Those of you who are familiar with Joseph Lai's body of work, this is Thunder Prince IN SPACE!. A very, very bad Humongous Mecha pseudo-anime released in 1991 about three children (or three teams with three children each depending on how you interpret it) that can pilot giant robots trying to defeat the Big Bad and his army: the Dark Empire. There are also some Space Opera elements thrown in with advanced space stations and dogfights going on in space.
This decidedly weird animated film is a result of Joseph Lai buying South Korean cartoons on the cheap and editing them to make "new" features. The result is a Frankenslation after putting all the different shows together. Lai made many films like this, but Space Thunder Kids stands out as arguably the strangest and most incomprehensible of his infamous works.
This "film" was edited with footage from Savior of the Earth, Defenders of Space - Phoenix-bot Phoenix King, King Robot, Protectors of Universe - Super Express Mazinger 7, Solar Adventure, Space Transformers - Micro-Commando Diatron-5, Super Mazinger 3 and Iron Man Trio. All of the aforementioned movies are also ripoffs of other anime like Mazinger Z (and all but the last were separately dubbed by Joseph Lai as well).
This film provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: A lot of these. Or are there? Thanks to the constant art shifts, it is hard to tell what is and what isn't supposed to be there.
- All There in the Manual: It's a good thing the back of the cover describes the entire movie from start to finish, because otherwise we'd never know what we were watching. Apparently somewhere during the hour-and-a-half of tanks and explosions is the plot about saving a scientist.
- Captain Ersatz: as Spoony and Bennet the Sage noted in their review of the "movie" one character resembles Sloth from The Goonies, though said character has nothing else in common
- Covers Always Lie: None of the characters on the cover are actually in the movie. Unless they look completely different in the film proper, of course...which isn't much of a stretch, really.
- Decoy Protagonist: Who the hell are the space thunder kids? There's a random focus on at least three different space travelling groups, but none of them do anything of importance, and none of them ever last longer than a scene or two. Eventually it becomes impossible to discern who are supposed to be the bad guys and who are the heroes, because all the ships look the same.
- Epic Flail: Some of the giant robots of the Dark Emperor fight with these in space, Newton's laws be damned.
- Filler: Hey, check out this animation cycle of rolling tanks we have! Isn't it great? Let's loop it for 5 minutes straight!
- Frankenslation: It combines no less than seven different Korean cartoons.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Inverted; the "trailer" found online? The repeated exclamations of SPACE THUNDER KIDS? That's in the actual film.
- Public Domain Animation: This movie fell under this early for unknown reasons, leaving some viewers to joke that the movie was too awful for the producers to wanna claim ownership of it.
- Random Events Plot: Due to the film being somewhat haphazardly cobbled together from a bunch of other films, there is a lot of jumping between several completely unrelated plot points with only token attempts at telling some sort of overarching story with them.
- Space Is an Ocean: Speeds are called out in knots. Not even hundreds or thousands of knots, as would be the case for spaceships if they didn't just use MpH/KpH to begin with, but tens of knots, as if they were going at nautical speeds. Other parts have passingly realistic space motion.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Subverted doesn't even begin to describe it. Apparently the seven foot tall one eyed blonde space pirate badass vixen has a sister who is... a one foot tall robot... pig... thing... named Sandy.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The space station that was attacked by the meteors at the beginning were never seen again. Either that or the space station was drawn differently from there on out. Who knows?