Producing the Toonami Faithful Podcast is a strange experience. The fans are wonderful, yet outspoken to an almost hostile degree; the hosts and crew have nothing but love for each other but probably fight more than most families at Thanksgiving dinner on a weekly basis; and an editor who is game to work on tons of projects with wonderful people but barely has enough time to see it through. All in all, the podcast has kept me sane and driven me mad almost every week this year. Through it all, you guys have been supportive and wonderful fans. To the staff, you guys are always game for working on stuff that’s hard and aren’t willing to settle for amateur material, which has been a really high standard that we’ve consistently hit. This year, we’ve set the stage of what we can really do. While I would probably do something like this on our podcast, simply due to timing and I didn’t want to pre-empt our planned month of interviews. So I wanted to write out my Top 10 moments of 2013, and I 100% invite the rest of the staff to write their own editorials.

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10) The partnerships: Technically this happened last year, but I don’t believe we really saw the fruits of this come to light until this year. Our friends at the “One Piece Podcast” (and formally of the “Unofficial Toonami Podcast”) and [adult swim] Central opened a lot of doors for us, and I’m extremely proud of the content we were able to deliver because of them. We hope they enjoyed the content we produced for them. Without [adult swim] Central, Otakon 2013 would have never happened for us. Without OPP (yeah, you know me) our contribution to OPPJapan and our interview with Josh Koucrek wouldn’t be possible. We hope that our partners are extremely proud of the content we were able to produce for and/or with them and we hope these cherished partnerships continue with the Toonami Subreddit who partnered up late this year (and I wasn’t told until it was announced!)
9) Aniplex Bringing Sword Art Online to Toonami: A lot of you are probably very surprised at this one, but it’s true. I was a big naysayer on SAO being able to find an audience on Toonami. When I first saw it on Crunchyroll, I couldn’t get past episode 3, it kept boring me. I let my own personal tastes really get in the way of thinking this show could actually end up being successful. Luckily, Toonami and Aniplex didn’t listen or care what I thought and began airing it anyways. Sword Art made 2am valuable for Toonami Premieres where IGPX had failed before it. I want to make clear, so far, I’m not a fan of this show; but that doesn’t matter when the results of it are so good for Toonami and Aniplex that they’ll eventually bring shows that I will like. Blue Exorcist is already on the horizon thanks to SAO’s success and I hope it continues it’s great run at that timeslot.
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8) Being wrong: Look, this might seem like a weird one, but it’s true. Like SAO, I was wrong about a lot of things. One of the big ones being Summer Wars being not right for Toonami, and it’s our first movie to ever score a million viewers. I was wrong about Samurai Jack coming back to Toonami AND about it never continuing. I was wrong about SARA and the Clydes coming back this year. I was wrong about SAO not being able to find an audience. I was wrong about being able to go Otakon 2013 this year. It has never felt so good to be so wrong.
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7) Evangelion 1.11 on Toonami’s Birthday: This was a big deal to me. While 1.11 is the weakest of the
Rebuild movies to me, it didn’t matter because it got people excited and into Evangelion. Conversations started sparking up about the symbolism and psychoanalysis of the characters again, people started looking at the original TV show again, and that really isn’t a bad way to throw a birthday party. Toonami would go on to show Evangelion 2.22 and other movies, but this one really made all that possible. If you ask me…this is proof that Toonami is aging like fine wine.
6) The Richard Epcar interview: Richard happens to be a very good friend of mine, and while this sounds selfish, I’m really glad that things worked out the way they did and I was the only one able to interview him. It pretty much just sounded like one of our many other conversations instead of a formal interview, which up until that point, we had never really tried before. With multiple people interviewing one person, there is a sense of intimacy that gets lost because we have to be so formal as to not jump over each other. While our interviews always veer into playful and lighthearted territory (which is a good thing), it’s something that took time and is easier with less people. Once we started getting comfortable with less people being on interviews I think it was less overwhelming on guests and more of a relaxing environment and it all started here. If this interview was just about Kickheart and Ghost In The Shell, it would have been successful, but we went so much deeper than that and really discussed the craft of acting and motivations of characters. It was a wonderful interview and I hope to have Richard back on the show soon. This is one of the interviews I go back and listen to, and I highly recommend it.
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5) IGPX Announcement And Interview: I know many of you maybe thought this would be higher and I wanted to put it there but the other stuff was so much cooler. So the story goes like this: In September 2012, Jason DeMarco came on our show for the first time and had informed us that IGPX had been written off by the network. My heart broke hearing that, but I’m sure the Toonami Staff who actually worked on the show were more devastated by it since it was their original show. Fast forward to March. MoMoCon has already passed, we just finished interviewing the entire Toonami crew and posting their panel when suddenly, an announcement on Tumblr appears. IGPX was back! I was freaking out since this is one of my favorite shows and now people can see it pretty easily. I immediately shot an email to Jason, asking him to come back on the show to talk strictly about IGPX, basically as a favor to me. In the interview he probably gave the most comprehensive retrospective on the show and the process of making it ever recorded, and it’s a joy that we were able to have him back. We try not to bother Jason too much about interviews and stuff so close to each other, but I really couldn’t resist and he was a good sport about the whole thing and really excited to talk about IGPX too. Give it a listen:
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4) MoMoCon 2013: We did a lot in 2012 to make sure this happened, but this panel, put us on the map in the collective Toonami’s community’s mind. Personal story about this: This was the most exhausting 2 weeks of my life. I was already set to go to MoMoCon and work my ass off, when I got a call from one of my producers to come help out on a shoot. It was 2 weeks of pre-pro and shooting, so I was immediately on-board. The only problem was, MoMoCon was smack at the end of pre-pro and the first day of shooting. My producers were wonderful and allowed my to leave production for 3 days while I produced the content at MoMoCon in Atlanta. The day before MoMoCon, I worked with my producers and drove them home at about 7pm. Without going home, and already packed, I headed out from Miami and drove the 9 or 10 hour drive to Atlanta. Exhausted and early to Atlanta, I decided to pass by Williams Street. I tweeted out some pictures and suddenly, Jason was texting me to invite me in. I got to go inside Williams Street and meet Jason DeMarco in person. Thankfully I was somewhat sedated at that point from the no-sleep drive and I didn’t fanboy all over him. He gave me a tour of the place and some swag. It was a literal dream come true. Later that very day I met Steve Blum, and for the first time ever, the entire staff of (at least the entire staff at the time). Saturday, I set up a one-on-one interview with Steve Blum for Paul and set-up the first multi-cam interview for the site, which has gone on to become a staple for us. We then set up with Chad Bonin’s help, the Toonami Panel. For the first time ever, (most of) the Toonami Staff were on stage taking questions and announced Evangelion 1.11, One Piece and a new TOM and Absolution, and we captured it all. We wanted to make a good impression and we went all out to make the panel look as professional as possible. The compliments from you guys meant a lot. After that, we interviewed the Toonami Staff in the press room, interviewed the Press Manager of MoMoCon and I had to leave at 7pm to make it back into my shoot by 9am. And for the record, I did not go home again, I immediately went back into shooting after my drive from Atlanta. After 4 more days of shooting, it was the most exhausting 2 weeks of my life…and so worth it.
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4) (Currently On-Going) Our Month Of Interviews: we stole this idea from Toonami pretty last minute. We had Jason lined up and ready to go for about a month and Josh was ready to go for about 3 weeks too. It was around the time we recorded Jason interview we just decided to do the whole month with interviews, especially since I would be going on break. Jim Zub was booked about 2 weeks in advanced and it looked really possible. Really proud to end the year this way! Also, incredibly proud to announce Samurai Jack on the show and give people a sneak peek at the Ichi Megamix (which drops tomorrow!). You have no idea how much it means to us that the staff would trust us enough to give us news and early music. It didn’t leak, it was very exciting for fans, so we’re pumped! Josh gave us a look inside the Space Dandy dub process and an update on all things One Piece. Jim gave us a look inside comics, which is a subject we don’t cover and how a legend got a second shot in a new medium. The feedback has been wonderful and it has been such a pleasure to have different voices on the show.
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3) Akira airing on Toonami: Akira is my favorite movie of all time. Period. To see it air almost uncut on Toonami is unbelievable to me. I already wrote an editorial on this so I won’t really get into it here, but needless to say, this was a big deal.
2) Otakon 2013: This is probably the biggest reason the words “never happening” should not be in my vocabulary. Our site was not eligible, we did not have the money, we did not have the manpower to pull it off to my crazy high standards, and there was no way in hell we would learn anything important. We were wrong on every single count. Thanks to Jim’s brilliance of going to John and asking if we could represent [adult swim] Central instead we were accepted. Ok, but there’s no way I can take all my equipment on the plane…changed my mind on that one. Ok, but there’s still no way we’ll sit down with anyone cool. Try Kyle Hebert, Maile Flanagan, and Shinichiro Watanabe. Alright, but the whole reason I’m going in the first place is to see Yoko Kanno in concert; the chances of me actually seeing her live are astronomical…and she played lovely, lovely music. We’ve gone over and over the wonderful stuff that happened here at length, but just know that a lot of dreams came true that day.
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1) Conversations and Feedback: You guys are the most wonderful fans. Without your constant support this is impossible. Whether you’re hitting me up on Twitter, posting in our forums, sending us emails, or just leaving a comment below, we do this for you. It’s wonderfully rewarding. We’re proud that the Toonami Faithful Podcast has not gone one singular week in the entire year without content in the feed, and if you weren’t as amazing as you are to continue the conversation on Twitter, in our forums and on Tumblr it simply wouldn’t be worth it. I can’t express the extreme gratitude that I owe you all for making this possible. This is my final post for the year and so I’d like to leave you with this. With you guys behind us, anything is possible. You keep visiting, we’ll keep making it. We haven’t said it in a while, but in 2014: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”