Weird, Old Cartoon Week, Day 3
When I first came across this show I really had no idea what to make of it. It looked like Star Wars and Buck Rogers, but the people running the space ships were and shooting the lasers were… animals?
Such was Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Menace. The story has your basic sci-fi set-up: the bad guys, in the case the fascist Toad Empire, are at war with the galaxy’s mammals in a winner-takes-all battle royale. Only with… animals?
Pretty much. See, the war is taking place in a universe parallel to our own. Cleverly called the “aniverse”, every living thing appears to be a humanoid version of critters found on Earth. We not only have rabbits, but also ducks, pandas, mice, cats and any number of other animals. There’s also a human kid, but more on him in a moment.
Captain of the Righteous Indignation (cool name for a ship in my opinion), Bucky O’Hare zips all over space thwarting the evil Toads (amphibious Nazis), who, as the series opens, have captured O’Hare’s home planet. While most of his crew is composed of animals, we shouldn’t forget Willy, a human boy from “our” universe. Willy is a smart kid and when he gets pulled into the aniverse, he soon finds himself working as the engineer of the Righteous Indignation. How cool is that kid? Not only does he get to live out every 12-year-old’s fantasy of taking part in intergalactic warfare, but he also gets to hang with space faring violence-addicted animals? Hell, I’m still jealous.
The best thing this show had going for it was the opening sequence. It just rocked harder than most other shows’ openings ever could. Not only does it do a pretty damn good job of summing up the premise, but it’s got an edge to it too. There’s a certain tongue-in-cheek tone to it that, while managing to keep sounding badass and dire, acknowledges that, yes, what you’re about to see might be a little silly, but not to worry, it kicks ass nonetheless. Plus it’s pretty damn catchy. I just rewatched the intro and still have it stuck in my head. Check it out real quick:
See? That intro alone sells the series. It makes you want to go out and kick some ass and buy some toys. I’m even going to go out on a limb here and say it’s up there with the intro to G.I. Joe.
I never got to watch this show regularly as my parents seemed to always have something for me to do when it came on (probably because their wallets were already screaming because it knew how inevitable it was for a young Chris to demand all the appropriate Bucky O’Hare swag), but I did know it was cool.
Space ships? Check.
Cool characters? Check.
What’s even cooler is that the show was based on a comic created by Larry Hama, Mr. G.I. Joe himself, the comic book writer who made Snake-Eyes a household name. That, my friends, is the kind of street cred money just can’t buy.
The show only lasted for a about 13 episodes, but it sure left an impact on young Chris. To this day, I still get images from time to time of an anthropomorphic green rabbit sending evil toads to Hell.
And I definitely catch myself humming the theme song.