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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)
Masa Kanome[1] (April 1, 2018)

Affiliations

SARA, Clydes, D, Flash, Georgia

TOM (Toonami Operations Module) is the second and current host of Toonami. He is a sardonic, wisecracking personality matrix downloaded to a robot shell.[2] TOM was originally a Beta-Droid that was chosen by Moltar to be the captain of the Ghost Planet Spaceship Absolution; alongside its A.I. SARA. His responsibilities include maintaining the ship and broadcasting Toonami's signal to the world. TOM enjoys throwing one-liners and, like Moltar before him, gives sage advice to viewers about moral issues like chasing dreams and standing up for what's right. Frequently, he'll pass along video game reviews, interviews, movie teasers, and other various commentary. As of the current run on Adult Swim, he has undergone 5 different incarnations at the helm of the block (excluding variants).

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 known as a Beta-Droid 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 broadcast at approximately 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. His un-proportional body caused him to have an overall slow walking 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, as he was soon reborn as TOM 2, and managed to banish the blob from the ship after it had overtaken the Absolution's starboard engine. Unfortunately, the creature overtime melded with TOM 1's remains, slowly forming a mutated-creatured. Thus 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, upgraded by her, 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 helmet which included a mounted head scope with a camera tracking system. His knees were now human-modeled (front bending), allowing TOM to move around the Absolution more easily. The nuclear reactor core that powers TOM was also moved from the "gut" to the chest cavity. Overall, TOM 2 is a more battle-ready version of his original body, 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 resumed 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 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 the Absolution Mk. II, to resume his duties transmitting Toonami.

Unlike his previous incarnations, TOM 3 had a more muscular build. 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 to March 10, 2007, at which point it just mysteriously disappeared. His demise has yet to be disclosed on-air or online.

Toonami ENdgame birth of TOM3.0-

Birth of TOM 3.0

TOM 3 last appeared on April Fools Day 2012. As Adult Swim began their traditional April Fools day stunt of airing the cult movie, The Room, the screen cut to black and quickly cut 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 was some new material created, including the speech given when TOM 3 was shown watching The Room, the Mass Effect 3 review, and some of the bumps. 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.

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 25, 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. The creators wanted a new TOM without a helmet, and 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, 2007, TOM began sharing his hosting responsibilities with his new assistants Flash and D. 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, a broadcast station located on an unnamed jungle planet.

TOM 4.0 officially ended the Toonami block in September of 2008. In the final moments of the broadcast, D and Flash are seen readying Flowus 3 for permanent shutdown, and TOM thanks the viewers, flies away, and is heard saying "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, presumably about 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. in the future.

This TOM model's final appearance came 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 allows 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, seemingly destroying him. However, the final panel shows bits of the Intruder dripping back into the station, leaving TOM 4 and his crew's fates 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 for deviating from TOM's former designs, and lacking explanation for the new setup. According to the Toonami staff, 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 while Cartoon Network stated it would be their "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 to the public via an Adult Swim commercial on May 23, 2012. While many thought that this was simply TOM 3, he is considered a new updated version with subtle alterations to his design. He is the very first incarnation to speak profanity. His backstory has yet to be revealed and most likely will remain that way. TOM 3.5's routine differed slightly from that of his predecessors to compensate for the block's low budget. During his hosting period, he delivered new messages with each weekly Toonami opening. He also started promoting Twitter Hashtags for Toonami series, including them in intros and bumpers.

TOM 3.5 also had a conversation with TOM 4.0 in this era, showing them to be different individuals. Both TOMs stated that they should tell a story someday, presumably about TOM 4.0's origins, and TOM 4.0 stated that running Toonami was all up to TOM 3.5 now. 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. The backstory behind the transition from TOM 3.5 to TOM 5.0 has never been explained.

TOM 5.0

TOM 5

TOM 5 in Space

Appearance

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

Hosting
Period

April 27, 2013 - Present

Voice Actor

Steve Blum
Masa Kanome[1] (April 1, 2018)

TOM 5 is the current host of Toonami and the former captain of the GPS Absolution Mk. III. His presence was announced during MomoCon 2013, and he assumed the position as host of Toonami on April 27, 2013. TOM 5's debut brought with it the return of SARA, along with an entire revamp of the block.

TOM 5's design is considerably trimmed down compared to his previous incarnations, appearing less detailed. He lost the muscle definition from his third body, but retains overall human proportions. His Nuclear-Reactor returned to his left pectoral, and has thrusters built into his back like TOM 4.

During the events of Intruder II, TOM 5 was forced to amputate his left arm after the Intruder's attack rendered it useless. 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.

After the events of Countdown, TOM 5 looks a bit damaged just like Future TOM.

For April Fools 2018, the Toonami bumpers involving TOM featured a Japanese voice actor, Masa Kanome, speaking Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.[1]

Trivia

  • Two years after Toonami was originally cancelled, Cartoon Network brought back TOM 3 as a character in their MMORPG FusionFall. It is unknown whether FusionFall is canon to Toonami, and particularly vice-versa regarding Adult Swim's version. Coincidence or intentional, TOM's return to Fusionfall in September 2011 was near the cancellation anniversary. It was also several months before the April Fools' broadcast and subsequent revival.
  • By finding groups of Clyde 51s you could get the suits from TOM's different incarnations. It is their first appearance since Toonami switched to Saturday nights, and implies nothing necessarily happened to them when the block upgraded to Clyde 53s.
    • Also noteworthy is TOM claimed he needed help to save the Absolution. He may be referring to Planet Fusion or bringing back Toonami. His dialogue implied conversation with SARA, who also disappeared when the block rebranded.
  • TOM's body never rusts.
    • Scientifically speaking, rust occurs due to the oxidation of iron due to water or air moisture. However, none of the Absolutions had any known air locks. TOM's body likely never rusts from being constantly in a vacuum.
    • The exception would be TOM 4, who hosted from Flowus 3 which was located on a planet with vegetation, indicating moisture. Although TOM 5 has a number of spots with chipped paint, he has yet to experience anything on Shogo 162.
  • TOM 1.0 appeared as an easter egg in a commercial for Cartoon Network's 20th Anniversary Bumper.
  • TOM 3.0 appeared as an easter egg in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, being a gadget used to gain the attention of guards.
  • Without any official source to go by, the exact heights of TOM's fourth and fifth bodies are unknown. Most fans estimate through proportions and definition, while the most relevant comparison is TOM 1's remains during Intruder II.
  • 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.
  • On Toonami versions outside United States, TOM 1.0 and 2.0 still appeared on bumpers but never had any storyline or T.I.Es aired. In Brazilian and Latin America's Cartoon Network, he was voiced sometimes, but only for promos.

Gallery

References