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Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Artificers of Aldebaran”

img_3687Episode Number:  10

Original Air Date:  November 10, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx, Bridget McKenna

First Appearance:  Princess Felicia, High Artificer

Last week on Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars, we met the Corsair Canards and by doing so gained a little insight into Dead-Eye Duck’s past. This week, it’s all about Jenny and her home world of Aldebaran. We know it’s a world with a secret as Jenny has been forced to hide the extent of her powers from her comrades. Back in the episode “The Good, the Bad, and the Warty” we saw her telepathically confer with a character she referred to as Mother Aldebaran as she sought permission to use her powers in front of her friends to get them out of a potentially fatal situation. And even though not using her powers meant death, this superior did not really give her permission to go all out, but did suggest a maneuver she thought would go undetected that ended up working.


This episode introduces Jenny’s apprentice, Princess Felicia.

In the comics, Dead-Eye refers to Jenny as a witch, though I don’t recall such terminology being utilized in this series. As far as we know, the Sisters of Aldebaran are a bunch of psychics – essentially a planet of Jean Greys. We’ll get more of an understanding in this episode on what goes on there, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. Interestingly, we don’t see a single male amongst their people so how they reproduce is a mystery (there is a shot of a female rocking a cradle so they do indeed reproduce somehow). It’s also a big planet, so maybe we just saw a tiny piece in which only females reside. I think it’s definitely safe to assume that only females possess these wondrous powers.

The episode begins with Jenny combating a droid of some kind. She’s jumping and flipping and doing all kinds of impressive things before destroying it with her powers. Nearby, Princess Felicia (presumably Margot Pinvidic. Cast info on this show isn’t great, but no women other than her appear in the credits so I’m left to assume she handles all of the female voices in this episode) is watching and is impressed with the abilities of Master Jenny. It seems Felicia is Jenny’s apprentice and Jenny has returned to give her some training as she nears an important milestone in her young life. It’s then we see the two turn to a training device that is apparently the source of their powers. It’s a little, greenish, ball of light that the two refer to as a Quark demon. Jenny releases it into the air and Felicia is supposed to try and corral it.


It’s tea time with the High Artificer of Aldebaran.

Nearby, Bucky O’Hare and the others are enjoying tea with the High Artificer. She’s an older cat who is also the grandmother of Princess Felicia. She does not resemble the individual Jenny referred to as Mother Aldebaran back in episode 3, so either that’s a different character or they just decided to change the appearance of that character and give her a new name. As far as we’re lead to believe, the High Artificer is the one who runs the show.


Willy encountering what powers Aldebaran sensors:  a Quark demon

The High Artificer thanks Bucky for bringing Jenny back to their world to train Felicia. Some interest in what they’re doing is expressed, but the High Artificer informs them she can’t reveal the nature of the training to outsiders. Willy is seated by what looks like a koi pond when the Quark demon comes over the wall and buzzes by his head. He’s startled, but the scientist within him is also really intrigued. It flies back over the wall to where Felicia’s training is taking place and Willy decides to investigate by scaling a nearby tree. When he reaches the apex he’s able to see Felicia using her powers to try and catch the little ball of light. It returns to Willy, causing him to fall from the tree over the wall.


Felicia does not appear to be too impressed with Willy DuWitt.

Felicia is then able to snatch the Quark with her powers and return it to the containment vessel it came from while Jenny checks on Willy. He’s extremely apologetic, while Felicia seems accusatory towards him. Jenny vouches for Willy and thinks he meant no harm. Willy, perhaps not thinking things through, demonstrates he understands what he saw and realizes the little Quark is the source of their power and their Aldebaran sensors. Jenny tells Felicia she trusts him and that he won’t reveal their secrets. Felicia then receives some bad news from her master that she is not deemed ready to undertake her Soul Quest. With more practice though, Jenny is confident she’ll get there. Felicia is dismissive of her master’s concerns, and like most teenagers, is resistant to hearing any criticism.


Electric Space Yam

Possibly nearby in space, a Toad ship has made an interesting discovery. A nearby nebula, that kind of looks like a giant space yam, contains an extraordinary amount of energy within it. Toadborg is in charge of this vessel, and he seems quite intrigued by this so-called Dark Heart Nebula. Whatever is in there is too much for their sensors to handle, but this just causes Toadborg to remember that Bucky O’Hare has an Aldebaran as part of his crew. Apparently, Aldebarans have a reputation for having incredibly powerful sensors, but due to their secrecy, this is obviously technology not available to the rest of the galaxy. Toadborg heads to his private chambers to search his memory banks for more info since he’s had a previous encounter with Jenny. Recalling his fights with her, he concludes he’ll need the aid of an Aldebaran to navigate this nebula.



With Felicia’s session complete, the High Artificer thanks Jenny for her help. She also thanks Bucky and the crew for taking the time to come out. As they leave, we pivot to Felicia. Dressed in a flight suit, she’s determined to undertake her quest whether or not Jenny thinks she’s ready. She hops into a sleek-looking spaceship and takes off, apparently unnoticed. This puts her in direct conflict with Toadborg’s ship. They’re in the area in search of an Aldebaran and it looks like they found one. They ensnare Felicia’s ship in a tractor beam and she immediately reaches out to her grandmother to inform her what happened. Her grandmother quickly reminds her of her obligation to protect their secrets by destroying all of the sensors in her ship. She does as she’s told as her ship is boarded by Storm Troopers.


Mimi is back and as flirtatious as ever.

At a cafeteria (possibly on Genus, or just a random space station), the crew of the Righteous Indignation is getting some lunch. Bruiser wants banana everything and the writers apparently are still entertained by this bit. Jenny is back aboard the ship recalibrating the Aldebaran sensors on it and Bucky tells Willy no one is allowed onboard until she’s finished. Mimi LaFloo then pops in. She’s quite happy to see Bucky again and tells him she’s got something on her ship to show him as she pulls him away. Oh boy!


Willy just can’t be defeated in a deabte, it would seem.

Willy and Blinky are outside the doors of the Righteous Indignation when Jenny is just about finishing up. Jenny receives word from the High Artificer about Felicia, and it falls on Jenny to attempt a rescue. Jenny makes the call to go alone, the problem is she’ll need to take Bucky’s ship. She orders Willy and Blinky off the ship, but Willy protests. While the two argue, Blinky appears to plant a device on the ship, likely some way to track it and Willy is able to convince Jenny to take him along since his door is on the ship.


I’m tough on the show’s visuals at times, but this is a nice-looking still.

Aboard Toadborg’s ship, we get our required dose of Toad TV. It’s both a Charles Atlas parody and an Arnold Schwarzenegger one (Arnold Wartnegger). You know the one; a bully picks on a skinny kid at the beach. The twist with this one is that Wartnegger isn’t looking to pump you up, but just supply giant, bully-swatting, mallets. Surprisingly, we’re not experiencing Toad TV via Frix and Frax but actually via Felicia who is being tortured with it. She yawns indicating its effectiveness when an angry Toadborg barges in. He dismisses the tech administering the torture and then grabs Felicia and demands she take him into the Dark Heart Nebula.


“Help me Obi…I mean Bucky…I mean just forget it. I’ll be back. Dinner’s in the fridge.”

At the space station, Bucky and Mimi are apparently done with their tryst and Blinky informs him what happened. Before she left, Jenny had Blinky record a message which he plays for Bucky. Mimi turns her nose up at “the cat” so apparently this rivalry is going to go both ways. Blinky tells Bucky about the tracking device, and he commends his android and declares they’re going after Jenny. As they all run down a corridor, Bucky stops in his tracks when he and the others realize they don’t have a ship. Mimi then strolls by and, somewhat reluctantly, tells them to come join her on her frigate.


Toadborg is rather viscious in this episode and shrewd negotiator. He’s blossomed into a pretty fantastic villain.

Jenny and Willy then head out towards Felicia’s last known location and find Toadborg’s ship. Jenny, with Willy at Dead-Eye’s gunner position, demands the release of Felicia. Since the princess is onboard the ship, Toadborg knows she won’t actually fire upon him. They’re on video conference, and he demands she back off as he intends to have Felicia take him into the Dark Heart Nebula. When Felicia refers to Jenny as “Master,” Toadborg decides he’d rather have Jenny take him instead. For a brief moment, Toadborg gains eyeballs so we can see him “thinking” things through. Jenny agrees to take him as long as Felicia is unharmed. Toadborg tosses Felicia around, which really causes Jenny to get mad. He reminds her that he’s in control and dismisses her threats before terminating the transmission. That was actually a well-done and rather intense exchange.


Toadborg needs Jenny to lead him through the nebula, or else he’d get lost forever. Felicia is his insurance that Jenny won’t betray him.

Jenny and Willy pilot the Toad Croaker into the nebula with Toadborg and Felicia following. Jenny tries to tell Toadborg this is a bad idea but he won’t hear it. As they enter the nebula they reach its center, a large grayish sphere. Toadborg can sense incredible power and is eager to taste it. Jenny tries to discourage him once more, but he tosses Felicia to shut her up. As Willy and Jenny fly off after Felicia, Toadborg shoots out this two-pronged device (insert robot penis joke here) that jabs into the gray sphere. As electricity courses through him, the sphere begins to move. It actually opens revealing that the outer layer we were looking at were actually giant bat-like wings. The sphere is a towering, naked, demon and it apparently does not like what Toadborg is doing to it. It swats the cyborg away, but it’s awake and angry and apparently not willing to go quietly.


Now this is unexpected.

After securing Felicia, Jenny has Willy pilot the Croaker back towards this demonic being. She bombards it with her powers, but she’s going to need some help. She mentally reaches out to her Aldebaran sisters requesting they lend her their power. We get cuts of various cat-people in their day-to-day lives pausing to lend their aid to their sister. It’s very “Spirit Bomb” like. It’s not enough though, and Jenny continues to ask for more. Part of the problem seems to be one holdout:  Felicia.


The ancient father of all demons does not go down without a fight.

Felicia gets knocked from the croaker as the ancient Quark tries to grab it. Jenny has to use her powers to keep it from crushing them while calling out to Felicia for help. When Jenny convinces the young princess to lend them her powers it’s suddenly enough and the demon goes to back to sleep. Felicia is astounded, yet confused, at what happened (aren’t we all?). Jenny tells her this is the lesson she must learn, that it’s the sum of the whole that can make a difference and sometimes it comes down to just one person making a choice. Felicia takes this in, then is instructed by Jenny to do what she came here for. Thousands of little Quark demons are flitting about and Felicia basically sucks some into the crystal on her tiara. This apparently ends her quest.


And he’s back to sleep. No harm no foul, I guess.

The Screaming Mimi, with a new orange paint-job to make it resemble the other frigates in the United Animal Fleet, shows up and drives Toadborg’s ship away. Dead-Eye is shown behind the canon, only it looks like they forgot to actually illustrate canon controls. It would also seem Mimi doesn’t have a crew of her own if Bucky’s gunner is taking the lead. The Toad ship, under heavy fire, has a reading on Toadborg’s location and retreats to rescue its captain. Aboard the Toad ship, Toadborg has been collected. He awakens with no memory of what happened. When the navigator inquires about the nebula, Toadborg snaps and says his instruments must have been wrong about it. He orders him to fix them as he stumbles off to his private quarters, presumably. Jenny then returns to the Righteous Indignation as Bucky’s voice comes over her radio. He’s curt, and orders her to pilot the ship to Aldebaran while Willy assures Jenny it’s all right and that Bucky will understand why she took the ship.


And it’s ceremony time, which means more Star Wars reminders.

On Aldebaran, a ceremony officially welcoming Princess Felicia into the sisterhood is underway. She’s awarded this title by her grandmother, while Jenny, Willy, and Bucky look on. Felicia turns to Willy to thank him and even gives him a little peck on the cheek. What’s with this kid and cats? With that concluded, Jenny then turns to Bucky to apologize for making off with his ship. He says nothing, causing her to ramble on and on. Eventually she implores him to say something and he responds with a simple “How about ‘Welcome back?'” Jenny happily embraces him and a wink from Bucky ushers us out of the episode.


Cats really seem to love this kid.

Well, that was certainly a trip. I did not expect the source of Jenny’s powers to essentially be demonic in nature. It’s certainly imaginative, and I can see why they would want to keep that a secret. Jenny and Felicia have a solid dynamic and it’s hard not to get a Star Wars vibe from their training. The return of Toadborg is welcomed as well as he is probably my favorite antagonist at this point. This is the first episode to not feature the Air Marshall and just the second to not feature Komplex. Komplex was also missing from last week’s episode making me wish the order of episodes had been mixed up a bit. Komplex was partially taken down in “The Komplex Caper” but appeared to be back up and running in the following episode “The Search for Bruce.” Had that episode followed this one instead it would have been a nice piece of continuity to have Komplex out of action for two weeks. It’s not important in the grand scheme, but little touches like that are some of the things I appreciate most.


Really the only blatant visual gaffe, though it’s a pretty big one with Dead-Eye firing invisible canons.

Thankfully, this episode is much improved in the animation department over last week’s episode. I was fearful the shoddy work found in “Corsair Canards” was a harbinger of things to come, but this is a nice rebound. There’s still some errors and ugly shots, but nothing on the level of the previous episode. Toadborg looks plenty menacing when he’s on-screen, so  perhaps it’s partly due to his presence that more resources were devoted to this one. He’s the most complex character model in the show, so it would make sense if more time was allocated to episodes he’s featured in, which is something I hadn’t considered previously. If that’s true well then that’s good news for us as the final three episodes all feature Toadborg in some capacity.


This is the last appearance of Mimi in this show.

Since there are only three episodes left, it probably is not surprising then to hear that the Aldebaran characters won’t be seen again. This is also the final appearance of Mimi LaFloo, so whatever conflict she and Jenny seem to have with each other will remain unresolved. Jenny seemed to just not like how forward Mimi is with Bucky, possibly feeling she’s slept her way to the top. Mimi, for her part, seems to simply view Jenny as a threat. It’s rather sad that the two most prominent females on the show are played that way. I’m also still unclear if Jenny harbors feelings for Bucky or something. The two keep things professional, giving that embrace a little extra meaning at the end of the episode.


Bucky getting cheeky with the camera.

Even with the weird demon thing, “The Artificers of Aldebaran” is a good episode of the show. I like seeing where Jenny came from, though their world could have been more interesting to look at. Felicia could have been a really annoying character, but instead she comes across as naive more than anything and perhaps a bit too confident in herself. And if my guess is correct and voice actress Margot Pinvidic did indeed perform all of the female voices in this episode, then major props go to her. She manages to come up with four mostly distinct voices for Jenny, Mimi, Felicia, and High Artificer so I wanted to give her a special acknowledgement. Hopefully the remaining three episodes are similar to this in quality. Next week’s episode, “The Warriors,” is one I have little recollection of outside of the debut of more new characters so I’m eager to check it out. See you then.

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “Corsair Canards”

img_3661Episode Number:  9

Original Air Date:  November 3, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx

First Appearance:  Captain Lanelle, Redjack, Blackbeak, Grebb, Harman

Episode 9 introduces the viewer to Dead-Eye’s past:  The Corsair Canards. The Canards are a group of space pirates. They basically look like typical pirates and even pilot spaceships that look like a stereotypical pirate ship, masts and all which seems unnecessary for a spaceship. Interestingly, they all appear to be ducks and in particular the same species of four-armed duck that Dead-Eye belongs to. Are all ducks in the Aniverse pirates? It would seem so. Even though they’re thieving pirates, the Corsair Canards are potential allies for the United Animal Fleet against the Toads and that’s what’s going to draw them into our story.


They should call this thing the SS Pirate Bait.

The episode opens on a luxury space cruiser. It’s either like a cruise liner in our world, or just an upscale restaurant. The only important thing about it is that it attracts wealthy patrons, so naturally it makes sense that it would be a target for pirates. The Corsair Canards do not disappoint and they hit it. Captain Lanelle (I assume she is voiced by Margot Pinvidic since she’s done all of the female voices up to this point) leads a band of armed and flamboyantly dressed pirates. Her eyes are drawn to a group off to the side and it’s pretty obvious one of the patrons is Bucky O’Hare in drag. When Bucky calls out to them to not hurt them, Lanelle informs us that the Corsair Canards never harm any of their victims unless they first try do them harm. How noble.


Dressing in drag is something that comes natural to animated rabbits.

A crotchety old duck starts interjecting into the conversation, and it’s Dead-Eye in disguise. He soon goes on the offensive, knocking the guns away from one duck to rest in his own hands. Bucky then reveals himself and the rest of the crew appears, including Willy who pops out of a piano dual-wielding some red guns (notable because he’s only carried a water pistol thus far). Lanelle is surprised to see Bucky O’Hare, but he informs them they’re not here to arrest the pirates. They want the help of the pirates in dealing with the Toad menace, and in return, Bucky promises to get the UAF Security Council to forgive the transgressions of the pirates which gets Lanelle’s attention.


Some new faces on the council, Grebb and Harman.

Bucky and the pirates head to Genus to see if he can make such a promise come true. The Secretary General from the earlier season episodes is no where to be found, in his place is Harman (Gary Chalk), a walrus who seems receptive to Bucky’s proposal. Someone who is not is Grebb (Scott McNeil, I think), a jackal who does not appear to have much confidence in Captain O’Hare and even less in the pirates. He’ll only go along with Bucky’s proposal if there is an amendment in the agreement with the Canards that allows them to back out should any of them return to their pirating ways. Harman is agreeable to that inclusion and the rest of the council is in agreement as well. For the pirates though, they’ve only agreed to propose it at their next clan meeting. In order to go along with it, they’ll need a majority of pirates to agree to it.


It’s in this episode we learn Willy has a real thing for pirates.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, Willy is cheerily chatting up Dead-Eye about pirates. It would seem he’s quite interested in the life of a pirate and he’s excited about seeing a real pirate meeting. Dead-Eye has to burst his bubble a bit to inform him they’re only heading to a pre-meeting gathering, and that from there only the pirates will be heading to the actual meeting which is held in secret. Willy’s a little disappointed, but he’s at least still looking forward to the initial gathering.


Willy gets a taste of what real pirates drink. And I always thought they drank rum, what a fool I was.

That initial gathering is held on Rigel VII at what is basically a pirate dive bar. There Willy is introduced to the preferred drink of pirates, ground swamp grass served in swamp water. He’s not a fan. He also sees how the pirates like to play games of skill, which Dead-Eye informs him is their way of training their young. There’s even a little diaper-clad toddler duck running around to drive that point home. Willy then introduces Dead-Eye to a game he likes to play:  Frisbee. Of course, he just calls it a flying disc and demonstrates his considerable skill with the toy. When the toddler from before steps on a switch that activates a knife-toss game, Willy uses the disc to swat the flying knife away which was heading right for the kid. All of the pirates are impressed, especially Dead-Eye.


Blackbeak, Captain Lanelle (who’s catching flies this whole scene, apparently), and Redjack.

During this scene we’re also introduced to Redjack. He’s a pirate after the heart of Captain Lanelle, but she’s got eyes for Dead-Eye. He needs a way to impress her, and by standing up to Dead-Eye he thinks he has a shot.


It’s Redjack who views Dead-Eye as a rival. Dead-Eye though, doesn’t seem interested.

As the pirates get ready to depart, Dead-Eye huddles-up with a few others then returns from the huddle to tell Willy he’s been invited to attend thanks to demonstrating the wonders of his flying disc. Dead-Eye thinks they could use it as part of their arsenal and apparently he was able to convince the others as well. Willy is happy to tag-along, and all of the pirate ships head for the location. It’s basically a giant domed stadium in the middle of space, and there the deal extended by the UAF is shared with the gathering. Redjack emerges as a voice opposed to the deal citing they can’t abandon their pirating ways. Dead-Eye tries to reason with him, but he’s just doing what Redjack hoped he would. He challenges Dead-Eye to a duel. Should he win, the deal is rejected, if Dead-Eye wins then it’s accepted. Dead-Eye insists this isn’t the proper way to hash out such an important agreement, but Redjack won’t back down. Dead-Eye relents, and the other pirates immediately take cover while Willy protests. He thinks they’re going to duel to the death, but Lanelle tells him to not be so stupid – pirates would never intentionally harm one another. Instead, a robotic device emerges from the center of the arena. It’s got several appendages on it and they all fire skeet discs that Dead-Eye and Redjack are expected to shoot.


I think this is my favorite Toad ship thus far.

Aboard a rather interesting looking Toad ship, the Air Marshall is seated on a bridge and entertaining another old friend – Al Negator. Al has information concerning the Corsair Canards and the courtship going on between the pirates and UAF. He also reveals he has a spy in the Security Council and Air Marshall is expected to promote him to Dictator of Genus once they take over the planet. Air Marshall is dismissive of the promise, but quite alarmed at the thought of the Corsair Canards joining up with the UAF. Al Negator assures him he has a way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Curiously, there’s no mention of payment by Al so what he’s gaining isn’t explicitly stated, but maybe at this point the writers felt we didn’t need to be reminded about Al’s motivation and we can just assume he’s being paid for information.


Fake Dead-Eye in action. How a Toad is able to manage a four-armed costume is never explained.

The same luxury spaceship from earlier is then shown (it might even be a repeat shot) only this time it’s Harman and Grebb that’s aboard. They’re having dinner and Grebb is concerned because they’re in the same area of space where Bucky was able to lure out the Corsair Canards. Harman tries to assuage his concerns, but then he’s made to look like a fool when the ship is boarded by the Canards once again. Surprisingly, this band of pirates is being led by Dead-Eye, and he demands they hand over their valuables. Grebb and Harman are shocked and appalled by the presence of Dead-Eye, but do as he commands.


Dogstar feeling a bit smug thanks to his fancy new duds.

Bucky and his crew are then called before the Security Council. Harman and Grebb inform Bucky of what happened, and he refuses to believe that Dead-Eye could have done that. He promises to investigate, but refuses to arrest his gunner. Grebb is angered by Bucky’s disobedience and summons Commander Dogstar. Dogstar has a slightly redesigned costume that seems rather regal, though it will be really inconsistent (more on that later) throughout the episode. It’s basically just more blue and looks less like a metal onesie. Dogstar agrees to the order, but informs Grebb he’ll be performing his duty under protest.


Four-armed wrestling.

Bucky returns to the tavern where the pirates gathered and tries to get info out of the bartender concerning the location of the pirates. He literally says nothing and Jenny is forced to use her powers to contact Willy. She relays what has happened and implores Willy to return with Dead-Eye. As for him, he and Redjack tied the shooting game and were forced to arm wrestle, which they tied at that as well. Willy pulls Dead-Eye aside and tells him they need to get back, but Dead-Eye can’t forfeit his contest with Redjack because it’s too important. When he asks how he can get this over with quickly, Willy says he has an idea, only the pirates won’t accept a suggestion from an outside. Captain Lanelle, apparently eavesdropping, steps in to say they’ll accept a proposal from her and Willy tells her his idea.


This shit is embarassing.

Lanelle says the next competition will utilize Willy’s flying disc. Dead-Eye and Redjack stand opposite her for a fairly long shot that’s notable because both Lanelle and Dead-Eye are horribly discolored with orange faces. This seems as good a time as any to say that this episode is a new low in terms of visuals. It looks like shit, to put it bluntly. Lots of discolored characters and ugly framing. Dogstar’s uniform will change practically from shot to shot when he’s around. It’s embarrassing.


Frisbee making friends out of enemies.

The ducks agree to the duel of Frisbee. Blackbeak will hold a mug of swamp water in each hand and Redjack and Dead-Eye are charged with knocking one out of his hands. First one to do so wins. Both characters fail in their first attempt and Redjack fails his second as well, hitting Blackbeak by mistake which he does not enjoy. Dead-Eye’s second shot is the one that wins it, and Redjack concedes with no animosity towards him marking a rather abrupt turn. They then head back to the dive on Rigel VII. There they regroup with Bucky to find out what’s happened in their absence. Dogstar is there as well to make his arrest, but informs Bucky that if he has a plan to catch the real culprits he’ll go along with it in lieu of making an immediate arrest.


What the heck is going on with Jenny in this shot?

Back aboard the apparent same luxury ship, everyone is back in their disguises waiting for another pirate attack. Sure enough, “Dead-Eye” shows up with his group of Corsair Canards to hit the same ship again (I’m getting some real Roberto from Futurama vibes from this crew). One of the pirates is drawn to a golden sculpture of a berserker baboon which he’s apparently frightened by. Dead-Eye assures him it’s just a statue and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. When he gives it a pat, it starts to crack and out comes Bruiser. He apprehends the fake pirates quite easily.


And now Jenny again, in the correct costume this time.

We’re then shown Al Negator, who’s on a pirate ship waiting for the return of his pirates. When Dead-Eye pops in with the Canards it’s the real Dead-Eye, and Al is forced to put his hands up. He swats an offguard Dead-Eye with his tail and pulls his own gun on them, but Lanelle and the real Canards swing in like the dashing buccaneers they are to take him down. Back on the cruise ship, Bruiser rips the Dead-Eye costume apart to reveal a toad underneath, who is oddly dressed in a fine suit. The other pirates are toads as well, and the only thing remaining is to return to the council to share their findings. Before they do so though, Al Negator proposes they make a deal. In exchange for his freedom, he’ll tell Bucky about his spy on the council. Bucky agrees to a deal before hearing Al’s evidence, and once he does he reluctantly sticks to his word and let him go. It seems he could have just taken the info and kept Al Negator, but whatever. The others protest a bit, but when Bucky says he knows about a traitor they apparently shut up.


Al Negator only looks out for one guy: Al Negator.

In front of the Security Council, Bucky shows off the toads they captured in order to clear the Corsair Canards and Dead-Eye. Grebb is practically angered by this development, but then shocked and afraid when he hears from Bucky there’s a spy among them. Bucky then commands his crew to capture the traitor, and we’re supposed to think he means Grebb, but it’s actually Harman who is trying to run away. He’s cornered, and then his head actually opens to reveal he’s an android being piloted by a small newt. The newt then takes off and he’s so fast that no one can get a hand on him. Redjack then pulls out his Frisbee, which Willy had gifted him after the competition had ended, and whips it at the fleeing newt knocking him out. Captain Lanelle is impressed, and she now apparently has the hots for Redjack. Willy apologizes to Dead-Eye for playing a role in him losing his girl, but he says she was never his girl. Plus he has no time for a lass. Lanelle then invites Willy to join the Corsair Canards. He’s tempted and turns to Dead-Eye for advice who simply reminds him that he voluntarily left the pirate life to join a higher cause with Bucky and his crew.


Ever see a newt piloting a walrus?

Back aboard the Righteous Indignation, Bucky O’Hare enthusiastically informs the rest of the crew that it’s time to go croak some toads. Dead-Eye likes this, and Willy is shown right behind his gunner’s chair. You didn’t really think he would leave, right? They take off as the episode ends.


Looks like Redjack got what he wanted out this one.

“Corsair Canards” is an interesting diversion episode. It gives us a peek at what Dead-Eye’s life was like before he joined up with Bucky O’Hare and it’s always nice to get a little back story on the normal characters. The whole pirate culture created by the show isn’t exactly inventive. It’s also careful to paint them in a more heroic light, as opposed to the classic pirates who rape and pillage. Obviously, Bucky can’t seek the help of murderers and it is interesting to see Bucky trying to recruit allies since the fleet he’s a part of is so woefully underfunded. The episode makes no attempt to fool the viewer into thinking Dead-Eye has flipped, given the arrangement of the scenes. It does use Grebb as a red-herring for the traitor, and in doing so it’s probably pretty successful with younger viewers. The newt reveal is fun and it makes me want to know more about the newt race in the Aniverse. Bucky letting Al Negator off the hook made little sense, but I guess someone felt it was important for Bucky to stay true to his word even when dealing with a criminal like Al. As for what he did with his freedom, we don’t know as this is his final appearance in the show.


Willy and Dead-Eye bright eyed and ready to bond by killing some amphibians.

I alluded to it during the write-up, but this episode looks like trash. There are so many bad colorization parts and awkward pieces of animation. When the setting returns to the cruise ship for the final time, Jenny is even in the establishing shot even though she’s supposed to be in disguise and will be when next shown. There’s some real ugly images of Bucky where his face is scrunched and one instance of Lanelle speaking with some other pirates where her mouth is hanging open like she’s shocked for no reason. About the only positive I can give is that there are at least a lot of new character designs. The pirates, while cliché, look fine and interesting. I do like the newt and his Total Recall-like reveal. That’s about it though, and given how poor the previous episode looked, I’m a bit concerned it’s all downhill from here. Was the show already declared dead on arrival and the budget slashed during the latter stages of production? It’s also possible that more resources were simply devoted to the earlier episodes in hopes they’d hook viewers there and then coast. I’m hoping there is at least an uptick for the finale, but I’m not holding my breath either.


Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Search for Bruce”

img_3598Episode Number:  8

Original Air Date:  October 27, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Richard Merwin

First Appearance:  None

After several episodes that basically exist on their own, we have another episode that refers back to the events of the first one. This was an episode I was waiting for as a kid, though I obviously didn’t know if it would happen or not. Back in episode one, an attack by the Toads caused a malfunction with the proton accelerator of the Righteous Indignation. That malfunction claimed the life of chief engineer Bruce, who we would come to find out is the older brother of Bruiser who would join the crew in the next episode. Bruce’s demise was very much a cartoon one, where rather than actually die he was sucked into the photon accelerator itself. This had been telegraphed by Bruce mentioning the thing partially existed in another dimension. At the time, it was unknown what happened to him. Was he basically sucked into a black hole, which would kill him? Blinky remarked he had either gone off to another dimension or was indeed dead, but answers would have to wait.


The band is back together in this one. Sort of.

The “death” of Bruce very much caught my attention as a young viewer. Prior to that event I had never seen a character die in a cartoon show. My only experience with death had been Bambi’s mother. Had I been a Transformers fan I probably would have seen the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie, but for whatever reason that franchise never got its claws in me so I didn’t have that shared, traumatic, experience with many of my peers. Instead I had Bruce, and not being accustomed to seeing death in a show I held out hope he’d come back. Him being taken away like that added intrigue to the character. He didn’t really do much in that premiere episode so it wasn’t as if I had any attachment to him. Just the act of him being taken away was enough to create an attachment.

This episode is basically the return of Bruce, but in an unconventional sense. Still, considering this is the first time the baboon brothers will share screen time, this episode has the potential to be the most captivating one yet. This show hasn’t really played up the mushy stuff, as Dead-Eye would call it, and this is a chance to do so. How will Bruiser react to seeing his brother again? And what role will the Toads play in all of it?


Bucky’s weird sideburns make drawing him at this angle pretty awkward.

The episode opens with the heroes in a familiar situation:  under heavy Toad pursuit. To try and shake the numerous Double Bubbles on their tail, Bucky pulls a Han Solo and steers the Righteous Indignation into an asteroid field. Dead-Eye then, laughing maniacally all the while, makes it tougher on their pursuers by blasting as many asteroids as he can sending debris flying past them. Numerous Toad Double Bubbles meet their end at the hands of the asteroid belt and interestingly not a single ejection is seen. Bucky’s fancy flying is taking a toll on the engines as Blinky gets knocked around, but they still have enough power for a hyper space jump. As they exit the asteroids and ready the warp drive, one of the Double Bubbles fires a tracking device. One of the claws rockets forward and is able to attach itself to the rear of the Righteous Indignation just before it enters hyper space.


Someone needs to give Blinky a gun.

The crew gathers in the cockpit to celebrate another successful escape from Toad forces. All except Blinky, who is still down in the engine room. Suddenly, a trio of Storm Troopers materialize right inside in the engine room! Blinky tries to run, but ends up in the clutches of the trio as they bang his head against the floor. During which, he adds another new catchphrase to go along with “Calamity and woe,” and that’s “Misery and wretchedness.” He is able to alert the others via what is apparently an intercom system, but I think someone missed the note because it just looks like a wall. The others race down there and Bruiser is particularly agitated to find Toads beating up on his little buddy. The Storm Troopers do what Storm Troopers often do and attempt to flee in panic.


The Toads actually have a plan for once.

As the Toads back off, they demonstrate what terrible shots they are by failing to hit Bruiser with their gun-fire. As Bruiser closes in, another Toad calls out from above to Bucky. Three more apparently appeared in the cockpit and they have Jenny. One tells Bucky to order Bruiser to back-off, which is when Bruce appears. He’s dressed in some new armor with a primitive do-it-yourself vibe. Most curious though is that he appears to be intangible, real ghost-like. Bucky and Dead-Eye can hardly believe their eyes, but Bruce speaks and tells him not to worry.


The latest in Toad technology.

On a metallic-looking moon not unlike the Toad home world, a strange device is in operation. Toad scientists man the controls while worker toads turn a large device in the center of the room that is apparently generating the power. It’s a transport device, and four more Storm Troopers are being readied in it. Suddenly, Bruce appears and his mere presence causes the Toads present to recoil in fear. He orders the scientists to “rip out them wires,” and they do as they’re told, causing all of the Toad forces on the Righteous Indignation to vanish.


Fancy seeing you here, Bruce.

Bucky and the others are left puzzled by what just happened, but right now they need to get working on repairs. Jenny calls Willy, and we’re spared a scene of her interrupting him doing something menial in his world. His door just appears immediately and he comes aboard to help out. Meanwhile, the Air Marshall drags some white-coated scientists back to the scene of the ghost baboon demanding they get back to work. Bruce appears and everyone panics once more, including the Air Marshall who hides under a command console. Komplex then appears on a giant monitor and zaps the Air Marshall’s hiding placing with an electric bolt. The Air Marshall stumbles out with tales of ghost baboons and Komplex responds that it’s aware of this supposed ghost before saying there may be a way to utilize this unexpected development to their advantage. Bruce is shown looking on.


Air Marshall is often incompetent, but at least in this episode his scenes are genuinely amusing.

On the Righteous Indignation, everyone is working on repairs while Jenny pilots the ship. She radios down to Bucky that a priority message from an unknown sender is trying to contact them. He instructs her to accept and heads for a monitor. On the other end is Bruce, only he doesn’t look like a ghost this time. he provides instructions on where he can be found. Bruiser is naturally overjoyed to see his “brudder,” but before they can get too excited the ghost version of Bruce appears once again. He warns them not to follow the instructions they just got, but before he can say more he’s practically mauled by his excited little brother causing both of them to disappear. This just further confuses Bucky, and citing no other lead to go off of, he decides to head to the obvious trap the fake Bruce provided.


Bucky seems to love traps.

They head for Quadrant 15, and wouldn’t you know, the Righteous Indignation winds up surrounded by Toads. Quadrant 15 happens to be where the moon containing this new Toad device, the matter transporter, is located and for some reason Bucky doesn’t find the giant structure protruding from it curious. On that very moon, the Air Marshall is returning back to the scene of the ghost baboon attack very nervously. There’s no one around and he yells out to any ghost baboons hiding in there that he has Bucky O’Hare in a trap and if he doesn’t want him destroyed he better stop haunting the machinery. Bruce then appears, causing the Air Marshall to freak out and hight-tail it out of there. As he spins and runs, he collides with Bruiser practically knocking himself out. Bruiser and Bruce then agree they need to go help Bucky and the others.


This episode does drive home how overpowered the berserker baboons are. Bruce can’t even touch them, he’s a living hologram, but that will be enough to get them to flee.

On an airstrip, Bruce and Bruiser spy two patrolmen and a bunch of Double Bubbles. When the patrolmen see the two baboons, they drop their rifles (blue ones instead of the customary hot pink) and run. One trooper basically runs across a Double Bubble so either it was part of the background and they messed up or they actually overlapped the running Toad over the wrong cell when animating it. Anyway, Bruce and Bruiser hop into a Double Bubble and take off.


Bruce at home on Baboon Heaven.

While traveling to the action, Bruiser asks Bruce where he’s been this whole time. Bruce then explains that the photon accelerator blasted him across the Aniverse to a strange planet he describes as Baboon Heaven. The area appears to be inhabited by small monkeys of normal monkey intelligence. There’s a village though, and Bruce settled there and started working on a matter transmitter of his own. While trying to get it working, the Toads built their own, and in a similar case to what happened with Willy’s photon accelerator the activation of the Toad one somehow interfered with Bruce’s. It warped him to their location, but in this weird ghost-like form. Bruce says he thinks he’s basically trapped between worlds, which only further enrages his little brother.


They appear to be having some problems.

The two then come upon the Righteous Indignation which is being attacked by free-floating Storm Troopers in space suits. The matter transporter is apparently back up and running as more keep phasing in and out. Some try getting the jump on Bucky in the cockpit, but it doesn’t work too well. The Air Marshall is shown getting angry every time a Storm Trooper gets kicked back to them, and a Toad Tech says the machine is still a work-in-progress, not that Air Marshall cares.


There’s a tag team you don’t want to mess with.

Bruiser and Bruce eject from the Double Bubble to go cause some trouble. Bruiser is actually armed this time, but Bruce advises that he not fire at the Righteous Indignation for obvious reasons. Bruce then goes around scaring toads, which is pretty effective, while Bruiser grabs and crushes them. He even squeezes the head of one hard enough to crack his space helmet.


Even with the ability to appear wherever they want out of nothing, the Air Marshall’s forces still fail over and over.

With his forces driven back, the Air Marshall is shown once again to be quite irritated. Frix and Frax are able to get in some one-liners as the Air Marshall rants and raves about hating losing. Aboard the Righteous Indignation, Bruce directs Bucky to head for that moon as it’s where the matter transporter is operating from. He reasons they need to destroy it to put an end to this madness. Strangely, while they were fighting all around the ship itself no one noticed the tracking device which must be working in tandem with the matter transporter.


That certainly looks inviting.

Bucky takes the ship down to the moon and the base on it is rather colossal. They land amid heavy fire from Storm Troopers and race inside the factory. There they encounter another old friend, the Void Droid, and the Toads have made one important upgrade. Willy’s water pistol no longer works, and while the others try to think of a way past this thing, Jenny goes off on her own. She drops through a grate in the floor and is able to run under the robot and emerge behind it. From there she jumps on it and uses her psychic powers to destroy it. No one else was able to see her do this and they just think the thing exploded or something.


Jenny proving to be quite resourceful.

A discouraged Air Marshall is not happy to see the force heading for him on the monitors. Knowing that his Storm Troopers are useless thanks to the presence of the two baboons, he decides it’s time for him to go. As he hops onto the transporter, Frix and Frax go running after him. He tells them to back off as their last minute addition apparently will result in unexpected consequences, but they don’t care as the trio vanish.


Air Marshall is always willing to run.

With the Void Droid destroyed, Bucky takes the baboons with him into the main room where the matter transporter is operating from. Bruce then instructs Bucky to destroy the matter transporter so that the Toads can no longer make use of it. As he prepares to do so, Bruiser interjects to lodge a protest. He’s apparently not as dim as he appears since he’s able to figure out on his own that it’s the Toad machine keeping Bruce there with him. He doesn’t want to see his brother fade away, but Bruce dismisses his concerns because they need to take it out. Bucky agrees, but before he can do anything stray enemy fire from the corridor hits a pipe above his head causing it to dislodge and come crashing down on Bucky.


Bruce advising his brother to do the right thing.

With Bucky rendered unconscious, and Bruce intangible, it falls on Bruiser to do the right thing and destroy the matter transporter. He doesn’t want to do it, but relents when Bruce insists. He smashes the thing up quite well and Bruce lavishes praise upon his little brother for doing so. As the two do their little celebratory dance, Bruce starts to fade away. Before he disappears he tells his brother not to be sad and he’ll come back some day. Losing his brother for the second time goes over about as well with the berserker baboon as you would expect. An irate Bruiser stomps off into the corridor after the Storm Troopers firing at them and apparently gets ahold of them off-screen. Helmets and even one Toad jaw come comically flying into view as a now conscious Bucky and Jenny look on, not with a comical reaction, but a more sympathetic one.


For someone advising another to not be sad, he sure looks sad.

Air Marshall, along with the duo of Frix and Frax, are on some mysterious planet all alone. The twins bemoan the absence of any kind of swamp nearby as the surface of this planet is nothing but red rock. Air Marshall stomps around in a rage that soon turns to tears. He pounds the ground and has himself a good cry. Maybe now he’ll be used to losing.


Bruiser taking his anger out on some Storm Troopers. That’s either a head or a helmet with an eyeball left behind. No wonder why most of the carnage is off-screen.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, a sullen Bruiser is seated beside Blinky. Blinky tries to cheer up the baboon with a video he was able to capture of Bruce’s goodbye to his brother. It does help some, and Bruiser thanks him while hoping his brother is okay. On the planet dubbed Baboon Heaven, Bruce is indeed fine as a little monkey brings him some more purple bananas. He insists they taste great despite the odd color and resumes work on his own matter transporter. He’s optimistic that he’ll one day have it working. Back on the Righteous Indignation, everyone resumes assuring Bruiser that everything will be okay. He’s receptive to their words while remarking his mother would be so proud of Bruce, and Bucky reminds him she’d think the same of him. Dead-Eye then chimes in from his guns in a defeated tone. He wants to know when they can cut out this mushy stuff and go back to croaking toads taking us out on a bit of a joke.


Blinky managed to capture a Kodak moment for Bruiser.

“The Search for Bruce” is a satisfying follow-up to the very first episode. Bruce’s reappearance is a bit confusing, but a lot of the lore in this show is. It’s not too foreign a concept for kids raised on comic books though and it wasn’t surprising to find out that Bruce is indeed all right following the events of the first episode. I suppose the show leaves open though what did happen to him. After all, Bruce does refer to his new home as Baboon Heaven. Maybe he is dead and found a way to return to the world of the living briefly? I don’t think that’s the intent, but it is an interesting thing to ponder.


Bruce, back to work with purple banana in hand.

Putting the focus of the episode on the relationship of the baboon brothers is fitting and the right choice. Perhaps fearing it would get too heavy, a lot of the sequences involving the Toads are played for laughs leading up to the climax. Both Bruiser and Bruce are voiced by Dale Wilson and they essentially sound the same. Their tendency to refer to each other simply as “brother” certainly conjured memories of 80s wrestling promos for me, particularly Hogan and the Macho Man. They both have a tendency to say “banana oil” when irritated by something, and they basically relate everything back to bananas. It gets a little annoying by the episode’s end.


It’s rather sweet seeing everyone try to cheer up old Bruiser.

The emotional hook is handled pretty well. It’s assumed that something will happen to keep Bruce away in the end, and putting his dismissal in the hands of his brother works well to add drama to the scene. If Bucky did it then it would seem less heart-breaking. Bucky and Jenny looking on with sadness as Bruiser rampages is a simple way to convey the emotion of the scene, and the episode left enough time at the end to let it all sink in with the characters and the viewer. Dead-Eye’s closing remarks are basically an acknowledgement that shows with this target audience don’t often stick with the “mushy stuff” this long and is an appropriate way to try to sneak in a quick moment of levity to close things out.


And lets not forget about what happened to these three. Maybe Komplex will leave them there awhile.

Visually, this episode is a disappointment. It almost seems like another team at AKOM worked on it because both Jenny and Dead-Eye sport different guns than we’re used to seeing. They’re very generic and plain looking. There’s also the color switch on the Toad weaponry from pink to blue. In general, the animation is also exceptionally poor. It’s very jittery and looks like they were trying to save money by reducing the amount of frames they typically illustrate. Some of the infiltration sequence is downright ugly as is Bruiser and Bruce’s attack on the Toads who were pestering the Righteous Indignation. There are some nice lighting effects with the teleportation animation and the matter transporter itself, but all in all this might be the worst looking episode so far. Hopefully it’s not indicative of what’s to come. There are some loose ends created by the plot too as they never address the Toad tracking device affixed to the Righteous Indignation nor is it explained how Komplex was able to create a “Bruce” for the fake video. There’s a lot to cram into this episode so I guess they just didn’t have the time for any of that, not that it’s an excuse.


It was nice seeing these two get to pair-up. Had this show continued, I’m sure we would have seen more from Bruce.

“The Search for Bruce” is the most emotionally ambitious episode of the show thus far, and likely will remain that way given the subject matter. We won’t hear from Bruce again, which isn’t a surprise considering the short season. Had there been another season I’m guessing Bruce would have returned in some form. This episode is actually pretty well-written with Bucky getting some clever lines and good comedy writing with the Air Marshall. The emotional stuff is also handled well and I genuinely felt sympathy for Bruiser. It probably won’t make you cry or anything, but I found it actually more effective than the death of Morph from X-Men. If it weren’t for the mostly horrendous animation here, this might have been the best episode yet, but instead it may have to settle for second or third best when all is said and done.


Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Komplex Caper”

img_3558Episode Number:  7

Original Air Date:  October 20, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Doug Moench

First Appearance:  Rumble Bee, Digger McSquint, Pitstop Pete

For the second consecutive week, Komplex gets top-billing by being included in the episode title. Surprisingly, they didn’t stick with the “K” theme and call it The Komplex Kaper, but I guess once was enough. This is an episode I had almost no memory of going into it. Once I started watching it things started to come back, but for one reason or another it was not a memorable episode for me. That had me a bit a worried, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this episode isn’t bad. It’s not threatening “Home, Swampy, Home” as my favorite thus far, but it’s nowhere near as bad as “On the Blink,” which itself wasn’t without its charms.


If Boss Fight Studio is looking for a variant of its Storm Trooper figure, here’s a goofy one.

This episode opens with Dead-Eye out scouting in the Toad Croaker. He happens upon a Toad Cruiser which has just launched a satellite of some kind. The hatch of the Cruiser conveniently opens and Dead-Eye sneaks aboard. There he finds a lone Toad pilot referred to as the Toad Master Spy. He mostly resembles a Storm Trooper, but his suit is less detailed and he has these weird little antennae on his helmet, plus what appears to be a nose. He sees the abandoned Croaker just floating around his ship which he regards as curious, until Dead-Eye blasts a hole through his door. Dead-Eye radios to Bucky and informs him of what he found and asks what to do. Bucky, in an irritated voice, tells him to tie him up and bring him aboard. When Dead-Eye asks “With what?” Bucky instructs him to improvise.


I bet no one is surprised they made a tongue-tied joke here.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, Bucky heads down below to interrogate Dead-Eye’s prisoner. He finds one toad with his tongue wrapped around his entire body and a proud duck. Bucky commends Dead-Eye for his resourcefulness, but seeing as how the toad needs his tongue to speak, he instructs the excitable gunner to untie him. The toad then struggles to get his tongue back into his mouth and complains it’s too limp to utilize. Bucky bangs it around some to wake it up (why do I suddenly hear the sound of Beavis and Butt-Head’s laughter in my head right now?), and AKOM apparently got sick of animating the thing because it just magically returns to the toad’s mouth. Bucky then tries to interrogate him, but he’s not talking. Enter Bruiser, which gets the toad’s tongue working just fine. He says Komplex sent him to position and shield a satellite, but he doesn’t know anything else. Bucky then instructs Bruiser to toss the prisoner in the brig while he ponders what this could mean.


Air Marshall is receiving a temporary promotion which will all but surely remain temporary.

Komplex is then briefly shown discussing this new scheme with the Air Marshall. Air Marshall is being charged with defending Komplex, a task usually reserved for Toadborg but he’s busy with something else. On Earth, Willy is messing around with his computer and the photon accelerator. It’s causing interference on his computer, and eventually it picks up Komplex’s signal. Willy overhears a plan to utilize a satellite to broadcast Toad TV to the rest of the Aniverse which will drain the brain waves of the mammals watching and render them obedient to Komplex. Toadborg is also shown on a sound stage dressing toad actors as mammals in preparation for the first broadcast.


Toadborg has a future in directing.

Willy, realizing he stumbled onto something important, activates his photon accelerator to return to the Aniverse. He starts informing Bucky and the others about what he learned, but he doesn’t get very far before the Toad satellite starts broadcasting its first transmission. The various monitors on the ship display some monster movie, the effects of which seem to hypnotize the members of the crew. All except Willy (and possibly Blinky, who doesn’t say anything but also doesn’t appear to be affected) are essentially paralyzed and we see shots of other random mammal households under the same spell. A green energy is being sucked out of the viewers and floating to the television suggesting this is some kind of brain drain. Willy deactivates the monitors on the ship breaking the spell. Jenny thanks him for saving their lives and Bucky starts formulating a plan.


The brain suck in action. Throughout, AKOM is inconsistent where Blinky is concerned. In some shots he’s being affected, in some he’s not. As an android, I’d assume he has no brain waves.

The Indefatigable is summoned and Dogstar soon shows up with his new crew. Their names won’t be given, but in addition to Dogstar and Wolf we have Rumble Bee, Pitstop Pete, and Digger McSquint. Dogstar is displayed as being especially bumbling so he hasn’t gotten any smarter since we last saw him. He goes along with Bucky’s advice to shut down their ship’s video monitors so at least he’s smart enough to take orders when necessary. Bucky has a pretty radical idea to infiltrate Komplex and take this thing down at the source, and the only way to do that is to attack the Toad home world.


Some new faces aboard the Indefatigable. Pitstop Pete and Rumble Bee presently enduring a rather boring heroic tale from their commander.

Bucky has Dead-Eye take him there via the Toad Croaker which is disguised as a meteor. It will fall to Dogstar to keep the Toads occupied outside the planet while the Righteous Indignation returns to deal with that stray satellite. Wolf launches in their own version of a Toad Croaker while Bucky makes his way to the surface armed with his trusty sidearm and some special crystal Jenny gave him in case he gets in trouble. He also has a handy jetpack on his space suit that helps him get around. A Toad gunner is shown at a console and he regards the Croaker disguised as a meteor as unimportant. The Air Marshall shows up and almost succeeds in fouling Bucky’s plan by ordering the gunner to blast the meteor in order to remain sharp. Before he can do so, the Indefatigable appears drawing their attention away from Bucky, as planned.


Air Marshall doing his best to remain vigilante.

Seeing the Indefatigable in its orbit, Komplex orders the Toad fleet to attack. What appear to be hundreds of Double Bubbles come streaming out of the Toad planet. In the first few episodes, such odds were made to seem insurmountable for one frigate, but apparently Dogstar’s crew will do just fine. We get to see his guys get in position and Rumble Bee, being an android, basically extends his “stinger” and plugs into their ship’s M.A.S.E.R. canon while Pete mans what looks like a missile launcher.


Rumble Bee plugs himself into the Indefatigable’s canon.

Bucky makes his way through the Toad planet undetected. He even remarks it’s rather boring, which is the cue for many laser turrets to activate and train their sights on Bucky. He dodges and shoots a few before reaching a deep chasm. At the bottom is something that resembles the Void Droid from episode 3. Bucky also encounters several more robots designed to destroy sentient beings, and Bucky being a sentient being, is soon targeted. These things look like smaller versions of that same Void Droid and also remind me of the mousers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lucky for Bucky, they aren’t as indestructible as the Void Droid and he’s able to blast them


A close call for Captain O’Hare.

It’s at this point that Komplex becomes aware of Bucky’s presence and we see the program is capable of panic. Komplex recalls all of the troops and orders them to defend Komplex at all costs. This even causes the many Double Bubbles fighting with Dogstar and his crew to turn around. Wolf requests updated instructions from Dogstar and he’s obviously irritated with his slow-thinking commander. Dogstar then instructs him to use their tails as fuses and light ’em up! Very poetic.


Willy’s stupid gun

Meanwhile, the Righteous Indignation has found the shield around that satellite to be impregnable. To no one’s surprise, Willy is able to come up with a solution because his brain essentially possesses magic powers, it would seem. The writers usually come up with some jargon to explain Willy’s plan, but this time they don’t bother. He whips up a little gun that somewhat resembles a video camera. Dead-Eye pilots the Croaker and Willy out to take a shot at the satellite, and what do you know, Willy’s weapon works. With the shield down they now just need confirmation from Bucky that they’re okay to blow it up.


This is apparently worse than the robots.

And as for Bucky, well he’s run into some trouble. He ended up in a hallway composed of giant video monitors and Komplex has switched them all on. They’re apparently not broadcasting the mammal-centric programming affecting the rest of the Aniverse though and it just looks like Toad TV. Apparently, regular old Toad TV has a paralyzing effect on mammals. We’ve seen Bucky and the others recoil with disgust when presented with Toad TV, but nothing like this. Bucky falls to his knees clutching his head apparently incapable of doing much else. He then pulls out that crystal Jenny gave him, which floats into the air and sends out a laser blast in all directions destroying all of the monitors and freeing Bucky from their paralyzing effects.


What better way to house a bunch of brain waves than a big old brain itself?

In the inner sanctum of Komplex, Toadborg activates the final component of this brain drain device. A literal brain rises from a center console. It’s in a glass bubble and is very reminiscent of Mother Brain from the Metroid series (though not the version of the character from Captain N, thankfully) of video games. All of the brain waves being collected by the satellite are being consolidated here. Once that task is completed they’ll be scrambled and transmitted back to the source which will render the viewer obedient to Komplex, but it’s still roughly 5 minutes away from completion. Bucky then bursts in, and Komplex orders Toadborg to destroy him before he stops the brain drain. Toadborg has a rifle this time, but hitting Bucky proves challenging. Similar to episode 3, Bucky is able to insult Toadborg which appears to enrage him and makes him sloppy. He vaults over the cybernetic toad to rest atop the giant brain and Toadborg cooperates by continuously firing at Bucky. His sloppy shooting causes him to strike the brain and explosions happen.


Komplex is in quite a panic during the final act.

We then cut to the satellite, which has now reversed its brain suck maneuver and is sending the waves back to their source. A montage of mammals around the Aniverse is shown as they all come to their senses. The writers even slip in a political joke when one mole remarks he feels like he was just subjected to 9 months of Quail speeches, which I can only assume was a jab at the current sitting Vice President of the United States, at the time. Bucky then contacts the Righteous Indignation and orders the destruction of that satellite, and Dead-Eye is happy to oblige. A series of explosions at the Toad planet thrust Bucky back into space where Wolf is ready to scoop him up. He radios back to the Indefatigable to report that Bucky has been secured and their mission a success.


Wolf with the save!

Back aboard the Righteous Indignation the crew is shown celebrating. Bruiser seems particularly excited while Bucky is a bit sullen that he couldn’t take down Komplex once and for all. He’s reminded they’ll have other chances, while Bruiser is just happy to have television back. When he goes to flip on the tube, Bucky whips out his pistol and blasts it. It would seem he’s not quite ready for TV yet. A simple order would have probably been more economical though. Back at the inner sanctum of Komplex, Toadborg is shown angrily barking orders at other toads. They need to make emergency repairs to get Komplex back on-line and he suggests they’re at least a week away from achieving their goal. The camera then pans to Frix and Frax who realize they’ll be without Toad TV for at least a week and they begin to weep like children.


The reaction of Frix and Frax when faced with the prospect of no Toad TV for a week.

“The Komplex Caper” isn’t what I expected given the title, but I suppose it’s still a caper since the Toads were stealing something after all. It just wasn’t something tangible as they were stealing the brain waves of the mammal population. It’s a bit “out there” as a plot device, but it wasn’t a surprise to see Toad TV integrated into a plot in a major way. I still don’t really get how Toad TV works – is it paralyzing to mammals? It seems kind of stupid, but I guess with a kid’s show you’re always looking for non-violent ways for the villains to inflict harm and distress on the protagonists. It was fun to see the fight be taken to the Toad home world for the first time, though it was improbably easy for Bucky to infiltrate it. We also saw Toadborg fail once again. I can’t say I’m happy to see his apparent weakness is a short temper, because it is rather lame, but when you create a villain that’s indestructible you have to find a weakness some where.


I very much enjoyed watching Wolf get annoyed with Dogstar.

They may not have played a huge role in the episode, but it was nice to see Dogstar given a proper crew. Up until now he’s only had Wolf at his side and he briefly had some generic looking dog character when they arrested Tinker back in episode 2. The newcomers all have interesting designs. Their designs were so interesting that Pitstop Pete and Rumble Bee were both supposed to be in Hasbro’s series 2 of action figures, but that wasn’t to be. I’d still like to see a Rumble Bee at some point as he’s just unique looking so hopefully Boss Fight Studio’s current line of figures lasts long enough for that to happen. Considering they have yet to unveil a Blinky or Willy (and maybe they’d want to do a Dogstar first as well) I’d guess he’s still pretty far away.


This episode is at least unique for giving us a look inside Komplex.

This episode is pretty entertaining. Even though it requires a real suspension of disbelief, watching Bucky infiltrate the Toad home world is pretty cool and it’s something I wouldn’t have expected to happen yet in the series. We are at the midpoint though, so maybe this was as good a time as any to go ahead and take the fight to the Toads head-on. There’s some solid humor here too. The sequence at the episode’s start with Dead-Eye and the Toad pilot is perhaps the best piece of humor the show has provided us so far while it was also funny to see Wolf’s interactions with Dogstar. Dogstar annoys me and it’s nice to see he apparently annoys Wolf as well. This episode also makes it seem like Komplex will be out of commission for at least a little while. That’s not the case though as we’ll be hearing from Komplex again quite soon. Komplex isn’t featured in every episode, so I don’t know why they didn’t position one of those episodes to follow this one, but oh well. Opportunity wasted. Toadborg did say Komplex would only be down for a week which is convenient for a weekly TV show. After three episodes though that are very stand-alone in nature, next week’s will bring us a direct call-back to the very first episode of the series with “The Search for Bruce.” See you in a week!

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “Kreation Konspiracy”

img_3530Episode Number:  6

Original Air Date:  October 13, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Martin Pasko

Frist Appearance:  Dexter, Major Bottlenose, Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Wartimer, Dr. Croakley

If you couldn’t tell based on the name of the episode and its liberal use of the letter ‘K,’ episode 6 is going to deal with Komplex to some degree. It provides a little extra backstory on how Komplex came to be. This is another largely stand-alone episode, but it’s at least going to introduce some new characters that probably would have reappeared in season 2 had there been one. It feels a little more important than last week’s episode, which is welcomed.


A hidden base in a pile of crap, plus spies. This is actually going to be a fun one.

The episode opens with Dead-Eye bemoaning that Bucky has taken them all to the planet Sludge. Sludge is appropriately named because it’s a heavily polluted, mucky, pile of crap. It’s undesirable, which is why the mammals of S.P.A.C.E. (Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment) have hidden a secret base there. From this base, they’re able to spy on Toad activity and intercept top-secret transmissions. They apparently have something for Bucky, and as the Righteous Indignation lands to go check it out a trio of cloaked individuals watch from the junk heaps of Sludge. What little skin of theirs is visible is green, so I think we know what that means.


Even the characters in the show are surprised to find an octopus.

Inside a bubble dome, Bucky, Jenny, and Dead-Eye greet Dexter (Scott McNeil basically just doing his Dead-Eye voice without the pirate stuff), a large octopus who works under Major Bottlenose. Dead-Eye seems surprised to see that Dexter is an octopus, causing Bucky to remark “We all gotta be something.” Very true, Bucky. As those three dive into a pool of water to follow Dexter to Bottlenose, Blinky and Bruiser are tasked with looking after the ship.


It would have been pretty funny if Major Bottlenose turned out to be something other than a dolphin, but I guess the writers weren’t feeling cheeky.

The base is hidden underwater, so Bucky and the others have to wear oxygen tanks and helmets. Jenny especially does not seem to enjoy the placement of this base, but she goes through it while insisting to Bucky that she actually likes water, though unconvincingly. They eventually meet up with Major Bottlenose who has a video he’d like to show them (apparently, S.P.A.C.E. has perfected underwater computers). At first, it looks like any old broadcast of Toad TV, this time with a 21 Jump Street parody called 21 Hop Street, which disgusts Bucky. Bottlenose then tells them it contains a secret message when played backwards. Doing so reveals the visage of Komplex, and he details the location of a weapon called the matter-transmuter. It’s a special ray gun that can turn non-living matter into any other type of matter. He wants his toad forces to recover it from the planet Toxus 3 where it’s believed to be lying in wait. Bucky knows how destructive such a device could be in the hands of the Toads and vows to recover it.


“Get lost, Blinky. I got something I need to take care of.”

At the ship, Bruiser has run out of bananas, but has the problem of still being hungry. Blinky has also run out of places to store the banana peels (good thing they landed on Sludge where they can probably just dump them). Blinky decides to head to a nearby outdoor market to purchase more bananas while Bruiser stays behind to watch the ship. He’s happy to do so as he whips out a baboon magazine that appears to feature a nude centerfold. Alone time on the Righteous Indignation is probably hard to come by and it looks like Bruiser is ready to take advantage.


Blinky, you were only supposed to bring back bananas!

At the market, Blinky finds a merchant selling brown bananas. Reasoning that a brown banana is better than no banana, he makes the purchase and heads back to the ship. Meanwhile, those three toads from earlier are watching and following him. When he returns to the bubble dome and radios to Bruiser to let him in, the three toads slip in behind him. Bruiser opens the door to the ship and sees the three coming up on Blinky’s rear and they’re armed. He calls out to his little buddy and runs out to help him. Meanwhile, one of the toads uses a gun on Blinky that coats his arm in ice. The other two approach Bruiser, and fighting their fear of baboons, they drop to one knee and fire the same ice weapon at him hitting him in the leg. Bruiser is able to get a mitt on one and his hood flies off to reveal he’s indeed a toad, an old-looking one at that. They succeed in freezing Bruiser’s arm and head and decide they don’t need the ship, just the android, as Blinky is turned into an ice cube. Bruiser, his head inside a block of ice, collapses and passes out.


Well that’s a handy little weapon.

Jenny, Dead-Eye, and Bucky find Bruiser and thaw him out, apparently before he lost anymore brain cells. He wakes and is discouraged to see that the toads got away, but worried that Blinky apparently disappeared with them. They had back to the ship knowing they need to find Blinky, but also knowing they have to get that matter-transmuter before the Toads can. Bucky contacts Dexter and asks him to keep an eye out for Blinky via their scanners. It’s really all they can do for Blinky at this point.


Must be a retirement ship.

Aboard another ship, Blinky meets his captors. The three elderly toads explain they need him and for the second consecutive episode Blinky finds himself strapped to a chair. He can tell they’re toads, but he mentions there’s something different about them compared with other toads. They don’t elaborate much, only to tell him he’s needed to be their navigation computer. They want to get to Genus where they apparently have some business of some kind.


“Bruiser! How many times do I have to tell you; use the latrine!”

The Righteous Indignation heads for Toxus 3 to retrieve the matter-transmuter and find the Toads there to do the same. When Bucky tries to engage them the engines overheat and the Righteous Indignation is essentially crippled. What do you do when your ship doesn’t work? You call Willy, who was preparing to head to the movies with his folks to see something about Woodstock. He wasn’t looking forward to it and is happy to tell his parents to go without him as he heads back to the Aniverse. There he sees Bruiser first who basically can’t even tell him what happened to Blinky as he seems like he’s about to cry. It’s sweet. Willy ends up finding the engines clogged with some gunk, and Bucky reasons it’s probably from the polluted air of Sludge. Willy clears it out, but it’s too late to stop the Toads from getting what they came for.


That Air Marshall needs to smile more.

Toad Air Marshall interrupts his lazy subordinates, Frix and Frax, who are once again watching Toad TV. He’s rather proud of himself for recovering the matter-transmuter and theorizes he has a new medal to look forward to. Komplex interrupts him to basically put him in his place. Komplex hasn’t forgotten the Air Marshall’s many failures up to this point, and is particularly irritated that Bucky O’Hare nearly foiled its plans again. Komplex, unlike many of its minions, is smart enough to know that the mammals deciphered their code in order to find out what they were doing. Komplex has a new plan though, one that it hopes will finally rid it of those meddlesome mammals.


Komplex needs a dentist.

With the matter-transmuter in Toad hands and no leads on Blinky, Bucky looks to Dexter and Major Bottlenose for help. It just so happens that they’ve uncovered a new transmission from Komplex in the same manner as the one that lead them to the matter-transmuter. This one is Komplex confirming the existence of three toad scientists thought to be dead. They’re the ones who created Komplex, and when Komplex first took over the Toad home world it had the first Storm Troopers imprison these three on a slave ship. For some reason, Komplex didn’t have them killed and instead sent them into deep space frozen in a state of suspended animation where they were supposed to live out the rest of their lives. Komplex says that didn’t happen and they crashed near Toxus 2 and could very well be alive aboard their ship. The Toads are to recover them and bring them to Komplex.


For some reason this really freaked me out as a kid so it’s an image that’s stayed with me.

This being their only lead, Bucky takes the crew to Toxus 2 where a slave ship is discovered just floating in space. The Indefatigable arrives soon after and Dogstar radios to Bucky that they’ll be providing backup. Bucky is happy to have the help as he and Willy take the Toad Croaker over to investigate and find three partially frozen beings onboard. Bucky, who seemed skeptical about this from the start, is puzzled how they’re frozen while the interior of the ship remains warm. Willy inspects the bodies and notices one isn’t cold, and then is alarmed when the arm falls off. They’re dummies, and so are Bucky and Willy. It’s a Toad trap, and as Bucky and Willy rocket away on the Croaker the Indefatigable morphs into a Toad cruiser.


The Air Marshall and his new toy.

Apparently, the Air Marshall does a great Dogstar impersonation as we see him at the controls of the matter-transmuter demonstrating his apparent talent. The device had been used to disguise their ship, and now it’s being used against our heroes. The Air Marshall first sets his sights on the Righteous Indignation changing its engines into a giant anchor and the tower into a big jester head or something. The anchor causes the ship to plummet through space (which makes zero sense) and the new piece on top of the ship apparently knocked out the power to Dead-Eye’s guns. He then turns his attention towards Bucky and Willy. Bucky is able to dodge the first few shots from the Air Marshall, but eventually the Croaker is hit and converted into a giant glob of glue. Like the ship, Bucky and Willy just start falling and the goo adheres to the side of the Righteous Indignation.


Notice how Blinky had to be configured to function as a navigation computer.

Blinky has led the three elderly toads here and they have an apparent score to settle with Komplex. They reveal their origin to Blinky, and since they have no love for Komplex, they seem content to let Blinky do what he must to save his friends. He sets the cruiser they’re in on a collision course with the Air Marshall’s cruiser. The shields on the Toad Slave Ship they’re in prevents the Air Marshall from using the matter-transmuter on it. Seeing no alternative, he bails as the ships collide. The resulting collision blows a hole in the Air Marshall’s cruiser and the matter-transmuter gets sucked out. It collides with Willy and Bucky, but Blinky is there to make the save. Apparently, his arms extend really, really, far and he grabs onto the matter-transmuter and hauls it into the ship along with Bucky and Willy.


Blinky is really making up for screwing up the ship in the last episode.

With the matter-transmuter now in the hands of the mammals, Willy looks to figure out how it works. Meanwhile, Toad Double Bubbles are on the attack and Willy has to react fast. He undoes the damage to the Righteous Indignation, which helps calm a rather distraught Blinky, and allows Dead-Eye to return to doing what he enjoys most. It’s still a tall task to ask of the mighty gunner, and Willy turns the matter-transmuter on the uninhabited Toxus 2 converting the entire planet into a giant Berserker Baboon, the sight of which causes the Toads to flee in terror. It makes no sense since this space baboon appears to now be alive, but this episode especially is not concerned about pesky “rules.” This stunt apparently overheated the matter-transmuter as well and it explodes, but the heroes escape any harm. Willy seems disappointed, but Bucky is happy it will no longer be in Toad hands.


Nothing like a giant baboon to scare away some toads. So, is this thing alive now? Is there just a colossal, planet-sized, baboon roaming space now?

The crew heads to Genus where everyone is shown getting a bite to eat at a restaurant. Bucky and the others are seated with the three toad scientists who devour green hamburgers. Bucky is interested in learning from them and asks what’s the secret to destroying Komplex? The three scientists look at him as if he has two heads before asking him if there was a simple way to destroy him don’t you think they would have done it already? Bucky and the others can’t even attempt to hide their disappointment.


Sorry guys, there’s no secret to taking out Komplex.

“Komplex Konspiracy” is actually a pretty fun little episode. It’s not directly tied in with anything else, but at least the heroes are actively working towards ending the Toad threat. They get a lead on a potential way to do it learning a little more about Komplex in the process, but we obviously can’t have the ultimate evil on the show destroyed so soon. I also like seeing the ingenuity of the mammals in concealing a secret base on a junky world underwater and it’s equally neat to see Komplex beat them at their own game. The trap they lay for Bucky is actually a pretty good one and the only thing they didn’t count on was the actual scientists (Dr. Hopkins, Wartimer, and Croakley) being there to toss a wrench in things. And of course the Air Marshall’s incompetence played a role as well.


We learn in this episode that, like most cats, Jenny is no fan of water.

In terms of character progression, we got a little more out of Blinky’s personality. It was entertaining to watch him fret at finding places to store Bruiser’s banana peels and the logic he displays in his various tasks was pretty amusing and at times cute. The episode also doubles-down on the Bruiser and Blinky dynamic, which is sweet, and the little joke at Jenny’s expense with the water also produced a smile on my face. This episode isn’t heavy on humor, but it manages to be effective without the usual amount of cheese found in children’s cartoons. The fake-out ending was also pretty well done, the only thing I didn’t like about it being that it’s really rushed. This show has pacing issues, and it’s a shame it didn’t have just five additional seconds to linger on the shocked faces of the crew when the scientists explain there’s no secret way to destroy Komplex.

Major Bottlenose and Dexter are interesting additions as well. Bottlenose may be a mammal, but he’s the first aquatic mammal we’ve seen. It’s also amusing to see the reaction of Dead-Eye to the non-mammal Dexter, who also possesses a dry sense of humor. I just wish this show had one or two more voice actors as Scott McNeil has way too many roles. He’s a good voice actor, but he can only do so much.


The matter-transmuter turned out to be an interesting plot device, but damn did it lead to some weird choices in animation.

Visually, this episode is actually one of the better ones so far. I think that has more to do with the setting than anything. There’s a lot of stationary scenes and space travel, which makes things easier to animate. The underwater sequence also actually helps since characters often look floaty and weightless. Sludge is appropriately gross and the ice gun the scientists utilize is a nice touch. The only negative is the weird physics (or maybe I should say lack of physics) at play during the climax. There was even a sequence during a Toad TV demonstration of the matter-transmuter where characters are seen parachuting out of a destroyed space ship. The show plays fast and loose with the laws of space, but this is the most loose it’s been so far.

All in all, this is a rather serviceable episode. If it had a touch more importance and set up another story then that would have helped elevate it, but as a stand-alone episode this is fine. It’s definitely good to see as after last week’s episode I was fearful we were in for a really bad slide until the finale. Hopefully the momentum carries into next week’s episode, “The Komplex Caper.”

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “On the Blink”

img_3507Episode Number:  5

Original Air Date:  October 6, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  George Arthur Bloom

First Appearance:  Susie

“On the Blink” marks another stylistic turning point for the series. This is the first episode to basically abandon the finer points of the continuity from the first four episodes. There’s no mention of Warren or the plight of the hares, no direct call-backs, it’s simply a plot where the Toads are up to no good and it’s up to Bucky and his crew to stop them. This is, however, the first of many episodes that will try to place the spotlight on one member of the crew. Well, I suppose it’s the second since the previous episode had Bucky be the focal point. As you could probably guess by the title, this one will focus on Blinky, the adorable android who hasn’t had to do too much thus far. Him being the only non-mammal on Bucky’s crew will play a role in how he’s utilized in this one.


Willy and his unnamed female peer.

The episode opens with Willy at the zoo accompanied by a young girl named Susie (named in a later episode). She’s actually the first human we’ve seen who actually looks similar to Willy so I guess he’s not some kind of mutant. There’s no credit for this character, but since it’s a female character I assume Margot Pinvidic is providing the voice. Willy is telling her about the wonders of hummingbirds, but she reacts cooly to Willy claiming he cares more about science and how things work than he does for the feelings of living things. She then points out a koala exhibit and mentions how they were endangered once upon a time to prove her point. When people don’t care about animals, bad things happen. Willy’s parents would love her.


Pay no attention to the koala in the hat.

This links up nicely with the events transpiring in the Aniverse as the koala home world of Rigel 5 has been taken over by the Toads. A koala by the name of Quintin is able to get a distress call out to Bucky informing him of what’s gone on. It would seem the Toads took the planet over and converted it into a resort for other toads. Or at least, one piece of it. We don’t see an actual climate converter so I guess it’s not as severe as what happened to Warren. Frax notices the koala in the tree though and knocks him out of it ending the transmission. Bucky declares that they must help the koalas.


The sight of Al Negator in a golf shirt does make for an amusing visual.

Elsewhere on the resort, the Air Marshall is playing golf with Al Negator. He’s lining up a putt, and as the camera changes positions the balls at his feet keep moving and some disappear. He also looks like he’s wielding an iron and not a putter. It’s the clunky stuff we’re used to seeing from AKOM. Al proposes a wager that he can’t make the putt, and the Air Marshall accepts. For some reason, even though it looks like a 3 foot putt, Air Marshall takes a full swing. Frix and Frax run-in mid-swing to tell him about their capture and Air Marshall bangs the ball into a swamp. He jumps up and down raving mad at the two.


Bucky has a little trouble with the latest in mammal defense.

Bucky, apparently sick of Dead-Eye always telling him he should take him with, launches the Toad Croaker with he and Dead-Eye aboard. As they make their way down to the surface of Rigel 5 they end up snared in some kind of force field. On the surface, Toadborg enjoys seeing this defense shield in action and even interrupts a Toad TV broadcast Al and the Air Marshall were enjoying to show video if its effectiveness. It would seem Al provided the shield and he’s still looking for payment. For Bucky and Dead-Eye, they seem to be stuck within it, but Blinky has a solution. He’s seated at Dead-Eye’s M.A.S.E.R. canon, which is an amusing sight, and says something about reversing the polarity or whatever. In essence, he uses the canon and the shield to create a tractor beam and pull Bucky and Dead-Eye safely to the confines of the Righteous Indignation.


It’s not often we get to see Blinky in the gunner position.

Jenny decides they need Willy’s help to get past this shield and she calls out to him via the memory stone. Willy hears and obeys, as he activates his photon accelerator to come aboard. He then surprises everyone by not having a solution to their problem. Bruiser then points out an arriving Double Bubble which passes through the shield without issue. Willy deduces that the shield must be configured to keep out warm-blooded creatures, and the only member of the crew who doesn’t fit that description is Blinky.


Bruiser actually getting to do something.

It’s decided, and Blinky is tasked with taking down the defense shield. In order to do that, they wait for another passing ship and when a freighter enters the orbit Bruiser is deployed in a spacesuit carrying a large crate. He flies up to the freighter and opens the hatch depositing the crate containing Blinky inside.


Apparently, Blinky was not looking forward to running into Toadborg.

On the surface, the Toads are unloading the contents of the freighter. Frix and Frax are aboard checking out the loot and find some chocolate covered grasshoppers and other gross Toad food to consume. They also stumble upon the crate containing Blinky, but Blinky has dismantled himself partially and they just assume it’s a shipment of parts for Toadborg and leave it be. When they’re gone, Blinky pulls himself together and takes off. He enters the main building that houses the controls for the defense shield. As he works at the terminal, a large mechanical hand snatches him. It belongs to Toadborg, and he knows who Blinky is despite the two not sharing a scene together up to this point.


Blinky lets out a rather unsettling scream during this sequence.

Blinky is then strapped to some machine by Toadborg while the Air Marshall, Al Negator, Frix, and Frax look on. Al suggests spies like Blinky should be killed, but Toadborg claims to have a better use for him. He turns on the machine and we find out that androids apparently feel pain. At least it sure seems like Blinky is in pain. When the deed is done, a deactivated Blinky is left lying on the gurney while Frix and Frax watch a beauty contest on Toad TV. With those two distracted and arguing about who should win, Blinky reactivates himself and takes off. The two hear the sound of Blinky’s tin-can like feet and immediately give chase. Blinky is able to give them the slip though forcing them to raise the alarm.


Meet hologram Bruiser.

Outside, Blinky runs right into the Air Marshall and a few Storm Troopers. Blinky isn’t exactly the fighting type, so he uses his projector to project a hologram of his buddy Bruiser. The Storm Troopers flee in terror, while the Air Marshall is left shaking in his boots. Eventually, Blinky turns off the hologram revealing it was a fake further embarrassing the Air Marshall. He then commandeers a Toad Double Bubble and takes off while three Double Bubbles pursue.


No spacesuit needed for Blinky.

In space, the Righteous Indignation picks up the approaching Double Bubbles on its scanners. Dead-Eye is ready to fry them when Jenny is able to see that Blinky is piloting one. Dead-Eye is forced to stand down as the pursuing Double Bubbles open fire. Conveniently they blast off the hatch on Blinky’s side of the vessel and he jumps out before the rest of it explodes. Bucky opens the bay door and Blinky is able to get to it safely allowing for Dead-Eye to blast the remaining Double Bubbles into oblivion.

With Blinky safely aboard, he informs the others that the shield has been deactivated. They congratulate him and head for the planet. At ground level, Frix and Frax seem prepared to get eaten alive by Toadborg until they find out he intended for the android to escape. Putting Frix and Frax in charge all but assured it would happen. Air Marshall and the others are confused, but Toadborg obviously has a plan.


The hand wants what it wants.

Blinky heads for his usual spot by the engine. It’s there he hears the voice of Toadborg beckoning him to sabotage the ship. Blinky tries to resist, but his hand grabs hold of some hardwired device. As he tries to resist, sparks shoot out of him and he collapses while whatever he was holding gets ripped from wherever it was. The ship immediately loses control and starts spinning teaching Willy a valuable lesson about seat belts. As Bucky and Jenny try to gain control, Bruiser returns to the cockpit with Blinky in his arms. They quickly realize what happened, but will need to act fast because the ship is heading straight for a sun. Willy says in order to fix the ship, he’ll need to fix Blinky first. On Rigel 5, Air Marshall and the others watch as the Righteous Indignation barrels towards the sun and celebrate when they see a resulting explosion.


Is this the end for Bucky O’Hare? Not likely.

With Bucky and his crew apparently out-of-the-way, Komplex contacts the group to recall the troops from Rigel 5 as they now can commence with an attack on the mammals. Al Negator approaches the Air Marshall about payment for the defense shield, but the Air Marshall deems it obsolete now with Bucky no longer a concern. In space, the Righteous Indignation races into focus unbeknownst to the Toads. It’s explained that Willy and Blinky, together, fixed the ship after Willy fixed Blinky. It was also Willy’s idea to jettison a fuel tank to create the explosion the Toads saw. With the ship repaired and the shield still down, the crew turns its attention back to the koalas of Rigel Five.


Al is amused by Blinky’s apparent loyalty while the Air Marshall frets over the bomb in his suit.

Al does not take kindly to such talk. He retrieves some device and he slips it into the Air Marshall’s suit. He tells him it’s a killer bee bomb and he better get paid or else it’s going to explode. As he dances around, Blinky returns. He claims his task is completed and that he escaped from the ship before it plunged into the sun. He requests a new task, and the Air Marshall tells him he has nothing for him and to go relax. He’ll be taken care of since he took care of Bucky O’Hare. He then settles up with Al.


Bruiser making his television debut.

The rest of the crew arrives and takes over a Toad TV production studio. It seems Quintin the koala came up with the idea of putting Bruiser on live television to scare away the toads vacationing at the resort. Bruiser is a bit shy at first, but once the cameras start rolling he gets into it. Outside, Al Negator is enjoying a hot tub filled with a red-orange, bubbling, liquid while Air Marshall is at his side. He’s enjoying counting his payment for the defense shield when Bruiser appears on a nearby television. As other toads panic and flee, Air Marshall realizes he’ll need Al’s help once again. Al is happy to oblige, but he’ll need to see some more money.


It’s going to cost Air Marshall a few bucks to get Al out of this hot tub.

Air Marshall leads Al as well as Frix and Frax to the production studio. He’s not intimidated by the broadcast as he thinks Bruiser is still a hologram. A fire-fight breaks out when they arrive, and everyone is a bad shot including Dead-Eye. Since no one can actually get shot, Air Marshall blasts some scaffolding which tumbles down into a make-shift cage that traps the mammals. All except Bruiser. When Bruiser approaches, Frix and Frax bolt while the Air Marshall is left to insist he’s a hologram. He reaches up and grabs Bruiser by the muzzle and becomes distressed when he finds fur on his fingers. Bruiser then does what Bruiser apparently does best by squashing Air Marshall into a football shaped object. He punts the warty little jerk across the room which is apparently enough of a demonstration for even Al Negator to beat it, despite being armed. The Air Marshall jumps into a Double Bubble while Al is forced to jump onto it. The two alternate yelling “Pay me!” “Sue me!” as the spacecraft takes off.


Oh, you poor, stupid, toad.

With the Toads forces gone, Rigel 5 is free once more. Willy informs the koalas that he can probably reverse the defense shields to keep out toads rather than mammals, a welcomed piece of news. Back on Earth, Willy is again at the zoo with the same girl and she’s more impressed with him this time. When she says they need to protect creatures like koalas from the threat of mankind, Willy adds “toadkind” as well which causes her to declare that Willy can be so silly. He makes a stupid winking face at the camera that I refuse to capture, ending the most disappointing episode of the series thus far.


I’m not a fan of this episode, but I do enjoy this pairing.

That’s how “On the Blink” ends, on the lightest note yet. This is the most bland episode thus far which really fits the typical mode of a children’s cartoon from this era. The enemies are too arrogant or stupid to pose a true threat leaving enough of an opening for the heroes to emerge successful. The power of Bruiser is also exploited as just putting him on television is enough to scare legions of toads and cause them to flee the planet all together. I get that they have a paralyzing fear of Berserker Baboons, but this seems excessive. It would also seem Al Negator possesses a similar fear since he turns tail and runs too, despite being armed with a gun and Bruiser not.

The episode tries to make Blinky its star, but doesn’t do much with him. His usefulness is on display, but I expected the episode to try to humanize him in some fashion but it makes little to no effort on that front. We do see some empathy towards Blinky from the crew, in particular from Bruiser who refers to him affectionately as Little Buddy. Blinky is basically inherently likable because of his cute design and helpful demeanor so perhaps he does not need humanizing, but it would have been interesting to see something more.


Jenny felt the need to arm herself in this one.

Ultimately, this is a very ho-hum episode and the worst one of the series. It’s the type of children’s programming that is most likely successful at occupying a kid for a half hour, but little else. For an older viewer, there’s little to be entertained by as the humor is conventional and the animation quality mediocre with minimal action to fall back on. About the only thing of interest to me is seeing Jenny running around with a gun for the first time. She had been willing to go unarmed in prior episodes where she could rely on her psychic powers, but maybe the sidearm is a cover? It’s interesting that she wouldn’t just always have it, if that was the case. Interestingly, the gun design is the same as one of the included pistols with the Hasbro Dead-Eye Duck figure and I can recall my friends and I referring to it as “Jenny’s gun” when we were kids. Boss Fight Studio opted to include it as well with their Dead-Eye and their Jenny possess a hand capable of holding it even though she didn’t come with an accessory to hold herself. Anyway, this is an episode best forgotten and hopefully isn’t a sign of things to come.

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “Home, Swampy, Home”

img_3506Episode Number:  4

Original Air Date:  September 29, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx

First Appearance:  Mimi LaFloo, Captain Smada

Episode Four essentially marks the part of this series where we move from a strictly serialized format to something more traditional for a children’s program. “Home, Swampy, Home” does not follow a cliff-hanger nor does it leave another one at its conclusion. However, that doesn’t mean we’ve lost all semblance of continuity. The plot of the episode is still a reference to the first set of stories as Bucky’s home planet of Warren needs to have its climate restored and there’s still the question of where the Toads have taken Bucky’s fellow hares.


A sleekly animated intro welcomes our hero into episode four where he truly gets to shine.

Considering this episode is going to focus primarily on the hares, it should be no surprise that Bucky is front and center. Our first three episodes were very much an ensemble, with perhaps Willy getting the most focus and backstory on the greater conflict between mammals and toads taking center stage. The writers and producers of this show will now take time to flesh out the supporting cast, and they’re starting with the captain himself. Eventually, characters like Dead-Eye and Bruiser will get episodes that allow them to spread their wings and even dabble in their past lives before joining Bucky’s crew. It’s a smart approach when your cast of characters is sizable, and it’s a strategy Fox’s X-Men would utilize the following year and even well into season two as its cast was particularly cumbersome. Even though the episode focus is getting narrower, we still have time for new characters and this one will introduce a fairly important one in Mimi LaFloo (Margot Pinvidic).


I suppose it makes sense that the Toads would have some amphibious vessels.

The episode opens with one of the better pieces of animation we’ve seen so far. Bucky, on the flooded planet of Warren, is piloting the Toad Croaker like a jet ski as it shoots across the surface of the water. Jenny and the others are in communication with him from the Righteous Indignation and we quickly learn that Bucky is surveying the planet for remaining hares while also being on the lookout for Toad forces. A barge like watercraft soon rises from below the water’s surface with a trio of Storm Troopers aboard it and a large canon. Our quite lovely animation level then drops back to the standards we should be used to by now as Bucky maneuvers the Croaker into the sky to avoid laser fire. He then turns around and demonstrates the primary method of attack of the Croaker by squishing the troopers and the barge they’re floating on.


That’s why they call it the Toad Croaker.

In Warren’s orbit, the Righteous Indignation is under fire from Toad spacecraft and is forced to pull out. Their communication equipment is down, and Jenny instructs Blinky to take over piloting duties while she tries to reach Willy. On Earth, Willy seems to be enjoying a sunny day outside piloting a remote controlled airplane when he hears Jenny inside his own mind reaching out to him. She reminds him of the memory stone she gave him at the conclusion of the previous episode and he reaches into his pocket to pull it out. He can see Jenny communicating through the stone and she urges him to return to the Righteous Indignation as they need help.


The memory stone in action.

Willy soon arrives and Bruiser is there to greet him with his battle suit in hand. Willy heads up to the cockpit and is surprised to find only Jenny and Blinky. Jenny tells him Bucky went to Warren to seek guidance from his mentor, which is why he didn’t permit anyone to go with him. We cut to Bucky pulling up the Croaker to a cave. Light is pouring out and we just hear a voice over play while Bucky stares into the cave telling him it’s easier to take a fortress by stealth from within than by force. Bucky then turns around and jumps into the Croaker and takes off. I don’t know if that statement was meant to be cryptic, because it was pretty direct. I also have no idea why they felt they needed to keep Bucky’s mentor a secret. Maybe for time? Maybe no one could come up with a design that was interesting? It’s pretty clunky and weird though.


How Bucky reacts to the site of his mentor. I guess we’re not missing much.

As Bucky shoots through the sky, another barge emerges and this fires grappling hooks. They grab onto the Croaker and stop it in mid-air. Bucky, who is neither wearing a seatbelt nor helmet (tisk, tisk), is ejected from the Croaker when it comes to an abrupt stop and lands right in a net aboard the Toad barge. The Toads then happily celebrate the capture of Bucky O’Hare.


Captured again. Aww gee.

Bucky is taken to a rather neat looking Toad spacecraft. This show seems stretched thin in terms of its budget so its nice to see that AKOM didn’t just continually reuse the same spacecraft for the Toads over and over. This vessel is under the supervision of Captain Smada (Richard Newman), a rather fancy looking Toad who would look at home on the stage. He’s pretty delighted to see what his subordinates have brought him and he immediately radios to the Toad Air Marshall to inform him of what’s transpired.


Meet Mimi LaFloo. She’s an important one to remember.

On a planet new to us, we get a look at the hares who have been captured and are being forced into labor for the Toads. They’re being worked hard, apparently, but all anticipate being set free eventually by their hero:  Bucky O’Hare. All, that is, except one fox by the name of Mimi LaFloo. She is not content to sit around and wait for some hero to come and save them and is pretty sick and tired of hearing about Bucky O’Hare from the other hares. The workers are introduced to the new overseer of this factory:  Toad Air Marshall. He promises to make them work harder and faster so their very important project can meet its deadline.


Captain Smada gets the credit for the capture.

Air Marshall’s proclamations are interrupted by a transmission from Captain Smada. Smada proudly displays his captured Bucky O’Hare and an excited Air Marshall orders he be sent to him immediately. From the ship, Bucky is able to watch this conversation play out and learn the location of his fellow hares. At the factory, the Air Marshall happily announces over the PA the news of Bucky’s capture. The other hares are shown down-trodden at the news, some even weeping, while Mimi tries to use it as a rallying cry. There’s no more waiting around, they need to act if they want to save themselves.


The other hares do not take the Bucky news well.

Mimi begins actively organizing a resistance movement and needs the cooperation of the hares if they’re going to escape. She interacts primarily with a hare named Larry (Scott McNeil) and a chubby hare named Bob (Jason Michas) who are rather meek in her presence. They’re wiling to take orders from her and provide a look-out as she sneaks into a secure area to hack a computer terminal. The animation of Mimi at the console is particularly brutal as she seems to float around while typing. She is able to print out (on old school computer paper) plans for whatever it is they’re being forced to work on and when she shows it to the other hares they recoil in horror to see it’s a climate converter, like the one used to turn Warren into a swamp.


Mimi’s awkward keyboard animation.

On Smada’s ship, Komplex contacts the captain and demands to know why it wasn’t informed immediately about Bucky’s capture. Smada is quivering and we cut to Toadborg who reminds Smada they have a score to settle with the green rabbit. Komplex, demands Smada place Bucky on his fastest transport vessel and send him to the Toad home world and Smada is forced to obey. A sleek looking Toad ship is then shown launching from Smada’s and it shoots through space.


Smada is in a bit of hot water.

Mimi and the others are shown at work at the factory. Mimi literally tosses a wrench into the machine they’re working on causing an explosion. As they celebrate their little act of sabotage, Storm Troopers come racing in and round them up at gunpoint. It doesn’t seem like they thought this one through.


Torture time, in a very Saturday morning kind of fashion.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, Jenny is able to intercept the communication between Komplex and Captain Smada. They also use it to figure out a last known location and she has Willy engage the warp drive. As he does, we get more goofy animation where Willy appears to turn a gauge like a dial. The Righteous Indignation rockets through space and is able to catch up with the transport ship. Apparently unaware that Bucky is physically on the ship, Dead-Eye opens fire and scores a few hits. Aboard the ship, the fire causes the ship to lurch and the trooper drops the keys to Bucky’s restraints. He’s able to secure them and takes out the others before radioing to the Righteous Indignation to hold their fire. He then shares the news that he knows where his fellow hares are, and citing the message his master had for him, that he knows someone who can infiltrate the base and free them:  Angus McJump.


The Righteous Indignation goes after their captain.

In the slave factory, Frix and Frax are overseeing a torture session. Mimi and the other hares who participated in her little stunt are plugged into a machine that broadcasts Toad TV directly into their brains, basically. We’re even shown what they’re watching, an infomercial for fly paper wallpaper. The Air Marshall is then shown ranting about the injustice of Komplex diverting the captured Bucky O’Hare to the Toad home world. Feeling he needs to get back in the good graces of Komplex, he orders the torture session suspended so that the workers can start working double-time to complete the climate converter ahead of schedule.


A shadowy hare among some pretty cool looking ruins.

Back on Warren, some toads out on patrol in another new piece of watercraft spot a lone hare at the mouth of a temple of some kind. They head over and find an elderly green hare in a ragged cloak with a beard and an eyepatch. He pleads for mercy as they apprehend him and it’s not hard to figure out that this is Bucky in disguise. Angus McJump, as he’s called, is taken to the factory with the other hares. There Bucky is reunited with his Aunt Iris (Pinvidic) and he reveals his disguise to her. She lets him know they have formed a resistance and that she’ll bring him to its leader in the evening. They then enter the hangar where most of the construction is ongoing and Bucky is horrified to see another climate converter.


The Toads are not too impressed with the capture of Angus McJump.

In the mess hall, Aunt Iris is showing Bucky around and he sees Mimi for the first time and is rather impressed. She’s rallying the troops, so to speak, and when one mentions Bucky O’Hare she practically bites his head off. Bucky assures his aunt that he’ll handle things from here, and he approaches Mimi with some exuberance. He claims to be a hare of 92 who really wants to help, and after some convincing, Mimi agrees to let him be a lookout. Larry is then selected to be the focal point of their attack as he was the second best jumper on Warren (I bet you can’t guess who was first) and his skills will be crucial for Mimi’s plan.


Bucky is able to track down his Aunt Iris among the hares.

The next day, Mimi and the hares are basically standing around just wiping walls. It seems like a rather useless task, but whatever. When the sentry yawns and closes his eyes a moment they duck inside the main chamber of the climate converter. There Mimi sneaks up behind the lone guard and puts him in a chokehold while dragging him out of frame. She and the hares emerge with the guard’s rifle and they use it to subdue the scientists inside. Outside, Angus heads in and the sentry awakens to see the missing fox (who must really stand out) and hares and demands to know where they are. The remaining hares simply shrug their shoulders and the sentry raises the alarm.


Mimi’s introduction to Mr. McJump.

Mimi and Larry race to the surface of the climate converter. The other guards are now aware of their location and are firing upon them. Way up high is the command tower they need to reach if they want to shut the place down. It’s up to Larry to make the jump, but one look and he balks. He turns to Mimi to tell her he can’t make it, but she won’t hear it and reminds him their whole plan is dependent upon him making that jump. With no other choice, Larry prepares to make a leap he knows he can’t possibly make when a commanding voice from offscreen shouts “Forget it, kid, you’d never make it!” Angus emerges, and as Mimi reminds him he’s supposed to be the lookout, he removes his costume to reveal his true identity. Larry and Mimi are shocked as Bucky informs her he doesn’t do well taking orders, referring to her as “Foxy.” He bolts for the tower and with a mighty leap he’s just barely able to reach the railing. He hops over the guard rail and batters the lone armed guard and steals his rifle. The Air Marshall and others are forced to run and seek shelter in an elevator. As the door closes, poor Frax collides with it knocking himself unconscious.


Mimi doing her best Solid Snake.

Bucky gets on the PA and alerts the other captives that he’s here to set them free. Larry and the other hares are shown jumping and cheering while Mimi looks on with awe. Bucky blasts the console which controls the various turrets and other security measures allowing the prisoners to revolt and take down their captors. Jenny is able to detect the reduced security measures and the Righteous Indignation heads down.


Larry is not up to the task at hand.

The other hares happily approach Bucky and thank him for the rescue. The hand shake is rather awkwardly animated, hopefully I don’t sound like I’m beating a dead horse by pointing this out. Mimi also thanks Bucky and seems to be quite impressed with the funky, fresh, rabbit. She does inform him to never address her as “Foxy” again though before taking her leave. The others arrive and Bruiser enjoys flattening a few leftover toadies and everyone appears to be in a joyful mood.


And here comes Bucky!

Their celebratory moment is interrupted though by the Air Marshall. He’s now in a Double Bubble vessel with Frix and he informs Bucky that he’s going to explode the entire factory. Frix is alarmed to hear this and he informs the Air Marshall that there are still toads in that factory, including Frax. Air Marshall remarks it’s a price he’s willing to pay. Willy is on it though, and he fires up the climate converter and creates a massive windstorm around the factory. It’s almost comically effective as the hatch on the Double Bubble is blown open causing the Air Marshall to lose the remote detonator he held. The ship then goes spinning wildly out of control and crashes in a firy explosion, so I guess Frix and the Air Marshall are dead? Bucky congratulates Willy on a job well done while Willy shares some good news. He theorizes that they should be able to figure out a way to reverse the damage done on Warren now that they have a climate converter in their possession.


If this were some big sporting moment we’d probably dub this The Leap.

On Genus, the Secretary General is proud to announce that the United Animal Fleet is being expanded once again to include a third frigate. It’s captain will be none other than Mimi LaFloo, based on a recommendation from Bucky O’Hare. Mimi is dressed in a regal looking blue pilot ensemble and when the Secretary General suggests she thank Bucky she is more than happy to do so, in her own way. She plants a kiss on the smitten captain while Jenny turns away in disgust. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to take that. Jenny is either disgusted with Mimi for her conduct of utilizing her sex appeal to woo Bucky, or does she harbor feelings for Bucky as well? Maybe she’s just ticked he recommended Mimi receive her own frigate rather than advocate for Jenny to get her own ship? That would make sense, though I doubt that’s how we’re supposed to take it. Or is this just a lame joke and Jenny is acting “catty” towards another female since she is a cat? Anyways, Mimi names her new vessel, a gray frigate, The Screaming Mimi as the episode ends.


Looks like Bucky won over a new fan.

Going into this series, if someone told me they wanted to watch one episode of Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars and asked me to recommend just one, this is the episode I would have selected. It basically gives us a look at both the myth of Bucky, as perceived by the hares, and the actual hero that Bucky is. I wish the episode went even further with that and included the captive hares sharing some tall tales of Bucky, with some fun ones that were obviously more myth than factual. It’s interesting to see how Bucky is perceived by the other hares and how they expect him to just show up eventually and make everything right. And he kind of does, and the moment where he reveals himself and makes his gravity-defying leap of faith is one of the better moments in the entire series.


Mimi looking rather dashing in her new uniform.

That’s not to say the episode is perfect. I noted many animation shortcomings throughout and this one does get rather ugly in places. Running animation continues to be an issue and overall things are just very stiff. Which is a shame since the episode looks great in the opening moments. AKOM definitely has an easier time with the spacecraft which makes sense since there are less moving parts. That’s not to say there isn’t some room for praise. The backgrounds on Warren look really nice and I enjoy the look of that world the short time we’re there. The additional new pieces of Toad tech are also welcomed so at least there’s a willingness to keep introducing new designs and models and not just re-hashing the same old thing. Budget constraints are also taking their toll on the cast as well as it’s obvious the show wanted to keep things small. Margot Pinvidic has been tasked with voicing every female so far and to differentiate Mimi from Jenny she basically talks in a lower, more even, tone with Mimi. At times, some more excitement would be nice out of Mimi, but maybe then she’d sound too close to Jenny or something. Scott McNeil also does a ton of Toad voices in addition to Dead-Eye, though given that Dead-Eye is barely in this one, it’s not as noticeable as it has been in past episodes.


That’s one way to thank a rabbit.

Mimi LaFloo is a great addition to the series, whatever your thoughts on her methods of showing gratitude. It was really uncommon in 1991 to see a female character take charge like she does throughout the episode. She’s an anti-princess if you’re definition of a princess is in the classic Disney sense where a damsel in distress sits around and waits for her prince to show up. Mimi is a go-getter and a natural leader. It’s also amusing for the viewer to see her irritated at the mention of Bucky O’Hare only to be left in awe when she gets a glimpse of his exploits herself. At the end of the episode she gets acknowledgement from the council for her leadership skills in freeing the slaves and also rewarded by having the rank of captain bestower upon her. She and Bucky are essentially equals, and I expect her to be portrayed as such going forward.


Jenny is not a fan of Captain LaFloo.

“Home, Swampy, Home” does still suffer a bit in the pacing department, even though it’s more of a stand-alone episode than the previous three. Bucky’s meeting with his mentor is basically glossed over and the whole thing feels really awkward. There wasn’t a better, more streamlined way for Bucky to have the idea planted in his head that a stealth approach is better than a full-frontal assault? He should already be familiar with that anyways, since he and his crew have had to fight the entire Toad army basically on their own. They should have cut all of that and just had Bucky get captured like he did anyway and come to that conclusion on his own. Then there would have been a little more time to build towards the big escape or to add some more of that myth-making I desired.


So they do come in different shapes and colors.

After the episode basically leaves Warren, the pacing is actually all right. The Toad security measures are obviously laughable, but I like the little textures put in place. The Toad guards are always aware of where Mimi is, because she stands out. Komplex overruling the Air Marshall is a nice callback to its displeasure at the end of the last episode and demonstrates how far the Air Marshall has fallen. It’s the type of thing little kids might not really notice or even appreciate, but it’s a nice observation for older viewers. The main competition for Bucky was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and aside from all of the jargon that show threw at viewers, its plots were super simple. This show was aiming higher. The execution isn’t perfect, but at least it’s trying. It should be mentioned that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles enjoyed a similar start with inter-connected episodes introducing the Turtles and their main foes before things started to get really silly when it got a full episode order. Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars would obviously never get that order, but it’s only four episodes deep right now and there’s time for it to devolve into lesser entertainment. For now, the start has been solid and this episode is still the one I’d recommend to people just looking to get a taste of what the show is about.



Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “The Good, the Bad, and the Warty”

img_3437Episode Number:  3

Original Air Date:  September 22, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx

First Appearance:  Mother Aldebaran

It seems our animal friends can’t stay out of trouble. At the end of the first episode it looked like Bucky and his crew would be annihilated by the entire Toad fleet. They escaped destruction there with the help of the recently displaced Willy DuWitt. Victory was short-lived as episode two ended with the sleazasaur spy, Al Negator, making off with the codes to the defense system of the capital planet in the United Animal Security Council. He managed to escape capture by Bucky O’Hare and was safely in the confines of the Toad Mothership. Worse, the Righteous Indignation was in turn captured by the Toad Empire and we’ll begin episode three with Bucky and his crew inside the Toad Mothership as well.


It’s action time!

Our episode begins as the second did with a broadcast from Toad TV. Andy Phibian is broadcasting from inside the Toad Mothership to report on the imminent capture of Bucky O’Hare, until Toadborg strolls into the picture. Phibian is the same reporter featured in the opening credits, and given how the last two episodes begin, it makes me wonder if the show was supposed to feature him in most episodes giving a news broadcast. If so, it’s abandoned quickly as this is Phibian’s last official appearance. His character model will be re-used as a generic background character, but he won’t be giving any more broadcasts. Toadborg is apparently camera-shy, putting an end to that transmission. Bucky and the rest are grouped on the Righteous Indignation as Toad Storm Troopers blast it from outside. They can’t hide forever as the ship can’t take much so they do the only thing they can:  they fight!


Guns? Bruiser doesn’t need guns.

Bucky, Jenny, Dead-Eye and Willy burst through the laser fire and head in different directions. Despite being severely out-numbered, they escape harm. Dead-Eye and Willy climb aboard the Toad Croaker that Al Negator abandoned while Bucky and Jenny duck into a corridor, eventually splitting up. Bruiser is left to guard the ship while Blinky remains aboard, presumably to make repairs. Bruiser has little trouble with his task as the Toad Storm Troopers are paralyzed with fear at the sight of him. He squishes one into a ball and has fun jumping up and down on the others.


Dogstar looks like he’s taking a snooze while Wolf looks stoned. Good allies.

The Mothership is heading for Genus accompanied by the Toad fleet of Double Bubbles. Commander Dogstar and Wolf are shown from the Indefatigable when Dogstar realizes where he recognized Al Negator’s scent from. Theorizing that Bucky is in trouble, they activate their warp drive to zero in on Bucky’s last known position. Bucky is shown running through a corridor being chased by Storm Troopers. He shoots up some pipes along the walls releasing steam, allowing for a “steamed” pun (sadly, no pigs are present for a Steamed Ham pun). Jenny is also shown making the rounds taking out security cameras wherever she finds them.


The latest Toad mechanical monstrosity.

Dead-Eye and Willy are soon shown being chased by a rather nasty looking Toad robot. Air Marshall seems to refer to it as a Void Droid, and Toadborg will make a reference to it later. Dead-Eye’s lasers do nothing to it, and as it gains on he and Willy in the Toad Croaker he insists Willy use his secret weapon. Willy tries to protest as he knows his gun is just a water pistol, but he gives it a shot when Dead-Eye insists. It turns out the machine is not waterproof and one squirt from Willy’s gun takes it out. The Air Marshall, watching via a security monitor, is enraged at this deficiency while Frix and Frax seem to be amused. Dead-Eye congratulates Willy and then makes a confession. He hands over the play money he swiped from Willy’s bag, and Willy tries to tell him what it is. Dead-Eye instead is rather impressed that he considers a stack of cash of that size “play money,” but a hard turn of the Croaker causes Willy to tumble out and into a laundry chute of some kind which causes his helmet to pop off. When Willy looks up, he’s face to face with Al Negator.


Bucky’s initial shot makes a dent, but none of the others will.

Bucky enters a prison yard in hopes of freeing his fellow hares, but all he finds are empty shackles. He soon comes face to face with Toadborg. He informs Bucky that all of the hares have already been moved to slave factories and there’s nothing he can do about it. Bucky, taking Toadborg to just be another robot, fires his gun at him and chips away at Toadborg’s frame. Repeated blasts have no effect though and he’s forced to crank his gun up to full power, but even that fails. He then tries to jump away (and the episode uses a silly spring sound effect for Bucky’s leaps), but Toadborg is a pretty fine jumper himself and is able to grab Bucky by the ears. He then deploys some kind of gas from his fingers that knocks him out. He then heads off with his prize.


Jenny’s powers prove to be just as “effective” as Bucky’s pistol.

Jenny soon breaks into an area of the Mothership and too comes face to face with Toadborg and the unconscious Bucky. She uses her powers on him thinking he’ll crumble like the droid she encountered in the previous episode, but Toadborg returns fire knocking her over. She remarks that he’s not actually a robot and Toadborg is impressed she could detect that. He picks her up by the hair and uses the same gas that he used on Bucky to knock her unconscious. Toadborg then orders some troopers around him to throw she and Bucky into some “jettison tubes.”


Al and his “Willies”

Al Negator is pretty puzzled by the sight of Willy. Not really knowing what he is, he tries to figure out a way to make use of him. Willy demands Al return the codes he stole, and to his surprise, Al Negator is willing to do so – for a price. Willy gets resourceful and pulls out the stack of play money. Al Negator has never seen currency like that before, though he seems to recognize it as some kind of currency. Willy calls his play money “Willies” and says they’re a new currency backed by the United Mammal Fleet. His fib fools the purple lizard and he agrees to deal for the codes, but he wants all of Willy’s Willies. Willy acts like the request is outrageous, then feigns acceptance as he hands over the play money in exchange for the disk. Al Negator then walks away counting his Willies.


You would think Dead-Eye would have better luck than the others with these canons.

Toadborg then confronts Dead-Eye who is still flying around in the Toad Croaker. He tries blasting Toadborg with the Croaker’s canons at close range but they’re just as ineffective as a pistol. He then resorts to just trying to run him over, but Toadborg grabs the Croaker and swings it causing Dead-Eye to crash into a wall.


Not the place to be.

With Bucky, Jenny, and Dead-Eye captured, Toadborg places all three into clear cylindrical tubes. They’re airlocks of some kind and Toadborg intends to torture his captives to get some information. He starts with Bucky, and he causes the tube to empty its oxygen while demanding Bucky tell him the status of the United Animal Fleet. Bucky won’t talk though, and Komplex interjects that Bucky won’t be broken (Komplex is rather impatient). Komplex goes on to say it doesn’t matter, they’ll soon have the codes to attack Genus as they currently wait just outside the defense perimeter. Willy then enters and attempts to use his squirt gun against Toadborg. Dressed in his baboon outfit, Toadborg initially recoils in fear before reminding himself that he’s now far beyond the power of a baboon. When Willy blasts him he acts insulted that he thinks a small amount of water could harm him. Realizing he can’t stop Toadborg, he whips out the disk he purchased from Al Negator and uses it to demand the release of his friends. Bucky orders Willy to destroy the codes reasoning his life, and the that of the others, is not as important as protecting Genus. Willy is hesitant to do so, and there are repeated shots of his face with a worried look even though in every other shot he’s wearing his baboon mask. I can’t tell if this is an error or if its intentional to show us Willy’s anguish. At the urging of his friends, Willy does indeed smash the disk preventing Toadborg from getting the codes.


Jenny has some explaining to do.

At least, that’s what Willy thought he was doing. Al Negator comes strolling in to let Toadborg know he didn’t fail in his mission. He made a copy, as he should have, and happily hands it over to Toadborg in exchange for his payment. Toadborg then grabs Willy and tosses him in another pod before inserting the disk into his own mainframe. He and Al leave with the console controlling the tubes switched on. The oxygen is leaving the tubes and soon Bucky and his friends will be launched into space. As things look dire, Jenny kneels down and reaches out to her Aldebaran sisters. The gem on her helmet then changes to display a green-furred cat she refers to as Mother Aldebaran. She asks for her permission to use her secret powers in the presence of outsiders. The Mother reminds her that such an act is forbidden, but then suggests a Level 3 psychic blast would likely go unnoticed. She thanks the feline, and a beam shoots forth from Jenny that destroys the console and frees them all. When Bucky questions what happened, Jenny simply reasons that they don’t build them like they used to.


Something weird is going on with Toadborg here.

On the bridge, Toadborg strolls in to declare that he possesses the codes to Genus’ defense system. When Air Marshall requests he hand them over, he refuses saying he’ll broadcast them. He seats himself in a throne-like chair as radio waves seem to transmit the codes to the orbiting satellites. They go into an idle mode and Toadborg then ejects himself from the controls of the Toad Climate Converter. The saucer-like vessel then heads for the surface world.


While the others ran around, Blinky was busy making repairs.

Bucky and the others return to the Righteous Indignation. Bruiser had kept the Toads at bay while Blinky made repairs and reports the ship is at a functional 70%. Upon leaving the Mothership they encounter Dogstar and the Indefatigable. Dogstar agrees to do what he can with the many Toad ships surrounding Genus while Bucky and his crew go after Toadborg. They head down to Genus to find a storm raging all around the Climate Converter. Bucky disembarks to go take on Toadborg alone and insists everyone else remain on the ship, but Willy jumps at the last-minute. When Bucky asks him what he’s doing he insists that Bucky will need an engineer to take this thing down.


Bucky vs Toadborg, Round 2.

Bucky and Willy are quickly confronted by Toadborg. Bucky shoves Willy behind some machinery so that Toadborg doesn’t notice him. He once more tries blasting Toadborg, but that’s just as effective as it was on the Mothership. He then uses his brains and insults Toadborg, wondering why Komplex would waste resources on preserving one measly toad. It’s apparently effective, as Bucky gets Toadborg to chase him to the surface of the structure allowing Willy to head for the main controls. Outside the storm rages all around them, and Bucky is able to seek cover behind some electrical structures. Toadborg demonstrates another one of his tricks as his arms extend to try and grab the green hare, but he just gets zapped by exposed wires. Down below, Dead-Eye bursts in to help Willy and Willy informs him he switched some stuff around and basically turned the apparatus on the surface of the Climate Converter into a lightning rod. They jump back into the Righteous Indignation and flee knowing this thing is about to get destroyed. As they fly off, Bucky sees them and makes a jump for it while Toadborg runs off to try and undo what Willy has done. When it looks like Bucky’s leap will come up short, Bruiser reaches down and snatches him by the cape. Toadborg can only watch helplessly as lightning batters him and the Climate Converter eventually causing it to explode.


Komplex does not look happy.

With Toadborg taken out, the defense codes cease their transmission. The satellites then re-arm themselves and take aim at the Toad vessels in Genus’ airspace. They open fire and all of the toads inside the Mothership are forced to head for the escape pods. Air Marshall and his lackeys leave in a slave ship and we see a battered Toadborg, floating in space, grab onto a fleeing Double Bubble. Komplex appears on the monitor in the slave ship demanding the Air Marshall to return to the home world at once. While he passes out, Frix and Frax giggle and ponder what Komplex will do to him as punishment.


Apparently lightning and explosions can harm Toadborg.

The Righteous Indignation is shown buzzing around Genus taking in the cheers. Bucky then ducks inside to find Willy as he prepares to leave to head home. He tells him he should come out and soak in the cheers since he played a huge role in saving Genus, but the modest Willy DuWitt insists he needs to get back. They all say their goodbyes, except Jenny who is no where to be found. Willy asks Bucky to say goodbye for him, with a little blush, and then Jenny emerges from the cockpit. She says she was working on an Aldebaran crystal communicator called a memory stone which she gives to Willy so he can contact them whenever he needs to, and vice versa. She plants another kiss on him and sends him on his way, Willy blushing uncontrollably.


Al takes Willy’s deception quite well.

On some planet apparently occupied by mammals, Al Negator is at a bar and is attempting to spend some of his “Willies.” An orangutan working the bar tells Al he’s checked all over and no one is backing any currency called Willies. Al realizes he’s been cheated, but rather than act mad he actually has a laugh. When the bartender starts laughing along he takes exception and tosses the guy aside. He then vows to find the mammal who gave him the Willies and make him pay.


Willy continues to have the hots for Jenny.

We’re then taken to Earth where Willy, Doug, and the other guys are showing their skateboard off at a science fair for school. Doug is taking all of the credit for the invention while Willy is behind a computer monitor. One of the other guys tries to reassure Willy by telling him not to pay Doug any mind, but Willy doesn’t care as he’s staring forlornly at the amulet Jenny gave him and the image of the crew appears on it as the episode ends.

Episode 3 is essentially the action-heavy episode I was expecting. Bucky and his crew are in enemy territory without the aid of stealth and are forced to blast their way to safety while also trying to protect the planet Genus. The action is fairly tame as apparently Bucky won’t be allowed to simply blast Toads, which is expected, and probably why we’ve seen some robots early on. Toadborg gets to demonstrate his might and he’s a formidable foe. He also shares pretty much his entire back story confirming he’s not a robot, but a former Storm Trooper turned into a cyborg. We also see more of the Dead-Eye/Willy pairing which is working well early on and we also get a little insight into Jenny’s powers. The Mother Aldebaran thing will get a bit more confusing in a later episode when Jenny returns to her home world and there isn’t a character matching that name. She’ll confer with someone named the High Artificer, but she doesn’t match the image we saw in Jenny’s amulet. At the time, Jenny’s ability to free them from the trap they’re in feels a bit too convenient, but at least the show plans on following up on it. I also like that some mystery is preserved here.


Our first happy ending of the series.

Visually, this episode is the worst so far. It might have to do with our characters no longer largely being stationary as they’re forced to flee the confines of their spaceship and do battle on foot. The running, particularly Bucky and Toadborg during their fight, is choppy and the characters practically glide. There’s clearly not enough frames of animation in places. Toadborg’s eyes also keep changing color, and I don’t think it’s intentional, and at one point Dead-Eye’s head turns orange. Some images look all right, such as when Toadborg is walking away with a limp Bucky and carrying him by the ears. Aside from the eye thing, Toadborg in general looks imposing. I found it confusing though that Bucky’s initial shot blasted away some of Toadborg’s outer shell, but then every subsequent shot did nothing. The blemish also disappears quickly so maybe it was an error to even include it initially. I do like that the fight between Toadborg and Bucky is basically resolved through some ingenuity. Bucky just basically occupies Toadborg while Willy goes to work. No weakness is really exposed with Toadborg, he just under estimates his opponent. The Willy/Jenny stuff still remains weird, but at least we weren’t stuck on Earth for very long in this episode.

This episode essentially concludes the show’s first arch. There’s no cliff-hanger of an ending as Bucky and his crew destroyed the Climate Converter and prevented the Toads from securing the Genus defense system codes. They also destroyed a Mothership in the process, but more likely remain. This is a temporary victory as Bucky still needs to locate his fellow hares and find a way to reverse the damage done to his home world. The rest of the season will focus more on stand-alone stories often with some member of the crew stepping into the spotlight each week, but it doesn’t completely lose sight of those primary goals. Things will steadily build towards the finale, which is a satisfying structure for a show like this. Even though this episode has some warts, it was fairly exciting and the show has created some strong momentum and hopefully the variation in plotting won’t derail that.

Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “A Fistful of Simoleans”

img_3409Episode Number:  2

Original Air Date:  September 15, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx

First Appearance:  Toadborg, Al Negator, Bruiser, Commander Dogstar, Wolf, Andy Phibian

When we last checked in with the courageous mammals under the leadership of Captain Bucky O’Hare, they had just lost their chief engineer at a bad time. Their photon accelerator, their means of activating warp drive, had failed and they were under heavy fire from the entire Toad fleet. Then an unusual thing happened, when trying to restart the photon accelerator a great stasis field overtook the ship. It sapped their power and prevented them from leaving it, but also the Toads from entering. This occurred because young Willy DuWitt, a human boy from San Francisco, had just activated his own home constructed photon accelerator as part of a science experiment. He and Bucky had activated their respective machines at precisely the right time opening a rift between their two dimensions expressed by the presence of the stasis field and Willy’s own bedroom door appearing in the engineering bay of the Righteous Indignation.


The Toads apparently broadcast up to the minute coverage of military operations.

Because of Willy’s knowledge gained from the construction of his own photon accelerator, he was equipped with the know-how to fix the one aboard the Righteous Indignation. If they could repair the accelerator it would enable them to utilize the warp drive function and ditch the Toads. If it failed, well then they’re all dead. One additional wrinkle is that Willy expects his door, his passageway back to his own dimension, to vanish once the warp drive is engaged and he doesn’t know if it will return once disengaged. There’s the very real possibility that he could be trapped in this universe completely foreign to him where humanity apparently doesn’t exist.


Bucky is forced to put his faith in the human Willy to get out of a big mess.

Since this is episode two for the series, you’re probably not surprised to learn that despite all of the drama contained in that build-up, Willy’s repairs did indeed work and the heroes were able to escape certain destruction. Pinned down, the Toads were ordered to all fire at once. For some reason, this causes their many lasers to literally combine, it sort of resembles the laser from the Death Star in Star Wars right down to the color green. Dead-Eye’s twin M.A.S.E.R. (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation) canons are fired at this conjoined beam which apparently cancels the two out. The Righteous Indignation is then able to burst free from the asteroid it was on and escape into warp drive. Those damaged engines from before are apparently all fine now.


Not enough Komplex monitors.

Aboard the Toad Mothership, the Air Marshall is incensed to find out that Bucky O’Hare escaped. He orders the fleet to pursue, but Komplex interrupts him. Komplex declares that the Air Marshall has wasted enough time on Bucky as it appears on a monitor that is affixed to a mechanical arm. Komplex is able to move it around at will, and the angry visage even bursts forth from the monitor screen in what is a really bizarre effect. Komplex doesn’t see how one frigate could possibly pose a problem for the Toad Empire and declares their real target is Genus. When the Air Marshall protests citing Genus’ formidable defense system, Komplex counters that they’ll need to hire a spy to steal the codes to the defense system in order to take it down.


Al Negator sharpening his skills.

Enter Al Negator (Garry Chalk), the sleazasaur. What is a sleazasaur? It’s a bipedal, purple, crocodile with neon green teeth and eyes. Pretty interesting. To complete the look he wears gold-plated armor on his chest and tail and speaks with a Louisiana accent. When we see him, he’s attaching small cards to a wheel with each containing an image of one of the crew members of the Righteous Indignation. He receives a call from the Toad Air Marshall and as he speaks to him via video monitor he holds up a small mirror and uses it to aim over his shoulder. As the wheel spins, he picks off members of the crew in an impressive display of shooting accuracy. Despite that, I’m willing to bet when it comes time to fire upon the actual crew he’ll miss and miss often.

The Air Marshall wishes to hire Al to steal the defense codes. Al is intrigued, but will need a big payment for such a job. He requests 5,000 simoleons, which is apparently the currency in the Aniverse (Animated Universe, in case you were wondering). The Air Marshall balks declaring it extortion, but Al keeps his cool and reminds him that extortion is another one of his many specialties. He adds he’ll need half of the payment upfront and the Air Marshall reluctantly agrees to the deal. Their business concluded, the camera zooms in on Al’s spinning wheel to rest on an image of Bucky O’Hare with a laser hole through his head.

Aboard the Righteous Indignation, the crew congratulates Willy. Without his help, they’d all be dead and they know it. Bucky mentions they just lost their engineer Bruce, and also vows to find him when this business is concluded, and that they need a new one. Willy seems willing, but does cite the need to see his parents and go to school and such. Dead-Eye returns the weapon he confiscated from Willy’s room, which drips water to reveal it’s just a water gun. When Willy tries to explain it to Dead-Eye he refuses an explanation insisting he trusts Willy. Willy then inquires about the Toads – were they always this evil?


The Toads back when they were harmless lovers of useless crap.

Blinky steps in to answer that question. It seems his giant eye also functions as a projector and he plays a brief video detailing the corruption of the Toads. Once upon a time, they were a harmless race mostly obsessed with watching television and acquiring shoddy merchandise (so they were boomers, essentially). Their scientists created Komplex, a program designed to handle all of the remedial tasks in their society that they were too lazy to do themselves. Like all good A.I. though, Komplex eventually went rogue and enslaved the entire population. Now their once swampy home is covered in factories which run seven layers deep. From space, it just looks like a big, metal, sphere. Komplex desires domination of the whole Aniverse and now whoever isn’t a part of the Toad Trooper Army is building ships for said army or working on new technology to improve it.


Mini Golf is big business on Warren.

Willy is distressed to see this, but it is what it is. Bucky then retrieves an old battle suit that belonged to Bruce and instructs Willy to put it on in case things get rough where they’re going. When Willy inquires about that, Blinky pops in yet again to show a video on our next destination:  Warren, home planet of Bucky and the hares. The video shows lots of hares in varying colors doing happy things. The climate is described as perfect and there are carrots the size of trees. When the video ends a message is displayed reading “That’s It Furries,” which is a bit funny from today’s point of view given the term furries and the apparent attraction of Jenny towards Willy.


Warren is now one big farty-butt of a planet.

With the Toads no longer pursuing them, the crew of the Righteous Indignation has no trouble heading for Warren. Bucky is dismayed to see how cloudy the atmosphere looks from space, and it gets worse at ground level. The whole planet has been turned into a swamp and appears deserted. Willy says it smells, and Blinky uses an instrument in his hand to detect high levels of methane in the air basically revealing that Warren smells like farts. The crew wonders how the Toads could have altered the entire planet’s climate with Willy declaring it impossible, but Jenny points out the evidence before them which suggests the Toads found a way. Willy finds some piece of Toad tech and feels the need to yell to the crew about his discovery despite being a mere 10 feet away. The device is mangled, but inside is a floppy disk (so dated) that Blinky is able to analyze. Toads apparently possess incredible floppy disks because Blinky finds a video on it and projects it. It’s of a Toad discussing the successful test of their new climate converter used on Warren, confirming what happened, and also makes mention of heading for Genus next. Bucky decides they must leave for Genus immediately and warn them of what’s coming.


If your business is smuggling and spying then this is the shop for you.

In a dank shop, Al Negator is shown bargaining with a rat named Tinker (Scott McNeil). He’s getting some supplies for his new job and is preparing to leave when Tinker’s monitor clicks on suddenly. It’s Commander Dogstar (Chalk), who sounds similar to the Colonel from One-Hundred and One Dalmatians, and he’s here with a warrant for Tinker’s arrest. Tinker tries to flee through a secret passage, but Al knocks him aside and declares it’s more important that he gets out. He slams the door shut behind him as Dogstar and company break down the entrance door. Dogstar, along with Wolf (Richard Newman) and another dog-person enter and apprehend Tinker. Dogstar notices another scent in the air, and Wolf finds where it stops. Since their job was just to apprehend Tinker though, they leave without further investigation.


Bruiser is pretty insistent about being allowed to join Bucky’s crew following the “death” of his brother, Bruce.

On Genus, Bucky and crew disembark as Willy insists he needs to get back to Earth soon. Bucky understands, but mentions they’ll need to hire a new warp drive mechanic. Willy, who is wearing Bruce’s suit, is sent back to the ship to retrieve his helmet by Bucky who says to Jenny that it’s probably best that they keep Willy a secret. Just then, a rather large, and angry, baboon shouts at him. It’s Bruiser (Dale Wilson), the younger brother of Bruce and a space marine. He somehow heard about what happened and is livid with the Toads. He demonstrates what he wants to do to them by crushing some helpless chair that was hanging around and insists that Bucky take him aboard his ship. Bucky is happy to have him, saying they need some muscle, and Bruiser calms down. Until Willy returns in his brother’s suit. With the mask on, he looks just like Bruce and Bruiser runs up and embraces him so hard that the mask pops off. He then becomes angry, and who can blame him, to find someone else in his brother’s suit. The others are able to calm him down insisting that Willy is a friend and Bruiser does indeed settle himself. All the while, Al Negator has been watching the events unfold.


Well, the United Animal Fleet just doubled, at least.

Bucky, Jenny, and Blinky then address the council once again. Blinky plays a video he took of Warren demonstrating the effects of the Toad’s new climate converter. The pig guy is distressed, but when Bucky mentions they’re coming for Genus next he dismisses the possibility out of hand due to their defense system. He then tells Bucky the good news that they’ve decided to expand the fleet. Bucky’s enthusiasm is short-lived though when it’s revealed the fleet is being expanded by one additional frigate:  The Indefatigable. Bucky is underwhelmed.


Everyone is suspicious of Al Negator except old, trusting, Bucky.

A raccoon is then headed for an interview for the open position of warp drive mechanic but is intercepted by Al Negator. He directs the raccoon to a doorway, and once opened we see the unconscious bodies of other apparent warp drive mechanics. Al knocks this raccoon unconscious and into the closet before heading over to the Righteous Indignation. There he presents himself to Bucky O’Hare as a warp drive mechanic. His phony credentials fool Bucky, but Jenny says something doesn’t feel right as Al stands there and whistles suspiciously. Dead-Eye then points out he’s a sleazasaur, who apparently have a bad reputation. Bucky points out that people say the same of pirates thus confirming that Dead-Eye either is or was a pirate himself. He hires Al and welcomes him aboard. Before they depart though, Dogstar comes running in. Bucky is happy to see him and Dogstar confirms he’ll be in charge of the new frigate. He then takes note of Al and mentions he’s smelled him somewhere before. Al insists all sleazasaurs smell the same and it’s enough to cover him for now.


Al does what he can to shoo Blinky away. Stupid, helpful, robot.

Willy is then shown saying goodbye to the crew, but before he heads back to his dimension through his door he warns Bucky about Al. Bucky dismisses his warning and orders him to go back to school. Once gone, Blinky then takes to showing Al around who immediately starts nosing around. He slyly tosses some device into a compartment and then begins complaining about the excessive amounts of banana peels that are accumulating around Bruiser and orders Blinky to clean the place up. He snoops around some more and even finds Willy’s duffel bag, but Dead-Eye catches him and tells him to scram. He then sees the fake money in Willy’s bag and has a crisis of conscience. Apparently, it’s pirate code to take any money, but Dead-Eye doesn’t want to steal from his friend. He reasons he’ll just hold onto it for him, in case he never comes back. With his conscience satisfied, he stuffs the money into his belt.


This is the part of the episode no one cares about.

On Earth, Willy is walking to school when he’s accosted by Doug and his two friends again. They enter on skateboard and start chasing Willy down the street. He runs, but ends up tripping on some trolley tracks and gets his hand stuck. Just before the trolley can smear him all over the road, he frees himself and gets out-of-the-way, but his victory is short-lived. Doug and his buddies surround him, and Willy throws down his books and faces him. He demands Doug meet him after school to do battle with his choice of weapons, and Doug is happy to oblige.


Meet Toadborg, the most intimidating villain yet, but is he competent?

Aboard the Toad Mothership, Frix and Frax are once again watching Toad TV. This time it’s an ad for Warts Illustrated’s swimsuit issue featuring their favorite model Veruca from the first episode. This parody is actually genuinely amusing, but it’s short-lived as the TV gets smashed by another new face:  Toadborg (Richard Newman). Toadborg is essentially the Toad version of Darth Vader, only he’s mostly purple and yellow. He’s quite large and scary looking despite the abundance of purple, and Frix and Frax look like they’ve soiled themselves with terror. Toad Air Marshall enters the room and demands to know what’s going on and is just as terrified as the twins to see Toadborg. Toadborg informs the Air Marshall that Komplex sent him to oversee the invasion of Genus. Worse is that Komplex has lost confidence in the Air Marshall calling into question his job security. He demands an update on the smuggler Air Marshall hired, who in turn insists shall be returning with the codes soon.


Ugh, should I even bother recapping the Earth stuff?

Back on Earth once again, Willy is in study hall waiting for Doug and his lackeys. When they show up he tells him what they’re doing:  building a computer-enhanced skateboard. He shows Doug the blueprints and he balks at doing any “sissy science stuff.” One of Doug’s friends takes a look at it though and says it looks kind of cool. Doug then gives in, but warns Willy that he better get an A for this. This Earth stuff just keeps getting worse.


Bruiser has a rather potent dropkick.

Back aboard the Righteous Indignation, Al Negator returns to the engine room and informs Blinky and Bruiser that Dead-Eye wishes to speak with them. Once they leave he slams the door shut behind him and uses his rifle like a welding torch to seal it shut. He then inserts his snooper device into the ship’s computer. Immediately, Jenny notices the intrusion from the control deck and she and Bucky know who is to blame. Al is downloading all of the security codes and they need to stop him. Bucky orders Bruiser to break down the door and he does so with three running dropkicks, a pretty cool little visual. Once inside though they find Al is gone. He’s taken the Toad Croaker and is attempting to escape. Jenny pilots the ship after him while Bucky joins Dead-Eye at his gunner spot and orders him to open fire.


That pesky Al Negator.

Back home, Willy wonders how things are going with the suspicious engineer and activates his photon accelerator. He then casually walks onto the Righteous Indignation and finds the crew in clean-up mode following Al Negator’s subterfuge. They’re still chasing the purple croc whose destination has been revealed:  the Toad Mothership. The bay door opens and Al heads for it as Dead-Eye lines up a shot. Al then pulls out a remote and presses a button which detonates all of the devices we saw him planting around the ship. Dead-Eye’s guns, the warp drive, even the command deck all explode. No one appears injured, but they’ve lost control of the ship. Bucky is happy to see Willy, but tells him he picked a bad time for a visit. The explosions also took out Willy’s door, and with no way to pilot the ship, they drift into the bay doors of the Toad Mothership. Meanwhile, the Air Marshall watches and howls with delight for he has finally captured Bucky O’Hare!


I wonder what singed baboon ass smells like? Can’t be good.

Like the first episode, “A Fistful of Simoleons” packs a lot into its roughly 20 minute duration. New characters are introduced on both sides of the battle and an elaborate plot begins to take shape with the Toads targeting Genus. It’s not handled in a sophisticated manner, and Al’s antics are largely played for laughs, but it’s still interesting to see a subterfuge angle played out with Al gaining entry to the Righteous Indignation and sabotaging it. I wonder if kids in 91 were mostly confused over the whole “codes” thing. I know I had no frame of reference for such a plot device when I was a kid, but mostly just went along with everything. A code to me was something that made a video game easier. It’s another cliff-hanger of an ending with Bucky and his crew seemingly trapped aboard a Toad Mothership, but it’s a bit more exciting since this time they’ll likely need to resort to more conventional action hero antics to get out of that one.


Bucky and Dead-Eye are not thrilled at how this episode ended.

Al Negator is a fun addition to the roster. He’s a slimy, creepy, greedy, villain and those types tend to be easy to write. It’s interesting to see how basically everyone is racist towards Al’s species, and Bucky is the only one who won’t hold it against him and yet he’s the one who ends up being wrong. Apparently, in the Aniverse not all racism is inherently wrong. Bruiser is another potentially fun addition. He appears to be a character of little brain, but plenty of braun and heart. On the one hand, I’m surprised he was added to the show since the baboons almost break the story since Toads have a paralyzing fear of them, but if you’re looking at things from an in universe perspective, wouldn’t Bucky absolutely want to get another baboon to replace Bruce for that very reason? Dogstar comes across as a bumbling sort of good guy. I don’t really like him, but my opinion isn’t fully formed at this point and I’m trying to remain open-minded. Toadborg though, despite being a pretty clear Darth Vader rip-off, is still undeniably bad ass and I look forward to seeing more from him. I like the effects used on his voice which really gives him a menacing presence.


As for Toad Air Marshall, this may very well be the happiest we see him.

What I continue to not like are basically any of the scenes taking place on Earth. Willy’s trouble with bullies just doesn’t entertain me, and the rather drab setting even looks terrible. I appreciate the familiar sights establishing that we’re in San Francisco, but Willy looks out-of-place in that setting when compared with how he looks in the Aniverse. Skateboarding bullies are just a terrible cliché and Willy’s little scheme to avoid getting beat up would not have worked in a million years. No way those kids want to stay after school to work on a science project.


Into the belly of the beast go our heroes.

Overall, the look of the episode is a slight downgrade from the first episode. Or it at least appears to be. I do like the look of both Al Negator and Toadborg, but there are some weird shots of Bruiser. His kicking down the door sequence was pretty neat though. What I am enjoying though is the score for the show which has a sci-fi feel for the space scenes and seems to always find the right tempo. It’s not something I really anticipated, but it’s definitely one of the show’s strengths and composer Doug Katsaros should be happy with how this show turned out, especially considering he probably composed it all from a synthesizer.

“A Fistful of Simoleons” is a successful episode 2 for Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars. Aside from the opening escape scene and the lame Earth segments, the episode is pretty engaging, sometimes humorous, and exciting while also further adding to the setting’s lore. The pacing is sometimes a bit sped up, but that’s because it’s trying to cram a lot in here. We learned about the history of the Toads and got a peek at Bucky’s home world pre and post Toad invasion. We’re set up for an exciting third episode next week with “The Good, the Bad, and the Warty.”


Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars – “War of the Warts”

war of the wartsEpisode Number:  1

Original Air Date:  September 8, 1991

Directed by:  Karen Peterson

Written by:  Christy Marx

First Appearance:  Bucky O’Hare, Jenny, Dead-Eye Duck, Bruce, A.F.C. Blinky, Willy DuWitt, Toad Air Marshall, Frix, Frax, Komplex, Any Phibian

The premiere episode for Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars begins with what is probably the most memorable aspect of the show:  that theme song. Doug Katsaros is credited with the music of the show as well as the theme song. Supposedly, Larry Hama hates it. In looking over credits for the show, some familiar names show up in the storyboard section, and if you’ve been reading along with the Batman posts, those names should be familiar to you as well:  Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Will Meuginot, Larry Houston, to name a few. Paur and Kirkland also have producer credits on the show and they’re most associated with Batman where both directed episodes. Will Meuginot did one episode of Batman as well as one of X-Men and has generally been all over children’s programming (The Real Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain Planet, and many more). Larry Houston is most familiar to me because of his work on X-Men as he was featured a lot in the Previously on X-Men book about the series as he was one of the only staff members who was actually a fan of the property. He also worked on storyboards for Batman and many other programs, as I’m sure a lot of the other storyboard artists did as well. Those were the guys who just stood out the most.


He goes where no ordinary rabbit would dare, which is probably a lot of places.

Back to that theme song though. It’s very upbeat and the horns section gives it this triumphant quality. Everything builds to the “Bucky!” parts and the lyrics are effectively cheesy. Effective in that they capture the spirit of the show while also interjecting some goofy nonsense, like the ending of “Did you say Bucky? I said Bucky!” And like most shows of this era, the animation on the intro is noticeably better than what is in the actual episodes. Sunbow was quite good at sinking money into brief pieces of animation, like for toy commercials, and was well-versed in this. It’s not as bad as Thundercats, but I do wish the whole show could look like this. That intro makes the show look like an action heavy broadcast with Bucky running and gunning his way through the Toad Empire, but the show is a bit more slow-paced than that, as we’ll see. The song also does employ the age old technique of introducing most of the characters by name as well as the general conflict. Just watching it lets you know this show is about mammals fighting toads in space.


Get used to this, the writers and animators seem to have a lot of fun with Toad TV.

The episode begins onboard the Toad Mothership. Frix (Terry Klassen) and Frax (Scott McNeil) are two Toad officers that apparently don’t take their job very seriously. They’re spending their time watching Toad TV and the only thing on is a commercial in which a female toad expresses her admiration for male toads who feature a lot of warts. The Toad Air Marshall (Jay Brazeau) interrupts them and demands they shut off that brain-rotting Toad TV. He wants them to congratulate him for taking over the home world of Bucky O’Hare as he happily anticipates getting a new medal as recognition for his conquest. He speaks in between grunts or croaks that sound more like burps. Think Rick from Rick and Morty or Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also drools a bit, and these are characteristics that are going to be dropped in later episodes, which is welcomed as the grunts are a bit annoying. He’s short, chubby, and excitable so he’s a fairly typical villain for the era.


Our first shot of Captain O’Hare and First Mate Jenny.

We’re then shown the Righteous Indignation, the frigate captained by Bucky O’Hare (Jason Michas). The ship is shown from the front and we can see Bucky and First Mate Jenny (Margot Pinvidic) in the command tower/cockpit and Dead-Eye Duck (McNeil) down below behind the guns. Bucky then signals to the rest of the crew to get ready for action, and we get our first animation error as it cuts to Dead-Eye near the lockers as he races over to his guns excitedly, even though the establishing shot a second ago placed him behind the guns to begin with. Also introduced is Chief Engineer Bruce (Dale Wilson), a large baboon creature referred to as a Betelgeusian Berserker Baboon, and Android First Class Blinky (Sam Vincent), a diminutive little robot with a large, orange, eye for a head. Bruce is bemoaning how junky their photon accelerator is, which is the device that allows them to utilize warp drive, which is their light speed and is also referred to as a hyper space jump by the characters. He voices his concerns to the captain who tells him to back-burner it for now because they have work to do.


This is Bruce. Don’t get too attached.

Bucky then tells Jenny she’ll be part of a boarding party, as they’ve located a Toad Slave Ship and six fighters. They intend to spring whoever is being held captive while dispatching the fighters. Dead-Eye is quite eager to fire up his guns and the Toad fighters are equally eager to engage the frigate. Dead-Eye takes out a few rather quick, and as the Toad Double Bubbles are destroyed the pilots inside are show floating in bubble-like escape pods which I assume is there to quiet the censors. Dead-Eye also shows his tally of defeated toads as he marks each “kill” with a piece of chalk.


This is what happens to toads when they see a baboon.

Jenny and Bruce then leave via the Toad Croaker, a small, open-air, vessel which does not seem suitable for space travel. They head for the slave ship while Bucky leads the remaining fighters away. Inside, Toad Storm Troopers ready themselves to deal with the intruders in their slave ship. They’re quite cocky, until Bruce smashes in their door. This is where we learn that all toads have a paralyzing fear of baboons, and all drop their guns and run. Bruce, for his part, is overcome with a berserker rage and takes off after them leaving Jenny to shake her head. She makes her way into another area of the ship and is met by a security robot. She then demonstrates her powers for us, which seem to feed off of the many gems in her armor, as she magics up an energy blast to destroy the robot. She does the same to a door, and when she encounters some toads on the other side, they just act relieved she isn’t a baboon. She takes them out in a far less glamorous manner by punching one in the face (something Batman was never allowed to do) and kicking the other in the gut.


Dead-Eye is happiest when blasting toads.

Bucky is still giving the remaining Toad fighters the slip, much to the disappointment of Dead-Eye who would rather be taking them out. He then does a loop move, something Star Fox 64 fans are familiar with, to maneuver behind their would-be assailants allowing Dead-Eye to finish the job. Bucky then shouts out a warning (I guess the ship has external speakers?) to the floating Toad pilots that the entire United Animal Space Fleet will be on their asses (not in those words). They receive a radio message from Jenny to come check out the slave ship and they head over. Jenny warns Bucky that he’s not going to like what happens when she opens the door to the holding area, but the dire warning was partially in jest as Bucky gets mobbed by several happy hares. Bucky then finds out the fate of his home planet from the prisoners, and he vows to head to Genus where the Animal Liberation Security Council convenes. Meanwhile, Toad Air Marshall is incensed when he finds out Bucky took out six fighters and captured the slave ship. The pilot also passes on Bucky’s threats and the Air Marshall is irritated to find out there’s now a fleet ready to oppose him. No matter, he declares that he will have Bucky O’Hare in dramatic fashion.


This is Willy DuWitt, who has problems of his own, small as they may be.

We’re taken briefly to Earth during these events to meet a young boy by the name of Willy DuWitt (Shane Meier). Willy finds his locker has been vandalized with the word “Nerd” spray-painted across it. Three kids convene on him by skateboarding right up to his face. One boy appears to be the leader of this trio, Doug (Sam Vincent), and he has a message for Willy. This is where many boys my age learned what grading on a curve meant, as Doug is ticked off that Willy keeps getting A’s on everything making it harder on the rest of the class. It’s interesting because these three boys are a lot bigger than Willy and basically look like normal people. Willy is shorter, and like most cartoon characters, he has a big head and feet. Either he’s skipped a few grades or this was just an odd stylistic choice. Willy professes that he loves math and science and it’s all easy to him, but Doug doesn’t care and demands he get an F on the next test and the three leave.


The head of the United Animal Security Council, a true politician.

Bucky and his crew lead the Toad Slave Ship to Genus, which has a very advanced defense system surrounding it. It at first sees the Toad ship as an enemy vessel and begins firing upon it. Jenny is forced to transmit a security clearance to get them to back off. Once on the planet, Bucky and his crew storm a council meeting to inform them of what has happened to his home planet of Warren. He’s rightly ticked off, and this is where we find out that the entire mammal fleet is Bucky O’Hare and his crew and his threats to the Toads were just bluffs. He demands more help, and Dead-Eye is forced to silence the chattering bureaucrats with some gunfire at one point. An old pig then confronts Bucky to tell him they need documented evidence of Toad atrocities (apparently a slave ship full of rabbits isn’t enough evidence) in order to allocate more funds to building up the fleet. Bucky angrily leaves vowing to return with this evidence they seek.


He may just a computer program, but Komplex is one tough boss.

Aboard the Toad Mothership, we see Toad Air Marshall at his desk looking over a massive sheet of paper containing a map. It turns out, he’s only holding up the paper to hide the fact that he’s watching Toad TV behind it, proving he’s just as bad as his subordinates. The TV screen then changes, and we get our first introduction to Komplex (Long John Baldry). Komplex looks like a polygonal toad face with red X-shaped eyes. It speaks with a menacing voice through the TV and it’s apparent that the Air Marshall both fears Komplex and is subservient to it. Komplex demands the destruction of Bucky and the hares.


The Toads are coming for you, Bucky.

Bucky decides to go to Warren for this evidence, which may not be the wisest choice. Toad Air Marshall anticipates the move, and he has a fleet of roughly 50 fighters waiting for him. On Earth, we see Willy’s homelife (in a house that could pass as the Tanner residence from Full House) and meet his parents David (McNeil) and Sunshine (Pinvidic), two hippies who have grown up. He’s not excited to eat his tofu burgers and tries asking his dad for advice on what to do about his bully problem and his dad tells him that sometimes you have to do what’s right no matter what the consequences. He’s only half paying attention to his son though as he’s reading the paper. Sunshine parrots her husband while referencing the need to save the whales and such. She then reminds her husband they need to head to a rally and take off leaving Willy all by himself.


Air Marshall unleashes his entire fleet on Bucky’s ship.

The Righteous Indignation finds itself in a real predicament as the Toad fleet surrounds them. The Toads take out two of the six engines on the rear of the ship, and surprisingly the animators will account for that as the ship flees with only four engines illuminated. Their shields are taking a pounding and there’s no feasible way for one frigate to take on 50 fighters. Bucky calls down to engineering for a hyper space jump and Bruce advises it’s dangerous, but what choice do they have? He tries hastily making some adjustments to the photon accelerator, but it’s making a funny sound. He activates it anyway, and it immediately starts trying to suck him in. Blinky grabs onto some equipment as he too is being pulled towards the device. He grabs ahold of Bruce’s belt, but the accelerator pulls him right out of his space suit. Blinky goes flying too, but he braces himself against the accelerator and is able to unplug it before he meets the same fate as Bruce.


Naked Bruce gets sucked into another dimension. So long, baboon.

Blinky radios up to Bucky and informs him of what happened. “Calamity and woe,” he begins which is some-what of a catch phrase for the character. He tells his captain that Bruce was either pulled into another dimension or has attained oneness with the universe, as he puts it. It’s the closest thing to “death” as we’re going to get on this show. Bucky tells Jenny she’s in charge, as he’s positioned the frigate in a crater in a bid to hide from the fighters momentarily. He heads down to survey the damage while remarking they’ll miss Bruce, but he has no time for mourning. Blinky informs him he’s made some repairs, but he has no idea what will happen once the warp drive is engaged. Bucky decides they have no choice, as the Toad fighters have found them and their shields can’t last much longer. He approaches the photon accelerator and activates the warp drive.


Calamity and woe, indeed.

On Earth, Willy is recording himself as he prepares for his greatest experiment. It seems he has constructed his own photon accelerator, and like Bucky, he’s not sure what will happen when he turns it on. His recording is intended to let his parents in on what happened, should something bad happen. He activates his, and everything goes dark. He tries looking out his window and sees just blackness. Meanwhile, on the Righteous Indignation all power has gone out. Jenny declares they’re in some kind of stasis field. Nothing can get in, or out. Bucky is more alarmed by the presence of a door that suddenly appeared near he and Blinky. It’s Willy’s door, and the backside of it just contains a swirling vortex. The door opens, and out steps Willy.


Willy readies his own photon accelerator.

Dead-Eye nearly blasts Willy as he mistakes his flashlight for a lightsaber. Interestingly, in the comics Willy’s room is decorated with Star Wars stuff, so it’s nice they still found a way to slip in a reference via lightsaber here. Willy insists it’s just a flashlight and shuts it off. This seems to calm Dead-Eye some and the characters all stop to stare at each other. Willy is surprised to find a talking green rabbit, while the others think Willy is some sort of shaved baboon. Bucky introduced himself, seeming to take exception with Willy’s description of him, before introducing the others. He tells Willy what danger he faces by being aboard his ship, while Willy is amazed to see that they have a photon accelerator. Willy offers to help, but Bucky doesn’t see how this human could be of use, until Willy tells him that he built his very own photon accelerator. They need to head back to his room for some tools, but Willy thinks he can fix theirs.


Willy meets some interesting characters.

Back in Willy’s room, the young boy is grabbing stuff while Bucky and Dead-Eye accompany him. Dead-Eye spies what appears to be a toy gun on Willy’s bed and confiscates it, pointing it out to Bucky in a hushed voice just in case Willy can’t be trusted. He also spies some play money and seems to mistake it for real cash and stuffs it in a duffel bag with Willy’s tools. They then head back to the ship and Willy makes the repairs. He vows to stay aboard the ship to see it through, even though he knows once the warp drive is activated his door will disappear. Jenny, in reward for Willy’s bravery, gives Willy a kiss and embraces him which causes Willy to blush and plants the seeds for his future life as a furry. As the crew gets ready to fire up the warp drive, the stasis field drops as a Toad gives the order to fire at full strength and our first episode ends on a rather major cliffhanger.


Dead-Eye’s discovery.

There’s a lot to pack into this debut episode. We get the general conflict of Toads vs Mammals, and also a season-long storyline is introduced and that’s the enslavement of Bucky’s home world. We also get a peek at the leaders of the mammal world, who because of their relative safety behind their advanced defense systems, are reluctant to take the Toads seriously frustrating Bucky. It’s basically just Bucky and his crew left to fend off a planet’s worth of toads who are hellbent on taking over. We don’t know much about their goals or their methods just yet, but that’s still to come. We know enough though. The Toads are a serious threat, and Bucky is going to need help to drive them back.


This whole time, the Righteous Indignation in a stasis field and unable to sustain direct damage.

We also get something that doesn’t arise in shows like this often:  death. Well, a sort of death with Bruce getting sucked into the photon accelerator. It’s a bit clunky and weird, but at least the groundwork is partly laid in Bruce’s first scene when he remarks that it seems like part of the device doesn’t exist in their dimension. In the comic, Bruce just gets blasted by the Toads and reduced to a pile of dust. This is far more ambiguous. Blinky theorizes he got pulled into another dimension while also saying it’s possible he’s just dead, though he phrases it in a clever way. We’ll eventually find out that Blinky’s first guess was correct, but for now it looks like a member of Bucky’s meager crew got taken out, and Bruce was one of the most formidable. The whole sequence happens rather quickly, and since they’re in a dire situation there’s no time for the moment to breathe. It’s rushed, but also it’s the reality of war that you can’t stop and mourn in the midst of a fire-fight lest you want to end up like your comrade.


Like it or not, Willy is going to be a part of this crew going forward.

The inclusion of Willy is and has always been odd to me. If I had never read the comics I would have thought he was shoe-horned into the cartoon in an attempt to create a character kids could relate to. He was likely included in the books for the same reason, but it just always felt silly to me which is odd since we’ve got a bunch of animals fighting each other in space. He’s got time to prove his worth and win me over, but I’m not an instant fan. And his hippy parents are just confusing. What’s the message they’re trying to convey here? Did Larry Hama just hate hippies? They’re bad, yuppy, parents more consumed with their activist lifestyle than their child. I guess if the message is a bad parent can come from any background then okay, I guess. I think it has a lot to do with the cynicism of the 80s just viewing hippies as pretty goofy and silly and they’re just supposedly inherently funny as a result. “Ha, look at Willy’s dumb, hippy, parents!” I didn’t find it funny as a kid, and I don’t find it funny as an adult. They also made the choice to not show their faces, not an uncommon technique in kid’s shows of the era. Making them faceless hippies feels like a political statement of some kind, I’m just not sure what that is.


There’s also going to be some weird, sexual, tension between Jenny and Willy.

The animation on this show is pretty inconsistent. It reminds me a lot of another AKOM show, X-Men, as character models get shifty at times. Especially Jenny, whose face seems to change shape at times. The more cartoonish toads, especially the Air Marshall, look pretty good and there are some fun sequences during the firefights. Like one shot from in front of Dead-Eye’s guns. Unfortunately, the premiere episode is basically the high point in terms of visuals. There will be sequences here and there in future episodes that look as good or better than what’s here, but in general the animation quality only goes down from here. The voice acting is fairly capable though and I like the voices for each character. I mentioned Air Marshall’s weird croak/burps, but in addition to that it seemed like there was some confusion over what Dead-Eye should sound like. Scott McNeil does a stereotypical pirate voice at times, which is basically what will be carried forward. At other times though he goes for a southern accent, and even a Cajun one. They’re brief, but weird. I think things get more consistent going forward, as is often the case following a debut episode.


The final shot of the first episode from the cockpit of the Righteous Indignation is pretty ominous.

This episode throws a lot at the viewer and it’s a pretty demanding way to start the series. The scenes move quickly from one to the next for time considerations and the episode feels long, even though it’s only about 21 minutes including the intro. I personally like a lot of world-building in the first few episodes, so I’m mostly okay with it, but by the end I do want to see things start moving. Lets get some action. A lot of the characters are introduced though so the episode does accomplish a lot which will hopefully pay dividends rather quickly. It was probably harder for kids to follow, especially the scene with the animal council, and I know I hated how abruptly the episode ended. A week is a long time for a kid to find out how Bucky and his crew get out of that mess. You’re going to have to endure the same, or you could just run to YouTube or something and watch the next episode.

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