Sep 18, 2012

Thundercats... Rebirth and Redeath: a rant

Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! can sum up my feelings when the 201X series was canned. Why did the revival fail? I'm no expert, but here's my 2 cents!

The Cartoon:
It started pretty good. It felt a bit too "200X MOTU" than Thundercats... Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE 200X MOTU, but I experienced its demise due to Cartoon Network's ass-backwards ways... I'm talking of their no ads for He-Man, slot shuffling ways that snuffed MOTU and caused the end of the show and Toyline... Well, Thundercats had it kinda bad as well. When it was on Friday Nights, Cartoon Network had a no rerun rule when they stopped airing the episodes mid-season... No Reruns for Thundercats, but they aired the Hell out of Adventure Time and Regular Show... (they still do) At least when they shifted the show to Saturday Mornings they repeated the Episode on Sunday... Unlike He-Man who got SOME reruns... not on all episodes during season 1. Thundercats vanished after the first half of the season and when the season ended.
26 Episodes... (13 less than 200X MOTU... CN REALLY wanted to kill the show!) The show had some flaws... It wasn't perfect, but it was enjoyable... when you could ACTUALLY SEE IT!!

You've noticed that I've compared the show to He-Man's 2002 Revival (and eventual Re-death). It's no coincidence...
"I am Lion-O, Prince of Thundera, Defender of the Secrets of The Tower of Omens. This is Snarf, my fearless Friend. Fabulous secrets we-"

Thundercats learned a lot from 200X MOTU, but in the end it was fated to die like 200X MOTU...
It went Darker than its 80s Counterpart, It got some more Eastern features incorporated on the redesigns... what Mattel folk would call "anime Hyperdetail" I still hate that Lion-O is wearing PANTS!! The characters are similar to the 80s counterparts but stuck on certain roles:
Lion-O: The Reluctant Leader
Cheetara: Love Interest
Tygra: the Douchebag Rival
Panthro: Cranky Veteran/Mentor
Snarf: Pet
Thunder Kittens: Kid Sidekicks

I have no problems with that, even when they were playing the roles a bit too cliched. Just because I like it doesn't save it from being a slight flaw.
Filler episodes were good, but some of them were OBVIOUS filler Episodes. Personally I would have skipped the whole Tookit Sidequest...( It kinda felt like a videogame sidequest... a rather long one) and the Forest of Magi Oar if it meant advancing the story.  Between the fillers and the long time of T-Cat Absence between season halves, the story felt like it dragged on and on.

I must admit I loved the nods to the 80s show and the fact that Lion-O's "anointment trials" were a LOT shorter here. The problem with the show's direction started the moment the series became a "fetch quest fest" Have one Fetch quest turn into a second Fetch quest and then going on and on...

Now we need to look at the other side of the Equation: The Toys...
they were not Perfect, but they were NOT Crappy! they had their issues, but bad QC (as in exploding crotches, reversed limbs on entire runs) wasn't one of them.
The first issue is that they were made by Bandai of America. (who isn't well known as a maker of awesome toys... aside from the Power Rangers Zords.)
Some Bandai of America stuff!

These point out WHY I'm not fond of Bandai of America. Weird action features, Dem Screws! and last but not least: Characters are not in scale with each other!
Now Bandai tried a different approach to the line:
3.75" figures based on the new show, 6" figures based on the new show and a new 8" line based on the 80s show... Probably riding on the coattails of another 80s Nostalgia driven Toyline... Then the 8" line became a 6" line and then the lines died... Does anyone see the problem here?

There's 4 Different toylines... 2 for the new cats and 2 for the classics.
The 3.75" was the perfect size to have vehicles and playsets... Also the 6" Mumm-Ra could work with the 3.75" cats. The biggest blunder on this scale was the lack of villains... Sure we had Mumm-Ra, Grune and Sslythe, but no other villains... (Modern counterparts of Jackalman, Monkian, Vultureman or Rataro)
At least the core cats were made... (Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, cheetara, Snarf and the Thunderkittens). the 6" guys weren't so lucky. No Snarf or Thunderkittens or any other villains than Mumm-Ra.

Now the Classics lines were a totally different, yet similar story.
The Classics Line was very obviously trying to cash in on the Nostalgia cake that Mattel is enjoying with MOTUC. So, if Bandai is trying to get on the Nostalgia action and maybe bring some MOTUC customers to their side, what would you do?
a)Make Thundrecats IN-scale with MOTU classics
b)Make the Thundercats on a size that they can't be displayed with ANY OTHER LINES

Bandai chose B... cause the vintage Thundercats were "larger than MOTU Figures" Thus Lion-O and Tygra were made... They weren't THAT Bad, for toys made by Bandai of America. I mean they DID PUT A LOT OF EFFORT ON THEM... they gave them a decent range of Articulation (Tygra needed ab artic though)

Bandai decided that 8 inches wasn't working so a change was needed... also Cheetara was going to be the 8 inch line-killer... who hasn't shown up yet, I guess she killed it before showing up!
The change was:
a)Make Thundercats IN-scale with MOTU classics
b)Make Thundercats In-scale with EVERYTHING EXCEPT MOTU Classics

Once again Bandai chose B!

And I've already reviewed this line before... both Lion-O and Mumm-Ra! I've mentioned their pros and cons.

Still, Bandai made a lot of mistakes with these lines. Weird scales on the classics, DEM SCREWS!!, Articulation pins in different color than the pieces they were going in, paint issues, gummy weapons, lack of villains, etc.

While they can't be compared to Marvel Legends or even MOTUC; The Thundercats lines were one of the better lines that Bandai of America has made... They tried to have a sense of scale between characters AND they tried to get the main cats on the new line! I would NOT call these lines "crappy"... I know of another Toyline that I could call crappy...

I don't mean this as an attack to a certain brand manager who likes to wear purple spandex, but those Green Lantern toys were MEGA CRAPPY!

Now back unto the main topic:
A cartoon that was barely aired, a toyline plagued with several issues... Where have I heard that before?
I dunno, maybe if Cartoon Network had more spots advertising the show, or if the episodes were aired more than once... maybe, we could have gotten a second season. The death of the show is what bothers me the most. but it's OK cause we have plenty of Annoying Orange now...

No comments:

Post a Comment