The Intruder II series has not disappointed, as a bombshell was just dropped in episode four. The Intruder (or Tom-Truder as Sketch likes to call him), has infiltrated the Absolution and extracted SARA from her core. This lead fans to believe she’s dead/offline for good, causing a huge reaction from viewers. I, like many others, was saddened to see SARA taken out by “Tom-Truder”. I personally have liked her character since her old days during Cartoon Networks’ run of Toonami. Having her gone definitely foreshadows the big things Jason DeMarco was talking about earlier on Twitter. The question is however, is she really gone for good?
It certainly looks like SARA will not be featured in Toonami’s future, doesn’t it? I don’t care if this is just trick to get fans all worked up, because it’s working perfectly. I’m sure the executives at Toonami are giddy with excitement due to how fans reacted to the latest episode. It wouldn’t be as important if very few people were reacting, but this is definitely not the case. Not only did the Intruder II event trend on Twitter, but SARA did! She was the highest trending topic on Twitter during Toonami last night. It must feel nice to be popular, after all she was brought back in 2013. However, could this be the end of a beloved character?
First off let me just say that his Intruder series has let fans imagination run wild (in a good way). Many wonder what could possibly happen next, since this series has taken viewers for a wild ride. The series has been very entertaining and has left many (including myself) guessing at what T.O.M can do to rid himself of the Intruder. The drama this series has had in just a few minutes of time is something that script writers should take note on. I’ve felt more compelled through just 8 minutes than I have in a WWE event in months. The suspense has been killing fans every week (something WWE Creative should learn how to do), and many continue to return to the action block (and I mean the non-hardcore fans). I for one have been pleased with how Intruder II has been handled, because this has turned into a monumental event for Toonami fans.
I don't know what's happening on the rest of Intruder 2, but I've loved being SARA. No one is as awesome as the Toonami Faithful.
— Dana Swanson (@danaswanswan) November 29, 2015
So the question is, is SARA gone for good? Personally I do hope she comes back. I Myself, along with other hosts of the Toonami Faithful Podcast, enjoy SARA and wanted her to have a larger role with hosting the action block. I was definitely hoping SARA would return to having an A.I. body like she did in the past. Now it looks as if that dream is dead, as SARA looks to be offline for good. The biggest key are the tweets from Dana Swanson herself (voice of SARA), and DeMarco tweeting out thanks and uncertainty. Swanson does not know what’s happening for the rest of the Intruder series. That to me means her character is no more. Obviously the two could be tricking viewers to add intrigue (which I would totally be fine with), but this certainly feels like it was truly the end for SARA.
Change isn’t the most wildly acceptable thing, especially when it involves something beloved by many. I’m sure New York Yankees fans believed Derek Jeter would play shortstop forever, as well as Tom Brady playing as the New England Patriots quarterback till the end of time. This move of “killing off SARA” resonates with fans, because of how long she’s been a part of the team. T.O.M is number one to fans, no doubt about it, but SARA helped make the block seem more relatable. The two were friends, helping each other out and giving viewers awesome content on Toonami. What I have felt every time I tune into Toonami (with the two of them together), is that I was over a friend’s house and decided to watch anime with a group for the night. It was fun, and the two definitely felt like they were family to the U.S. anime community. It’s sad to see this be the end of a cherished character.
As stated before, this could just be a trick to suck more viewers to the action block (which is working well). T.O.M has “died” before and came back better than ever. So maybe SARA was able to save her core programming before “Tom-Truder” pulled the cord on anime’s favorite A.I. program. That could mean that T.O.M can restore part of her and return to help him send out Toonami airwaves to a television near you. This wouldn’t be the first time Toonami changed voice actors for the hosts. After the first Intruder series, T.O.M 1 changed to T.O.M 2 and the voice actor changed from Sonny Strait to Steve Blum. This could mean that Toonami plans to use a new voice actor to be part of T.O.M’s crew. While I don’t think Wendee Lee is available, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a new voice will become SARA. It would be a pleasant surprise, and a perfect climax in episode seven if T.O.M can restore her. It’s definitely an interesting angle to look at, if Toonami was in fact shifting SARA’s voice to allow Dana Swanson to do other projects.
For my prediction with just three episodes left, I just don’t want to believe that SARA is gone for good. Maybe her role will be diminished for the upcoming year, but it’s hard for me to think that she’s officially gone. After bringing her back, Toonami just kills her off? Nope, no way that can happen right? Maybe a new A.I program will help T.O.M with hosting duties, but it would feel odd not seeing SARA every Saturday. I’m praying that some of SARA’s data is still around for T.O.M to reboot, but one can only speculate as we move forward.
I think it goes without saying that if this is in fact Swanson’s final time being the voice of SARA, she will be greatly missed by all. While she wasn’t the original voice actress for the A.I. character, she did a phenomenal job portraying her. Personally I thought her voice was better suited for the character (if I was put on the spot). Having Swanson voice SARA was a great breath of fresh air added to the action block, and I for one will miss her greatly. I hope this can lead to other voice acting roles for her in the future. Plus I hope this doesn’t mean that she is moving on from Toonami. Whether it be a video editor for new promos, or working in the digital area for Toonami, I hope she’s still working on making the block better than ever. She has been great with fan interactions, whether it is on social media, or her segments on Toonami Pre-Flight. She is a great person to have on the staff, and think she’s found a home at Toonami (DON’T LEAVE US SARA).
Well, Toonami you certainly caused the holiday weekend to gain “a little” steam for the block. Toonami fans must have been blowing up social media when episode four finished airing. Jason DeMarco knows how to give the fans something to write home about. The Intruder II series has been a SMASH HIT (according to this writer), and hopefully this leads to bigger things in the future. It just sucks for viewers that we have to wait a whole week till more questions get answered. Storytelling at it’s finest.
Poll Time: Do you think SARA is really dead?
— Toonami News (@ToonamiNews) November 29, 2015
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He had to hold back tears writing this article, as he hopes SARA can make a triumphant return to the action block. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris