Feel the Magic, Hear the Roar – Fuck Yeah!

So I got Season One, Part One of Thundercats in the post on Monday and, as one who knows me might gather, currently indulge in something of a nostalgia trip….

– It amazes me that after some 22 years, the animation still holds up admirably, even managing to outshine much that came after it. “Little wonder,” an observant fan may say, “seeing as the show saw production in Japan”; even taking this into account, it even outranks many of its other Jap-produced contemporaries (Transformers, M.A.S.K) by maintaining its high standard, rather than zig-zagging in visual quality from episode to episode.

(Whilst I stay on the topic, did anyone else notice how general animation and design quality (as well as much else) in Western market cartoons took something of a nosedive in the following decade? I mean, how the fuck does one go from Thundercats to Hammerman?)

– The actual writing still stands up pretty damn well too, though of course there’s that sadly inevitable “fade” effect as a result of experiencing richer, more complex things. Nevertheless, I find it near enough as compelling and entertaining a watch as I did back in my primary school days; Mumm-Ra’s transformation still rates as one of the best villain sequences ever for this viewer; Panthro still retains his badass status; ‘Tygra’s Theme’ still has that irrepressible heroic 80s vibe about it; and Snarf still remains quintessentially…..Snarf?

– Voice acting rates as an ace job! I especially like the somewhat warbly voice given to the Warrior Maiden Willa for some reason; in fact tall the females have very memorable voices so far. Lion-O sounds as “noble” as ever; Panthro sounds like the archetypal grouchy-but-cool-and-wise uncle/father figure; and of course one can’t beat “MUMM-RA – THE EVER LIVIIIING!!” for pure decayed diabolism.

– They actually had a fucking psychological consultant to help with the many moral messages peppered throughout the show (heavy-handedly done, but twas a kids show after all) ; that’s some kinda first, even if I reckon he and the crew could have done a better job at showing rather than preaching.

– Most hilarious quote from the DVD featurette: “I could never have a woman like that who’s really a cheetah and lives on Third Earth!” Cheers for that one Will Wheaton!

– I’m surprised the first episode made it past the broadcast Nazis! A kids show with nudity? And it’s not like they can rationalize it on the grounds of the Cats being anthropomorphs, seeing as they veer closer to human than cat. Furthermore, why not make use of shading to imply the hidden rather than just half-arsing on it? Also, that scene with Jaga , Lion-O and the Sword of Omens brims with innuendo….

….not that all that’s necessarily a negative, of course….


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