Slick’s Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 111 – “The Forest of Magi Oar”
The death knell for the original ThunderCats show was when the writers changed our heroes from defenders of justice into the predecessors of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The episodes were not terrible, but they were a far cry from what the show had been. There is nothing wrong with showing kids the importance of recycling and saving the planet, but when you do it every episode, it just becomes preachy. I can only hope that the writers of the show see that following the path of the old show is not the way to go, especially with their current audience.
ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES The “adventure” with the elephants has led the ‘Cats to the Forest of Magi Oar. Here Lion-O is finally supposed to master the sword’s sight beyond sight ability. Before he can even begin, they are all set upon by spooky looking bird spirits. None of their attacks work and the sword will not even awaken. They are saved by a trio that call themselves the War Forgers, who claim to be the defenders of Magi Oar. Their leader, Zigg, says they must protect the forest from Viragor, a monstrous bird. Viragor attacks the two teams and once again, the sword remains asleep. Lion-O must figure out what he is doing wrong and quickly in order to defend the lives of himself and his friends. In order to use sight beyond sight he will have to learn to see the bigger picture with his own eyes first.
THE WOOD FORGERS Yes, let’s call them “The Wood Forgers,” because “paper masters” makes it entirely too obvious that we are copying Read or Die. Their leader, Zigg, was like a blend of Yomiko Readman and Sai from Naruto: Shippûden. The best part is that you never even learn what it is these War Forgers are even doing. Are they bad guys or good guys. Viragor says that he believes in their mission, but what is their mission? They say they protect the forest, but they have a paper mill that not only tears down acres of forest, it pollutes the air as smoke pours out of its chimneys. Yay, more throwaway characters for the show.
MAY THE BEST CAT WIN Making Tygra Lion-O’s adopted brother was one of the coolest changes to the story in my opinion. He finally has someone he can relate to even though the two often butt heads. Their race during the last episode and the climbing competition during the premiere are perfect examples of their sibling rivalry. Making them quarrel over Cheetara adds an element of realism as few shows go into subjects that brothers really would fight over. I have a bad feeling that Tygra’s record of beating Lion-O will stay intact, at least if the writers go with the original story. Tygra and Cheetara were never officially a couple, but it was implied as the two would often leave the others and go for “walks in the woods” together. Lion-O has little to worry about though, because he’s always been a chick magnet. In the original series, there were at least three possible women for him. The first Willa, leader of the Warrior Maidens, was always “close” to Lion-O. Even her sister Nayda seemed to have a thing for him. Then there was Mandora the Evil Chaser, an intergalactic police woman who always seemed eager to give Lion-O a ride on her Electro Charger. Lastly, there is Pumyra, one of the later ThunderCats. She had superspeed similar to Cheetara’s but could maintain it for much shorter distances. She was younger and considerably more attractive than Cheetara (not saying anything bad about the Cheetah Girl). Also, the cat girl that Leo was involved with in Legacy did sort of resemble a Puma, so who knows. Lion-O was bummed out last episode when Tygra and Cheetara were resting together, but I say let him have her. It’s not worth losing your brother and he’s likely to have his pick of women in the near future.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT It gets slightly annoying to see Lion-O struggle with the sword, especially with lessons he has already learned. From the first episode, we hear that the sword cannot be used for evil. According to the original series, that expands to the sword being unable to harm the innocent when Lion-O tried to use it to go hunting for sport. Granted, this Lion-O does not have Jaga to guide him (which I am really starting to wish he did). It would really help if the Eye of Thundera would warn him of danger the way it did in the old series. I would probably draw my weapon if I was in the woods in the middle of the night and a bunch of ghosts showed up and started shrieking at me. Still, the ThunderCats were in no danger and that is why the sword would not grow. It was cool to see the more intricate rules of using the sword be displayed, but I don’t think we needed an entire episode about it.
I LOVE THAT STAFF! Cheetara wedged her staff into Viragor’s mouth when she thought that he was going to eat Lion-O. Considering Viragor is so large that she was able to stand up in his open mouth, it is no surprise that he snapped her staff like a twig. I had to mention this because the only weapon to break in the original series was oddly the most powerful one. The Sword of Omens was broken at least twice while none of the other ThunderCats’ weapons were ever damaged. Of course neither the heat from a fallen star nor a Thunderian blacksmith are of any use in repairing a wooden bo staff. Fortunately, Viragor is a good guy and he replaces the weapon he destroyed. Considering Jaga did not hand out magical weapons to the ThunderCats in this series, it is comforting to see that they are not indestructible.
I said last week that the show could be in serious trouble if a whole month’s worth of episodes were filler. Lo and behold, we get another filler episode. It is good that it was not a snoozefest the way Sight Beyond Sight was, but the writers need to really figure out what they want to do and stop this mess. The end of this episode indicates that the ThunderCats are going back to the elephant village next. This is the third episode where Lion-O has tried to master sight beyond sight and it ended with the exact same vision seen before they came to the Magi Oar forest. The show has neither seen nor heard from the main antagonists in a long time and the most worthwhile thing we have seen are the Berbils. Something significant needs to happen and sooner is better than later. Either Mumm-Ra needs to be afer the stone when they get back to the village or have Tygra and Lion-O actually fight over Cheetara. Something that will actually drive the story forward. You are turning a childhood favorite into crap and it already did not end on a good note the last time.