Saturday, May 24, 2008

Speaking of the '90s...

If you watched cartoons in the '90s, you probably saw the incredibly long-running X-Men cartoon at least once.

I was just going through someone else's blog archives, where he talked about this series and its awesome intro. (When I say "awesome," off the top of my head the only series I can think of with better intros were Gargoyles and Batman: The Animated Series. The '90s had the best intros ever. [Goodbye, objectivity. I won't miss you.]) He linked a no longer available YouTube video there.

That video turned out to be one of two intros created for the '90s X-Men's Japanese dub (each of those, obviously, linked in the links), and thus is something very fun if nothing else: The cast of the X-Men cartoon (which I am senselessly nostalgic for, I'll admit) animated in a classic late-'80s-early-'90s "serious" anime style. I am and have always been a sucker for late '80s/early '90s anime's visuals, and these intros were no exception.

Perhaps even better, these intros are almost completely nonsensical compared to the actual plot and whatnot of the '90s series.

Let's go over some of what happens in this intro.
  1. A fleet of blimps (or something-maybe they're Proshes, as their profile seems more similar) making a guest appearance from Batman: TAS are over a city.
  2. Magneto shows up and summons the Brood. Yes, Magneto summons the Brood. Magneto summons the Brood.
  3. Jubilee fights with the Brood. They aren't amused.
  4. Wolverine falls from the sky, lands behind Jubilee, and slices up those Brood like so many ugly chickens.
  5. Jean Grey uses telekinesis to pick up some Brood. We don't know if she does anything else with them; the visuals cut to Cyclops.
  6. Cyclops cuts off a bunch of Brood heads with an optic blast. If you've ever seen the '90s X-Men, you know that Cyclops' optic blasts never cut or tore anything, even paper.
  7. An insane Japanese rocker (not shown in the visuals, sadly) screams SHOCK! a whole bunch of times. Brilliant.
  8. Cable shoots some kind of robot that looks very anime and nothing like anything from this series. Like, five million times. With guns that look ridiculously oversized even by anime standards. (Cable with normal arms; in the earliest part of this series Cable had no origin explaining he was from the future and no seemingly cybernetic parts.)
  9. Gambit charges a card and throws it at something that may be a robot. I can't tell.
  10. Some dark figure that I can't make out cracks the ground. Maybe it's supposed to be Beast.
  11. Professor X is clearly a pimp, as he has Rogue and Storm on each arm. I'm stone cold serious.
  12. More Brood and weird robot things.
  13. Wolverine and Omega Red have a hilarious midair battle in looped footage.
  14. Shots of the characters paired off and looking really funky realistic anime. (The pairs are Cyclops and Jean Grey, Gambit and Beast, Storm and Rogue, and Wolverine and Jubilee.
  15. Babe shot(TM), of Storm, Jean Grey, and Rogue in that order. Rogue looks fetching in this style, and does an anime babe wink(TM), which is totally in character for her. (Of course, I'm a huge sucker for Rogue, but whatever.)
  16. Totally inexplicable shot of this hallway where the X-Men come flying from random angles to showcase... something. (Cable is once again inexplicably among them.) Wolverine wraps it up with the classic "claw-based wipe" scene change.
  17. To that Japanese rocker screaming again, we get a still team portrait. It "slides out" dramatically to a couple of guitar riffs.

The other one has only a couple of great moments, such as the X-Men leaping off of a suddenly erupting volcano, leaping out of the Blackbird at approximately ten thousand feet in order to engage in hand to hand combat with about a thousand cyborg robot things unrelated to the series, and Professor X locked in telepathic battle with Magneto's magnetism. Part of the reason it is less awesome is because the animators showed signs of actually having some idea of what a heck actually went on in the series (things like Apocalypse, Mojo [through Spiral], the Sentinels, the Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine triangle, and Wolverine cutting random props in half). Also, for no apparent reason, Iceman, who if I remember was in maybe one episode, appears. (Maybe they thought it would be cool if he was in the introduction. Ha ha ha ow.)

The series also received some anime break cuts, where some of the characters would fly around anime style and a voice would say "X-Men" in a Japanese accent. I'm not bothering to link those, though.

I usually try not to let nostalgia get to me too badly, but man I miss '90s cartoons. That seems to be the one thing I get really irrational about.

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