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Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Let's review the new Thundercats! Hooooo!
Ghilz

[table of contents]
01 - The Sword of Omens
Our series opens with a monologue, by Jaga, though we do not know that yet, telling us of how everything is well on Third Earth and how the Thundaran empire is awesome and "ruling with a just heart". Remember that part. He also tells us that Omens from "the book" have been ignored, and that the tragedy that is about to come was necessary for a new king to rise to reforge the kingdom and defeat "ancient spirits of evil". As the Monologue ends, we see a mural showing 80s Lion-O facing 80s Mumm-Ra (in his powered up form, with added demon wings).

Bonus points for plugging in a catchphrase in the opening voice over.

Cut to a busy street, where an adorable Snarf (seriously, he looks like a pokemon and sounds like a baby!) and a mysterious figure in a blue cloak and hood. The figure pets Snarf and wanders off. We see that a golden figure is following the cloaked man. The cloak and Snarf wander to a slum, and we learn that Snarf is The Unintelligible. Apparently everyone can understand him, except us. Snarf is apparantly worrying about the cloaked person because they are in a less than recommendable part of town. The cloaked figure and Snarf wander towards a mugging. Cloaked man calls the mugger off, telling them to leave their victims alone. A few details stand up.

Cat? Dog? Bear? Your guess is as good as mine.

Eitherway, the muggers pick out cloak man from all the bystanders and decide to shake him down. For their trouble, bear/cat/dog man gets his ass thrown across the alleyway, his three goons getting trounced for their trouble. During the fight, one goon appears to chase Snarf, eventually tripping on him... One has to admire goons who focus on bullying a pet when their friends are getting the crud beaten out of them by the pets owner. That's some priorities.

The head good eventually sneaks up behind cloakman and grabs him in a choke hold. He then says he will gut him like a fish. He then proceeds to keep choking him. Dude, that is not how gutting works. I like that the man did not draw the two MASSIVE swords he carries on his back, after his initial defeat. Nah, he just figured he'd choke him. Eventually the bear/dog/cat man gets knocked out by someone offscreen, revealing Cheetara. Just like her predecessor probably did more than most to get young males in the furry fandom, new Cheetara is quite loyal to her design. She introduces herself, and the cloaked man then makes a face and an attempt to hide his voice. She reconizes him, telling him his father would not approve of him being here, and the cloak figure takes off his hood, giving us our first look at Lion-O. Who looks much younger than his original counterpart. But that works for me. The mugs, realizing they just tried to kill the prince, decide to high tail it out of here. Lion-O laments how easily he was recognizable. Cheetara ssks what he's doing here, he asks her if she can keep a secret.

Cut to the palace (shaped like the Thundercat's lair in the original series) where three figures sit on thrones. Tygra and Jaga flanking Lion-O's father, Claudus. Claudus looks like the original Lion-O, if someone had been feeding him steroids. He is also voiced by the original Lion-O's voice actor, who delivers a solid performance. Claudus laments that Lion-O is late. Jaga reminds Claudus he should calm down, as he was much the same when he was young. Claudus brushes him off, lamenting why can't Lion-O resemble Tygra more. Tygra, being rather smug, says this would be asking for the impossible. The scene sets up that Tygra is also Claudus' son, and thus Lion-O's brother.

Cut to an even slummier slum. Cheetara and Lion-O wander into a black market dealer's shack. The man deals in "technology". And yes, the airquote are needed, as everyone in the show uses the word like if Technology was a specific material. Dude, everything you have is technology. That cloak, the shack, that's technology too. The way they use the word bugs me. Some banter between Lion-O and Cheetara sets up that most people consider "technology", as mentioned in the Book of Omens, to be fairy tales (never mind the fact that she's holding some in her hand, or that technology doesn't just mean electronics... arg, nevermind. Yes, she calls them fake and all, but still.). Cheetara thinks Lion-O crazy for believing in such childish stuff, though she keeps herself from calling him such, settling on "different". Cue a long glance from Lion-O, who obviously has the hots for her. A bell rings, and Lion-O realizes he's late. He buys a disk-like thing from the merchant and runs out.

Cut to the throne room, where Lion-O finally arrives. His dad glares at him with how annoyed he is at him taking his princely duties so lightly, and we learn this is supposed to be Lion-O's rite of passage. Nice Hero, being late for something like that. Jaga has the guardians of the crown bring forth the sword of omens. All of them wear long robes with veils, but the camera makes a point to show us one of the guardians has the same facial markings as Cheetara. Tygra hits on her, much to Lion-O's annoyance.

Jaga exposits that the sword will show them if Lion-O is worth being a king. Lion-O plays around with the sword and Claudus explains that the sword build the Thundercats empire, and that the sword can only be used by someone worthy. He then takes the sword from Lion-O. Tygra tosses Lion-O a sword of his own as Claudus turns around and charges his son, the Sword of Omen generating purple lightning with each strike. Man, how akward would it be if Claudus accidently killed his son. Claudus gives us some exposition on how the Book of Omen says the Thundercats created the empire by defeating Mumm-ra, and how only them are fit to rule. He of course completely trounces Lion-O, but then gives him the sword. Lion-O does a few swing, generating more lightning than even his dad did.
Nothing sinister here.
Eventually the thundercats logo he stands on starts glowing, Lion-O then activates the Eye of Thundera, and the sword gives him a vision of a sinister face. Lion-O snaps out, and Claudus asks him why he stopped. Lion-O says he saw something, and when asked what, he decides to pretend it's two ladies through a window. This of course pisses off his dad, because Lion-O again refuses to take his responsibility seriously, and he takes the sword back.

Hrrrm, why does he lie? It's the Sword of OMENS. One would think it's suppose to show you stuff, so it's not like it would make them think you are crazy. Why lie and piss your dad off?

Cut to a bit of comedy where Snarf is blown out of a horn and down into a pool. Claudus looks out a telescope at a large object being drawn by 64 people. Claudus, Lion-O and Tygra ride off on giant ferret/dinosaur/horse things to meet the convoy. We see the 64 lizard people pulling the thing, evidently chained like slaves. Atop this massive rock they pull is a Sabertoothed Thundarian with just one saber tooth.
Grune manages to look REALLY silly and completely untrustworthy at the same time. Also, he sounds like Lex Luthor.
This makes him look REALLY silly. Tygra calls him Grune, and the figure, voiced by Lex Luthor tells them he's returned from his quest to find the book of Omens. He didn't find him, but found this huge shiny rock. We also learn that Panthro went with him (they were both personal friends and generals of Claudus) and sadly died on the journey. RIP Panthro, we hardly knew ye.

Now, what gets me, beside the fact that Grune is Obviously Evil, is that no one questions on how he, alone, built the platform to carry the rock, captured 64 lizardmen, made them put said rock on the platform, then forge chains, use the chains to tie themselves to the platform, and haul it for god knows how long back to Thundera. I can accept no one thinks he's evil. He's Claudus' friend and all, but is no one curious how the man actually did this? Even if he were my friend, I'd ask how he managed such an impressive feat.

Cut to a festival set in Grune's honor. Claudus expositions on his awesome Grune and his journey are. During the festival we see Wilykat and Wilykit, two street urchins. Strangely enough they have tails. In fact, Wilykit looks very different from her previous incarnation. Wilykit uses hypnotic music to distract a big anthro cat (seriously, the dude looks NOTHING like any Thundaran) while Wilykat picks his pockets. They then run off.

Two of Grune's lizard people are put in stocks. The crowd tosses fruits at them, but Lion-O has them stop. The Lizard people beg to be freed, and exposit on how the Cats own all the best land, forcing the other species to raid to survive. Tygra thinks little of this, but this visibly touches Lion-O.

Next we see some games organized in Panthro's memory. Contestants need to climb a giant plant growing in a pool of water. First to ring the giant bell at the top wins. Lion-O asks if Grune saw any "technology" out there, but Grune says no (what was that cart you used to bring the huge rock back then!). Tygra tells Lion-O to quit it with his childish fantasies, and Lion-O gets pissed at Tygra's smugness. Tygra very obviously admires Grune, who himself regards him much more highly than Lion-O. We infer from his line on "bloodlines" that Tygra is adopted. So Lion-O challenges Tygra to the games, and promptly loses. Tygra telling him that "When it comes to everything except the crown, you are always going to be second place." The crowd cheers over Tygra.

Lion-O is in the palace, lamenting how everyone is disappointed with him. He's toying with the disk he bought, and laments that no one will believe him if even Grune could not find any "Technology". Jaga tells him not to give him, and exposit that their greatest kings will possess "sight beyond sight", which is not just fortune telling, but the ability to lead with clarity. Lion-O tries to tell Jaga about his vision, but he brushes him off.

The Thunderkittens run to their lair in the slums. And there I must make a comment on the animation. It is REALLY good. Especially the lighting. This scene, in particular, almost reminds me of a Don Bluth film (notably An American Tail) with how the backgrounds are detailed, and how the lighting is done. The whole thing has an almost cinematic feel. I kid you not, this could have been on the big screen and looked good there. Which contrasted to how cheap the non-main credit animation of the original series was, this is a welcomed relief.

Anyway, Wilykat and Wilykit share a meal bought with the money they stole. Wilykat tells his sister that once he finds "that map" he will take her to the city of treasures, El Dora, and they will never be poor.

What do you bet that is where the book of Omens is?

Back to the lizard people, and the Thundarians are further endearing themselves to us by burning them with torches. Man, you people deserve to die at the end of Mumm-ra. You are all jerks, except for Lion-O. Lion-O tries to get them to stop, but they won't listen to him. Lion-O exposits that if they stopped acting like complete jerks towards other animals, they might not be at war. But such radical thinking flies over the head of the mob, and they decide to attack their crown prince.

Really? Ain't that dangerously illegal?

But thankfully, Tygra decided to backup his little brother, along with Cheetara. Cue a fight scene, where Tygra shows off his whip and invisibility, and Cheetara her super speed. Claudus and Jaga walk in, demanding to know what is going on, and Lion-O tells his dad about the not-being-jerks plan. He convinces him to let the two lizard guys go free (what about the other 62?). It's a nice scene: Claudus evidently doesn't agree, he shows grudging respect for his son's point of view, and finally acting as a prince and thinking like the leader he is supposed to be.

The lizards leave under Lion-O's watch, and Cheetara tells him there really is something different about him. Lion-O asks her if it's why she keeps following him, she says "Maybe" and cartwheels away.

Snarf is in front of the giant stone Grune brought, he makes faces at it, then leaves. We then see shadows moving showing something is INSIDE the stone.

I'll leave off analysis for the second episode, since both episodes aired as one, back to back.
5th Aug '11 10:44:15 PM flag for mods
comments
One thing I noticed about Thundera was that it bore a conceptual resemblance to Ba Sing Se. It's a big walled city, who's walls are so large that they even encompass farmland.

And yes, the airquote are needed, as everyone in the show uses the word like if Technology was a specific material. Dude, everything you have is technology. That cloak, the shack, that's technology too. The way they use the word bugs me.

Is there a trope for that? Because I think there should be. I know in Harry Potter at least, there is the notion that "technology" doesn't work at Hogwarts. It seems that these uses tend to want "technology" to mean "electronics" or "machines" or somesuch.

Though I would say that calling clothes "technology" certainly sounds odd. Carts, looms? Yes. Chothes? Not so much.

There have to be other works out there that do this.

Note: a few errors in the review:

"out there, but Panthro says no ": I think you mean Grune.

"and ion-O tells his dad ": You missed an 'L'.
Korval 4th Aug 11
Fixed those. Thanks.

And clothes is technology. It's something created to the application of knowledge (knowledge about fabrics and textiles, etc...). It's more primitive technology than, say, a car, but it is technology none the less. And that is why the way the show uses the word really bugs me.

To quote The Other Wiki

Technology is the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose

Clothing serves a purpose (protection from weather, not being naked, upholding social standards) and it's an application of skills and tools and knowledges. Just more primitive than, say, giant CG robots.

One thing I noticed about Thundera was that it bore a conceptual resemblance to Ba Sing Se. It's a big walled city, who's walls are so large that they even encompass farmland.

This is Older than you think. Atlantis was described this way, with canals and walls and farmlands in the outer rings. Even Minas Tirith in The Lord Of The Rings (the books, not in the films) has walls around the Pelennor fields protecting the farmlands around the city.
Ghilz 4th Aug 11 (edited by: Ghilz)
You keep saying "El Dora." I'm fairly certain it's "El Dara."
72.202.130.32 5th Aug 11
It`s not like they spell it out for me
Ghilz 6th Aug 11
Maybe we should start a trope for massive cities that have walled in farm land. Walled Country maybe?
Deboss 6th Aug 11
I was actually one of those people who thought Grune was a good guy. But I the first thought that crossed my head when I saw him pulling that rock up was Trojan Horse. I just thought Grune might've been tricked if I was right.
Vanitas 7th Aug 11 (edited by: Vanitas)
I'll admit that a part of me would never trust a character voiced by Clancy Brown to be a good guy _ever_. Bit still, to me, Grune might have well had a neon sign saying "EVIL".
Ghilz 7th Aug 11
Your nitpicking is pretty bad, like it should have been obvious Snarf got in front of the guys feet in a fashion that is all too common to anyone who's been around cats, or that they can use a word differently than we do in regards to -technology-
217.39.107.93 3rd Sep 11
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