The Warner Archive 26-episode two-disc complete series Blu-ray release of the 2011-12 Cartoon Network show "Thundercats" is a nice reminder that the scope of Warner reboots extends beyond high-quality additions to Scooby-Doo and DCU super hero franchises. As Gen Xers know, this "He Man" style animated series dates back to the mid 80s.
The terrific enhancement that BD provides regarding the American-style anime in "Thundercats" is one of the first things that requires mention. This format is tailor-made for the bright colors, detailed art work, and epic segments in the episodes.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a (spoiler lite) promo. for "Thundercats" includes the terrific exposition that opens the pilot and adds additional lore that provides a good primer.
This incarnation is a combination of the aforementioned dungeons and dragons style fantasy and "The Lion King" in that dramatic events in the first few episodes prompt relatively young literal heir to the throne Lion-O on an epic quest along the lines of the mission in "The Lord of the Rings." His companions on this trek include his brother Tygra (with whom Lion-O has the usual issues of siblings of any species in their situation), comic relief Snarf, a love interest in the form of a female warrior who can more than keep up with the boys, and a pair of sacherine "kitten" siblings whom even PETA would advocate subjecting to lab experiments.
The path toward achieving the heroic mission around which "Thundercatsts" revolves puts our band in contact with terrifically bizarre creatures. Their first encounter involves a very apt "Moby Dick" themed adventure that involves fish people who stand upright and wear clothing while sailing a ship across a sea made of sand.
The next encounter with odd creatures also provides Lion-O with a life lesson that is relevant to his current circumstances. The trek of his band through a forest brings them in contact with small literally flower people on a mission to return to their own land. Watching Lino-O play big brother to the smallest member of this group is very cute and greatly increases the impact of a poignant moment.
This pattern continues as our intrepid band makes good progress toward thwarting their enemies and otherwise fulfilling their destinies while learning lessons that are relevant in our world.
The good news is that this depth is nicely disguised in exciting well-animated stories that largely revolve a lion-man hybrid wielding an uber-powerful sword.
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