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Thundercats Review

07/31/2011

OK, I know that I said I would have the review posted Saturday, but work yesterday really took a lot out of me and I crashed as soon as I got home. So, one day late, here is what I thought of the new Cartoon Network Thundercats.

[SPOILERS START HERE]

I should note, first off, that Thundera is NOT a planet but the kingdom of the Thundercats who rule over the best part of the world and keep the other species under heel. Yeah a little darker, right? There’s a lot of reference to a class and species hierarchy that was notably absent in the 80s series  so they’re dealing with “racial issues” and other more adult topics right off the bat. Lion-O is slowly realizing that, if he is to indeed rule the cats, he needs to treat other races with respect rather than subjugate them through fear.

Lion-O is very different than in the original series. He’s not a man-boy but still yearns to prove himself and rushes into situations without really thinking them through. However, he’s much more of a dreamer and idealist, forever thinking of the lost tech of their ancient people and of fairy tales like Mumm-Ra (both of which actually exist). He is heir to the throne, something his (adopted) brother Tigra is envious of, but unsure if he wants or deserves the responsibility.

Of course the other Thundercats  are “new and improved” as well. Cheetara is a cleric of Jaga – the last after battling Mumm-Ra – which accounts for her incredible speed. Wilykit and Wilykat are street urchin/pickpockets searching for a lost city of gold to live like kings. Panthro (not  actually seen) is a supposedly dead general and beloved friend of Clawdius, Lion-O and Tigra’s father.

I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the more anime-inspired designs of some of the characters, but after watching them in action for an hour, they really did grow on me. Speaking of action, there is a TON of it. Right from the get go Lion-O gets into a street brawl with some thugs beating up a “lowly dog.”

Grune, one of my favorite villains, made an appearance and it was nice to see his turn to the dark side and the betrayal of Clawdius rather than just be a vengeful spirit. And I was pleased to see that they threw in a few more bits of fan service to the old series. There was the Lynx-O, a blind guard on the watchtower who smells the approach of the Lizard Men (I’m hoping we get to see him and the other two later in the series). And the junk man shows a bit of recovered tech that looks like a Ro-Bear Berbil arm.

[SPOILERS END HERE]

Thundercats was my favorite cartoon growing up and I must saw I’m already a fan of the new series. It brings back enough of the old series and gives it a hardcore fantasy twist to make it enjoyable as something new. I hear that its going to be one, long arcing story rather than individual episodes so you better believe I’ll be watching every Friday night at 8:30.

MY SCORE: (A-) The first episode blew me away, lets hope they can keep up the momentum throughout the series. I’m sure it’ll be a hit with kids new to the series as well as the “kids” who grew-up watching the original.

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