On Saturday, April 17, 2004, an edited version of the English dub premiered at 10:30 pm on Cartoon Network‘s Toonami block. On October 23, 2004, it was moved to 1:00 am on Saturdays starting with episode 27. The series finished its initial run on April 15, 2005. It looped back and started over in this time slot, but was pulled half way through the second run, after being on the air for approximately a year and a half.
The majority of the series was aired with a TV-Y7, apparently, at the insistence of Bandai who were desperately trying to push the new Gundam SEED toy line. However, since most retailers had stopped carrying the Gundam line due to over-saturation from the G Gundam series, this soon became a lost cause. Only the final episode was given the TV-PG-SV rating rather than the usual TV-Y7 rating.
Things that were edited out on the Cartoon Network version include mature content (e.g. most references to the sexual relationship between Kira and Flay Allster — though the initial scene presenting this was left partially intact); scenes of intense combat violence (e.g. almost all shots of pilots, including main characters, in their cockpits before having their machines destroyed); cold-blooded or brutal murders that are non-mobile suit related (e.g. Siegel Clyne getting shot by ZAFT soldiers loyal to Patrick Zala); all references to the fact that the “Living CPUs” need to take performance enhancing drugs; and most notoriously, handguns being sloppily and inconsistently transformed into neon-colored lasers, dubbed “Disco Guns” by fans, for most of the show’s run. Also, there was little to no use of the words “kill” or “die” in the middle of the series airing, with the phrase “taking his/her life” or some variant of the phrase in the place of either word.
Since most of the series had been edited by Williams Street before broadcast, Cartoon Network changed very little in terms of content allowance. However, the airings of the final two episodes were left mostly unedited, with only a few elements being affected — namely the guns used by Muruta Azrael, Patrick Zala, and one of the ZAFT soldiers (which was given neon-colored lights in certain but not all of the image frames), airbrushing the naked Flay’s body in the final episode to avoid showing her cleavage, reducing the amount of blood shown, editing the character’s lines to remove either inappropriate language or controversial lines, and the removal or altering of flashbacks of graphic assassinations.