Anime, Cartoons, Comics! Plight Vol. 1, No. 9: Cats in Planes

Welcome to another issue of Plight, where all your dreams come true (actually, only the horrible ones... sorry!)

I'm coming to you today with a bit of everything... a relatively new-ish anime, a rather long running, but still current, comic, and a pretty old-school cartoon. Because that's how I roll: Gotta keep you mooks on your toes.

So go on, my little ones, delve into the depths of insanity that is Plight... Be sure to keep your arms, legs, and whatever else is dangling off your body (keep it safe for the kids, people!) in the vehicle at all times!

So you're interested in an anime that isn't just a bunch of aliens grunting and making shocked expressions for 25 minutes? Well, you're in luck, because that's pretty much all I watch now!

Heat Guy J is about, well, a big android dude name J and his "partner", Daisuke... also, their "boss" Kyoko. It's in a slightly Ghost in the Shell-ish world, but with a twist that, for the most part, androids and the like are outlawed. One of the nice things about this anime is that it doesn't go with the straight forward approach of black & white when it comes to characters. The heroes aren't perfectly unblemished, and the bad guys aren't completely stained in darkness. It has a good diversity of supporting characters to boot, both recurring and one-offs.

Sure he's holding a gun on you, but he's actually the good guy.

Each episode is, for the most part, self contained, which is quite nice, as long arcs tend to bog down most anime now a days. It's also a rather brisk 26 episodes, so the fear of being cornered by a never ending shonen punch-a-thon is not an issue either.

He's like Batou from GitS, only with less personality and with... more robot parts.

The anime has really nice atmospheric music, with nothing that really stands out, but just hangs back and compliments the action and situations nicely. The voice work is also rather well done, but honestly, its been quite a few years since I've ran into an anime with truly terrible English dubs.

If you're interested in giving it a go, its available to view, for free, on Funimation's YouTube offerings.

A rabbit with a sword... Really, that should be all I need to say.

Some of you might remember our furry friend from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon, or that terrible looking action figure they made of the poor guy. But trust me, he goes way beyond just some random samurai rabbit that the four green bros happened to stumble upon.

Drawn, colored, and written by one of my all time favorite artists (and an all around nice guy, apparently) Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo follows our buddy, Usagi, as he wanders feudal Japan as a ronin (masterless samurai). Some stories focus on action, some on subtlety, and some on good ol' comedy. The range of side characters is varied and wide, from ninjas to samurai to pickpockets to petty snitches to stubborn cops to anything and everything in between.

I'm actually at a loss for words when it comes to Usagi Yojimbo, as it is by far my favorite comic of all time... And that is not something I say lightly. While I love Spider-man, Deadpool, and tons of other classic comic book heroes, Usagi just stands head and shoulders above the rest in all aspects. The artwork, the stories, the attention to detail, the depth of the characters and their interactions and relationships with each other, everything about these books are so far above just about anything else its really not even funny.

I did mention the Ninja Turtles, didn't I?

Comprised of 27 volumes (so far), Usagi Yojimbo is the one thing, if nothing else, you should take away as a recommendation from the very depths of my soul. It might not grab you right away, but I promise that, if given time, it will definitely steal a place in your heart as well.

Tracking down some of the older volumes is going to be tricky, as the ones in the early 20s are practically non-existent it seems... However, I have seen them at both of the libraries near my house, and you can generally find "pre owned" copies on Amazon rather easily... even if they're in somewhat banged up condition.

Usagi Yojimbo Dojo - Stan Sakai's Official UY Page

Aw yeah, you feelin' that intro? That is one kick ass cartoon opener, if you ask me (and honestly, even if you don't ask I'll tell you). Technically, it's full title is "Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron", but I barely managed to type that without laughing myself to death... man, the 90's were pretty great, weren't they?

Following the escapades of T-Bone and Razor (nicknames, just nicknames!), Swat Kats is basically about two dudes (who are cat people in a world of cat people) who fly in an absolutely bad ass plane, saving their city from giant monsters and cliche comic book bad guys, all while avoiding the rather overzealous commander of the local police force.

Full on cast line up. I don't really remember that jester dude though...

Set up like your typical Saturday morning cartoon, Swat Kats was one of the few shows that didn't really get merchandised to hell and back, which both surprised and disappointed me. I wanted a toy of the TurboKat (the plane) so badly it wasn't even funny, but I'll be damned if I ever saw so much as a hint of sweet, sweet Kat merch.

T-bone was the pilot, and Razor was the smart aleck navigator. They were both pretty funny, actually.

I can't even begin to wonder where you can still legally watch the show, as Cartoon Network hasn't show it in ages (but it might show up on Boomerang I suppose)... but I suppose you could probably pick up the first season + the cut-too-short second season on the cheap, as it's a severely underrated little bit of... radical.

Conclusion: If you'd like to pick up my slack and put your best foot forward while being an up and coming go-getter while [buzzwords], hit me up in the comments or at my email (handily attached to my profile) with what week you'd like (keeping in mind the every 2 week schedule). But don't forget to poke around and make sure what you're about to gush over hasn't been covered recently!

A little spreadsheet detailing who is doing which issue next, as well as what the content of the past issues were.

The featured header file (Photoshop 5)

The main Plight header file (Photoshop 5)

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