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TOM

TOM Evolution
(from left to right, TOM 1.0, TOM 2.0, TOM 3.0,
TOM 4.0, & TOM 5.0)

Profession

Host of Toonami

Hosting
Period

July 10, 1999 - September 20, 2008
May 26, 2012 - present

Voice Actor

Sonny Strait (1999-2000)
Steve Blum (2000-2008; 2012-present)

Affiliations

SARA, Clydes, D, Flash

TOM (Toonami Operations Module) is a sardonic, wisecracking robot who is the second and current host of Toonami. He has undergone five (technically six) different incarnations in his nearly twelve total years at the helm of the block, including the run on Adult Swim. TOM is the custodian of the Absolution. TOM and SARA's (the AI of the ship) primary responsibilities include ensuring the ship is properly maintained as well as broadcasting the Toonami signal to the world. TOM frequently throws out one-liners and, like Moltar before him, gives sage advice to viewers about moral issues like bravery and standing up for what's right. Frequently, he'll pass along video game reviews, people interviews, and other various commentary.

TOM 1.0

TOM 1

TOM V1

Appearance

White and Blue, Lights Embedded Onto Hands And Stomach

Hosting
Period

July 10, 1999 - September 21, 2000

Voice Actor

Sonny Strait

The original version of TOM was a small, pudgy robot with his feet, hands, and head connected to his body by thin black joints. TOM made his broadcast debut on Saturday, July 10, 1999, five minutes before the first Midnight Run episode at approx. 11:55 pm. After ascending to the bridge of the Absolution he made his first speech:

“So it's a brand new Toonami, but the mission objectives remain the same. My name is TOM. I'm the new Moltar. Welcome aboard the Ghost Planet Spaceship Absolution, Cartoon Network's first and only interstellar broadcast and exploration vehicle. I'll give you the tour later. From this day forward she is completely responsible for all Toonami transmissions. I'm takin' you guys into the new millennium! No big changes now, same show, same attitude; new place to do it, new guy to do it with. I'm not going to waste any more time, let's get back into it. Later.”

TOM 1's body had a digitigrade construction, resulting in backward knees, although his un-proportional body caused him to have an overall slow walking speed, but a quick running speed. He was unable to equip jetpacks on his own, requiring (forceful) assistance from the Absolution to attach them to his back, which TOM complained about. TOM also had a scope mounted onto the left side of his helmet, although the purpose of this was never explicitly shown.

After more than a year as host of Toonami, the original version of TOM met his end in the September 2000 event The Intruder, when a mysterious red blob invaded the Absolution. When TOM went to investigate, the blob sent him flying out into deep space. After returning back to the ship, TOM attempted to destroy the blob, but his laser blaster was ineffective against it.

The Intruder TOM 1.0's death

TOM 1.0's death

Ultimately, the blob engulfed TOM inside an elevator and consumed him. However, this was not truly the end of TOM 1. Although his successor, TOM 2, managed to banish the blob from the ship after it had overtaken the Absolution's starboard engine, the creature overtime melded with TOM 1's remains, slowly forming a mutated-creatured merging the blob's physiology and predatory instincts with what remained of TOM's programming and personality, resulting in a warped deranged recreation of his original body. With its newfound knowledge, the mutated blob/TOM 1 creature went on a manhunt across the galaxy, hunting down the only creatures to ever escape its hunt; TOM and SARA.

TOM 1 was the only incarnation of the character to not be voiced by Steve Blum, instead being voiced by Sonny Strait (known for his role as Krillin from Dragon Ball Z, one of Toonami's first hit shows). 15 years after the death of TOM 1, Strait returned to voice the blob/TOM 1 hybrid in The Intruder II.

TOM 2.0

TOM 2

1066072-toonamitomchair super

Appearance

Navy, White Around Hands, Arms, and Femur; Lights Embedded onto Hands and Stomach

Hosting
Period

September 22, 2000 - March 14, 2003

Voice Actor

Steve Blum
The Intruder Birth of TOM 2.0

Birth of TOM 2.0

After TOM's death in The Intruder, SARA, the AI aboard the Absolution, downloaded TOM's memory matrix (which included all his memories at the time of death, thoughts, and persona) into a new chassis and activated the unit aboard the Absolution. Dubbed TOM 2, this version of TOM was a taller, leaner model with larger hands and feet, and a sleeker head unit which now incorporated the head scope rather than mounting it externally. His knees were now human-modelled, allowing TOM to move around the Absolution more easily, and his new design allowed him to easily perform basic tasks his original body couldn't, such as equipping a jetpack without aid. Overall, TOM 2 looked to be a more battle-hardened version than his predecessor, and this quality was immediately put to the test when SARA informed TOM 2 he would have to go out and plant explosive charges on the starboard engine to save the Absolution.

TOM 2 assumed the duties previously carried out by his former self, including the broadcast of Toonami from the Absolution. In the September 2001 event Lockdown, Tom demonstrated his ability to keep the Absolution up and running by single handily getting the ship's nuclear reactor and conduit systems back online. In the September 2002 event Trapped in Hyperspace, TOM again took on the role of the Absolution’s defender when the ship became infected with a virus shortly after entering hyperspace. TOM was able to get the ship's essential operation systems back online before crashing into Earth and ultimately saved SARA from the virus, earning TOM a moment of affection from SARA.

TOM 2's death

TOM 2.0's death

TOM 2 met his end in the March 2003 comic Endgame after a space pirate named Orcelot Rex broke into the Absolution to steal SARA. After attempting to protect the Absolution TOM abandoned the ship, which was later destroyed, to pursue SARA's abductor, but in his second confrontation with the robot, his body was destroyed. TOM 2, and all further incarnations of the character from this point out were voiced by veteran voice artist Steve Blum.

TOM 3.0

TOM 3

Toonami april fools

Appearance

Steel Blue, White around Fingers, Humerus, Clavicle, and Femur

Hosting
Period

March 17, 2003 - March 10, 2007
April 1, 2012

Voice Actor

Steve Blum

When the remains of TOM 2 were thrown into a discard pile, TOM encountered a number of friendly robots, called the Dronomeks, who rebuilt his body. This rebuilt TOM, dubbed TOM 3, succeeded in saving Sara and defeated Orcelot Rex. Afterward, TOM 3 took command of a newly-built spaceship, which he dubbed Absolution II to resume his duties transmitting Toonami. Unlike his previous incarnations, TOM 3 had a more muscular look. This was also the first TOM to have five fingers on each hand. His nuclear reactor was located in his upper chest, and the scope from his previous incarnations was discarded.

This version of TOM remained in service for four years, from March 17, 2003, until March 10, 2007, at which point it just mysteriously disappeared. His demise has yet to be disclosed on-air and on-line. In the opening of his version, TOM 3.0 is coming back to the Absolution in a fighter pilot. It lands there. Then TOM 3.0 gets out of the elevator. He runs into three Clyde 51's with surprised, maybe mad faces when TOM was saying "Look out, comin' through". He then enters a dark room with graphic features. You can see three tubes on the window. TOM then says "It's gonna be close". He sits down in a chair with buttons on the sides. TOM then presses one side 3 times and on one of the tubes, the 2003-2004 Toonami logo is shown and the intro ends. This was the 2003 version.

Toonami ENdgame birth of TOM3.0-

Birth of TOM 3.0

The 2004 version showed Clyde 53s' drilling red lasers into the surface of a desert planet. They then shoot blue lasers back to the ship and the ones on board put some card in a machine. Then a white, full-bodied version of SARA appears and says, "Alright TOM, we're ready." Then TOM 3.0 sitting in his usual chair presses the buttons and begins the broadcast saying, "I love this job." The Ship then fires a white ray blast and a different Toonami logo appears and that intro ends.

TOM 3 last appeared on April Fools Day 2012. As Adult Swim began to traditionally show the airing of the movie, "The Room", the screen cuts to black and quickly comes back in to reveal TOM 3 aboard the Absolution watching the movie on his monitor. He follows by saying, "Oh, Hi Adult Swim, I got the results of the test back, I definitely have April Fools". The next 6 hours involved the showing of iconic episodes from classic Toonami shows, such as Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing. There was also a new video game review for Mass Effect 3.

Most of the April Fools Day event consisted of old TOM 3 bumpers for the intro and commercial breaks. However, there were some instances that used a different version of TOM 3, including the speech given when TOM 3 was shown watching "The Room", the Mass Effect 3 review, and some of the bumps. This TOM was made specifically for the April Fools Joke, and while mostly identical to the normal TOM 3, this TOM 3 had fewer animations made for him, and had less detail. Additionally, SARA was never seen with this TOM 3, and this TOM 3 only remained in his chair in a simplified version of the Absolution's control room. The Absolution itself with this animation was never shown, and all other views of the ship were shown as re-used TOM 3 bumpers, along with most of the other visuals for the night.

It should be noted that despite the minor animation differences, the TOM 3 shown for the April Fools Day Event is the same as the normal TOM 3.

The April Fools Day Event is cited as the start of the hashtag "#BringBackToonami" online movement, which resulted in the return of Toonami on May 25th 2012. This new Toonami used a new High Definition version of TOM 3 for over a year (detailed below) until it was replaced by TOM 5.

TOM 4.0

TOM 4

Tom4

Appearance

Facial Structure, Yellow, Blue, Gray, White

Hosting
Period

March 17, 2007 - September 20, 2008

Voice Actor

Steve Blum

The fourth incarnation of TOM is perhaps the most controversial according to longtime fans of the block. This incarnation has a much smaller body than his predecessor and has a frame with rusted metal and peeling body paint. No longer a visored robot, this is the first and only TOM to have facial features. Creators wanted the new TOM without the helmet, as well as to look more organic compared to his past incarnations. Some fans comment that TOM 4's face resembles Thomas the Tank Engine, from the popular children's television series Thomas & Friends.

At the start of the tenth year, TOM's hosting responsibilities were scaled back considerably. He was seen only during the opening and continuity promotions, while his new assistants Flash and D direct the broadcast process. In addition, this is the first TOM unit to not have custody of any version of the spaceship Absolution, which had been the base of operations for the block since July 1999. Instead, TOM 4.0 hosted from Flowus 3 which was stationed on an unnamed planet.

TOM 4.0 officially ended the Toonami block in September of 2008. D and Flash are seen readying Jungle Base for permanent shutdown, and TOM thanks the viewers, flies away, and says "bang.", a reference to voice actor Steve Blum's previous role as Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. The speech was as follows:

"Well, this is the end, beautiful friends. After more than eleven years, this is Toonami's final broadcast. It's been a lot of fun. We'd like to thank each and every one of you who made this journey with us. Toonami wouldn't have been anything without you. Hopefully we've left you with some good memories. So, until we meet again, stay gold. Bang."

TOM 4.0 appeared on the revived Toonami block at some point, having a conversation with the current TOM 3.5. Both TOMs stated that they should tell a story someday, about presumably TOM 4.0's origins, and TOM 4.0 stated that running Toonami was all up to TOM 3.5 now. This conversation proved that TOM 3.0 and 4.0 are different individuals and hinted at a possible T.I.E. event in the future.

His final appearance at this point is in the Intruder II companion comic in which he, Flash, and D end up stranded at "an abandoned station on an unknown planet" or moon. Here he finds a component which he uses to speed up Flash's processor. This, however, compromises Flash's systems and allow The Intruder to take over his body. The next 36 hours left TOM 4 running for his life, attempting to figure out how to get Flash back, while the Intruder himself drew closer to their location. Eventually, Flash captures TOM and the Intruder orders him destroyed. Meanwhile, D, who has been in a rather odd state of mind, finds a component to return the station's controls back to normal and thus frees Flash. As the Intruder tries to flee, Flash hits him with a rocket launcher, supposedly destroying him. However, the final panel shows bits of the Intruder dripping back into the station, leaving TOM 4 and his crew's fates truly unknown. However, it was later confirmed by The Intruder itself in The Intruder II, Episode 5 that TOM 4 was destroyed after the events of the comic.

This incarnation has been criticized very negatively because this TOM doesn't have the same design or a back story like the former incarnations. Also, as of 2012, there hasn't been any online nor on-air explanation about the change in appearance of TOM, though some have made guesses. According to the executives, they didn't have the time to create a TIE when they developed him. Many blame the late night Adult Swim block for Toonami's demise as the block began airing anime on Saturday nights shortly after Toonami ended, beginning on September 27, 2008. On the same day, Cartoon Network stated that Adult Swim would be its "main source for anime". On December 31, 2012, Toonami creators Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin admitted on the Toonami Tumblr page that they "would definitely want to go back in time and not have a TOM with a face."

TOM 3.5

TOM 3.5

Toonami01

Appearance

(see TOM 3) With Additional Dark Blue Circular Plate On Helmet

Hosting
Period

May 26, 2012 - April 20, 2013

Voice Actor

Steve Blum

The fifth incarnation of TOM was revealed on May 23, 2012 to the public via an Adult Swim commercial. While many thought that this was TOM 3, it was, in fact, a new TOM, as his suit is slightly different. He is also the very first incarnation to speak profanity. His back story has yet to be revealed. TOM 3.5's intro is relatively short, but TOM eventually gave new messages during the intro almost every week. The Absolution is also very similar to the Absolution Mk. II, due to Toonami having a tight budget. It did however introduce the Media Chamber for video game reviews.

In terms of graphics, this era is essentially identical to the second TOM 3 era (due to little money to work with), with the same "Dope new look" that was used from 2004-2007, but upgraded to HD. However, a few differences exist in the Adult Swim version. Firstly, the intros are shortened, with hashtags used at the beginning of the show's name to promote ratings and interest for the show on Twitter. Secondly, the "coming up next" bump of Clyde 53 signals reaching the Absolution from the planet below has been replaced with the same screenshots of TOM 3.5 telling the viewers that the previous show is over and the next show will begin shortly. Thirdly, the "Now/Next/Later" bump no longer features the times at which the shows air. Additionally, there are no more bumps for any times which would feature shows after Toonami ends for the night, in this case Cartoon Network shows. Instead, the bumps that indicate the end of the commercial break in the last hour of the block are TOM simply introducing the audience back to the show. Lastly, the original main color of dark red was replaced with a blue variant on January 6, 2013 and used until the TOM 5 rebrand. The one exception was March 17, 2013, in which it switched to green for Toonami's 16th birthday. Despite popular belief, Jason DeMarco confirmed the green variant had nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day, a holiday that falls on the same day as Toonami's anniversary.

TOM 3.5 also had a conversation with TOM 4.0 in this era. Both TOMs stated that they should tell a story someday, about presumably TOM 4.0's origins, and TOM 4.0 stated that running Toonami was all up to TOM 3.5 now. This conversation proved that TOM 3.5 and 4.0 are different individuals. On March 10, 2013, it was announced at MomoCon that Tom 3.5 would be upgraded to Tom 5 along with the Absolution. His final appearance as host of Toonami came on April 20, 2013.

TOM 5.0

TOM 5

TOM 5 in Shogo 162

Appearance

Silver Circular Plate on Helmet, Lights on Upper Torso and Forearms

Hosting
Period

April 27, 2013 - Present

Voice Actor

Steve Blum

TOM 5 is the current host of Toonami and the Captain of the GPS Absolution Mk. III. His presence was announced during MomoCon 2013, and he assumed the position of host of Toonami on April 27, 2013. TOM 5's debut brought with it the return of the artificial intelligence matrix SARA, an advanced AI system housed aboard the Absolution that has been a friend of every TOM model with the exception of TOM 4.

TOM 5's design is considerably trimmed down compared to his previous incarnations, appearing more simple and less detailed. He has lost the human muscle definition from his 3/3.5 body and returns to a thin-limbed design similar to his 2nd body, but retains his overall human-proportions. His Nuclear-Reactor has been returned to his left pectoral, and similar to TOM 4, TOM 5 has thrusters constructed into his body, located on his upper back. Following the events of The Intruder II, TOM 5 was forced to amputate his left arm after it had been rendered useless in an attack by The Intruder. After landing on Shogo 162, the restored SARA used the abandoned facility to produce a new arm for him. The arm is noticeably more archaic and bulky compared to his original design, although it functions in the same manner.

Along with the debut of TOM 5 and SARA, the entire Toonami theme underwent a revamp, including new music, new bumps, new backgrounds, and a change in the block's lineup. The overall theme uses darker colors and graphics to symbolize Toonami's adult demographic, no longer featuring any recycled bumpers. The bumps that cut to commercial are now, much like TOM 3.5, led by either TOM or SARA. Additionally, while the Now/Next/Later Bumps are still practiced, they feature a cycle of four different beats, rather than the same one, in hopes that people would not become as tired of hearing it as "Showstopper," the previous theme for the bump. Shows featured are lined up vertically, with bigger, fully square "screens" featuring an image from the upcoming programming.

Trivia

  • Two years after Toonami was originally cancelled, Cartoon Network brought back TOM as a character in the MMORPG FusionFall. By finding groups of Clyde 51s you could get the suits from TOM's 1st through 4th incarnations. While the sudden presence of these versions are unclear, the actual reason for them phasing out was never canocally explained. If Fusionfall coincides with the "Toonamiverse," then it implies that those Clydes were simply shut down and replaced by Clyde 53s, without any actual disposal of them when Toonami switched to Saturday nights.
  • It should also be noted that TOM 3 was the version that made a cameo in the game, claiming that he needed help to save the Absolution. It is unknown if this appearance is canon to the "Toonamiverse;" If so, the referral may either be talking about saving the ship from Planet Fuse, or having others aid him in bringing back Toonami. Either way is possible, since Fuse has appeared to make enemies off of Clyde 51s. On the other hand, TOM's dialougue implies that he is talking to SARA, who was not seen since Toonami rebranded in the TOM 4 era. Additionally, TOM made his first return in September 2011, around three years after the block had originally been cancelled, and about six months before the 15th anniversary and the subsequent April Fools Broadcast.
  • Even though Toonami is on Adult Swim now, all Toonami-related content from Fusionfall has not been removed, technically making Toonami the first and only Adult Swim media to be in Fusionfall.
  • TOM's body never rusts.
    • Scientifically speaking, rust occurs due to the oxidation of iron due to water or air moisture. However, the Absolution has no air locks, at least that has been shown. Therefore TOM's body likely never rusts due to being constantly in a vacuum. The exception to this would be TOM 4.0, who hosted from Flowus 3 which was located on a planet with vegetation, indicating moisture.
  • TOM 1.0 appeared as an easter egg in a commercial for Cartoon Network's 20th Birthday.
  • TOM 3.0 appeared as an easter egg in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, being a gadget used to gain the attention of guards.
  • During his many game reviews, TOM has shown an interest in adventure and shooter/FPS games. He usually gives fighting games a low grade (6s mainly) due to lack of storyline.

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