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Wednesday, 22 of September of 2021

Tag » Cartoon Network

Steven Universe – “Catch and Release”

“Duh, homegirl knows we’re gonna beat her into a green pancake.”

Steven Universe title cardSince the end of Season 1, when Lapis fused with Jasper to form Malachite, we haven’t had any real big plot developments regarding the Gem homeworld. Sure, Peridot’s been trying to get back there for a while (which is what spurred on the first bit of the episode here with her kidnapping of Steven), but Yellow Diamond has yet to make her big appearance, and there hasn’t been any other contact from the Gem homeworld.

What we do get in “Catch and Release,” however, is not a new bit of plot, but a quick line from “Jail Break” brought to the forefront.

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Steven Universe – “Sadie’s Song”

“This is not your daughter.”

Steven Universe title cardSteven Universe realize pretty quickly — more quickly than Adventure Time did — that its supporting cast is a key component of the series. Eric Thurm’s discussed this in his reviews at TV Club a bit (and with me in other conversations), but by giving us looks into the lives of the denizens of Beach City, Steven Universe gives us a reason to really care when some sort of cataclysmic Gem fight breaks out. It’d be one thing if Greg were really the town stand-in, but by showing us folks who are a few degrees removed from the Gems and their adventures, there are real stakes involved in anything that happens when it comes to the Gems fighting off scary things.

The show has elegantly done this with episodes like “Sadie’s Song” that doesn’t involve fusions or weapons or powers of any sort. Certainly the show can blend supporting cast episodes and all that Gem stuff — see last week’s super-effective and genuinely creepy “Nightmare Hospital” — but there’s always been something really great about the show taking a break to just show us a snippet of someone’s life that exists outside of it. Read more »

The Perils and Problems of Toonami’s Return

Toonami was a programming block on Cartoon Network the started in 1997. Airing in the afternoons, no doubt modeled after (and to compete with) The Disney Afternoon block, the block was retooled in July of 1999 and began airing as the Toonami Midnight Run on Saturday nights starting at midnight. From there on, it was 6 hours of anime and the block’s host T.O.M., a 3D CGI robot voiced by Steve Blum (known for his work as Spike in the dub for Cowboy Bebop).

Toonami Website

Really? "Bitches"? Sigh.

The Midnight Run programming block was dropped after a little less than a year (around March 2000 or so) and was retool with multiple shows airing during its block during the afternoons and then Saturday evenings, mostly anime but some American animation as well before finally being shut down in 2008.

The Midnight Run block was arguably the most popular iteration of Toonami. It laid the groundwork for its ancestor, the wildly successful Adult Swim, with its use of bumps and interstitials between commercials and the shows, and speaking to the audience though those (Adult Swim would, of course, engage in a more minimalist approach). A case could be made for Toonami popularizing anime in the United States (I wouldn’t argue it was the only thing, but probably a contributing factor), which in turn was assisted by Adult Swim’s early emphasis on anime, before they started producing their own program.

On April 1 of this year, Adult Swim was suddenly reprogrammed and it was Toonami Midnight Run again. (You can see all the bumps and interstitials here). And then on May 16, the return of Toonami was announced for May 26.

But why in the world is it even coming back? Read more »