Apologies for the lack of content in the last week as I've been ill.
I hope to be typing again soon, there's more cartoons to come for the Vault including Ed Edd & Eddy, Denver the Last Dinosaur and Sally Bollywood, while over on Fantasy Zone, UAFC will host a Super Smash Bros special of five battles in a row.
If I'm okay tomorrow, expect some posts.
See ya later.
Now it's time for a history lesson as we move onto a really old and creepy looking cartoon called Clutch Cargo.
Clutch Cargo is about a pilot of the same name, who travels around the world on dangerous assignments alongside a tag-a-long kid named Spinner, a Dachshund dog named Paddlefoot and a scruffy man named Swampy, there isn't much else to work on in terms of plot, it's very much the most basic version of Johnny Quest you're ever going to get, so lets discuss the one thing Clutch Cargo is infamous for which is Syncro-Vox.
Syncro-Vox is a filming method which combines static images with moving images, in terms of animation, lips are super imposed on the character's faces in order to save money on animating full moveable lips. Animation was very expensive in the late 50s with only Disney, Metro Goldwyn Mayer & Warner Bros having the budget for any significant cartoons at the time. Clutch Cargo was developed by a relatively small company and had to cut corners everywhere but weren't savvy enough to use the Hanna Barbara methods of cost cutting or the mostly robot era of anime post the first Astroboy anime released ironically the same year as Clutch Cargo.
The result of this was dodgy looking animation where vocal dialogue scenes were done with still images and looked insanely creepy especially when Spinner & Paddlefoot was voiced by a woman.
What saved this cartoon from failure is that the stories were pretty decent and easily digestible as the episodes were only five minutes long and one story arc would take up all the days in the Weekdays with a full recap at the Weekend.
So despite the obvious flaws in it's production, Clutch Cargo was a surprising success in it's era and at least gave an example to other animators of what can happen when budgets are too tight.
Syncro-Vox still has a small place in today's media as a method used for sketch show shorts and has even found moderate success with webtoon Annoying Orange.
I've been doing some clean up on Retro Retrospective and unfortunately the Top 100 cartoons project has been cancelled, but to make up for it I shall review five cartoons to send into the Vault, starting with Disney's Ice Hockey venture, Mighty Ducks.
First a little history; Mighty Ducks originally began as a live action film in 1992 about an out of luck Ice Hockey team becoming champions under the command of a former pee-wee player, turned lawyer named Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) who only ended up in this position because of community service which happened because he was drink driving. The film was a surprising commercial success and a year later an actual NHL Ice Hockey team named the Anaheim Mighty Ducks was formed under Disney ownership. Disney sold the team in 2005 and the team actually won the Stanley Cup the following season; in between that time in 1996 the cartoon series came about which was interesting so to speak.
It begins on a distant winter planet called Puckworld, whose inhabitants are not only humanoid ducks but their lives are centered around Ice Hockey. The peace is then broken by the Saurians who escape a place called Dimensional Limbo and lay waste to Puckworld as part revenge, part conquest led by Lord Dragaunus.
A resistance group led by Canard Thunderbeak battles bravely but ends up on the brink of defeat as Canard ends up trapped in Dimensional Limbo, assumed dead. In a desperate bid to escape, the remaining six ducks end up in Anaheim and become an NHL team under the ownership of Phil Palmfeather, and so begins their new life as an Ice Hockey team while continuing to fight off the evil Saurians.
As a kid, I liked it because I like Ice Hockey and I like a good action show; looking back I barely remember it and even question why I liked it. It's one of those bizarre sci-fi furry shows made popular by the likes of Bucky O'Hare and Starfox but the difference here is that Disney wasn't exactly discrete about the fact that this was a marketing cartoon for their Ice Hockey team, which I remind you didn't actually win any trophies until after Disney sold them.
Also it doesn't do much to evolve beyond it's formula, tell me if you've heard these characters before.
Wildwing Flashblade: Brave Leader, defined by an iconic item. (Hockey Mask)
Nosedive Flashblade: Impulsive, immature youngest member.
Duke L'Orange: Reformed thief who will likely by the first to betray the team.
Mallory McMallard: Tomboy, fiery redhead, tough girl.
Tanya Vanderflock: Genius, tech character.
Check "Grin" Hardwing: Gentle giant.
Mind you the villains aren't much better.
Lord Dragaunus: Typical power hungry villain, voiced by Tim Curry for good measure
Siege: Typical muscle bound number two
Chameleon: A creepy little villain with an annoying laugh
Wraith: The wisest one who more often than not speaks with the most common sense
Yeah breaking the mold is hardly this cartoon's strong point but if not for the actual Mighty Ducks franchise of bad movies and okay Ice Hockey team at the time then the Mighty Ducks may have been viewed more favorably. But sadly it wasn't a success nor as well remembered as the likes of Gargoyles and signaled the end of what was a decent run of TV cartoons for the Disney Channel.
I posted this nearly a year ago so now it's time to see if the Pokemon X&Y anime has lived up to the expectations of these theories.
1. There might finally be some romance between Ash & his female companion
Considering Serena’s reaction to Ash being on TV and a few choice screenshots of finally meeting Ash, this might finally be the season that Ash has an actual girlfriend. It’s also worth noting that Bonnie, Clemont’s little sister in her preview profile is trying to marry off Clemont; so romance might finally be in the Pokemon anime.
Status: Seems to have fizzled out very quick, pity
2. Serena is actually Leaf
This brings us to my favorite speculation and this one is purely mine, so no stealing.
The only logical reason for Serena to be Ash’s childhood friend is that she’s actually Leaf, the female trainer who was supposed to be in the first game but got left out. This is backed up by the fact that Leaf hasn’t been in the anime, nothing else was brought up about the other Pallet Town starters as we only have Gary’s word to go on, also take into account the emphasis on a new generation but remembering the first one and finally the similar designs between Serena & Leaf.
Status: Sadly not true, it was very ambitious to believe it was
3. Ash may not have a Rival this Generation
Considering the designs of tagalong kids Tierno, Trevor & Shauna from the games, not one of them fits the criteria for Ash’s rival, I’m sure they’ll turn up and at least one or two of them will be League Entries, but don’t expect Paul to come back or someone like him.
Status: Ash has no rival but may have some potential league opponents later
4. Shauna may be used as a plot device
Shauna got more focus in the games than the others so she may get some plot focus in the anime. I’m hoping not, as she could disrupt the balance of an already really good team.
Status: Shauna appeared for a couple of episodes and may become a rival for Serena but it's Gym Leader Korrina who has had the most focus
5. Blaziken Man might be Ash’s Father
This is a very wild speculation but going on the Childhood Friend scenario, it’s not something we can ignore anymore, as this Generation might actually fill some gaps in Ash’s background and Blaziken Man looks old enough to fit the bill.
Status: No he's Clemont & Bonnie's father
6. Ash might finally win the Pokemon League
From episode 1 of the new series Ash lampshades the fact that he has still not won the Pokemon League in any region. Well he needs his Sinnoh form back to succeed in this region.
Status: Early days yet
7. Charizard will be the Mega Evolution for Ash
It makes sense and we may even get Charizard disobey Ash again considering how volatile it was when evolving from Charmander & Charmeleon or it could easily be scenario number 8.
Status: Early days yet
8. Everyone will have at least one Mega Evolution Pokemon
This also makes sense seeing as Ash technically already has one but with stronger emphasis on that over new Pokemon, it would be a logical step later in the season for each team member to have at least one Mega Pokemon.
Status: Only Kalos Pokemon have been captured so far
9. Serena & Clemont’s Motives
Everyone has a motive for traveling with Ash but all we’ve got to go on with Serena is the fact that her mother is a famous Pokemon Rider. I don’t see contests coming back although that would be nice to see again. Clemont can’t really be top Electric trainer as long as Ash holds on to Pikachu, so I’d look at Clemont being a top Pokemon Scientist/Inventor.
Status: Serena may finally establish her goals in a few episodes, meanwhile Clemont is well established now as an inventor and it actually suits the show well
10. Less emphasis on new Pokemon
Which is good in both games & anime, obviously there will be a focus on them but it won’t consume the anime so much, in fact barring Froakie & Bunnelby all of the other major Pokemon so far have been Pikachu, Meowth, Rhyhorn, Garchomp, Wobbuffet & Blaziken; six older Pokemon to two new ones when previous generations just had Pikachu & Meowth.
Status: The opposite sadly, new Pokemon have been the main focus
Still a long way to go before we see the show peak but at the moment it's pace is too slow.
And as if by magic, here is the good list. Same rules, this applies to all villains in a given anime not just one individual.
Rurouni Kenshin: Never seems to have bad villains but mostly forgettable.
Zoids Chaotic Century: One of my best memories of the show but I sadly forget what it was like being so long ago.
Strike Witches: They have the terrifying part down but nothing else.
10. One Piece
Shonen Jump villains didn't do well in these lists but One Piece saves them from being total outcasts; One Piece is one of only two anime to be able to successfully get away with goofy villains, the other being Ultimate Muscle.
9. Air Gear
The nature of Air Gear allows for some creative battles and villains, many of which maintain an air of mystery every time and don't leave you disappointed by the end result.
8. Pretty Cure
Never let the cutesy, goofy villains of Precure fool you, by the time you get to the finale of every season expect the stakes to be high and the fights to be intense, even the movies manage to pull this off. All this from a Magical Girl show but it's not the only one on this list.
7. Card Captor Sakura
You could argue that the cards aren't really villains but the trouble they cause are enough to be labeled as such, even when the ringmaster is revealed, the quality of the villains doesn't drop.
6. Sailor Moon
The major reason Sailor Moon holds up so well is that it has some bloody good villains. Many of my generation got chills from the Dr Tomoe arc, while many feel sorry for Beryl's main henchman as they die one after the other. And as ground breaking as Madoka Magica is, it doesn't have a patch on Sailor Moon.
5. Slayers & Lost Universe
Lina Inverse & Kain Blueriver can easily be billed as invincible but the villains in both shows can easily reduce both to their knees and very nearly destroy the world. That's a sign of good villains right there when an invincible hero is made to look weak.
4. Soul Eater
This anime really knew what it was doing with it's villains, psychologically terrifying both visually and mentally which compliments the art style very well.
3. Every Gundam Series except G Gundam
Gundam villains have always done a good job in making the heroes really scared of death and no hero has ever successfully claimed a convincing victory against them without losing important people along the way or even the hero themselves managing to stay in one piece mentally.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Speaking of mentally crippling, every angel in Evangelion seems to cause extreme psychological trauma for the heroes in almost every fight. It's proof of how well the series holds up even after 20 years since the original.
1. Full Metal Alchemist
But if you want a good set of villains, come to Full Metal Alchemist. I'm of course referring to the Homunculus, the most ruthless villains to ever grace an anime, they are everything villains need to be: Terrifying, capable of worrying the good guys, defeated in an awesome way and just be a bad ass. Even more amazing is that they pull this off twice.