Review: Thundercats Episodes I and II
One of my favorite cartoons of all time has returned to television as a new series on Cartoon Network. How does it stack up?
When I heard there would be a Thundercats reboot I was actually interested almost immediately. Personally, the older cartoons just didn’t age extremely well for me as they really are a kids show. Not saying they are bad at all, I just am saying that they aren’t as amazing to watch anymore..
Episodes I and II “The Sword of Omens and Ancient Spirits of Evil”
The show starts us off by getting us acquainted with Lion-O the hero of the show. He’s younger than the original series and much less of a leader at this point. Walking the streets basically looking for trouble and “technology” he encounters a few ruffians and dispatches them fairly quickly as he is helped out by an illusive female warrior. We all know this girl to be Cheetara, immediately the likeness of the characters to the original is present, but it’s also a new take. So while you do know who everyone is if you’ve watched the older show, it’s still a fresh take and the characters look great.
In the first two episodes we also meet pretty much the entire cast of Thundercats that will be it’s main story characters. We run into Tygra and Snarf, with Tygra actually being Lion-O’s brother in the show and Snarf actually being a pet who doesn’t talk. I was hoping we didn’t get the goofy Snarf character in this series as the tones that it is setting seem to be a little more on the serious end. Jaga is introduced as the head of the Clerics, a group of cats who are magic users. He’s knowledgeable in the ancient lore and plays the part you would expect from his character. The new addition to the first two episodes is Lion-O’s father Claudus, voiced by the original Lion-O Larry Kenney. It’s nice to hear his voice in the show and immediately brings back good memories of the old series. Wily Kit and Kat are both in the show as well as kid street rats, their purpose isn’t really shown in the first two episodes so I will focus on the main part of the group.
The episodes definitely feel like an orientation of whats to come in the season. We get to see that the Cats are at war with another species, the Lizards. While they are thinner than Slythe from the old cartoon, they do resemble him enough that people will know these are the bad guys right away. The show does this so well as I have stated before, the close resemblance and yet the completely different art style make this a refreshing site. The animation is very well done in an anime style, which is what they were going for in the show. There is a sequence during part 2 that they do re-use a few panels of animation for when the Lizards show up. I think they were actually trying to do this on purpose to pay a little respect for it’s predecessor as that’s something that they always did in really any 80’s cartoon.
Eventually the episodes reach their conclusion with the Cats being betrayed and Mumm-Ra showing up to try to find the location of the Book of Omens. Mumm-Ra is accompanied by Slythe and they both look almost like clones of their 80’s cartoon counter parts. We get a great sequence of Claudus saying the battle cry of the Thundercats as the voice actor used to do back in the 80’s so well. And we get to see how powerful Jaga actually is, which is something that wasn’t shown in the 80’s series as he was only a ghost then. Lion-O’s love for technology seems to save the day, but only after most of the Cat race is killed off by the Lizards and Mumm-Ra. The main cast still is there at the end and it’s unknown what kind of impact the deaths of all these people will have on Lion-O and what kind of leader that will make him in to.
The first two episodes did what they needed to do for me. I’m interested in the show. It is a mix of wanting to see this story play out, and also wanting to see what other characters they will bring into the show from the 80’s cartoon. I know a bunch of people are saying that this show is clearly an attempt to sell toys to kids, but that worked for me back in the 80’s with a lot of shows. The sales shows are actually on the top of more people’s best cartoon lists of all time, so there is no reason to knock points off a score just because the creators are trying to make some money. The bottom line is the show is very good so far and is definitely worth watching. If it continues that way is yet to be seen. Definitely, it’s impressive so far.