A new, more anime-inspired look for the classic cats, and though it may seem simple in stills, the series is fluid and very well directed. Expect toys. Oh so many toys...
Ah, Thundercats. A stone-cold classic, and the last of the truly great fantasy action figures of the 80's. After 4 seasons, the show closed its doors, but not before capturing the hearts and minds of children all over the world.
Well, nothing retro stays dead for long (except maybe the Gobots) and in 2011 the cats are back, completely re-imagined for today's children, and in a rather splendid anime-styling.
I decided to take a look - okay, so it isn't anime per-se (though it is animated by Japanese Studio 4°C), but it takes a great deal of inspiration from the land of the rising sun. If Ulysses 31 and Mysterious Cities of Gold proved anything, its that collaborations can produce some real gold.
The series re-imagines the plight of the Thundercats - no longer refugees from an exploded planet, they're refugees from a destroyed kingdom, which keeps the action firmly rooted on Thundera itself (for now). One nice touch is that original series voice actor Larry Kenney (the original Lion-O) plays King Claudus, the new Lion-O's father. And what an opening - to see an Empire fall in 50 minutes is quite a thing, and while there's not much on-screen death, its certainly in the background as the onslaught ensues.
There are other changes - Tygra is now Lion-O's older brother (erm, what?) and Cheetara is a disciple of Jaga, but the core cast remains constant, with Mumm-Ra making a fine reappearance and the villainous Slythe doesn't waste his screen time either.
So far 3 episodes have aired, and while only episode 3 has a smidgen of an opening, it's a beautiful homage to possibly one of the greatest TV theme tunes of all time - we can only wait with baited breath to see if it gets a full airing, but fingers crossed. Oh, and the Thunderkittens, Wilykit and Wilykat, are also given some decent screen-time. They're younger in this series, but a lot of fun. I thought I'd hate them, but they are by far my favourite characters so far as they light up every scene they're in - and just look at how cute they are! Adorable!
So is this going to eclipse the Thundercats of old? Hard to say at this stage. It does a credible job of bringing the 'Cats back onto our screens, with enough nods to the original to make it interesting for older fans (and parents) who loved the characters the first time around, and plenty of stylish action for youngsters.
Okay, it may be an excuse to start selling Thundercat toys again, but what show isn't a vehicle for marketing these days? So long as the quality stays consistent, I'll bite (Rawr!)