Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Forgotten Thundercats

[Re-vamp: the glory of the ThunderCats]
Written by GL

I remember the ThunderCats - who wouldn't? The awesome adventures and the endless enemies and the feel-good messages at the end of each episode. It just so happened that I was looking around the net at some ThunderCats information, and I realized that there were a couple members that had over-looked my mind.

At the start of the series' second season, it was revealed to Lion-O (after having a recurring dream about the final moments of the destruction of Thundera) that there are three more Thunderians living on Third Earth. They survived the cataclysm and were rescued by a Ro-Bear Berbil scoutship piloted by two Berbils. The ship, damaged in the final explosion of the planet, made it to Third Earth, landing on an unknown island somewhere in the northern sea.

These were the new ThunderCats; the feline group members people forgot.

[Screenshots: the new ThunderCats of the second season]

After Mumm-Ra tries to capture them to use as bait to destroy the others, these three are rescued and brought back to Cat’s Lair, where Lion-O anoints them as new ThunderCats. They initially come to live in Cat's Lair, but after the arrival of the Lunataks, they are stationed at the Tower of Omens.

[Ben-Gali: the punk ThunderCat]

Firstly, there is Ben-Gali, one of two younger Thunderians among the trio. This warrior is a skilled blacksmith like his father before him. This talent proves valuable after the Sword of Omens is once again broken. Fast and agile like Tygra, Ben-Gali is called ‘brother’ by him, but it isn't likely that they a true familial bond. (The new ThunderCats repeatedly call the originals "Nobles" while referring to themselves as "mere Thunderians".)

In combat, Ben-Gali wields a weapon called the Hammer of Thundera. It can shoot energy blasts, and carries smoke pellets in the handle, to allow him to cause confusion and provide cover for withdrawal from a fight. (Voiced by Peter Newman.)

[Pumyra: the cutest, girl-next-door ThunderCat]

Second is Pumyra, another female Thunderian, second only to Cheetara. This young woman is a talented healer and medic. She uses her knowledge of Thunderian medicine, combined with the wide range of medicinal supplies to be found on Third Earth to help heal and cure her fellow ThunderCats. Her compassionate nature lends to offering an alternative perspective, solving problems or conflict without fighting by using compromise and understanding. She is quite possibly, the hottest Thundercat ever.

Possibly the most agile ThunderCat next to the ThunderKittens, Pumyra employs an incredible leaping ability — often able to vault higher than even great jumpers like Tygra or the ThunderKittens. In combat, she uses a special whipcord, which resembles a ‘cat’s tail’, that can launch special pellets and spheres like an ancient-type sling. (Voiced by Gerrianne Raphael.)

[Lynx-O: the only ThunderCat named after underarm deodorant]

Then there's Lynx-O, the oldest of the trio. Lynx-O was spared the sight of the destruction of their homeworld by a cruel twist of fate: an intense heat and fire blinded him moments before he and his two younger companions were rescued. Because of this injury, Lynx-O has had to adapt to survive on Third Earth, and has done so by honing his other senses to superhuman levels. His sense of touch, smell, taste and hearing are far above those of the other ThunderCats, and this affords him a type of ‘sixth-sense’ (although not like the one Cheetara has).

Though blind, Lynx-O is still a formidable fighter. His sense of touch allows him to find pressure points on a foe’s body to knock them off balance or stun them. He can also feel vibrations, which allow him to evade attacks and capture, and can use a Sonic Reflector as a weapon in combat.

His greatest skill comes in utilizing a special 'braille board' — a device that allows him to translate information coming from sensor systems inside the Tower of Omens, enabling him to see into the gloom of Dark Side. This same device also allows him to pilot the Thunderstrike aircraft through the Valley of Mists when the ThunderCats need to find a way through to Dark Side. (Voiced by Doug Preis.)

[The Trio: original packaging]

ThunderCat action figures were produced by a company named LJN and featured only about five points of articulation; neck, shoulders and legs. Each figure had an action feature of some sort, and the line also included a unique "laser" light-up feature that interacted between the Cats Lair playset, some figures, and some accessories.

[Sexy: the only new ThunderCat action figure that I had growing up]

The new ThunderCats were featured in Series III of the line, which appeared in 1987. Get the cartoons if you want the in-depth information; always a fun watch.