Novel Update

December 31, 2008

I’m still keeping up with the “write every day” pledge. I’m at 27094 words on the novel now, which is an increase of 1660 words since yesterday. I think I figured out a partial solution to the “dropped threads” problem I mentioned in my last post (although I haven’t implemented it yet). However, now I’m getting a bit worried that the story may run out of steam before I get to proper novel length. I think I need to work on not worrying about problems until they materialize.

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Novel Update

December 29, 2008

I’m at 24589 words now, an increase of 1655. I had to do a bit of rewriting to one of the earlier chapters, since I realized that one of the characters had done something that he really wouldn’t have done. It didn’t have too much impact, and actually allowed me to simplify one of the chapters I added today.

I still have ideas for some future chapters, but I’m feeling a bit blocked right now, and it feels like I’ve dropped some threads of the story. I did something to one of my characters a few chapters ago that has taken him out of the action, and I think I need to figure out how to draw him back into it.

EDIT: I wrote a little more after posting this, so I’m really up to 25434 today, which is 2500 words since yesterday.


Novel Update

December 28, 2008

Still sticking to my “write every day” pledge! The novel is up to 22934 words now, which means I wrote 2301 words today. I’m sure they’ll need some touch up later, but I’m sticking with the “it’s allowed to suck” rule right now.


Novel Update

December 28, 2008

I am now at 20633 words on my novel, which means I wrote 1430 words today.


Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 3: Berbils

December 27, 2008

In this episode we meet the Ro-Bear Berbils, robot teddy bears with awesome voices and an endearingly fatalistic attitude.

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We open at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, and a series of shots brings us to his magically opening sarcophagus. Now that the Eye of Thundera is so close, he’s eager to get his mummified hands on it. He is concerned, however, about the resourcefulness of the Thundercats, since they might thwart his plans (of course, last time he was thwarted not by the resourcefulness of the Thundercats but by the coincedence of one of them owning something shiny, but I can see why he would have trouble internalizing that). He uses his cauldron-scope to check out what’s going on with these allegedly resourceful Thundercats.

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Lion-O doesn’t appear to be at the camp with the rest of the Thundercats. Mumm-Ra notes that Lion-O always carries the Sword of Omens with him, and deduces that this would be the perfect time to destroy the Thundercats still at camp, since there’s no risk of destroying the coveted Eye in the process (the Eye of Thundera being embedded in the Sword of Omens, and thus away from camp with Lion-O).

This takes us to our next scene at the camp, where most of the Thundercats are ogling Panthro’s sweet new ride, the Thundertank. It turns out that Panthro was indeed able to salvage enough equipment from the crashed spaceship to build it (as he speculated he’d be able to do last episode).

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Unfortunately, the weather takes a turn for the worse. A lot worse, actually, as larger and larger rocks start to fall from the sky along with the rain. (Presumably this is Mumm-Ra’s handiwork, although that isn’t directly spelled out).

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Tygra tries to lead everyone into the ship, but Panthro thinks “screw that!” and hops into his tank. The rain and rocks eventually cause a rock slide that buries both the ship and the tank. Somehow, the Thundertank is able to dig its way out from under the rocks, although I’m wondering if that would be possible, given the exposed-treads design of the tank. The Thundertank’s relationship to physics and geology proves even more tenous when Panthro somehow causes it to dig into the ground while driving along perfectly flat terrain.

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Panthro uses the power of the tank to push the spaceship up out of the rocks and dirt. After they’re all reunited, Tygra speculates that the meteorological anomaly they just experienced was unnatural in origin.

We then cut to the forest, where Lion-O and Snarf are exploring. We have to sit through a comedy bit in which Snarf is literally scared by his own shadow. Snarf attributes this to his overabundance of fierceness, which has been reliably reproduced by his shadow.

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Snarf, overcompensating, tries to take on a rhinocerous-esque creature, largely by running circles around it (I wonder if he’s been training with Cheetara).

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The beast eventually wanders away, leading Lion-O to scold Snarf for trying to fight a creature “twice as big as” Snarf. Lets hope that Lion-O doesn’t need to face any Trial of Spatial Relationships to prove his worthiness to lead the Thundercats at any point in the future. Opting to continue his explorations, Lion-O promptly falls through the ground into a deep pit.

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“Can’t… get a… foothold… sides… too… slippery,” Lion-O shatners. To the accompaniment of “comedy music” Snarf gathers some vines with which to rescue Lion-O. However, he is unable to brace himself properly to assist in his much larger friend’s assent. But, as he’s being pulled along toward the pit, Snarf is captured by a bunch of lassos thrown from offscreen.

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Lion-O doesn’t fare much better, as he’s also lassoed. The lasso-throwers, however, do start to pull Lion-O out of the pit. As Lion-O is pulled out of the pit, cool electronic voices, presumably coming from whoever is doing the pulling, complain about how heavy he is. When Lion-O gets to the surface, we see that he has been captured by robotic teddy bears.

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Lion-O, in typical overly dramatic fashion, demands to be released. The bears laugh at him, and mock him derisively: “Lion-berbil, berbil-lion, lion-berbil ha ha ha”. In addition to the electronic effects on their voices, the berbils always have unusual cadence and inflection when they speak, which makes their “voice” distinctive and memorable. Lion-O is incensed that these creatures would dare to mock the Lord of the Thundercats, which only increased the amusement of the Berbils, one of them delivering a deadpan “roar.” Snarf suspects that the Berbils haven’t heard of them, but the Berbils prove to be more with-it than expected by acting out the Thundercats spaceship crash.

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The Berbils lead Lion-O and Snarf off to their village. In a cutaway to the other Thundercats we learn that they aren’t concerned in the least about Lion-O, since they’d have been alerted to danger by the Eye of Thundera if there was anything to be concerned about.

Snarf and Lion-O are tied to trees, however, and Lion-O is unable to get his hand to his sword. They are approached by a different colored robot bear, who Snarf quickly deduces is the leader. The leader introduces his group as Berbils, to which Lion-O childishly responds, “urble derbly berbil urble!”. The Berbil leader pulls a knife, but rather than teach Lion-O some respect, he cuts the ropes holding him to the tree.

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The leader clarifies that they are Ro-bear Berbils, Berbils from the planet Ro-Bear, and that they’ve been on Third Earth for years. He leads them into the village, and gets a female Berbil to give them some fruit. (You can tell she’s female by the flower over her ear, the same way you can with humans).

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The tribe leader introduces himself as Ro-Bear Bill (which Lion-O hears as “Roberbil”, which the Thundercats will use as this character’s name from now on). Lion-O and Snarf like the fruit, and want to know where the Berbils got it. Roberbil explains that they are farmers, and they grow Berbil-fruit: Meat-fruit, Drink-fruit, Veggie-fruit of all kinds, and Candy-fruit. Snarf is excited by the prospect of Candy-fruit. I think Snarf has some impulse control issues, which makes nanny seem like an odd career choice for him.

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Before Snarf can chow down in earnest, however, the village is alerted to an impending Trollog attack. It turns out that the Trollogs live in caves in the north, and that they occasionally raid the village to get Berbil-fruit. Lion-O volunteers to help in the attack, but Roberbil doesn’t want to impose on his guest. The berbils use blowguns (robots that presumably don’t have any lungs use blowguns? Just go with it) to fire stun darts at the Trollogs, but the Trollogs are able to brush off the attacks with comparative ease.

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The Trollogs begin to overwhelm the Berbil defenders. Lion-O takes stock of the situation:

Lion-O: Those stun-darts aren’t doing much good
Roberbil: No, they never do.
Lion-O: Then why do you use them?
Roberbil: Because we would not want to harm anyone
Lion-O: Then why don’t you just let the Trollogs march into your village and take your Ro-Bear Berbil-fruit?
Roberbil: And behave like cowards?
Lion-O: I don’t get it
Snarf: I don’t know, makes perfect sense to me

Lion-O can’t stand to see the Berbils overrun, so he springs into action. He shouts “HO!” to make his sword switch into long mode, and spins it in a circle to create some kind of force field.

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The Trollogs try to charge Lion-O, but bounce harmlessly off his force-field, and decide to flee. Roberbil tells Lion-O that the action was quite exciting (making sure to first check that his girlfriend Roberbelle is indeed excited). Lion-O apologizes for butting in, but explains that he “lost control”. Roberbil goes the “no biggie” route, since no one was really hurt in the process. Lion-O is confident that the Trollogs won’t be bothering the Berbils for a while, but Roberbil expresses sympathy for the Trollogs. Roberbil clarifies that the Trollogs don’t steal the Berbil-fruit for themselves, since they are unable to eat anything but the leaves of trollberry bushes. Roberbil’s explanation continues as a voiceover as we watch the Trollogs return home in defeat. It turns out that the trollberry bush is abundant above the caves where the Trollogs live, but the Giantors who live there won’t let the Trollogs eat the leaves unless they are brought Ro-Bear Berbil-fruit. Just as Roberbil speculated, the Giantors are furious that the Trollogs have returned empty-handed. Alerted to danger by the Eye of Thundera, Lion-O calls upon sight beyond sight.

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It turns out that the Giantors are going to attack the village. Lion-O is confident that he can handle them himself, but Snarf convinces him to call in the other Thundercats. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” The Giantor attack begins, and Snarf wonders if the other Thundercats failed to see the signal.

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It turns out that they did see the signal, and they now enter the fray. Somehow, they have picked up on the non-violence vibe and deal with the Giantors with lots of knocking over and tripping, and not so much with the punching and kicking.

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With a last mighty “HO!” from Lion-O, the Giantors are scared off (I assume they head back home and work off their frustration by pounding on some Trollogs). Lion-O introduces the rest of the Thundercats to his new friends, the Berbils.

We go back to Mumm-Ra, who has also been watching the action. He’s not pleased by this turn of events, since friendship with the Berbils will mean an endless food supply for the Thundercats. He decides this can’t be allowed to happen, so he transforms himself into a locust.

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Then he doubles himself, and doubles again, and again, turning into a giant swarm of locusts, which flies out of his pyramid. As Roberbil expresses thanks to the Thundercats, they are distracted by the rest of the Berbils announcing a plague of locusts. (Now, if only we knew the airpeed of the average locust, we could figure out how far Mumm-Ra’s pyramid is from the Berbil village…) Lion-O’s keen, catlike sense pick up on some things, such as the swarm’s tendecy to fly in formation in the shape of a giant locust, and determines that something peculiar is going on.

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Now, like me, you had probably assumed that Mumm-Ra’s plan was to go after the crops. It makes sense, right? Mumm-Ra transforms into a swarm of locusts, which the Thundercats would be nearly powerless to fight, and gets rid of the food he’s concerned about the Thundercats getting access to. Pretty solid plan, it seems to me? Well, Mumm-Ra has a different idea. He decides to transform the swarm of formation-flying locusts into a single giant locust to attack Lion-O. Lion-O, however, jumps on its back, rodeo style, and demands that it fly away.

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Locust-Ra, rolling with the punches, decides to carry Lion-O to a nearby active volcano. Once over the smoking crater, he transforms back into swarm form, and Lion-O falls helplessly down. As he’s falling down into the volcano head first, the Sword of Omens slips out of its sheath on the Claw Shield and falls away from him.

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Lion-O’s reaction to this? “The sword it’s… it’s… The sword! Yes!” I’m not entirely sure where he was going with that, but Jaga’s blue ghost appears to inform Lion-O that he can use the force to pull his lightsaber to him. No, wait, I mean that if he calls to the Sword of Omens, it will obey him. Sufficiently clued in, Lion-O calls out, “Sword of Omens, come to my hand!” Just before he hits the lava at the bottom of the pit he’s been falling down (just how deep is this volcano, anyway?) Lion-O grabs the crossguard of the sword and it flies him to safety.

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Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra has teleported back to his pyramid, deciding for reasons that are not explained that he has been defeated. (Seriously, dude, there’s a reason that most other swarms of locusts stick to the “destroy the crops” plan, maybe you ought to prove that you know the basics before trying to develop your own technique). Generally Mumm-Ra refers to himself in the third person, but here he also uses the second person to tell himself that he’s going to need to step up his game against the Thundercats. He claims that it doesn’t matter that he failed this time, since time means nothing to him. I call bullshit on that. If time means nothing to him, why was he so worked up about finally getting a shot at the Eye of Thundera after waiting so long? (And why was he concerned in the beginning of the episode about the Eye of Thundera getting caught in a rock slide but didn’t seem to have any second thoughts about dropping it into a volcano?)

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Lion-O wanders back into the Thundercat camp. Apparently the other Thundercats figured the situation was under control once Lion-O flew off on top of the giant bug and then got back to what they were doing before the commotion started. The Berbils show up with a feast to welcome the Thundercats to Third Earth. (I hope it works out better for them than that whole Indian/Pilgrim thing).

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Seeing the plans for the Cat’s Lair that the Thundercats are planning to build, the Berbils are justifiably dubious that the small number of Thundercats here can pull it off (which makes the mutant Slythe seem especially paranoid, since last episode his biggest concern was that the Thundercats would build an impregnable fortress before they could take another shot at stealing the Eye of Thundera).

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The Berbils decide that since they and the Thundercats are now friends, they will help them build Cat’s Lair.

[Berbil voice]Roar![/Berbil voice]


Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 2: The Unholy Alliance

December 24, 2008

Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose! Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thundercats are loose! This episode, originally a continuation of the opening episode of the series, operates at a slower pace and lets us get to know the villains a bit better.

We open on Lion-O, Snarf, and Cheetara lounging about, discussing their new planet. Their shirking is interrupted by the shouting of Panthro, who has been scavenging the wreck of their crashed spaceship for useful parts, and not finding too much of value.

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One rapid mood swing later, Panthro declares that things look “not too bad, all in all”. He believes he’ll be able to scrounge enough metal and machinery from the wreckage to build a Thundertank.Wilykit and Wilykat, meanwhile, have discovered that none of their space rations were damaged in the crash, so their food supplies are plentiful.

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Snarf is excited at the prospect of eating, but party pooper Tygra demands that they unload the heavy gear before having any food. I can understand that. I mean, it’s not like their bodies have been in suspended animation for a long time with no access to nutrients. Oh, wait, it is. Maybe snacks should be higher on the priority list? Meanwhile, the mutants are flying their spaceship around. They are unimpressed by the planet, and Jackalman compares it unfavorably to Plun-Darr.

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Back at the Thundercats’ ship, lazy-ass Lion-O is trying to get out of unpacking duty by volunteering to “scout around”. Tygra goes into full enabler mode and claims that this plan makes sense, since Lion-O is Lord of the Thundercats, and that their safety is his top priority. He does suggest that Lion-O take the Sword of Omens and the Claw Shield with him.

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After Lion-O wanders off, the other Thundercats question the wisdom of Tygra’s decision. Tygra points out, however, that Lion-O just spent ten “galacto-years” in a suspension capsule. While inside he may have grown larger, but he hasn’t had the life experiences that would allow him to mature. It’s true that those galacto-years are some of the most important galacto-years of your life.

Back on the mutants’ ship they are unimpressed by the unindustrialized nature of the planet. Their interest is piqued however, by some Egyptian-looking ruins. Slythe is concerned that if they dilly-dally too long with the sightseeing the Thundercats will have time to build an impregnable fortress. His plan, it turns out, is to build a base of their own, Castle Plun-Darr! Why he plans to build a base when their entire mission is a simple snatch-and-grab job is beyond me. We are also at this point made intimately familiar with Slythe’s speech pattern, which is to append “yesssss?” on to the end of every sentence, yes? It can get kind of annoying, yes? But it does make him a distinctive character, yes? However, up ahead, Jackalman has spotted a desert and… something else. (Psst, Jackalman, it’s a pyramid). They’re alarmed, however, when they fly over the pyramid and are caught in some kind of energy discharge from the surrounding obelisks.

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This has the effect of blasting them out of the sky, and they crash in the nearby desert. Pissed off, they decide to head over to the pyramid to give the owner a good talking to. Jackalman is reluctant at first, but Slythe exclaims, “and you call yourself a mutant? We are the fear makers, not the ones who fear.” I believe that was in FDR’s first draft, before he switched to “nothing to fear but fear itself”. When they approach the pyramid, however, a doorway magically appears, and a voice invites them inside. Like any good host, it sends a floating, glowing green sphere to show them the way. It leads them past some egyptian-style hieroglyphics into the heart of the pyramid.

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Jackalman and Monkian are a bit put off by the spooky surroundings, but Slythe claims that, far from being fear-inducing, the surroundings are quite pleasant. Spotting some giant freaky statues, the mutants speculate that perhaps an acient race of mutants constructed the pyramid. Their eyes are also drawn to a casket inside a big skull-looking thing. But there’s still no sign of the person who invited them in.

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Suddenly, the casket slides open, and the occupant announces, “as long as evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!” It turns out that he’s a creepy mummy dude in a robe.

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Mumm-Ra explains that he is aware of who the mutants are, and what their mission is here on Third Earth. It turns out that he is also interested in getting his hands on the Eye of Thundera, and he claims to be willing to work together to get it. Slythe is skeptical that Mumm-Ra knows anything about the Eye, but Mumm-Ra claims to have known about it for a thousand years, back when the planet was still First Earth. Uh, what? First Earth, Third Earth? You might want to fill us in on the backstory there, Mumm-Ra. And he could be completely full of it on this whole “knowing about it for a thousand years” thing. I’m sure that when his friends throw him surprise parties, he’s like “I have known about this party for a thousand years!”

Jackalman and Monkian don’t seem too impressed by Mumm-Ra, even when he causes a minor earthquake to demonstrate his power. Monkian points out that they can just use the communication module in their ship to call in an air strike from the other mutants, which would destroy Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. Mumm-Ra, however, shows them via cauldron-vision that their ship just sank into the sand.

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Without their ship, the mutants are stranded on Third Earth, and dependent on Mumm-Ra. The mutants, having no other option, and perhaps charmed a little by Mumm-Ra’s rich, plummy voice, agree to work together to get the Eye. Mumm-Ra switches the cauldron to the Lion-O show, and they see that he’s alone, and vulnerable to ambush. Mumm-Ra, via voiceover, reveals that he suspects that the mutants don’t believe he’s capable of leaving his tomb. It turns out that he is capable of leaving, but there’s a price he pays for doing so, and he isn’t eager for anyone to learn about that part of it. Rather than giving the mutants directions, Mumm-Ra decides to use his magic to telport the mutants to Lion-O directly.

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Lion-O seems to be using a pretty generous definition of scouting, and we fade in on him playing with his sword, shouting “have at you, varlet!” and the like. He spots some delicious animals and decides to do some hunting.

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The sword has other ideas, and flies out of his hand and embeds itself in the ground. The ghost of Jaga appears, and explains that the sword objects to senseless destruction, since it only exists to combat evil.

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After Jaga leaves, the Eye seems to indicate that something is going on. Lion-O suspects that the sword is trying to warn him of some sort of danger, so he looks through the part of the hilt that he usually uses for sight beyond sight. He spots the mutants teleporting in!

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It turns out, however, that he probably could have been using just regular sight to spot the danger here.

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There’s a scuffle, and Lion-O tries to use his “thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” to summon the others, but the quick-thinking Slythe covers his mouth before he can get to the “HO!”.

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Unfortunately for the mutants, Slythe’s hand slips off in the struggle for the sword, and Lion-O is able to bust out the “Thundercats HO!” part, alerting the others.

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Tygra and Cheetara are away looking for a good place to build the Cat’s Lair, so Panthro and Wilykit and Kat will need to handle this one. However, once they do arrive Lion-O wants them to stay out of the fight since he figures he can handle the situation on his own. With the arrival of more Thundercats however, the mutants decide they are overmatched and flee yet again. Mumm-Ra teleports them out of there. The Thundercats are surprised, since the mutants generally require ships overhead to teleport. Lion-O is concerned that Tygra and Cheetara didn’t respond to the Thundercat signal, so he decides to go look for them.

Back at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, he lays into the mutants for failing in their mission, despite their previous big talk. It turns out that Mumm-Ra can dish it out but can’t take it, and totally flips out when the mutants imply that he wouldn’t be able to do any better.

“Ancient spirits of evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever Living!”

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I hear that John McCain’s image consultants wanted him to call on the ancient spirits of evil to transform his decayed form when he started slipping in the polls against Obama, but he wouldn’t go for it.

In his search for Tygra and Cheetara, Lion-O has stumbled onto a tar pit.

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Now, have you ever gotten “the giggles”, and just been unable to stop laughing, even when it’s inappropraite? I think that happened to Mumm-Ra for this next scene. The Eye alerts Lion-O to danger, and he turns to find Mumm-Ra appearing in a whirlwind, laughing like a mental patient. Lion-O’s first instinct is to summon the other Thundercats, but he thinks better of that, figuring that he needs to be more self-reliant. Lion-O charges Mumm-Ra, who laughs, and uses his bat wings/cape to knock the sword from Lion-O’s hand into the tar pit, which sets off another round of laughing. Lion-O retrieves the sword, and charges Mumm-Ra again, but Mumm-Ra easily dodges by leaping into the air.

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Still laughing, Mumm-Ra introduces himself, and declares that he can’t be destroyed. Lion-O now decides that he really needs the help, so he tries to summon the Thundercats. However, when he tries, it doesn’t work. The tar from the tar pit has covered the Eye!

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Mumm-Ra, still laughing like a loon, presses his attack. But, just as he’s about to finish Lion-O off, Lion-O interposes his Claw Shield, and Mumm-Ra catches sight of his reflection in the shiny surface!

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So, the Claw Shield is shiny and reflective? Thanks for not establishing that critical point before it was relevant, show! Now, Mumm-Ra’s reflection, in addition to being the decayed rather than ever-living form, is also distorted like a fun-house mirror and is accompanied by a goofy sound effect. Mumm-Ra, horrified, flies away.

Meanwhile, Cheetara thinks she heard the Thundercat roar earlier and is nagging Tygra to come check it out with her (she probably also thinks she left the oven on back at the ship). Attracted by the battle cries, they get to Lion-O shortly after Mumm-Ra flies off, and are quickly joined by the rest of the Thundercats as well.

Back at the pyramid, Mumm-Ra flies in, and goes through the reverse transformation back to his mummy-dude form, and silently goes back to his sarcophagus, leading the mutants to believe that he’s maybe not quite as big a badass as he had claimed.

Finally, the Thundercats are standing around contemplating the aftermath of the battle.

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Lion-O has deduced that Mumm-Ra’s reflection drove him off, but opines that Mumm-Ra feared nothing. “Except the evil in its own unspeakable face”, offers Tygra. Maybe Mumm-Ra just needs a good plastic surgeon, and then he’d be invincible.


Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 1: Exodus

December 23, 2008

Today I will start the first in what I hope to be a series of reviews of Thundercats, an after-school cartoon which premiered in 1985.

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On the bridge of a spaceship, several anthropomorphic felines discuss an impending important event.

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Jaga, Panthro, Cheetara, Tigra, Wilykit, and Wilykat discuss whether Lion-O should be awakened, balancing his youth versus his need to be prepared for leadership. Jaga makes the call and dispatches Cheetara to wake him up.

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Cheetara goes to wake the young Lion-O up, immediately raising the question: is she naked, or what? There aren’t any lines indicating clothing anywhere between her neck and her belt, so she’s at least topless. Presumably her fur is concealing the bits that wouldn’t be considered appropriate for the target audience. Puzzlingly, she has lines on her thighs indicating that she might be wearing a bikini bottom or something, but unless it’s an exact match to her natural coloring that doesn’t seem to be the case. So what’s up with those lines on her thighs? Regardless, she wakes Lion-O up, which upsets Snarf who serves as Lion-O’s overprotective nanny.

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Snarf is a more traditionally sized and shaped feline compared to the anthropomorphic ones we’ve seen so far, but he has a thick, prehensile tail. He also uses a whiny-voiced “snarf” as a sort of verbal tick to indicate grumbling. So I guess he’s kind of like Gollum in that respect.

On the bridge, Jaga tells Lion-O to watch the viewscreen as a planet explodes.

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Jaga explains that the planet in question was Thundera, their former home. Lion-O seems shocked by this, which seems odd. It doesn’t seem like this spaceship escape is a spur of the moment thing, so why has Lion-O been kept in the dark about this whole “planet exploding” thing until now? (And why didn’t anybody say to Thundera, “just because Krypton’s doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to, too”? Planets are really susceptible to peer pressure.)

Jaga explains, however, that the explosion of a planet doesn’t mean that the Code of Thundera will be lost. And what is that code, you may ask? Justice, Truth, Honor, Loyalty. As codes go, it’s not the best. Frankly, I think both Hammurabi and Sumuel F. B. Morse have them beat. In any event, Jaga explains that the nobles with them, Panthro, Cheetara, Tigra, Wilykat, and Wilykit (although he only includes the last two grudgingly) will teach him how to rule wisely and well. It is not lost on Snarf that he was just totally snubbed.

With the tedious business of his subjects finished, Jaga moves on to the most important part of Lion-O’s heritage, the mystic Sword of Omens, and the source of the Thundercats’ powers, the Eye of Thundera.

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(What “powers” it’s the source of is left somewhat vague). When Lion-O picks it up, the sword embiggens itself. This seems to surprise and annoy Lion-O, who complains about holes in the hilt, and his inability to see any eye in the sword. (Psst, Lion-O, it’s that red thing that looks like a cat’s eye…)

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Rather than point out how dense Lion-O is, Jaga instead opts to explain that they eye “sleeps until needed” (much like a cat, I suppose), and that the much-maligned holes in the hilt are actually magic apertures, which can give you sight beyond sight. Lion-O is too much of a wuss to even lift the sword he’s been complaining about, but Jaga assures him he’ll grow into it. Jaga dispatches Snarf, who has wandered into the Sword Chamber, to fetch the other Thundercats.

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Jaga explains that, on their own planet, they needed no protective clothing or special weaponry (so I guess those belts are just uselss affectations?), but that they don’t know what they’ll be facing in their new home. He throws some red glowy stuff at them, explaining that they are “raiments and weapons” that will protect them.

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We only see Cheetara, Tigra, and Panthro get their goodies, however. I’m detecting a certain stratification in Thundercat society, if you see what I mean, and I’m sure Wilykit and Wilykat do.

With incredible dramatic timing, the ship is rocked by an explosion. They’re under attack! Jaga commands Lion-O to stay in the Sword Chamber while the non-useless members of the team go off to deal with the crisis.

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Tigra identifies their attackers as originating from planet Plundarr, leading Panthro to exclaim, “Mutants! Always those blasted mutants!”, a phrase which has become all too common in recent years. When are those fatcats down in Washington going to take care of this mutant problem!? Sorry, went off on a little rant, there…

The mutants destroy the convoy that the Thundercats have been leading (which might have been more dramatic if the convoy had been, you know, established before now), but are not attacking the flagship that the main characters are on. Jaga deduces that the mutants must be after the Eye of Thundera. Indeed, the mutants deploy grappling rays to pull the flagship in, and extend some type of tube to board the ship.

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Although not really explained fully in the show at this point, I need to digress slightly to talk about names so I can properly describe the action. Later in the series it is explained that Snarf, Tigra, Cheetara, and Panthro are not the actual personal names of these characters, but are the names of their breed (clan? species?). As the leaders of their respective groups, their group name is used in place of their personal name. The mutants sort of use a similar system. There are three varieties of mutant involved in this attack. There are reptilian mutants, led by Slythe. He also appears to be the overall leader of the mutants, or at least this particular group of mutants. It isn’t entirely clear why he is referred to by name, since he is a Reptilian. There are also Monkians (monkey-looking dudes), led by Monkian, and Jackalmen, led by Jackalman.

Tigra and Cheetara rush off to repel the borders, with Cheetara showing off some preternatural speed in the process. Using the “run around in a circle” technique that’s so popular with speedsters, Cheetara manages to tie up some Reptilians.

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Tigra inexplicably becomes invisible, and gets the drop on some Monkians. (Later in the series it will be established that Tigra uses his whip to become invisible, but here he just fades out without any whip-based assistance.)

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Panthro uses his prodigious strength, and not-so-prodigious quips, to lay the smack down on some Jackalmen.

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Wilykit and Wilykat use a flash capsule to escape from some Reptilians. Um, guys, I’m not trying to be overly critical, but the other Thundercats actually beat their Mutants up. I’m starting to see why you’re second class citizens. “Wiliness” is not an excuse to slack off on the mutant-smacking front.

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Meanwhile, Slthye and Jackalman are hunting for the Eye. Slythe tells Jackalman that he has seen the Eye before, although he declines the describe it for his colleague. However, they immediately stumble into the Sword Chamber, and spot the object of their search, the Eye of Thundera, embedded in the Sword of Omens! (Said sword, currently in embiggened form, being held by Lion-O).

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Snarf tries to take them down, but is quickly foiled when Jackalman nabs him with the net-gun he’s been toting! (Why has he been toting a net-gun that’s only suitable for capturing things the size of Snarf when there’s only one of those on the ship, and it appears that the mutants weren’t even aware there were any before they ran into him? Don’t ask me)

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Slythe and Jackalman move in to take the sword, but the Eye of Thundera springs to life! It turns Lion-O’s eyes yellow, and projects a big Thundercats symbol into the air.

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This freaks the mutants out, and rather than snatching the sword immediately, they decide to back off. It also seems to have given Lion-O enhanced strength, as he’s now able to wield the sword even though he could barely hold it before. This causes Slythe and Jackalman to flee in terror. (See, Jackalman, this is what you get when you bring a net-gun to a sword fight!). In fact, they’re so terrified that they order a general retreat, and all of the mutants bug out.

Most of the rest of the Thundercats joing Lion-O in the Sword Chamber, and have a pleasant chuckle about how Lion-O is only capable of being useful with sword-induced superpowers.

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Unfortunately, when they return to the bridge, they learn from Panthro that the navigational system is shot. This means that they won’t be able to get to the galaxy they were originally headed for. It turns out they they’ll need to go to a different galaxy, a smaller galaxy, which inexplicably annoys Wilykat. Maybe they ought to stop off at Dagobah to brush up on that whole “judge me by my size, do you?” thing. Panthro, however, has located a puny star in this dinky galaxy. The third planet from this star has an atmospheric compatibility of 96%.

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Unfortunately, since it’s so far away, they’ll need to make the trip in suspension capsules. Jaga wants the rest of the Thundercats to get into the capsules while he pilots the ship. The rest of the Thundercats, however, are concerned that this would mean that Jaga would die before reaching their final destination (I think it goes without saying that they’re a little uneasy about Lion-O being in charge). Panthro thinks that they can use robot-pilot (that’s fancy Thundercat-talk for autopilot). However, given the ship’s damaged condition, Jaga feels that manual control will be necessary for as long as possible. Furthermore, Jaga explains that the capsules slow down aging but don’t stop it completely, and that he’ll die on the journey whether he gets in the capsule or not, so he might as well die at the wheel. The Thundercats get into their suspension capsules.

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Jaga, looking old and tired, can’t go on. With the immortal last words, “I pray the robot-pilot can take it… from here…”, he pulls an Obi-Wan Kenobi and disappears, his clothes dropping where he was.

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The robot-pilot does indeed get the ship to its destination planet, but that robot-pilot? Not so good with the landings.

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During the crash the suspension pods are thrown clear. Snarf wakes up, and immediately sets out to find Lion-O. It turns out, however, that Lion-O has grown considerably, due to that whole “slows down but does not stop the aging process” thing that Jaga mentioned.

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Snarf, not processing that Lion-O has grown up, has retrieved a teddy bear for Lion-O to play with. They are quickly surprised, however, by the return of the mutants’ ship. The mutants teleport down to the surface with the ship’s teleporter beam.

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It turns out that Lion-O is having memory problems, and doesn’t remember the mutants. Luckily for him, Snarf explains that they’re “real bad”. Snarf also stumbles over the Sword of Omens. He tries to give it to Lion-O, but Lion-O thinks that Snarf is trying to give him another toy, and brushes him off.

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The mutants find the rest of the Thundercats still locked in their suspension capsules, and prepare to finish them off. Lion-O, however, starts up some rocking fight music and charges to the rescue. He’s not doing too badly, considering how ridiculously outnumbered he is, but Snarf jumps on Monkian’s head and throws the Sword of Omens into Lion-O’s hand. Some kind of static discharge from the sword begins to jog Lion-O’s memory, but he’s not quite getting it, so Jaga steals another page from Obi-Wan’s playbook and shows up in blue ghost form.

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This triggers the rest of Lion-O’s memory, and he decides that now (with lots of mutants around, presumably locked in deadly combat with Snarf) is the perfect time to call upon the power of sight beyond sight. The sword provides him with close-ups of the various Thundercats in their capsules. This prompts Lion-O to say, “thunder, thunder, thunder, thundercats! HO!” while slashing the sword around, and holding it aloft for the “HO!” part, whereupon it projects a giant Thundercats symbol into the air.

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(And I promise I won’t make any “Thundercats’ ho” jokes about Cheetara. Well, any more “Thundercats’ ho” jokes.) The appearance of the giant Thundercats symbol causes the rest of the Thundercats to wake up, have their eyes flash yellow, and burst out of their suspension capsules.

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Monkian notes that the Thundercats are loose, which serves as a handy segue to the Thundercats theme music, “Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose!” The Thundercats smack the mutants around for a bit, until Slythe orders them to teleport back to their ship in retreat.

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The other Thundercats note that Lion-O has grown up, and did pretty well for himself in the fight. Snarf, however, is understandably upset that his essential contributions have been completely glossed over, as usual. Panthro notes that they’ll need to find out if they can even survive in this place (Panthro really likes to emphasize certain words when he speaks). Lion-O responds “We will survive, and create a mighty new empire! I, Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats, proclaim it!” Then the rest of them laugh at him for being an overly dramatic goof. Honestly, I think he’s getting a little ahead of himself on this empire thing. As far as we know there are a total of seven Thundercats, if you count Snarf, and only two of them are female, and it’s unclear if the different types can even interbreed. Presumably Wilykit and Wilykat can, but that’s a pretty slim gene pool to be basing an empire on.

And thus we end our first episode!