Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lagacy of anthropomorphic nonsense

Ah, the Turtles. Those guys were such a massive deal back in the 80s/90s. Turtle-mania was pretty unavoidable at the time and I was at the right age to get totally swept along with it. The day my parents got me and my brother the 4 turtle figures I think we totally flipped out. They had everything, the cartoon, comics, some great videogames, really good action figures, movies of declining quality and their faces on pretty much anything else you could buy. Why were they so popular? Well on looking back the cartoons don't hold up that well as they are pretty goofy, but it was perfect after school/Saturday morning TV and there were so many odd characters to latch on to. Plus they were totally on trend with 80s/90s 'dude culture', what with the likes of Bill and Ted and Waynes World in the cinemas, and they were advocates of pizza and skateboards... it was almost law to be into it.

So what comes after these crime fighting animal-men hit the big time? Well all these guys were looking for a chunk of the change...

Battle Toads

These three toads were created by the video game company Rare to try and rival the Turtles games and are regarded as being pretty decent beat-em up's. They were successful enough that a pilot cartoon was made to bring the toads to TV... it didn't go down as well as the games. The animation is pretty darn awful and the ripping off of turtles 'dude speak' is blatant; the fat kid sounds exactly like Mikey from the Turtles. The plot set up as so flimsy, even for a videogame spin off that is pretty amazing... some aliens of the run go to Earth and offer the power to become super strong toads to the very first three people they see. I'd have thought you'd put more thought into these things but there you go, I'm not a giant space-bird-guy. Then there is the last nail in the coffin to stop
Battletoads becoming a big time show: 'LET'S GET WARTY!' was never gonna compete with 'Turtle Power' or 'Cowabunga' as a catchphrase. Can you imagine being in a playground and some kid saying "Hey, wanna play Battletoads? I'll be Zit and you be Rash LET'S GAT WARTY!" That kid would have no friends.

Biker Mice From Mars

Well, they did they're homework...
- Overly long and silly title - check
- Bad ass image - check... not so much dude speak but a hell of a lot of leather jackets, shades and piercings.
- Girl who helps out and isn't freaked out by giant animal-men - check
- Aliens trying to take over that no one else knows about - check
- Series re-launch in the 2000s - check
- Kick ass theme song - FAIL!!

It's rocking but saying the name of the show every now and then isn't a song. Sorry dudes.

Bucky O'Hare

This one is a bit of a wild card. It's choc full on animal people fighting each other but it's set in space and so doesn't fit in exactly with the conventions of a lot of these other shows. Also, Bucky O'Hare was originally created in the late 70s, pre-dating the Turtles by a good stretch. Although by the time it got published the Turtles were already rockin' the world. The cartoon came out in the early 90s and I never got home from school in time to catch much of it so I can't say if it's any good. I think most people remember it for the song:

That is how to write a cartoon intro song!

Street Sharks
From the company that brought you the Battle Toads cartoon comes the Street Sharks. If Biker Mice are the Turltes poor second cousin then these guys are the inbred relatives that no one in the family speaks of. Seriously, these things are ugly. I mean what seems more appealing, this:

or these:

No thanks.
It's pretty much the same formula as these other shows but I think by this point the Turtles wave had broken and no one was really digging this formula as much as they used to.

Extreme Dinosaurs
The bottom of the barrel I guess. After Street Sharks this came out and then after that there was the ultimate ugly as hell team up series 'Street Sharks and Dinovengers Unite'. Damn that's a lot of teeth!

So in summary... Turtles or bust. What else did you expect?


  1. I can vouch that Bucky O'Hare was in fact a pretty good show. I remember there being some wierd sub-plot ongoing about the big gorilla being a refugee or something? It was wierd, but we went along with it.

  2. Loved Bucky O'Hare. Definitely better than most of the other contenders...