Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Top 5: Favorite Cartoon Girls

The Cartoon Historian proudly presents...The Top 5. Todays Top 5 will be about My personal favorite Cartoon Girls. Well lets get started.

5 - Shego (Kim Possible): My all-time favorite KP villianess. Shego is Dr. Drakken's pretty sidekick,who possesses both excellent fighting abilities and wit. She's also pretty badass

4 - Batgirl(Batman:The Animated Series): The Dark Knight's 2nd Sidekick Rules. This cute and clever red-head has the potential to be a decent stand alone Heroine.

3 - Supergirl(Superman:The Animated Seties): She's cute,powerful,and charming.....What more can you ask for in a Super Heroine.

2 - Kim Possible (Kim Possible): Kim's motto is that She can do Anything...and she certainly proves it on her missions. I love Kim because she's someone that you'd want as a good friend.

1 - Toph (Avatar): Who Doesn't Love Toph?! Words can't describe how awesome she is. She's cute,funny,tough,and is the greatest Earthbender ever. She's totally,Tophsome!

Please keep in mind that these are my personal pics and you may have different ones. There are tons of awesome cartoon girls that deserved to be on this list. Unfortunatly,this is a top 5 list.

Well that's all see ya next time on The Top 5.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 17: The Real Ghostbusters

Welcome to the Cartoon Historian. As you remember,I did a lesson about Filmations Ghostbusters aka the Other Ghostbusters. Well,Today I'm gonna be talking about the more popular Ghostbusters series.

It's The Real Ghostbusters on the Cartoon Historian.

As you know,The Real Ghostbusters is an animated series based on the 1984 film. The series ran from 1986 to 1991, and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and DiC Entertainment.

"The Real" was added to the title after a dispute with Filmation and its Ghost Busters properties. See my 'Filmation Ghostbusters' episode for more details.

The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Dr. Ray Stantz,their secretary Janine Melnitz and,of course,Slimer. The Ghostbusters job is to hunt down and capture rogue spirits around New York and various other areas of the world.

A short pilot episode was produced, but never aired in full. The full four minute promo was released on Time Life's DVD set in 2008. Scenes of the pilot can be seen in TV promos that aired prior to the beginning of the series.

In the promo pilot,the Ghostbusters wore the beige jumpsuits that they wore in the film instead of the different color jumpsuits they'd wear in the finished series. Also,the character design for Peter Venkman bore more of a resemblance to actor Bill Murray than the character design seen in the finished series.

When he auditioned for the voice of Egon Spengler, Maurice LaMarche, noted that while he was asked not to impersonate Harold Ramis, he did so anyway and eventually got the part.

LaMarche also noted that Bill Murray complained that Lorenzo Music's voice of Peter Venkman sounded more like Garfield (who was also voiced by Lorenzo Music at the time). Ironically,Bill would provide the voice for Garfield in the 2006 Live-Action movie.

Ernie Hudson was the only actor from the films who auditioned to play his character in the series. However,the role was given to Arsenio Hall instead. Yes,it's That Arsenio Hall.

Anyway,the character designs by Jim McDermott were dramatically redesigned from the way the same characters looked in the movie.

It's also worth noting that at the same time The Real Ghostbusters was being created, Filmation was making their Ghostbusters Cartoon.

Although the Cartoon series differed from the movie,many tie-ins from the films can be seen. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man made numerous appearances including in the intro. During the third season, Walter Peck, the Environmental Protection Agency antagonist from the original film,also reappeared.

The uniforms and containment unit were redesigned, and Slimer was changed from a bad ghost to the ghostbusters goofy sidekick. How Slimer made the change was explained in the episode "Citizen Ghost",as The episode explains what happened to the Ghostbusters right after the 1st movie's events.

Gozer is also mentioned repeatedly throughout the series, usually in comparison to a ghost they are currently battling.

In the second season, some of the character designs were modified. Ray was slimmed down and Slimer was given a tail instead of the formerly rounded bottom.

The biggest change,however,was to Janine, whose hair was completely changed from being short and spiky to long and straight. Her overall design was softened,as was her personality. Her voice was also softened with Kath Soucie taking over the voice role from Laura Summer.

At the start of the series' third season in 1988,the series was retitled to "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters". The opening was completely redone to center around Slimer.

Eventually the episodes were expanded from their original half-hour format to last an hour. The show's feel was also changed to be more light-hearted.

When Ghostbusters II was released,the character of Louis Tully was introduced to the show, with his voice provided by Rodger Bumpass. Later episodes referenced events from the film.

With the departure of writer J. Michael Straczynski, more changes were made. Dave Coulier(aka Joey Gladstone of Full House) took over the role of voicing Peter from Lorenzo Music and Buster Jones replaced Arsenio Hall as the voice of Winston.

In 1990,Straczynski returned to the series to write a few of the episodes in the final season. The only voice actors to remain for the entire series were Frank Welker and Maurice LaMarche. The show was canceled in 1991.

The show originally aired on ABC for its full run, except for the third season which ran on syndication at the same time as the second season ran on ABC. Later, reruns of the show appeared on the USA Network's USA Cartoon Express as well as Fox Kids. Fox(abc)Family also reran the series.

In 2004 and again in 2006 Sony released bare bones episode compilations. The DVD release of Ghostbusters II also included two episodes of the series as bonus features, "Citizen Ghost", a story focusing on events set immediately after the first movie, and "Partners in Slime", which featured the psycho-active slime from Ghostbusters II and a brief mention of its villain Vigo the Carpathian.

On May 27, 2008, Time-Life announced they would be responsible for the complete series' release on DVD in the Fall of that year. The DVD set was released on November 15, 2008. The set spans 25 discs containing all 147 episodes of the series.

The show had 2 Spin-offs: Slimer and Extreme Ghostbusters. I'll start with Slimer first.

As you know,the third season in 1988 was given an hour long time slot. In addition to the regular thirty-minute Real Ghostbusters episode, a half-hour Slimer sub-series was added that included 2-3 short animated segments focusing on the character Slimer.

The segments added several characters,including the character Professor Norman Dweeb,a mad scientist accompanied by a poodle named Elizabeth. This dude's main goal was to capture Slimer and experiment on him.

Professor Dweeb also made infrequent appearances in the main series. One of the ghosts from the Slimer cartoons, the Sleaze, also reappeared in The Real Ghostbusters.

In 1997, a sequel cartoon entitled Extreme Ghostbusters, was created by Columbia TriStar Television and Adelaide Productions. It premiered on September 1, 1997 and ran for forty episodes until its conclusion on December of that same year.

Set several years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters, the series opened by saying the team has disbanded due to a lack of supernatural activity. Out of the original cast,only Egon,Janine,and Slimer remained. Egon takes care of the containment system in the firehouse and teaches classes at a local university. Slimer serves as Egon's assistant. And Janine,who is one of Egon's students,returns to manage the office.

When supernatural events begin occurring in New York, Egon recruits four of his university students as a new team of Ghostbusters. The original Ghostbusters return for the two part series finale to celebrate Egon's 40th birthday.

We will never forget how great this show was. And even though the franchise itself is very weak and pathetic,it's fanbase is very healthy,as there are a shitload of fansites and Clubs dedicated to the Real Ghostbusters.

That's gonna do it for now,see ya next time on the Cartoon Historian.

*The Real Ghostbusters Theme Plays*

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 16-B: Transformers Pt. 2

Welcome to part 2 of Transformers.

1986 would prove to be a big year for Transformers, with the summer release of The Transformers Movie. Although a box-office flop, the movie was a turning point for the animated series,jumping the action forward to the year 2005 and introducing a new cast of characters that were the first to be originally created for Transformers,and not derived from other toylines.

Free of the restrictions of television,the movie featured the deaths of many characters including Opitmus Prime. This didn't sit well with fans,but was needed to make room for the next generation of toys.

The future setting of the movie continued on into the third season of the series, which debuted in September 1986 and ran to November of that year, picking up right where the movie's events had left off.

With the addition of Flint Dille as story editor, the series took on a strong sci-fi orientation, with grimmer storylines and stronger inter-episode continuity that revisited concepts more regularly than past seasons.

With a new season,came new new characters,both Cybertronian and Human. Again,they weren't as popular as the older characters.

A slightly different version of the theme song was the new intro for the season, first heard in the Transformers commercials. Fifty percent of the season's episodes were produced by Korean animation studio AKOM. The studio would later work on Batman: The Animated Series, although after producing poor-quality work they were eventually let go.

The grim direction, different animation and new cast of characters ultimately failed to sit well with the viewing audience, who desired to see Optimus Prime return to life after his big-screen demise. Unicron,the planet-sized villain from the movie,also returned.

The production team ultimately gave in to these demands, and Prime was brought back in a two-part episode that aired in February 1987.

Finally, Hasbro's attention from the series drifted, and Transformers was not allocated the funds that would allow it to continue. The series was brought to a close in November 1987 with the airing of the fourth season,which consisted solely of a three-part story entitled "The Rebirth."

The 3-part mini-series was by written by writer David Wise,who had previously scripted several episodes. "The Rebirth" introduced the Headmasters and the Targetmasters and restored a new age of peace and prosperity to Cybertron.

But the Decepticons stole the final scene of the episode, just to let viewers know that their evil was not yet crushed, and that the battles would go on.

The theme song was still the same as the one from season three, but the intro had scenes from season three as well as scenes from past Transformers commercials.

Although this was the end of the American show,in Japan, four additional animated series were produced. These were: Transformers:Headmasters, Transformers: Super-God Masterforce,Transformers: Victory and Transformers: Zone.

In 2007,Transformers Animated debute. This was the first American made Transformers show in years. Beast Wars,made in 1996,was Canadian/American.

The Transformers didn't quite disappear from American airwaves though,as a fifth season aired in 1988, serving as "best of" collection of the series. It re-aired 15 episodes from the original series, along with The Transformers: The Movie edited into a further 4 episodes.

To help promote the then-new Powermaster Optimus Prime figure, the first new Optimus Prime figure since 1984, Sunbow produced new material featuring a stop-motion version of Powermaster Optimus Prime interacting with a boy named Tommy Kennedy.

Each episode would be told as a story to Tommy by Optimus Prime, and together they would essentially introduce and close each episode.

From 1993-1995, the original Transformers series was rebroadcast under the Generation 2 label. The Generation 2 series featured a new computer-generated main title sequence, computer-generated scene transitions, and other small changes.

The original stories were presented as though they were recordings of historical events by the Cybernet Space Cube (sometimes referred to as the Cybercube). The cube had the various scenes on its faces, which it spun between transitions,replacing the classic spinning Autobot/Decepticon logo.

It's also woth noting that a large percentage of the characters featured in the show were not featured in the toyline, and vice versa.

Anyway,The cartoon was produced along side a comic book series produced by Marvel between 1984 and 1991.It's referred to now as "Generation One" (or more simply "G1"). The comics tell a different version of the story. Both versions were equally authorized by Hasbro.

The name "The Ark," referring to the Autobots' ship, was not used in the original cartoon. In the cartoon series the ship's computer was called Teletraan I; in the comics, it was called "Auntie," though this name was not often used.

Five proposed public service announcements (PSAs) were created for the second season of the series, but never actually aired on television (they appear as bonus features on the DVD's though).

These PSAs were based on the ones used by the G.I. Joe animated series. They even reused the catchphrase "...and knowing is half the battle," which was popularized by the G.I. Joe PSAs.

And Now it's time to talk controversies.

The character Optimus Prime was killed off during Transformers: The Movie, sparking outrage from parents who felt the character's death adversely affected their children.

The writers had already planned to bring Optimus partially back to life for one episode, "Dark Awakening", before killing him off again. As a result of the public outcry,however,they brought him back for good in the episode "The Return of Optimus Prime".

It is worth noting that in Japan, despite the same revival occurring, Optimus (known there as "Convoy") was killed yet again in the 1987 Japanese-exclusive Transformers: The Headmasters series. He was ressurected four years later in the magazine-exclusive "Transformers Battlestars: Return of Convoy" story,in which he was reborn as Star Convoy.

In the episode "Thief In The Night," the character Abdul Fakkadi was introduced as the "Supreme Military Dictator, King of Kings, and President for Life of the Socialist Democratic Federated Republic of Carbombya."

This was an obvious play on tensions between the United States and Libya. Fakkadi's name is a play off of Moammar Kadaffi,The Libyan President.

Casey Kasem,who voiced Cliffjumper and the the Autobots' computer Teletraan I objected to the parody,and quit the show when it was not removed from the episode. Kasem himself is of Lebanese descent.

Cliffjumper, despite having survived the movie, was phased out as of that episode, and Teletraan I was destroyed with the Ark in the episode "Five Faces of Darkness (Part 5)."

Well that was an informative ride wasn't it? Transformers was an awesome show,with an even more awesome toyline.

That's gonna do it for now,see ya next time on the Cartoon Historian.

*The Transformers Theme Plays*

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 16-A: Transformers Pt. 1

Welcome to the Cartoon Historian. In this 2-part lesson,we are going to take a look at the 1st Transformers animated series. I originally planned this lesson for a later date,but I got so many requests for this I just had to get this done early.

So anyway,here we go.

The Transformers is an animated television series depicting a war among giant robots from a World called Cybertron,who could transform into vehicles, other objects and animals.

Though Written and recorded in America,the show itself was animated in Japan. This was a very very common practice at the time. Where American Cartoon would be animated in Japan.

Anyway,The entire series was based on a toyline of transforming figures originally created by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara, which were developed into the Transformers line by American company Hasbro.

In Japan, the series was called Fight! Super Robot Life Form Transformer for Seasons 1 and 2, and Fight! Transformers 2010 for Seasons 3 and 4. Following the conclusion of the series in 1987,4 Japanese sequel series were created.

In response to the 1993 relaunch of the toyline and its accompanying comic being called Transformers: Generation 2,The Original series is frequently called Transformers: Generation 1,aka G1. Initially a fan-coined term, it has since made its way into official use.

The Transformers toyline and cartoon/anime series all owed their existence to the Japanese toyline,Microman (an asian descendant of the 12" G.I. Joe action figure series). In 1980, the Microman spin-off,Diaclone,was released, featuring inch-tall humanoid figures able to sit in the drivers' seats of scale model vehicles, which could transform into humanoid robot bodies the drivers piloted.

In 1983,a Microman sub-line, MicroChange was introduced, featuring "actual size" items that transformed into robots,such as microcassettes, guns and toy cars. Diaclone and MicroChange toys were subsequently discovered on show at the 1983 Tokyo Toy Fair by Hasbro toy company product developer Henry Orenstein, who presented the concept to Hasbro's head of R&D,George Dunsay. Enthusiastic about the product, Hasbro decided to release toys from both Diaclone and MicroChange as one toyline for their markets.

Once the FCC did away with regulations that prohibited toy companies from broadcasting cartoons based on their products in 1984, the way was cleared for the new product to get a television show.

Hasbro had previously worked with Marvel Comics to develop the G.I. Joe toyline,the tie-in comic book,and an animated mini-series co-produced by Marvel's media arm, Marvel Productions,as well as Sunbow Productions animation studios.

In 1984,Hasbro marketing vice president Bob Prupis approached Marvel to develop their new robot series, which Jay Bacal dubbed "Transformers."

Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, Jim Shooter, produced a rough story concept for the series, creating the idea of the two warring factions of alien robots – the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons.

To flesh out his concept, Shooter called upon veteran editor Dennis O'Neil to create character names and profiles for the cast, but O’Neill’s work,for whatever reason,did not meet with Hasbro’s expectations, and they requested heavy revisions.

O’Neill declined to make said revisions, and the project was turned down by several writers and editors approached by Shooter until editor Bob Budiansky accepted the task.

Hastily performing the revisions over a weekend, Budiansky’s new names and profiles were a hit with Hasbro,and production began on a bi-monthly four-issue comic book miniseries, and three-part television pilot.

Japanese designer Shohei Kohara was responsible for creating the earliest character models for the Transformers cast, greatly humanising the toy designs to create more approachable robot characters for the comic and cartoon.

His designs were simplified a bit by Floro Dery, who went on to become the lead designer for the series,creating many more concepts and designs in the future.

The three-part mini-series was animated by Japan's famous Toei Animation studio and it first aired in the United States in September 1984,then in the United Kingdom in early 1985.

The pilot introduced Optimus Prime's Autobots and Megatron's Decepticons,Soundwave and his cassette spies,and Shockwave,transporting them from their metallic homeworld of Cybertron to present-day Earth, where they warred for the resources that would take them back home.

The conclusion of the series had the Decepticons defeated and the Autobots poised to return to Cybertron,but this was blurred somewhat when the series itself was gonna continue. So the Autobots remained on the planet to protect it from renewed Decepticon threats.

The Autobots obviously found out that the Decepticons survived and made their underwater base. The Autobots make friends with their first two human allies, Spike Witwicky and his father Sparkplug. A few episodes later, a computer whiz named Chip Chase became an additional ally.

Thirteen further episodes were commissioned to make the first season of the series, and the pilot was re-aired. Running from September to December 1984, the series established important new concepts that would persist through the rest of its run, such as the Decepticon Space Bridge, and featured the debuts of several new characters that would be available in the toyline the following year,the Dinobots,the Insecticons and the Constructicons

While most of the characters for this and the following seasons were Diaclone and Microman toys from Takara,Hasbro also drew on other resources to bulk up the line, acquiring toys from ToyCo,ToyBox and Takatoku Toys.

The latter company's absorption by Bandai,Takara's main competitor at the time,was releasing Transformers in Japan. Unfortunatly,this caused some legal problems and none of their toys were featured in the cartoon.

With the series having proved a great success, the second season was created with the intent of getting the series into syndication and thus consisted of 49 episodes,bringing the total number of episodes up to the 65.

Where the first season primarily functioned episodically but had a general continuity from episode to episode,Season 2 had different syndication goals.Season 1's method of storytelling was dropped in favor of single-episode tales which could be generally watched in any order that networks chose to air them in.

These episodes often served to spotlight single characters and flesh them out more. Most of the new characters introduced in the 1985 toyline were further Diaclone and Microman toys, some of them modified in unique ways.

The first batch of new characters were introduced with no explanation whatsoever or where they had come from.The new Decepiticons and Autobots,weren't as popular as the older ones and the new human characters weren't that great.

The tail end of the second season introduced four combining teams of Autobots and Decepticons: the Aerialbots,the Stunticons,the Protectobots,and the Combaticons. Each team was capable of merging their bodies and minds into one giant super-robot.

Although debuting in this season,the toys based on an unmade Diaclone line were aborted in Japan in favor of importing the Transformers toyline itself. The Diaclone line itself wouldn't be available until 1986.

After Season 2 was produced,Toei Animation began working on Transformers: The Movie. A Movie that sparked a small controversy.