While technically Captain Caveman didn't get his very own cartoon during Saturday mornings that focused only on him (his original show was Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels), and that once he did, it aired during primetime (in segments within The Flintstones show)...I'm going to write about him anyway.
There are two famous characters in the world right now that everyone just seems to take for granted without ever questioning what they are or where they came from. One of them is Grimace. Just what the hell food is he supposed to be representing? The second is Captain Caveman. I mean, yeah, he's from the prehistoric times and he's a caveman...but he doesn't look anything like man, unless he's an EXTREMELY hairy man. But cavemen weren't THAT hairy...were they? So if he isn't a homo sapiens...then...actually he kind of looks like a distant forefather of Grimace, come to think of it. Uh...
In Captain Caveman's segment in The Flintstones, he is portrayed as a Superman-like character: secret identity, working in a newspaper company (with Wilma and Betty!), wearing glasses to hide his alter-ego. An absurdly elaborate transformation sequence turns him into Captain Caveman, who actually can't fly on his own. Rather, his magic club allows him to fly, among other things.
Thousands of years into the future he would be found encased in ice by a certain group of mystery-loving teenage women. But this raises a question: how, with all his superpowers and stuff, does he get trapped in ice at all?
Then again, what kind of creature is he anyway?
Could he be related to Grimace?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
(moving away from robots and shit to shows featuring favorite pop artists of the time.)
Ah, MC Hammer. What child didn't grow up listening to his music, learning that you "Can't Touch This", stopping every now and then because it's "Hammertime", and being "Too Legit to Quit"? I'll admit that as a child I ridiculously admired MC Hammer because, damn, was he hardcore. Well not really, he was just really cool. Those gold chains around his neck must have blinged me to a hypnotic trance, ordering me to buy his records and to dance his dances.
At any rate, MC Hammer really was (is?) a great musician and stuff, and it can be argued that he set a certain standard for dance and dance music. Mr. Hammer is so popular, in fact, that he even had his own children's cartoon called Hammerman. The show is about a social worker named Stanley Burell (Hammer's real name) who owned a special pair of dancing shoes. These shoes were magical, for they could talk. Furthermore, when the meek Burell puts them on, he turns into Hammerman, a superhero who fights crime using the awesome power of dance, wearing MC Hammer's signature suit and baggy pants. At the end of each episode, the real MC Hammer would appear on the screen, and provide the viewers with some good advice, a la G.I. Joe and Transformers. (And almost every other cartoon back then.)
The show had a nice premise--stopping evil on its tracks with music and dance (Elite Beat Agents, anyone?), was family-friendly, and featured music produced by MC Hammer himself, albeit somewhat watered down to make it more suitable for cartoons.
But the show had one vital flaw--it was painfully low-budget. Animated dancing characters have been perfected only recently (Haruhi and Lucky Star especially come to mind), and Hammerman, a show that aired in 1991, was probably created too early. Watching Hammerman dance was like watching someone having spasms. It had the framerate of an old video game, and the Hanna-Barbera-esque looping of backgrounds during moving scenes didn't help either. A huge disappointment, especially since DiC was responsible for this show.
Another thing: The show tried to "villain-ize" criminals a little too much, like in Captain Planet. Alas, at the time Hammerman aired this type of characterization was as old as NKotB is today, and only served to lower the ratings of the show even more.
Personally, I thought the show was cool. Holy shit, talking dancing shoes! I was all too easily excited as a child. Unfortunately, I share the same sentiments as everyone else when it came to the animation; there were far better-looking shows 2 years before Hammerman, and it felt like they weren't even trying. MC Hammer deserved a better animated representation of him, if not dancing characters in general.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Earlier I was bitching about how another cartoon show portrayed Mega Man all wrong. So when a TV series entirely dedicated and titled after the Blue Bomber appeared, I thought to myself, "Finally, someone got it right." Or did they? Let's see:
- Mega Man is blue? Check.
- Robot Masters? Check.
- Roll? Check.
- One arm cannon? Check.
- Cheesy good vs. evil plot? Check.
- Action? Check.
- Protoman? You bet.
- Copying enemy weapons and using it against them? Hell yeah.
While it's generally YA RLY, at least on the surface, here are some things that sucked:
- The character designs. While they resemble their video game counterparts, all the male Robot Masters and Mega Man himself looked like muscular teenage boys. I don't even want to show you the pictures, because I look at this blog too, and quite frankly I find muscular teenage robot boys in tight outfits kind of unnerving to look at. In Ruby Spears' defense though, their character art is eons better than the American-release box cover art for the games:
- Roll is robot househelp. Bitch should stay in the kitchen and not fight alonside Mega Man, let alone save him from imminent misfortune at the hands of Dr. Wily every now and then. Although, the almost-incest bit in the first episode was kind of funny. Kind of.
- Protoman, while he looked like an enemy (for a short time anyway) in Mega Man 3, is not. In this series he is practically Wily's right-hand man, which is just wrong. Protoman isn't evil; just misunderstood :(
- In the games, when Mega Man defeats a Robot Master, he acquires its ability permanently (obligatory "GET EQUIPPED WITH "BUBBLE LEAD"" goes here) after destroying the enemy, but in the series, he touches a Robot Master for a brief moment and he is able to use their ability, regardless of whether or not the foe has been destroyed. Furthermore, it's additional fuel to the homoerotic fire started by the character designs, but I digress. The powers he acquires are not permanent, as they appear to, uh, disappear after the fight.
- Rush (the robot dog) isn't fucking Scooby-Doo. I have nothing against Scooby-Doo, but I feel as if the creators deliberately made Rush act like Scooby (for what end? To cash in on something?) and it was just lame.
- Mega Man X makes an appearance on the show; furthermore, Mega Man ventures into X's world. This is what Colonel Campbell from Metal Gear Solid would call a "time paradox". As well, the events in Mega Man X are supposed to take place 100 years after the original Mega Man, but some dumbass in the show exclaims that it actually took several centuries. Wow, this is getting almost as bad as Captain N.
- In the show, Dr. Light built some of the Robot Masters (namely, Ice Man, Cut Man, and Guts Man), along with Rock and (his sister) Roll, and they only become evil because Dr. Wily stole them with the help of Protoman. There are several things wrong with this, and this was just the few opening shots of the first episode. Firstly, Mega Man was originally a janitor robot, outfitted with a cannon arm later on because of a need to save the world. Roll is just a house bot like previously mentioned, and Protoman is practically Mega Man's brother (meaning, also created by Dr. Light). Light had absolutely nothing to do with Robot Masters, as Dr. Wily built them all, in hopes of dominating the world.
Also, since we're on the subject of Mega Man anyway...Dear Capcom, stop making Megaman X games because they're absolute shit after X4. Make some Megaman Legends or Tron Bonne or something, and people will love you more. :(
Friday, August 3, 2007
So, I just got done reading all there is to read about 1-18-08 and I must say...JJ Abrams you sonofabitch, just tell us what it is already because many people are starting to lose interest :(
On to the actual post.
I'm not sure if Voltron qualifies as a Saturday morning cartoon because the first time I saw it was in the afternoon. Saturday afternoon. But during one of the reruns it was shown in the morning. Regardless, Voltron is still an animated staple of our childhood, and it was shown on Saturday mornings at one point in time anyway so whatever.
Voltron is actually a combination of a couple of unrelated cartoons from Japan, edited and dubbed for North American audiences. It involves a giant robot named Robert, which forms through the combination of a number of smaller units, fighting whatever monster the villain cooks up for the week. There are actually three different robots, stemming from three different Japanese series; two were shown on TV; and only one worth giving a damn about:
The Voltron robot is piloted by a team of five members, corresponding to the five separate parts that make up the robot. Each separate unit, in the shape of a lion, forms a distinct part of the robot: the feet and legs, the arms, or the torso (or "body" every now and then). Upon combination, they form the awesomest thing ever. Smaller robots (or vehicles) combining to form a larger robot was a common theme in Japan during that time, and there are plenty of shows with the same setup, animated and live-action alike. Voltron was just another one of them, and could have been easily forgotten, if it wasn't picked up for an American release.
In place of an opening song/video, each episode begun with a narration by Optimus Prime:
The team would then proceed to teach the monster not to fuck with Voltron, usually through "forming blazing sword" and cutting him up with it.
After a number of episodes, the story suddenly changed--nothing changed in the plot according to Optimus Prime's narration, but--what the fuck, where is Voltron? And what's with the cars and planes and shit? I watched ahead, thinking it was only a temporary replacement or a backup robot or something, but the lion Voltron never reappeared.
This is what I meant when I said "a couple of unrelated cartoons from Japan": it was indeed a different show, no longer Hyakujuu-oh GoLion, but Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, which involved a team of explorers. In the Voltron storyline, they were supposed to explore the universe for new places because the planets under the Galaxy Alliance have become overpopulated. I tried watching it, and when they formed the giant robot, it looked really ugly. Well actually it looked okay, it's just the feet that bothered me:
Perhaps this explains why the third Voltron never saw the light of day: no one was interested in a Voltron that wasn't formed by 5 lions. The third one looked even worse; I heard it didn't take off even in Japan. It got cancelled along with the entire Voltron show, because nothing can replace the original one.
There have been attempts to revive the original Voltron in newer shows, in glorious three-dimensional CG (the show was appropriately subtitled "The Third Dimension"). I was not interested in it because Beast Wars left a bad taste in my mouth, but I heard it wasn't received well either.
Voltron is undoubtedly one of my favorite cartoon shows even up to now, decades after the first TV run. So when I heard there was going to be a movie based on the show, I almost came. I just hope they do it properly somehow; I wasn't exactly satisfied by the new Transformers movie, and I wouldn't want it to look like Power Rangers. One thing that worries me is that, in the series, "forming blazing sword" almost always looks like a last-resort type of thing. Realistically, however, this attack seems to be the quickest path to victory, and any rational being would try to end the battle as quickly as possible. However, if Voltron "forms blazing sword" too early, then there would be no show to watch. If the movie is going to go for a realistic look then this might be a problem...I wonder how they are going to address this.
I just really, really hope they don't mess it up...and more robot action, please. Learn from the (mistakes of the) Transformers movie, whoever's directing the Voltron movie.
By the way, if you didn't notice that I called Voltron "Robert" earlier, then you have ADD and your mom stinks of raw fish. : (
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Wave your arms, from side to side...
If that didn't instantly come to your mind upon reading the title of this post, you are either a mom, or a wrist-slitting emo kid who listens to Linkin Park. Just kidding, not all emos slit their wrists.
Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is about the adventures of (who else) Mario and Luigi, after they have saved the Princess in the original game. In this show, they are plumbers from Brooklyn, who were magically sucked into a bathtub drain back into the Mushroom Kingdom. This time around though their job isn't merely rescuing the Princess (who is always in another castle), but to protect the kingdom itself. Kind of like Zelda I guess, but with less sassy talk and more fun.
Apart from Mario and Luigi, all your favorite SMB characters are there--Toad, Princess Pea- er, Toadstool, Bowser/Koopa, those little turtles, those little Goombas, and even Birdo are also there. Each episode basically had the same core premise but with a little twist--they are usually parodies of other things. For instance, the episode "Mario and the Beanstalk" is obviously a parody of some story about a boy who blew all his life savings and property for three measly magical beans. Depending on the story being parodied, Koopa's role would change to fit with the antagonist character of the story.
The real draw of the show however is the live-action segments before the actual cartoon. Live-action Super Mario! Wow! Except the famous plumbers were shown bumming around in their mess of an apartment. Actually it was alright; it was much, much better than that travesty of a movie based on the same videogame. The coolest part of the live-action segment is it features WWF bad boy "Captain" Lou Albano (why was everyone a captain during the 80s?) as Mario. Luigi was played by Danny Wells, who isn't really prominent at all except for this role. The live action segment would often feature guest stars such as Magic Johnson or Nicole Eggert. Sometimes, Lou Albano himself would be the guest star, which is done by forcing Mario out of the screen for a while.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! was one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. Apart from the obvious reasons (that it is based on a videogame, and "Captain" Lou Albano), it was simply just fun to watch because it is adventure-themed, and we all wanted to be heroic plumbers eating 'shrooms when we were younger. Of course, telling us that magical mushrooms are good is no better than brainwashing us into thinking that all corporations are bad and hugging trees is the way to go. In this show's defense the only mushrooms we were probably aware of when we were younger are those canned button mushrooms. Ha!
Monday, July 30, 2007
A few days ago I mentioned something about that Legend of Zelda show. I really love the Zelda games; I even bought a Gameboy link cable that I only used once just to be able to transfer data from one Gameboy with Oracle of Seasons in the cartridge bay to another Gameboy (which I borrowed) with Oracle of Ages. When the first game came out for the NES I thought it was the pinnacle of gaming (then again, I thought the same about many games), and thus I got excited when the TV said something about a cartoon show based on the game. I was like, "Cool--I get Super Mario Brothers AND Zelda in one show!"
To be honest, I still do sort of like the little cartoon, though probably not for the intended reasons. I like the cheesy "Excuuuuse me" line and I use it among my friends when I'm feeling a little sassy. I miss the times when I still had friends...
Uh, anyway, about the show. It doesn't deviate too much from the original premise of Zelda games: Ganon captures Zelda and Link has to rescue her, lather, rinse, repeat. Though I think she gets kidnapped a little too many times in the show. I also think Link has too much attitude compared to his silent, innocent, heroic videogame counterpart. But it had nice fight scenes, talking Triforce, and, fuck, it was Legend of Zelda, so like every easily-impressed child I followed the show and talked about it with my friends, etc.
Then I forgot about it completely until the other day when I made a reference to it. Like most other cartoons, it now seems corny and cheesy, and sort of blasphemous, because Link isn't even supposed to be talking that much, let alone talk trash. As well, he isn't supposed to be asking for anything in return, especially not favors of the flesh from none other than Princess Zelda herself. (Don't worry he just wanted a kiss on the cheek. What a dork.)
However, the thing that bugs me the most is the way Link and Zelda's characters are made to interact with each other. As you know, the Princess is way out of Link's league, him being a plain ol' sword-wielding hero of awesome summoned every now and then (actually quite often) to save Hyrule (just how many times does Ganon have to be killed?) and the Princess herself. In the TV show, it seems as if they're trying to develop a romantic link (har har..?) between the two. Because of this I got brainwashed into believing that Link heart Zelda when I played the games. And what the hell is Zelda doing fighting alongside Link, when the purpose of Link being there is to rescue her in the first place anyways?
The show got canceled after 13 episodes, because Super Mario Brothers got canceled. I don't know whether you think it's good or bad, but I think it's sort of a blessing in disguise. But you know, I'll buy the DVD just so I can re-enjoy the cheesiness. Why did we like cheesy things back then?