Thundercats Follow-Up

Man that was awesome! The heroes were out in this desert and the screen was all wavey like heat haze and then they found this “sand sea” of like water-like sand or something and they were on this ship with these lobster-people and there was a storm and the sky was all cloudy and purple and there were floating rocks and Lion-O was all going crazy and having a bonding experience with captain dude and the lobster chef tries to eat Wilykat and Kit but they saw it coming and by the way they’re cute and really funny then WHAM big tentacle eggplant monster attacks and they’re all cutting off tentacles while it chows down on lobster and then it sinks the ship and they bail while the captain fights to the death and then the eggplant thing comes back for Lion-O and eats him and everyone is like “Oh shit” but then AWESOME he’s all cutting his way out from the inside and it’s BIG and GLORIOUS and AWESOME and then there’s something about Mumm-Ra finding out where the Book of Omens is ooo man things are going places!

See, this is what I love about anime!

…Whaddya mean, this show is American? Oh, oh, that’s right, of course it is.

Actually, I did notice two hallmarks of American storytelling. The first was when the Thunderkittens wanted to join up. Lion-O gives a stock typical “we are not babysitters!” response. I understand he was upset, but why couldn’t he have instead brought up that he was going on a dangerous journey from which he might never return? Or for that matter, just ignored the kittens and kept going? Granted, Tygra or Cheetara would’ve stopped him, but that would’ve reflected his one-track attitude more effectively, and come off as less “stock.”

The second was when Lion-O gets eaten. In the brief moment where you think Lion-O is working his way through eggplant digestive tract, Wilykat yells out something like “You big slimey meanie! Give our friend back!” While the scene was still awesome as all hell, it would’ve been as awesome as two hells if Wilykat had kept his mouth and stared in terror, allowing Lion-O getting eaten to sink in for a bit before his glorious victory.

It’s been noted by others than myself (normally people who bitch about dubbed anime) that American writers like to have people talk. Part of me wants to say its a holdover from the days when we used to write cartoons as if they were radio shows, but honestly I think its an emotion thing. As I noted, both of these scenes would’ve been given a little more “oomph” if there had been less talkey. But Americans have a comfort zone about how much “oomph” they like, so when they have a lot of it, they like to tone it down, and all it takes is one kid shouting to do that.

Still, it’s a very minor thing so far. I just hope they allow the “oomph” to come through unfiltered later on.

One other thing to comment on–as you probably noticed if you watched the episode and have any literary knowledge whatsoever, this episode was basically Moby Dick with cat and lobster people, even down to quoting famous lines. It’s something that didn’t really affect me one way or the other while the episode was on, but… I’ve seen so many cartoons lately where every episode becomes an “homage” in order to cover up that most of the plots are blatantly cribbed (in fact, that was one of my criticisms of the 2002 He-Man). So right now, my stance is: if this is the only episode where it happens, its cool and it shows that the staff are all cultured and educated and all that other spiffy stuff. If it becomes a recurring trend, then it means they’re a bunch of uncreative hacks.

But ultimately, I’m optimistic for this series. So far, and I forget if I said this last time but its worth repeating: its taking everything I liked about the old Thundercats and wrapping it in a new and pleasing configuration. The Sword of Omens still kicks as, Third Earth is still an interesting and mysterious place, the cats themselves are still a band of refugees fighting for survival (wrapped around a broader quest this time), Mumm-Ra is still a dark and creepy cloaked figure who might possibly transform into something bigger at some point, and there’s still a whole lot of ass to be kicked. My god, why couldn’t the people who got this show have also gotten He-Man remake? They would’ve done ten times better with it!

By the way a DVD release has already been announced! Wow, they hit the ground running, didn’t they? (and Hasbro still has said nothing about ponies…)


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