Saturday, September 13, 2008

Awesome Anthropomorphic 90's Cartoons

The 90's is an era of awesomeness in radical proportions. Back then kids knew what they wanted and what they wanted was the most extreme thing that they could get their hands on. I was one of those kids wearing bright florescent T-shirts and equally bright shorts topping it off with my backwards ball cap and sunglasses. For some reason seems that all we wanted at the time was heroes fighting crime in the most radical way possible. I would of said in the most humanly possible but they aren't human because humans are lame (see the dilemma there?), but anthropomorphic animals are oh so tubular. As for every fad there is a source, I have yet to found the source for all the muscle bound heroes of the 80's but I am sure it has something to do with the rise of heavy metal. Now back onto the radical 90's, sure you must all know it all started out with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were just a simple parody of every comic that was popular at the time (around 1984). The freak child of Frank Miller's Ronin , Daredevil and New Mutants (supposedly also Cerebus but I have no idea what is Cerebus). Ninja comes from Ronin the Mutant comes from X-Men : New Mutants and all I know they took from Daredevil is a parody of their masters Daredevil's master is called Stick while the Turtles Master is called Splinter. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spawned everything from comics toys accessories ranging from bed spreads to shoes. Every kid probably saw them for the first time in their animated series where they would fight Krang and the Shredder using their teenaged ninja skills with the help of April O'Neil reporter/yellow jumpsuit fanatic. The Turtles also set the bar on the 90's stereotypes with the one serious leader, radical comic relief, badass that is too awesome to follow the rules and the smart guy that builds the machines . Now with fame comes imitators and parodies, ironically anything parodying the turtles is parodying a parody. Then the wave of anthropomorphic animal heroes come in different times in the 90's each more awesome then the next.

The first offender is Battletoad a video made by Rare back in 1992. All awkwardly named after a skin conditions Pimple, Zit, and Rash kicked ass all over the galaxy. These toads didn't have any ninja action but they could morph their bodies for a moment to kick ass, like hammer for hands, giant boot to kick even rams out of head to headbutt. Of course with the success of TMNT (Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles) someone wanted in on the cash cow, so DIC Entertainement tried their hand on making an animated series of Battletoad. Sadly the world was not ready for that kind of awesomeness so only the pilot was made, even more awesome it was written by Rare's musical composer David Wise. Here's the Battletoads Animated Series pilot courtesy of Youtube. I still can't believe it didn't catch on I mean a lines like "You won this battle toads!" or "Phycotronic!" and "Cosmorific".
Of course BIC wasn't going to stop at one failed attempt it wanted in the cash cow of TMNT. So they started the Street Sharks, I group of 4 kids turned into sharks Jab, Streex, Slammu and Ripster fought crime with their Shark power which includes being able to swim/rip trough pavevement. Don't remember much from this one apart how awesome it was. It did spawn a spinoff show from some other characters in it, called Extreme Dinosaurs. Now these guys are even more extreme than anything before even their fighting line is extreme "Lets Fossilize Them!". Once again I don't remember much from that series none of them even came close to being as popular or good as TMNT seems like they over shadowed everything at the time.

Even Hanna-Barbera jumped on the bandwagon, creating SWAT-Kats : The Radical Squadron. These guys are so awesome they don't need a group of four or even a trio, two is enough for these radical kats, heck they don't even follow rules of simple grammar by naming themselves "kats" with a "K". Seems tho that kids didn't find them radical enough, so they recharged them in little proportions firstly making them quit the squad and making them mercenaries, freelance agents of the sort, which is way more radical because these kats don't follow any rules. Something I noticed about most 90's cartoons they don't really have any story more of different fight for each episode.The last of the bunch (that I can remember) is Biker Mice from Mars, these guys at the time seemed like they could actually rival the TMNT popularity , the show consist of 3 mice from Mars injured in a war on their home planet, in consequence gives them awesome robotic limbs and cool shades. They escape to planet earth and fighting crime and evil-doers. How did they fight crime? Sure they had mouse power but their bike driving skills were way more useful and radical. These guys were big at the time for me around here you were either a Mice or Turtles fan. A war not as big as Mario vs Sonic, but memorable either way. Even with the revival of the new TMNT the Bikers got their own revival pretty much at the same time, but I think they flopped this time, because I haven't heard anything big about them apart from the single revival.

I could talk about Samurai Pizza Cats but nobody likes them.

1 comment:

Siskoid said...

There's also the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, let's not forget.

And yes, Cerebus, probably most of all. Cerebus is pretty much the start of the late 70s early 80s indy comics movement, stars an anthropomorphic aardvark who started out as a thinly veiled parody of Conan, and then became so much more. It was da bomb until its writer/artist went a little crazy.