Reviews: The Pirates Of Dark Water
The show made you think, it attracted and involved the viewer, and it was absolutely freaking awesome! And Tula was never 'girly', pink and long hair or not. She kicked butt rather than hanging off Ren and Ioz; at the time, this was rare in the 'official' age bracket. Ren was a nice guy and not one of these 'completely oblivious to the girl' types. (At the end of "A Drop of Darkness", he puts his arm around her as they're sailing away.) Ioz was a jerk -and often got away with it. And yet, at the end he put helping out his friends over personal desires. A nice improvement over the two ranges of gooey always-good heroes and sidekicks and evil-in-all-but-name hangers-on. Niddler was an improvement over the cute-but-useless fuzzy animal types; he was annoying many many times, but he proved his worth as well. Even the animation-style jumps and the horrible art quality of the comic couldn't detract from the tale they told. A very real tale without a bloody reset button status-quo-is-god mechanic all the dang time. A fond memory from childhood.
A treasure from the 90's
You know what's cool? Cartoons which are intended for children but don't look down on them and thus can be enjoyed by anyone! I love Sheep In The Big City but 90% of the humour would have escaped me at the age of five, "Pirates of Dark Water" on the other hand is straightforward enough for anyone to grasp. If one wants they can see a Green Aesop drawing parallels between Dark Water and pollution, an attempt had been made in one of the first series to discuss slavery and racism (which was quickly forgotten for some reason) but nobody beats you over the head with it, for all we know Dark Water is sentient (and there have been suggestions that it is) and thus a standard baddie, so come on in viewers there's enough for everybody! The show also has an example of a decent female without making the men around her morons, if a character is capable not by comparison but just because then you have a strong character (at least on some levels). What is remarkable for a Western animation, especially considering the time, is that there doesn't seem to be any particular race involved, the forum on IMDB is full of people thinking what ethnicity should the actors for the Liveaction be and nobody can reach an agreement, everyone sees them as different. Partly this is due to the world, there are so many shades, shapes and sizes that the only two cases of real race were the monkeybirds and the White Warriors. We mustn't act as though 'a royal heir must save their homeland of which they know very little when all is said and done' is or ever was a unique concept, if I try hard enough I can recall three others airing on CN around the time, so it's not really this which makes Po DW so precious. And with the Animation Age Ghetto quite a few of the dialogues are a tad silly and as somebody has pointed out in some places the animation is unintentionally creepy. Maybe these are the nostalgia goggles talking, but I am ready to accept these failing and still welcome the series to my bosom, Maelstrom sewers and all.