The original Thundercats cartoon was great. Twenty five years ago, it was fantastic. But that’s a bit like saying that the Austin Metro is a great hatchback. It was true in the 80s, but if you bought one now for your wife’s birthday she’d divorce you and probably take the kids, because you’d be demonstrably incompetent with your idiotic choice of automobile.
But, like anything at the time, it was all we had, and we knew no better. Until 2011 that is, when Warner Brothers shocked the world by spending a bazillion dollars on making a NEW Thundercats cartoon. It was bloody amazing and I loved every second of it. But some insist that it was crap in comparison to the original. I think it’s about time we got to the truth of the matter and compared the two:
Let’s start with the originals, or Thundercats: Classic as no-one calls them. Well, the first thing you may notice is that all the characters wear leotards. It’s weird. Like they all just got home from a gymnastics competition. And while we’re at it, who the hell dressed Wily Kit? Her dress is all torn up; she looks like she just escaped from Michael Jackson’s house. Nothing dates quicker than clothes and hairstyles, sure, but I think the Thundercats looked odd even back then. He-Man never had this sort of problem, probably because he didn’t wear any clothes at all. Now I see why.
The new guys all look a bit more savvy. Some of them are even wearing armour; a sensible decision if you’re fighting guys with swords. They look a whole lot more dynamic, too. The Sword of Omens has had a bit of a makeover, not that it needed one. Overall, they look suitably modern and stylish. Some have complained about their Japanese styling, but seeing as the original show was also animated in Japan, I think that these people should be mindful of their glass house before I come over and smash it in with the Thundertank.
Lion-O has that weird five o’clock shadow thing going on. Like he had a beard the whole summer and then shaved it off. Don’t forget his tummy-window, either. It’s so we can all see his rippling abs. His whole costume is a silly shade of robin-egg blue, and it’s a bit skimpy really. It’s more like underwear than a proper outfit. He obviously spends a lot of time shaping his eyebrows and applying emo-style mascara because NOBODY UNDERSTANDS HIM.
The new Lion-O is a little younger and not so creepy. He can dress himself properly, and even has a shoulder pauldron. Like all of the new Thundercats, he is noticeably more cat-like in appearance. He actually appears to have fur, whereas the original Lion-O just looked naked. Gone is Larry Kenney’s booming voice, but the replacement fits the character well. New Lion-O puts me in mind of the impetuous Hot Rod from Transformers the Movie. Top marks.
Cheetara looks a bit like your friend’s mum that you fancied when you were ten. She has a wicked eighties haircut, but she needs to find someone other than KISS to do her makeup. She’s missing a sleeve on her costume for some reason – I can only imagine it was torn off by the same person who sexually assaulted Wily Kit. Her skin is a pallid and shocking white, making her look very sickly.
New Cheetara is younger and more nubile. She’s well fit, and has ditched the leotard for a sports bra and short trousers. She can run at super-duper speeds like her counterpart, but in this continuity she’s also a cleric, part of the elite King’s Guard. Frankly, this is one pussy I wouldn’t mind sitting on my face. Uh, lap. IN MY LAP.
Panthro is arguably the best Thundercats character, even if they didn’t manage to make him look much like a cat. He looks more like a shaved elf. His harness/pants combo makes him look like he got stuck in one of those baby-bouncer things you hang in a doorway. New Panthro is the same character, but wears big-boy trousers and grew some muttonchops. Halfway through the series, he loses both his arms like it ain’t no thing. Because he’s WELL ARD M8.
Wily Kit and Wily Kat have aged the worst, which is strange as they’re the youngest characters. Well, technically Lion-O was the youngest character in the original series, but that’s a whole kettle of weird that I’m just going to ignore. They look sort of haggard. Small, rather than young. Gives me the creeps, really. Like if you put granny in pigtails.
The new Thunderkits are wicked. Look how cute they are!! They even have little bushy tails and everything. Those mischievous scamps! Wily Kit is just adorable. I’d totally giver her a cuddle if it didn’t mean I’d get banged up in a Thunderian prison along with Mumm-Ra. Moving on!
The less said about Snarf, the better. He talks and it’s annoying and weird. I’m reminded of those deluded bastards who teach their dogs to speak, and the animal painfully manages to mewl “I ruuuffff yuuuuuuu” in exchange for a biscuit. It’s sad. He’s also ugly as shit.
New Snarf is much better. He doesn’t talk and behaves more like an animal this time. He’s kept as a pet rather than a slave, which makes more sense. He’s cute and nice to look at, even if he is vaguely reminiscent of Pikachu.
THE FINAL WORD
I think it’s obvious that the new Thundercats inherits the mantle of best anthropomorphic cat cartoon. It outshines the original in every way, but the world just wasn’t ready for it. Today’s children have been spoiled with their newfangled Playing Stations and needle drugs.
2011 Thundercats is painstakingly well animated, fresh and relevant. The story and mythology has been tweaked slightly, as have the characters, so it doesn’t feel like a re-tread of the original. Oh, and Lion-O can turn into a wicked flying space robot. What more do you people want!?
“Forget his tummy”