Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cartoon Profiles: Inhumanoids

So, after my pretty spontaneous decision yesterday to make this entire week about "failed '80s toy franchise cartoons," I had to decide what to do in the relatively limited time which I have.

Fortunately, YouTube is a great resource for this, and I've used it to its fullest potential here.

Inhumanoids is one of those series which most people have some idea is out there, but nobody seems to care about. The best resources out there for it are Wikipedia (sad), some website where a guy suggests taking a shot every time a monster screams in a Chris Latta voice while watching it (he proclaims you'll be hammered in half an hour), and, well, YouTube.

Why is YouTube a good resource?

Well, aside from the obvious presence of that intro right there, YouTube has the entire series on it.

Apparently, Hasbro, owners of the Inhumanoids franchise, don't really care about things they can't make money off of, and are letting YouTube be for the time being.

And so I saw the entire series.

Moving on. Inhumanoids is one of those odd ducks. Like many '80s cartoons, it featured toy-based characters, often sloppy animation, and pretty decent voice acting. Unlike most '80s cartoons, it featured a horrible onscreen death.

Yes, you read that right. Some guy fell into a swamphole (literally in the swamp) of toxic chemicals, and died screaming a horrible screaming death. Of course, he came back in an episode or two, resurrected by the dino-zombie D'Compose, but still, he died a horrible screaming death onscreen. I mean, we didn't see blood or guts or anything-it's still a cartoon, and only Gargoyles got away with showing large amounts of blood here in the USA. But still.

I digress. The other thing about the Inhumanoids cartoon was its rather unusual concrete flow of time. Two of the characters get married, for instance, and the last episode of the series actually explicitly takes place a minimum of three months after the previous one. More remarkable, perhaps, is that the series itself is a complete series. Its ending, while open-ended, is a genuine, workable ending, and it's not one of those really irritating cliffhangers that so many cartoons I've watched have inadvertantly ended with.

The other thing about the series that is interesting to me is that it had an edge to it. Specifically, it feels like the works of H. P. Lovecraft modified for a young audience. Not really wee little kids, because, gee, violent horrible onscreen death, but the feel of the series is very much parallel to the works of Lovecraft, and his strange, horror-filled universe. It is crammed with monsters that are foreign to us and which we normally don't notice. It's just a little bit less scary than Lovecraft's work theoretically is. That, and it has funny, cartoonish names instead of randomly strung together letters.

As one last note, the character Auger, who was basically Wolverine with a drill (on his battle armor) instead of claws (and was a skilled mechanic instead of being a feral mutant), ran for president in the last episode. And won. (This is even funnier than it sounds, because like someone else who ran for president and won, he's bald and wears purple. And battle armor.)

-Signing off.

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