Thursday, 4 December 2008

Thunderbirds 2086

Those people who know me and don't spit in my face every other minute (wait, did I say people thus implying a plural?) know that I enjoy collecting strange tapes, mostly cartoons since they are the most entertaining things ever. And thusly I have a collection that includes such 'amazing' gems as The Gobots / Rocklords Movie and MASK: The Movie. It was whilst picking up the crippling pain that is MASK: The Movie that I came across something I'd only heard of in huddled whispers, of which only a few, tiny shots and mentions existed on the internet. What was it that piqued my curiosity that fatal day? For as we all know, curiosity killed the Matt. Hell to that, I thought, and so purchased...
Yes, THUNDERBIRDS: 2086 for those who can't read my dodgy screencaps. Its Thunderbirds in space! An early 80's Japanese Anime version of Thunderbirds! But a BETTER Thunderbirds, for it has hot girls and spaceships and lasers (of course, its from Japan). Now, to be honest I never liked Thunderbirds that much, an early 60's British puppet show featuring puppets with giant heads and outsized features... so obviously it translated PERFECTLY to anime designs (obvious, but I had to do that lame 'joke')

On watching the first episode on the tape, I did have my suspicions, that perhaps someone had taken a random Anime series, perhaps cutting Macross and Gatchaman together with sellotape and blu-tack, and then dubbed THUNDERBIRDS all over it. Because not only does it not feature any of the original characters, designs or vehicles, it is set mostly in space, and features the five main characters fighting evil computers ("I control the horizontal and the vertical". No, the evil computer DOES say that) and evil.. stags.

Yes. If it wasn't for the TB (standing for Thunderbird) on all the ships, I'd be inclined to believe a lot of bullshitting was going on. Perhaps they'd just dubbed over TB Squad, a series about space doctors... I don't know. But at the end, there is a credit given to ITC Japan, so it seems legit. Which brings up the baffling conundrum - why on earth spend money on the license to buy the rights to make a series if you're going to change all the characters, vehicles and just replaced everything with h0tt girls and lasers and spaceships?

But seeing as how the original Thunderbirds makes me fall asleep, I don't really care. This is much better. For something made in 1983 (same year as He-Man in the US), the animation is pretty damn good. Thunderbird 1 is now a spaceship, Thunderbird 2 is now a spaceship, and Thunderbird 3, which WAS a spaceship originally, is now a ground vehicle. But it can fly.

More importantly though, all three combine in a nifty combination sequence in which Thunderbird 2 has to land on Thunderbird 3. And what's more is that I remember this. The last memory of a cartoon which I couldn't place was THIS series. Now I have found a copy of all the cartoons I ever remember. So... I'm off to become a junkie or play football or whatever.

Or, y'know, talk about Anime Thunderbirds some more!

Dylan Beyda
Dylan pilots Thunderbird 1. He is youthful and angsty and a MAVERICK. Did I mention how much of an EDGY MAVERICK he is? He's always the first to go fight EVIL computers or volunteer to get blasted off into space or whatever edgy adventure the team go on next.

Jesse Rigel
Jesse is from Texas. He sounds exactly like a cowboy, and everyone is really horrible to him about his coming from Texas. Did you know he comes from Texas? He is also an utter puppet and seemingly has no will of his own

Jonathan Jordon Jr.
(Jonathan on the right, Gran on the left)

I have no idea what this guy's function is apart from to sound like a robot half the time and be CRAZEE

Gran Hanson
Gran seems to be the leader, perhaps this is because of his age and macho charisma, or perhaps everyone else on the team is too scared of his freaky blue hair and eyebrows. He looks like Mendoza (from Cities of Gold, need you ask) but without the cloak.

Kallan James
h0tt gr1ll. Enough said. I think she fancies me...

She sits about being female.

Lets take a look at one of the episodes. Unfortunately its not the one with the EVIL computer, but instead the EVIL stag. I know I really built up the whole evil computer thing, but the stag is still cool, honest!

One Of A Kind
This gritty adventure opens not in space in a Space brothel or anything exciting like that, but in a forest. But as we all know, forests can be amazingly interesting places, full of education and raccoons. Sadly there are no crazee teenage raccoons to cause hilarious chaos in this story, simply an EVIL STAG. For some reason, all the forest wardens try to attack this EVIL STAG, with the camera zooming in on the stag's EVIL GAZE, and as one of the wardens remarks, "he has the strength of ten men!" Yes. Because you can't shoot the stag or anything. Of course as it turns out, this EVIL STAG is actually bionic, and so is like the Six Million Dollar Man, but with antlers and considerably less clothes. Presumably it can eat berries really, really fast or something. Because adding bionics to stags is so useful.

It seems that for some reason, the life of the forest depends on this stag being taken in alive, (presumably so it can be forced mate with other stags to create bionic offspring - wait, this EVIL stag must not only be EVIL., but also gay since it is running from free sexX0r. Fool!). So of course they send for a crazy gun-wielding hunter who, muttering, wanders off to find the stag, shoots randomly and suddenly the entire forest bursts into flames. Just Like You Do

Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds are undergoing stress analysis. Everyone is okay apart from Gran, the blue haired one. At first, you may think his stress would arise from perhaps realising that he has hair colour an 80 year old granny would die for, or even how randomly people in the street constantly mistake him for a raspberry ice pop. But no, it seems that he misses his wife and kids, who left him after he kept on failing to care. Little scamp! But then rather than council him, everyone is sent off to fight the forest fire. Because, you know, someone lost the fire brigade or whatever...

To cut a long and fire-tastic story short, Gran goes off to rescue the stag, since it is injured - but then everyone discovers it has a wife and baby, who looks suspiciously like Bambi. So the stag was not gay, he was just practicing fidelity, an example that some members of the human kingdom might find wise to follow. With no explanation, Gran starts seeing the mum deer and child as his own family, and immediately puts up a targeting sight to fire a really, really big missile. Perhaps this is like the beginning of Bambi, but better.

Sadly, it is not to be. Rather than nuking the obscenely cute animals into oblivion, Gran decides that his family were in the wrong for leaving him (of course!) and fires anyway, but it was an escape pod, which he pops out of and scoops up the cute animals! The day is saved!

After the forest magically repairs itself, everyone lets the deer run free (and a cute kid appears from nowhere). Once more, Gran sees the deer as his own family. Could this be symbolic of the family unity he has lost, or more likely since this is anime, his subconscious defending his desire to shag the female deer. We shall never know, for the episode finishes!

And that is Thunderbirds 2086. Remember folks, if you are ever in danger IN THE FUTURE, you know who to call! Forget the crappy episode Ichose to review though, this is actually a decently animated series for its time, with actual characterisation and interesting characters. Perhaps if it was not called Thunderbirds, it would be remembered more fondly...

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