Random Nonsense

Recapping the Cartoons of my Childhood
harkovast at 6:33PM, July 20, 2010
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As you can probably imagine, I watched a lot of cartoons with anthropomorphic animals as a kid. I know, I know, that probably shocks you all, but amazingly enough it's true.

So here is my run down on some of the shows that influenced me as a kid and what I make of em today.
Does this interest anyone but me? There is only one way to find out!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Originally called teenage mutant hero turtles in the UK (cause ninja’s were considered too violent.) The odd censorship didn't stop there as nunchucks were banned from being shown. This always struck me as bizarre. Kids have easy access to sticks and kitchen knives with which to replicate the weapons of the other turtles, but the one strange weapon they can't recreate is banned. Even the starting credits were reedited (badly) to remove the horrifying sight of two sticks stuck together with a length of chain.
This is really the Godfather of furry cartoons. It wasn't the first, but it is certainly the most popular and most imitated. Without its existence, it is doubtful any of the others on this list would exist.
But was it any good?
In a word…no.
It was total crap.
And even as a kid, I knew it was crap.
The animation was cheap (full of mistakes where turtles would speak in the wrong voices or switch head band colours), the plots were cheesy and nothing really made much sense.
So why did we love it so much?
Two reasons.
First of these was the concept. The whole idea of mutant ninja animals fighting robots and things from other dimensions from a secret sewer base was just too awesome to ignore! No matter how badly executed it was bit on such an amazing idea that we couldn't help but be wowed.
The second factor was the theme tune. There are cartoon theme tunes and then there are cartoon theme tunes, but mutant turtles has probably the greatest cartoon opening sequence of all time.
It was wild, it was fast, it was cool and as kids it blew us away. Even today, watching it gets me fired up to see humanoid reptiles do martial arts on robot ninjas!
The show has been remade in resent years and I have to admit, the remake is really really good. It is far truly to the original comics, and while very strange and off the wall, is more of a serious adventure with consistent internal logic.
Best of all, they made a movie length episode called ‘Turtles Forever’ which featured a crossover between the 1980's turtles cartoon and the 2000's version. I don't want to give too much away about it, but if you haven't seen it, PLEASE do. To me it is the definitive TMNT movie, and actually made me nostalgic for those cheesy camp days of the old cartoon.
I think the biggest influence this cartoon had on me was the realisation that while the concept was good, the execution was poor. It is hard to be certain, but I sort of wonder if this didn't put the spark in me that I could make something about talking animals, but do it properly.


Bucky O Hare and the Toad Wars

Bucky O Hare was awesome, but sadly short lived. It only got one series, leaving the Toad Wars unresolved. The reason for its cancelation is an odd one. Apparently when they shipped the toys, they shipped too many Air Martial figures (a fat, bumbling bad guy.) Kids didn't want Air Martial toys, so while the other characters remained, the massive numbers of Air Martials remains in place. Toy Shops found they still had tons of Bucky O Hare toys, and so didn't order more. This lead the company behind the series to believe kids didn't want Bucky O Hare toys and so pull the plug (yes, children's cartoons shows are created just to sell toys. Harsh but true!)
The show told the story of an intergalactic war in another dimension where Bucky O Hare and his rag tag crew of talking animals had to do battle with the evil toad empire.
This show had the weirdness of TMNT, as well as a kick ass intro, but was in many ways more interesting. I liked the fact there was a wide range of animals among the good guys (one of the biggest faults of TMNT is that the heroes all basically look the same!)
And the show featured a one eyed duck with four arms.
Awesome.
Looking back, the animation was pretty dodgy and the plots were often dumb, but some how this show always really spoke to me.
The one thing that I didn't like was the inclusion of a human character, Willy Dewitt, a child genius. No one liked Willy Dewitt, the same way no one likes Robin in Batman.
People making things for kids often feel the need to tag on child characters with adult characters. I think the logic is to give kids someone to identify with, but who as a kid wanted to play Robin or Dewitt? Kids wanted to be Bucky or Batman, the cool characters! Playing the kid side kicks was something everyone wanted to actively avoid when I as at school.
So now we know why there will never be humans in Harkovast!


Biker Mice from Mars

The most obvious rip off of Mutant Turtles was always the Biker Mice from Mars.
I am pretty sure this show came about during a brain storming session of throwing together random animals, jobs and adjectives until something stuck.
The result was a complete mess.
The sad thing is, the Biker Mice themselves were pretty cool.
They looked bad ass, driving around on bikes and blowing shit up. But this just made it even more painful that the show they were in was so poorly put together.
Why are there mice on mars? How come humans haven't detected them? Why do they speak English and sound like they come from modern America? The show ignored all these issues, mainly because I don't think anyone involved really cared.
The animation was shoddy, the plots barely existent and the bad guys laughably lame.
The show also copied one of the less savoury aspects of the TMNT- sexism.
Both this show, and 1980's mutant turtles featured female characters who basically existed purely to get captured on a weekly basis (Turtles Forever even makes some really excellent jokes about this odd trend!) But since TMNT had an all male group of anthromorphs and a useless female human side kick, biker mice was compelled to follow.
Even the theme tune was dumb, just a robotic repetition of the title over and over again.
But that was not the end! The three racing rodents would get in one last copy of the mutant turtles, as they would also return in the 2000's.
They returned with a bad ass opening sequence and theme tune that really seemed to suggest that this time around they were going to do things right. There were new, far more threatening bad guys (an army of Facist cats), and even the human female side kick got her own bike and was cast as far less of a damsel in distress.
So was it any good?
No, it was still shit.
Shit in slightly different ways, but still very shit! The animation started out quite good with some battle sequences in the first episode but then degenerated to looking like it had been poorly done in flash!
Also, the evil cat army was given an annoying comedy leader (who was poorly animated so he had one long tooth which switched sides on his face when he changed the way he was facing.) Assisting them was Renaldo Rump, a parody on Donald Trump with a large arse (no seriously, that is what he was) who they also saw fit to make into a really tasteless Hispanic stereotype, spouting embarrassingly bad cliché lines like “I am going to make, how you say, mucho dinero!”
The story lines were also as moronic as ever and despite the initial positive signs, this show some how managed to be as disappointing as its predecessor.
What did I learn from this show? Try not to make absolute crap, mainly.

SWAT Kats

SWAT Kats was completely bad ass.
I mean seriously. It was so completely bad ass that calling it bad ass is probably not doing justice to how bad ass it was. It transcended bad ass.
For some reason everyone in the world was a cat (no explanation given, but it seemed to be an alternate reality, as they referred to their own history which seems fairly different to earth history and never indicated there were or ever had been humans in their world that I am aware of) and the biggest city on the planet was Mega Cat City.
Mega Cat City was a great place to live except for the fact it was under almost constant siege from giant monsters, robots, and the forces of evil.
It had an army/police force called the Enforcers who had helicopters, planes and tanks galore, but while well equipped to deal with regular criminals (and presumably, out breaks of all out war in down town) they were not up to the task of stopping the many ridiculous things that seemed to show up surprisingly often.
So it fell to our heroes, the SWAT Kats, two cats in a really awesome plane, to fly in and save the day.
The characters looked cool (as did the awesome plane, the Turbo Cat), the animation was great and the whole thing was tremendously action packed, with huge quantities of stuff getting blown up on a weekly basis.
The theme tune was pretty cool, but got a lot better in the second series.
Was there anything I didn't like?
Well, they did do something I hate in anthropomorphic shows, which was especially egregious considering the setting where all cats can talk and wear clothes. They made stupid cat related puns. A few times they made reference to kitty litter. Really, just think about that. No in fact, don't. The connotations are too horrible to consider.
Though declaring they were going to ‘kick some tail’ was pretty cool, so I'll forgive em there.
The other odd thing was that the male cats and the female cats were drawn differently. The male ones looked like, well, cats. The female ones were far more human like, having hair (I also find anthropomorphic characters with hair as well as fur kinda weird, especially when some get it and some don’t) and were more like human women with funny noses, tails and pointy ears. It's a dumb thing to complain about, but it always kinda irked me! And the chick still did seem to get imperilled an awful lot.
An odd point was that Razor, the smaller of the two heroes, had the same voice as Donatello on TMNT.
Basically this show was great (and surprisingly violent, now I think about it!)
With all the remakes of shows going on these days, am I the only one gunning for more SWAT Kats? I mean if crappy Biker Mice can get a revamped series despite having never done anything but suck, aren't we over due for the return of the radical squadron?




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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
confusedsoul at 6:23AM, July 21, 2010
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I always quite liked the new teenage mutant ninja turtles, it seems to get a lot of stick for not being as good as the original which struck me as probably being stained with nostalgia.

I can't think of so many good “animal” themed shows now. There seem to be a lot but none of particular note sadly.
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harkovast at 5:16AM, July 22, 2010
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Other examples too bad to even talk about include-
Xtreme Dinosaurs
Street Sharks

Are there any other truly dreadful anthro cartoons of the past (or indeed…any good ones?)

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
JZA963 at 10:11AM, July 23, 2010
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When you mentioned bucky o'hare it brought a tear to my eye I loved that show I also remember barnyard commandos and dinosaucers
jza
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Canuovea at 1:02PM, July 23, 2010
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I don't really recall any decent childhood cartoons I watched as a really young kid. Well there was this one about Raccoons, was alright I suppose.

But I remember the Redwall series of cartoons very clearly. Then again, I was reading the books by grade four or so, actually before I saw the cartoons for the first time. Still liked the cartoons though, they were, for me at the time, pretty good. But there wasn't enough gore, the books had gore and lots of death, but the cartoon was tailored for kids far more so. It was also my introduction to this Anthropomorphic stuff. I actually don't care all that much about the fact that characters are otters, badgers, weasels, mice, hares (not rabbits!), stoats, rats, lizards, martens, foxes, etc except insofar as each particular group had certain attributes that made them stand out. Badgers, for example, were generally very large and prone to fits of berserk rage. Story was what mattered. Maybe this is why I'm so open to Harkovast, I look past the fact that we have, *gasp*, talking animals. Some people just can't do this it seems. Besides, I like the story and world and characters… so far.
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harkovast at 7:15PM, July 23, 2010
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The Racoons was cool but the best bit was the theme tune at the end, that was absolutely stonking.

You are making me worried saying “I like it…so far!”
Now I have to be on top of my game if I don't want to lose a reader!

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metabad at 10:59PM, July 24, 2010
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harkovast
Other examples too bad to even talk about include-
Xtreme Dinosaurs
Street Sharks

Are there any other truly dreadful anthro cartoons of the past (or indeed…any good ones?)

I remember I had a Street Sharks action figure of the blue shark, but I never even watched the show. I remember wanting to though because I had the toy, was it really that horrible?

As for Xtreme Dinosaurs, saw part of one episode on Youtube and other than some nice voice work from Scott Mcneil and Gary Chalk, it was kind of boring, but the concept is just plain hilarious I gotta say.
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Renard at 5:23AM, July 25, 2010
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I vaguely remember The Wind In the Willows, but most of my childhood was Bugs Bunny, nature and military documentaries, and shows about murder investigation.
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 5:31AM, July 25, 2010
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Street Sharks made biker mice look high quality, the production value and animation were a joke.


I just remembered another interesting thing about Bucky O Hare.
The show had an unintentionally racist message one week.
They brought on a new crew member called Al Negator (a pink alligator call a sleazasor…sure, why not?) and Dead Eye Stuck states that he doesn't trust any stinkin' Sleazasor!
Bucky chastises him, and says they should give everyone a chance.
Now you might be thinking Bucky would be proved right, Al would come through and we all learn a lesson about racism. You would be wrong.
Instead it turns out Al is a mercenary spy working for the toads and is pure evil!
So judging people based on their race as being either good or evil IS a good idea.
Probably should have set that episode up a little differently there…

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Canuovea at 1:10AM, July 26, 2010
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Hark, Hark, Hark, sometimes its just the case that those who we decide to give a chance to do stab us in the back… but it seems a little bleak for kids. But then again, they have to get used to the real world, don't they? That was sarcasm. Somewhat. I dunno. It could be argued that the message in that was meant as both a slap down of “Dead Eye Stuck” (The title character tells him to shove it) but also a warning not to just trust everyone implicitly. Then again, you saw the episode and I didn't. Heck, I have only heard about Bucky O Hare here, why defend it?

And when I say “so far” you don't have too much to worry about. You've already got me hooked into this story, and it would take something seriously awful to turn me away. As far as I'm concerned just keep up what you're doing! You're definitely doing something right. And if you've got the whole thing planned out already (as I suspect) then keep em rolling out! As much as I hate having to wait (one problem with Webcomics, they're a work in progress much of the time), everything I know so far tells me it will be worth it.

I also remember Bugs Bunny. Actually those were pretty good. Even if they taught kids to laugh at other people's misery and misfortune, then again, they were always funny to me, so maybe kids just naturally laugh at other's misery..
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Renard at 4:40AM, July 26, 2010
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I don't think I ever needed help to laugh at other people, I sort of came into that on my own. One thing that I liked about it was that unlike other shows it wasn't about teaching lessons, it was about entertainment ('cause Lord knows that shooting someone in the head doesn't just spin their beak around, and walking off a cliff is a bad idea whether you look down or not)!
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 5:58PM, July 26, 2010
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The Bucky O Hare episode was interesting because they could have just had the new crew member join and then betray them.
But they specifically had a character not trust the new guy for racist reasons (they did not say explicitly that he was racist but he was saying “you should never trust a sleazasor”, which seems like a pretty broad stroke to me!)
And then had the hero tell him that they should not make judgements like that.
So the moral lesson was very clearly set up.
And then we learn the guy IS a bad guy and we never meet another sleazasor to prove that they are not all bad.
So the moral is “some races are just bad and you shouldn't give them a chance.”
Don't think they thought that one through well enough.

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vwyler at 6:28PM, July 26, 2010
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Never saw the show, or even heard of it, frankly. I was grown by the 80s when a lot of this came out, and too old for toons to have an impact on me. Perhaps it wasn't so much the character's race/species that was being questioned, as his politics. Like saying “you can't trust a Nazi”. As far as bad cartoons go, the Hanna-Barbera output for U.S. Saturday mornings in the 60s and 70s was God-awful, yet I was weened on it and loved it. Still do. Frankenstein Jr. and The Herculoids were my two favorites. Neither were Anthro specifically, though The Herculoids had prominent animal characters as heroes, and Frankenstein Jr. was a non-human sidekick to Buzz Conroy, the show's kid hero. The animation on both was, to say the least, sub-par, especially on Frankenstein Jr. Size, proportion, color, spacial relation… they meant nothing to the HB animators on that show… to say nothing of logic, or continuity. Oh well… I liked 'em anyhow.;)
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harkovast at 6:36PM, July 26, 2010
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Herculoid, the hemaroids of the GODS!

I haven't heard of either of those shows, I am going to go look em up on YouTube.

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confusedsoul at 8:41AM, July 27, 2010
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Street sharks, 6 0 clock in the morning. They turned an orca into one of the street sharks and it drank a barrel of oil to spray out it's blow hole at the baddies. It's only just occured to me how badly oil and whales don't mix.

I saw the opening episode of Extreme Dinosaurs back when CITV was running and I was too young to understand TV schedules so when it wasn't on the next day I cried and never found it again. I used to see the VHS tapes of them wearing sombreros, so I don't think I missed much.
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harkovast at 6:56PM, July 27, 2010
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Wow, someone who cried for extreme dinosaurs….you could be the only one!

Feeding oil to whales, eh?
We need to suggest this idea to BP!

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JazylH at 10:40AM, Aug. 9, 2010
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He-man, Thundercats & Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles made a big impression on my child hood. I literally grew up watching them every morning & evening with friends! Ah the good ol' days.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 12:32PM, Aug. 9, 2010
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Thundercats….is that anthro? They aren't very cat like, so I dunno if I would count it.
What I would say is that hte starting credits were BAD ASS!
Especially when Cheetara rushed through the bad guys and strikes a pose. Awesome.

He-man is deffinitely not anthro….but was also AWESOME! Yeah wiht hindesight it was cheesey and dumb, with loads of stock footage use… but we still loved it back in the day!

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JazylH at 7:46PM, Aug. 9, 2010
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I still love it today> I kinda misread the anthro part so sorry.

A few others that come to mind are Dinosaucers , Danger mouse & who could forget count Duckula!

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harkovast at 5:19AM, Aug. 10, 2010
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Hahah, dont worry! I am not a topic nazi, you can talk about any cartoon you want on here (shit or awesome.)

I also dont mind so-called “necro posting”.
If people read a really old topic and want to contribute, I say more power to them!

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Plague Doctor at 4:58PM, Aug. 10, 2010
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Ummm,I didn't watch many of the “boy cartoons” but I remember SWAT Kats on Cartoon Network and I adored it.
But I didn't really like TMNT because villians scared me,especially that brain guy >.<.And there was an episode when the flowershop guy was transformed in a creepy mutant and I had nightmares cause of it.And a women dubbed his voice so it was an extra nightmare fuel.
Common,laugh at me now :/
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harkovast at 10:35AM, Aug. 11, 2010
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*salutes a fellow SWAT Kat fan….then points and laughs*

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