May 29, 2007
Ah the good old days. Lately I have been reminiscing all the old cartoons (pre-anime era of mine) I used to watch. Thinking about it suddenly makes me feel kinda old. Well I’m still relatively young, it’s just that time flies and suddenly I find myself a few months away from my graduation and then it’s the working world.
But I simply refuse to grow up. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to retain the tantrum-potential of a small kid but more of keeping the sense of wonder we all used to have when we were lil’ kids. Those were the days where we could just laugh at anything (we still can now, except that sometimes it is socially inappropriate). Those were the days where we find entertainment in the most mundane of all things because in our minds, we added the magic ingredient known as imagination.
Below are some of the cartoons which I used to follow when I was much younger. In fact if I have the entire series now I’d watch it all over again.
Some of the characters from Thundercats
Ah the famous emblem
I remember they reside in this high tech facility with an ethereal guardian as their overseer (forgotten his name, oops). When crisis strikes, Mr. Lion-o would whip out his Sword of Omen and utters the very famous line of Thunder…thunder…thundercats! Hoooooo-!! And that number one badass, Mum-ra. The mummy who’s usually “docile” and sneery under the red cloak, but gets all angsty and threatening when he’s out of it. I think he had 3 sidekicks too…somehow I only remember the monkey guy.
Captain Planet & the Planeteers
I remember the 5 kids (and the lil monkey too!). They each possess a ring that summons Captain Planet when combined. This cartoon has a good message behind it; save the Earth from pollution. Each episode would show them some way or the other battle against some of the scum-bags who threatens to destroy or upset the Earth’s ecosystem. If I remember correctly, at the end of every episode there’d be a short scene carrying lessons on environmental preservation too. Amazing how 5 rings can save the world ya?
Biker Mice from Mars
3 mice on motorcycles (Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie) who made their home in Chicago after stowing away from Mars. They looked so cool on their bikes, especially Vinnie (I think he’s the white one). I couldn’t really recall all of their main opponents but I think I remember one overweight pompous brat by the name of Lawrence Limburger. He’s some alien who disguised himself as a human to exploit the Earth’s resources. Both his name (Limburger) and the character stinks as much as the cheese.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Clockwise from left: Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello
4 carapaced reptiles each named based on the 4 famous artists of the Renaissance era. A Manhattan sewer as their hideout-cum-headquarters, these pizza-loving turtles train under their rodent sensei known as Splinter. Energy-packed fun for all each week as they kick the butts of those who threatens the peace, namely in the armoured humanoid form of Shredder and his bunch of goons (Bebop and Rocksteady – can’t remember who’s the porker and who’s the rhino). And lotsa foot soldiers.
There’s a recent release of the Ninja Turtles as a CGI-animated full-length feature movie.
Yup. They still do kick ass. COWABUNGA!
A-ri-ba!! The fastest mouse in all Mexico. I love this guy man. The sombrero, the scarf, everything about this critter looks cute to me. I like the episodes when his cousin visits too. The cousin is everything Speedy isn’t; goes by the name of Slowpoke Rodriguez who is also the slowest mouse in all Mexico. Have you heard Slowpoke speaking in a Mexican accent? I laughed my butt off each time he speaks. It’s hilarious! Ahh..love ém all.
Pépe Le Pew
Permanently living in springtime Paris, this eligible skunk in all of France is I think by far the most romantic being on cartoon history we will ever come across. For some reason, some poor cat would be striped white along the back by some way or another – and then comes Monsiéur Pépe. Amorous by nature, he sees the newly-painted cat as nothing but a female skunk and of course, tries to court the feline. The cartoon is spoken entirely in either French or pseudo-French. I recalled vividly that at one point when the cat was out of breath due to escaping from Pépe, she goes “Le pant….le pant”. How French is that?
Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote
Desert population: 2
Beep-beep! The lovable road runner and the silly coyote. This is one of the greatest non-speaking cartoons there is out there. No unnecessary talking, just full on humour. The way the cartoon goes it seems as if there’s only two of them in the entire desert. I guess that’s why the coyote just has to catch the road runner for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I remember that the catapult is indispensable, used to launch anything and everything. From getting a boulder across a canyon to launching yourself into a cactus, nothing goes without the old catapult. But honestly, for the coyote’s sake, I think he should stop getting his stuffs from Acme. The amount of malfunctions he has sufferred should be obvious. But then again, it’s him we’re talking about.
Chip & Dale : Rescue Rangers
*sings* “There’s no case too big, or case too small” Hello folks! It’s everyone’s favourite pair of chipmunks from Disney! Before they got their own show as part of a rescue team on the Rescue Rangers, they were formerly making appearances on Disney’s Mickey Mouse & Pluto series where they’d antagonise the skinny dog to no end. The two chipmunk cuties are none other than the cool and intelligent Chip (the one with the black nose) and the blur and goofy Dale (the gap-toothed red-nosed one). Put these two together and you’d have 1 and a 1/2 of chipmunk brains and an awesome load of fun!
From L-R: Rath, Nefertina, Set, Amon, Presley, and Scarab in his two forms
I remember this one. The story is in a modern setting with this boy named Presley who’s actually the reincarnation of the Egyptian Pharoah. 4 guardians in their mummified form were sent to the future to protect him from the evil Scarab’s clutches (who, of course, would like to rule the world as always). Prior to each battle each of the 4 would undergo a transformation, each morphing into the likes (and taking on the skills) of one of the 4 revered beasts in Egyptian mythology. Looking back, the huge fuss about their transformation scenes appear a bit corny now but hey, it was gold back then. And it may very well still be.
The cover of the Gargoyles comic book
‘One thousand years ago, superstition and swords ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of the gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone for a thousand years. Now in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again. We are defenders of the night. We are the gargoyles!’
Who could forget Goliath’s rugged-sounding voice? His voice puts Sean Connery to shame. This is notably one of the first English animated-series on TV to have complex story arcs and in-depth character development. A pretty serious and dark looking cartoon, I think it is by far one of the best English cartoons that I have seen. Back then, sophisticated and complicated plots were rarely the backbone of most cartoons as they thrive mainly on humour and visual gags – this is where Gargoyles stood out.
I still miss this series till today. And oh I just noticed, don’t you think Illidan Stormrage (from Warcraft III) bears some kind of resemblance to Goliath?
Looking back at what I have written, I can’t help but to smile in nostalgia. These were the cartoons that I grew up with, and I am feeling pretty good that I still haven’t lost the appreciation for them. Coupled with some imagination and a sense of wonder, they are capable of bringing you back in time to when each of us were a little kid once. It’s like having a secret magic stone in our pocket which opens up our minds to the land of dreams and magic. It’s a wonderful thing to have.
We are what we’re supposed to be
Illusions of your fantasy
All dots and lines that speak and say
What we do is what you wish to do
It’s all an orchestra of strings
Doin’ unbelievable things
Frame by frame, to the extreme
One by one, we’re makin it fun
We are the cartoon heroes
We are the ones whose gonna last forever
We came out of a crazy mind
And walked out on a piece of paper
–from the song Cartoon Heroes-