The Action Commences

The Action Commences

We cut back to the museum, where Callie and Dr. Sinian are racing down the hallway, Sinian saying they can “get out through the garage.” It probably helps that the saber-toothed tiger stopped chasing them to go into Sinian’s office and eat the communicator.

The Turbokat, meanwhile, lands on the museum roof. T-Bone glances around and notes that all seems quiet, just when Callie and Dr. Sinian burst through the stairwell door, slamming it closed behind themselves. Um, what happened to going to the garage?

Suddenly the saber-toothed tiger smashes through the door, knocking both Callie and Dr. Sinian right off the roof! “Quiet, huh?” Razor feels the need to say. Yeah, yeah, we get it, the irony, sure. Both he and T-Bone seem strangely unconcerned ’bout the Deputy Mayor and the good Doctor, who are now grabbing ahold of a drainpipe that runs along the side of the building, which is slowly but surely giving way from their weight.

The tiger now turns and bounds over to the Turbokat, jumping onto the canopy and rearing back menacingly. Inside, T-Bone and Razor gasp in surprise, and then… we cut to a commercial!

When we come back from commercial to find the re-animated saber-toothed tiger statue still perched on the canopy of the Turbokat. Razor deals with this by popping the canopy, catapulting (katapulting?) the tiger off of the jet and across the roof. ‘Course, in the first example of yet another trend that this show annoys me with, Razor actually announces what he’s doing; “Popping canopy… now!” It gets worse when they start using their missiles.

The Action Commences

T-Bone gets out and goes over to the edge of the roof, helping Callie and Dr. Sinian up before they, like, fall to their deaths and such, cheekily saying, “Lemme give ya a hand, ladies.” Razor, meanwhile, notices that the saber-tooth has recovered and is getting ready to pounce onto T-Bone. Razor alerts him, and T-Bone looks ready to grapple with the undead pussycat, but as the tiger leaps towards him Razor fires the “cement machine gun.”

The Action Commences

The cement machine gun, sometimes called the cement cannon, is one of the more unique and interesting weapons (and, compared to their other weapons, one of the more plausible ones); a swivel-cannon located on the underside of the jet that is capable of rapidly firing sticky slugs of quick-drying cement. Said cement smacks into the saber-tooth, pinning him to the wall and then hardening, “freezing” him in place.

T-Bone grumbles that he could’ve “taken him,” but Razor says he was just seeing if the cement machine gun was working. He then gets out and walks over to the cement-encased tiger, observing, “Whoa, exhibits are gettin’ kinda lifelike, aren’t they?”

They suddenly hear some approaching sirens and go to the edge of the rooftop to see a bunch of Enforcer patrol cars come screeching to a halt outside the museum’s front entrance. This has always bugged me. Why are the Enforcers showing up, and in such force, for that matter? No one called them, and no alarms were tripped or anything. It’s never explained.

In any event, the arrival of the Enforcers allows us to glimpse our first example of the anti-Enforcer mindset of both the SWAT Kats and the show in general, when T-Bone comments that they’re “late as usual.” I can’t express how much I loathe this part of the series. It’s quite disgusting the way that the show tries to manipulate the viewer(s) into siding against the Enforcers by having the SWAT Kats dislike them for no real reason (well, that’s not entirely true, but I’ll come to that in my review of “The Wrath of Dark Kat”).

The Action Commences

We cut inside the museum, where the Pastmaster has now found his way into the “Hall of Ancient Manuscripts” and found his book, the Tome of Time, sitting within a glass display case. He promptly smashes the glass and removes the book, gloating about how “800 years is far too long to be separated from such power,” while red lightening shoots out of the book.

Back up on the roof, Dr. Sinian shows us all how familiar she is with her own museum exhibits by referring to the cemented-up saber-toothed tiger as “ancient bones.” Um, lady, it was stuffed, not a skeleton. Anyways she reasons that only “a sorcerer’s dark power” could’ve done it, and identifies the Pastmaster by name. Callie then points down and says, “If you mean that weird little guy in the hood, why don’t you just ask him?” Everyone then looks down to see the Pastmaster come out the front doors with the Tome of Time.

Dr. Sinian cries out that he’s stolen an ancient spellbook, prompting a uniformed Enforcer officer to get out of his car and approach the Pastmaster, demanding that he fork the book over. This is the Sergeant (yes, just “the Sergeant,” voiced here by the late Ed Gilbert), one of the main Enforcer characters. The Pastmaster, however, argues that it’s his book anyway, then opens it up and finds a picture of a large, Godzilla-esque dinosaur. He begins a rather simplistic and, in my opinion, lame incantation: “Hear the spell of this immortal, send this creature through the portal!”

The Action Commences

Hilariously, the Sergeant is actually reading over the Pastmaster’s shoulder here instead of, y’know, trying to arrest him.

This ends up getting him blown back off his feet when a huge beam of magical energy suddenly erupts from the very pages of the book (yes, apparently the book itself is magical, instead of merely containing magic spells), shooting up into the sky, where it causes a swirling, black-and-purple vortex to appear above. Reddish lightening shoots out from this portal and others like it later in the series at irregular intervals, and is, officially, known as a “time vortex.”

From the portal comes the real-life version of that dinosaur we saw a picture of in the Tome of Time. It’s a very iconic SWAT Kats monster, since it’s featured prominently in the first season opening credits sequence, which relies heavily on clips from three of the first five episodes (as well as some original animation, admittedly).

As I said, it looks vaguely like something you’d see in a Godzilla movie, being roughly 100 feet tall with a row of spikes down its back and everything. What makes it differant, though, is the fact that it has pointed cat ears (!!). Yes, a dinosaur with cat ears. Recognizing it, Dr. Sinian declares, “It’s a Megasaurus Rex!” Oh, good God…

The Action Commences

The beast in question lands on the street, squashing the patrol car the Sergeant had gotten out of.

The Sergeant quickly beats feet while the Megasaurus Rex bends down and scoops the Pastmaster into its hand (as, it should be noted, the Pastmaster is capable of controlling any creature he summons through his portals). It then stomps off with him ranting about how he “commands the past,” and that their future “looks bleak.”

Suddenly T-Bone and Razor are back in the Turbokat, assuring Callie and Dr. Sinian (the latter of whom, ludicrously, appears to be doing a Seig Heil here – hidden Nazi messages in kids’ cartoons?) that they’ll take care of things before taking off. The Megasaurus Rex meanwhile is being shot at by what the model sheets identify as “Enforcer commandoes” (essentially, SWAT team guys in riot gear). The dinosaur smacks a parked car with its tail, sending the vehicle flying towards the Enforcers, who scatter.

“Let’s kick some tail!” declares T-Bone, in the first utterance of this cheesy line that gets really annoying really fast. Boy, lotta firsts in this episode. Must be because it’s the first one broadcast. Razor now fires the first of the SWAT Kats’ customized, ridiculous missiles, in the form of the so-called Octopus Missiles. These look like regular missiles until their tips pop apart into a little eight-armed claw, and they’re designed to slam into a target, but since they’re non-explosive projectiles, I’m at a loss as to what good Razor thought they’d do against Godzilla’s loser brother-in-law.

The Action Commences

The Megasaurus Rex turns and sees the missiles coming (those big ears of his come in handy), so he swings his big ol’ tail and the missiles hit that. This has the dual effect of breaking the missiles apart and sending the shards back at the Turbokat. They pelt the jet and one of them manages to cut the fuel line somehow. This causes T-Bone to lose control of the jet (yelling “It just kicked our tails!”) and go spinning right into the still-open time vortex.

Looking on, Callie and Dr. Sinian are horrified. And now suddenly down on the street. Huh, they must’ve jumped. They spout the usual, “Oh, no! The SWAT Kats are gone! Who will save Megakat City!” as the Megasaurus Rex stomps off down the street, grinding Enforcer patrol cars underfoot. Well, certainly not the Enforcers, that’s for sure….

She and Dr. Sinian here are our first two examples of what the characters sometimes call “she-kats,” that is, female “kats.” Pretty much all the female cats in this show resemble human females with cat ears and noses stuck on, a tactic/style choice that I find intensely annoying.

I always found that a little odd as well, honestly. The reason is obvious enough; just think of the target demographic. A little sex appeal does wonders for getting little boys to watch cartoons, and I guess somebody thought having the females look more human would do the trick. However, this made the male and female characters look so different one could be forgiven for not realizing they are the same species. Even the robot Molly Mange looked downright human compared to her “male” counterpart, who was definitely a cat.

I liked SWAT Kats, a little, and caught most of it in reruns. The animation style is good and some of the villains are cool. Well, Dark Kat was, anyway. Dr. Viper (or did they spell it “Vipurr” as a cat related pun?) was serviceable. I think I liked Commander Feral the best of all the characters. There was also an underutilized female Enforcer, a Vasquez-wannabe, whose name escapes me at the moment, whom I also liked. T-Bone and Razor never made much impression on me. They were both a little too interchangeable for me to remember them except as, “the big one and the skinny one”. And I had forgotten Callie completely until you mentioned her in your review.

Quote from: akiratubo on July 03, 2007, 07:23:21 AM

I liked SWAT Kats, a little, and caught most of it in reruns. The animation style is good and some of the villains are cool. Well, Dark Kat was, anyway. Dr. Viper (or did they spell it “Vipurr” as a cat related pun?) was serviceable. I think I liked Commander Feral the best of all the characters. There was also an underutilized female Enforcer, a Vasquez-wannabe, whose name escapes me at the moment, whom I also liked.

Don’t worry, it’s Viper and not “Vipurr” (something I can attest to, having seen the original model sheets, plus the title of the second season episode “The Origin of Dr. Viper”). He’ll be the main villain of the next episode. And, the Vasquez-wannabe is Felina, Commander Feral’s niece. She doesn’t appear until the second season premiere “Mutation City.”