It seemed clever at the time: Casting around for a way to brand a block of Japanese animation of the Dragonball Z variety a few years ago, Cartoon Network came up with combining “cartoon” and “tsunami” into “Toonami.”
The name was so appealing that the network now applies it to a broader slate of prime time action cartoons on Saturdays. But with the disaster in South Asia making “tsunami” a feature of American conversations for the worst possible reason, the folks at Cartoon Network are understandably a little sensitive about questions regarding the name.
“It’s a brand we’ve had out there for a long time,” says Cartoon Network General Manager Jim Samples. He understands that viewers might wonder about the name, he says, but the network isn’t changing what he calls “obviously an unfortunate rhyme.”
Cartoon Network has taken other steps in response to the emergency. They yanked an episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, slated to air the week of the disaster, that featured the girl rockers surfing a tsunami. The cable channel is also prepping a campaign to tell kids what they can do, in addition to raising money, to support the survivors.