Welcome to the New Year. The first couple days of 2012 have been learning experiences for me already, and 2011 went out with some awesome opportunities that readers of my blog should hear about shortly. I realize I've been lax with posts, and that's for two big reasons: 1.) both Clone Wars and Thundercats have been on winter hiatus, and 2.) it's easier to be scathing than positive. While my review of the recent Clone Wars arc will come with the release of the wrap-up episode at the end of this week, I thought I'd fill in with what Thundercats has been up to.
The last episode I reviewed was the fantastic "The Duelist and the Drifter", and since then, we've had a mixed bag with general positive results. "Berbils" and "The Forest of Magi Oar" were pretty much "cute monster of the week" episodes, while "Sight Beyond Sight", "Into the Astral Plane", and "Between Brothers" deepened the characters.
Thundercats is very much a boys' show, primarily focusing on a child learning how to use his father's magic sword to win a girl's heart and save the universe. Star Wars could be explained in the same, simplistic terms. "Sight Beyond Sight" pretty much covered those bases, and also introduced a recurring monastery of elephant anthros. Their imposing size and terrible memory make them unique characters, and their home feels safe enough that it being threatened in the two latest episodes is legitimately frightening. The way the twins get attached to the place and react accordingly works very well.
"Into the Astral Plane" and "Between Brothers" have been plot-heavy and very entertaining, exploring the rivalry between Lion-O and Tigra, as well as between Panthro and Grune. The latter two have been the most interesting to me, not only because the character designs are cool and I always like the older, quiet, warrior type, but because of the way they're contrasted with Lion-O and Tygra. The brothers' friendship is an enforced one, coming from growing up in the same castle and always knowing one another. Panthro and Grune chose their friendship in later life and suffered through things together, but ended up on vastly different paths.
"Between Brothers" wasn't afraid to pull any punches. Although it had its so-lofty-it's-silly moments, cliches which are perhaps fitting for the original show's tone, Thundercats showed main characters being selfish and angry, and others losing limbs, giving it a dark edge of importance that makes it all more fun and more real. I really look forward to the ramifications of the mid-season finale when the show returns. I trust that I'll have to practice writing down some positive opinions.