Monday, July 30, 2007

Punctured Wheeled Warriors

[Opening Title: love the saw blade design]
Written by GL

The thing I like the most about maintaining this blog with my good friend Kal-El is that it helps us to re-live so many old memories from our growing, wonder years. At times, if you aren't continuously surfing, you may never un-source all those old shows and toys from the past. On top of that, you always tend to encounter this retro stuff just by chance. Just like when I was surfing around and happen to discover Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

Now this was a really retro show. And I can barely even recall it.

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors first aired in 1985. It was produced by Saban Entertainment (of Japan) for DiC Entertainment, and directed by an uncredited Japanese studio. The uncompleted show lasted for a good 65 30-minute episodes, and was supported by a Mattel's toy line (called Wheeled Warriors).

[The Lightning League: no affiliation with the Justice League]

The show was about two sides: The good guys are humans, called the Lightning League. They usually drove white and silver vehicles, and are led by a young fella named Jayce. The bad guys are organic and green and vegetable-based (kinda like those mushroom chips you can buy at Supasave) called the Monster Minds. They, of course, drove black and green vehicles. These bad guys traveled around by using organic vines which can grow across space. These crazy vines also released seeds that grew into more Monster Minds. They are led by a nasty piece of worked named Saw Boss.

[Saw Boss: as ugly as sin]

Most of the episodes were written by French writers. The series producer was J. Michael Straczynski, a man you may have heard of as being writer for several other shows including He-Man and She-Ra, Jake & The Fatman and Walker Texas Ranger (ugh!).

The funny thing is that no backstory was given for the Lightning League and the Monster Minds initially - the cartoon was simply created as loose entertainment.

But the plot line basically goes like this: Jayce, is the son of missing man named Audric, and his quest is to rejoin him. Audric was a botanist who did several experiments with biotechnology, one of which a young girl named Flora. Audric had also created a miracle crop that could grow in practically any environment.

[Jacye & Audric: the two halves of the root that need to be joined to save the world]

However, suddenly a solar flare mutates his plant into an evil being named Saw Boss, and changes other plants around the laboratory into other monstrous creatures - these became the Monster Minds. Audric manages to create a magical root that can destroy the Monster Minds, but doesn't managed to complete the experiment. He keeps half himself and gives the other half to Jayce. Thus, Jayce and his Lightning League friends are constantly on a quest to find Audric and combine the halves of the root. Combining the roots will destroy the Monster Minds forever.

Due to successful toy sales, Jayce's 65 episode line up was never followed up, and the story ended unresolved. J. Michael Straczynski, has been writing a movie for the show characters but because of the sad, sad performance of the toys, the movie was KIV'd. Apparently this movie would have been the concluding show to the entire series, where we find if Saw Boss is ever killed or not.

[Mattel's Wheeled Warriors: awesome face-off collection]

Mattel’s Wheeled Warriors was a vehicle based line in 1984. But, like we said, Wheeled Warriors by Mattel had a really bad toy launch. The toys arrived on shelves before the cartoon, in order to capitalize on the 1984 Christmas season. The manufacturers then re-thought the whole thing and pulled the toys from shelves before the cartoon could build a good fan base. Further, the toys only featured blank human figures and rubber brains for pilots - totally not like the cartoon at all.

[Saw Boss: in vehicle form with a wicked saw weapon]

I, personally, actually had a pretty complete set of the Wheeled Warriors toy collection (I'm proud to say). It was an awesomely designed product line regardless of the misfortunes and mishaps of the manufacturers. It's a collection that I do actually miss

Only one English language DVD had ever been released; featuring only a limited number of episodes. However, the entire series has been released in French, in two boxed sets each containing five DVDs. So, if you're watching it any time soon, pack your Bahasa Melayu to Perancis kamus.

Needless to say, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors was a cartoon that suffered pretty bad in the 80s - just victims of coincidence and bad planning. And like we've said many times here on Classic Articulation, it's the fate of all retro thing to end up disappearing. At the same time, we're glad that there are true fans out there who still remember with us.

As an added bonus, check out the opening title sequence I have attached for you true retro fans out there. I think the title song is pure-brill.