost villain Moltar on March 17, 1997, Toonami was rebooted in 1999 with an original spaceman host known as TOM, along with a new Japanese anime focus. Hosting shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trigun, Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebob, numerous Gundam series, and many others, Toonami served as a gateway to anime (and by extension, much of its manga source material) for a generation of viewers.
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