Good afternoon and happy Monday! Welcome to a brand new week of the Daily Cartoon on Car JoeMez! Before we get started, make sure you check out the latest episode of our show,
Let’s get started. I shouldn’t have to do a lot of background on Thundercats. It was a massive hit, had an incredible toy line and is one of the most memorable series of the 80s. The coloring and early use of anime-like animation sequences made it attractive and exciting to kids of all ages and having a fucking kick-ass theme song just cemented the whole deal.
By now, you all now how much I love toys and games and this property was one of my favorites as a kid. The figures were great, but the real gems in the line to me were the playsets. Of course, Cat’s Lair, the Thundercats’ headquarters was great, but my favorite was Mumm-Ra’s Tomb Fortress!
The commercial doesn’t do it justice since it’s focusing on figures instead of the actual playset, but let me tell you something, pal, this shit was Bananatown. I used to have Mumm-Ra transform his decaying corpse into Mumm-Ra the ever-living like 600 times a day. I couldn’t get enough of it. Besides just the feature, the sculpting on it was hella cool. The gargoyle-type statues that framed the sarcophagus were fucking scary as shit. This is totally one of my favorite playsets ever. Probably won’t be for most people, but this is why this is my blog.
You all know how much I love licensed video games, but for whatever reason, Thundercats didn’t have one. Not a real one, anyway. There was a side-scroller computer game for Commodore 64 and other like devices of the era, but no console game ever made it out despite reports that there was an NES version in the works. This makes me a sad panda. When the remake was released on Cartoon Network about five years ago, a Nintendo DS game was released, but c’mon, I’m not playing no Nintendo DS. Fuck outta here.
So the show, right. Easily one of the most beloved cartoons of the 80s about a group of immigrant cats chased away from their homeland after it becomes inhabitable and their struggle to live peacefully in a new land amongst folks who don’t want them there. That’s basically the premise, right?
Let’s watch a cartoon.
Thundercats S.1, E.28: “The Wolfrat”
Originally Aired: October 30, 1985
We open with Mumm-Ra questioning Vultureman about his latest invention: The Wolfrat. Vultureman says it is the latest in mutant technology and can easily penetrate Cat’s Lair. It’s a robotic rat with pretty good AI that should aid in their quest to rid themselves of the Thundercats. Mumm-Ra give Vultureman a miniturizing potion to have the Wolfrat bring into Cat’s Lair that will turn the Thundercats into tiny Thunderkitten. Solid plan.
The Wolfrat easily drills itself into Cat’s Lair and sprays Mumm-Ra’s potion into a ventilation shaft that immediately shrinks the Cats into tiny versions of themselves. They quickly deduce that Mumm-Ra is behind this and stress how imperative it is to find an antidote quickly. Unfortunately for them, though, time is not a luxury they have as the Wolfrat drills into the control center and begins an attack on our tiny Thundercats. Lion-O and Tygra are able to distract the Wolfrat long enough to allow for an escape, but things are in a bad way for our heroes.
Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra sends Vultureman and the rest of the mutants to set forth an attack on the Thundercats while they’re vulnerable. The Thundercats have locked themselves in Tygra’s lab in the meantime, trying to concoct the antidote, but Lion-O gets a warning from the Sword of Omens. He tells everybody to keep working while he gets to the sword chamber. He uses the vents to get there and the Sword shows him of the impending attack headed their way.
Tygra’s working on the antidote while Panthro builds Snarf an armor to combat the Wolfrat since Snarf wasn’t home when the potion came through the vents and is the only one of normal size. Utilizing his new protection and through the teamwork of the Cats, they are able to destroy the Wolfrat just as Vultureman, Monkian, Ssslithe and Jackalman arrive at Cat’s Lair.
The Cats are ready, though and are fend off the villains long enough for Tygra to put the finishing touches on the antidote needed to restore the Thundercats to their normal size. Lion-O – riding on the back of Snarf – heads for the lab and by the time the mutants are able to get through the heavily reinforced doors, not only have Lion-O and Tygra been restored, but Snarf has been enhanced to giant status! Snarf chases the mutants out of town while Lion-O summons the remaining Cats to get their dose of antidote. The day has been saved.
Look, I love this show. I have for like 30 years and will for probably another 2 or 3 since someone like me probably won’t make it too much longer. I’ve watched it a bunch over the years and will continue to do so.
So, I’m not necessarily unbiased and – while I know this isn’t one of the stronger episodes – still enjoyed it and felt it went quick. Sure, I hate Snarf like the rest of you, but he’s there and we deal with him. The rest of the characters, however, I really enjoy. I think Mumm-Ra is a fucking phenomenal heel and even his group of minions – while somewhat generic in name – all fit what we’re going for and add value.
As for the Thundercats, they’re a great group that compliments each other well and I think that only gets added to later in the series with the introduction of Lynx-O, Bengali and Pumyra to enhance their numbers.
For its time, Thundercats was an incredible show. The animation was done in Japan and you can definitely see the difference from all of the other animated series of the era. It was special, new and fun and something that I think still holds up pretty well today.
I have this whole series on DVD, but if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can find the entire series as well as the 2011 reboot (which is also terrific and will be covered at a later time in this space) available to stream. So go do that and enjoy it as much as I do.
See you tomorrow.