Samurai Cats and Ninja Turtles

I am sure that most of us grew up with fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons on the television.  There were, of course, the old classics which are almost everyone’s favorites like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wiley E. Coyote, Sylvester Cat and the rest of the Looney Tunes.  There was also the antics of Tom and Jerry to keep us amused.

However, when I was growing up there were more action adventure type cartoons being created.  These were cartoons like He-man, Thundercats, G.I. Joe and the Transformers.  A bit later there were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   All of these cartoons differed from the slapstick style of the classic cartoons.  They all involved serious violence and kicking the ass of evil villains.  The only humor usually came from wise-cracking heroes and the way they talk.  The Turtles, for example, channeled the surfer culture with phrases like “bummer,” “dude,” “bogus,” “radical,” “far-out,” “tubuloso,” “bodacious,” and possibly the most recognized, “cowabunga.

Sure I watched them but they always seemed to be a tad too serious for me.  So it was like a breath of fresh air when I came across a relatively unknown gem of a cartoon that parodied and made fun of this genre.  At last, a cartoon that laughed at itself and did not take things so seriously.  I loved it.  It was the antidote to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; it was the Samurai Pizza Cats.

In a nutshell, these three cool cats, Speedy Cerviche (the brave but often clueless leader), cute little Polly Ester (just don’t get her mad or it will hurt) and Guido Anchovy (the misguided Romeo of the group), fight crime and evil plots all over the town of Little Tokyo while earning a living delivering pizza.  “Big Cheese” is the big villain of the story who is always plotting to take over the throne from the Emperor.  He is  poorly supported by Bad Bird and his Ninja Crows (it’s so hard to find good help these days).

But the real charm is in how they parody the genre.  Take for example their theme song.  A phase like, “Samurai Pizza Cats, they’re so bad, they’ve got more fur than any turtle ever had.” is a clear poke at their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles competitor.

“They are stronger than old cheese and stronger than dirt’ was reference to the advertising tagline of the Ajax liquid cleaner around that time.

And then there was the episode where heroes and villains happen to coincidentally take their holidays at a hot spring spa.  When they discover each other, bitter fighting ensues.  Then a voice of reason suggested that they call a truce so that they can both enjoy their holidays.  This appeals to both sides until someone points out that unfortunately that it is against union rules for the Ninja Crows not to fight.

Once, Bad Bird even wanted to turn over a new leaf.  Fed up of being reviled as a villain, he wanted now to fight for justice and be revered as a hero.  Unfortunately, the show’s producers reminded him that he is a “contractual villain” and any hero type acts would be a breach of contract!

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What might be some of your favorite cartoon series of all time and why?


10 thoughts on “Samurai Cats and Ninja Turtles”

  1. All of the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes were the best but I also really loved Jonny Quest
    and Scooby Doo was pretty fun too.
    Wow that came out like a weird bad rhyme.

  2. I know I used to watch cartoons but the only one that really sticks out in my memory is the Rad Runner and the Coyote and his ever present ACME gimmicks which never worked, you would have thought he would have gone to the US Defense department for weaponry.

  3. Never saw Cat’s before but enjoyed their song. For some reason I didn’t like Bugs Bunny. I liked Tom and Jerry and Road Runner. Of course as a cat person, I would like Tom and Jerry. :o)

  4. Your mention of Wiley E. Coyote, amongst others, took me back many years –
    I must confess though, that I wished that the ‘bad guys’ would win JUST ONCE, – I mean, wouldn’t you like to have seen the smile wiped off that smug Road Runner’s face?

  5. geewits,
    That was a funny rhyme. 🙂 Scooby doo was a “must not miss” for my entire family when it first came out but I did outgrow it. Jonny Quest was one of the better action cartoons.

    Can you imagine Wiley armed with an Apache helicopter? Anyway, doesn’t ACME stand for American Congress Munitions Enterprise?

  6. Joyce,
    But poor cat, Tom always gets beaten up by that rat, Jerry.

    I fully agree. I have always rooted for the poor battered coyote.

    You could have fitted right in to the Samurai Pizza Cats team.

  7. I never saw these cats, and the turtels too. I remember the “old” ones like Tom and Jerry, Bunny, Duffy, Coyote – but they came to our screens in a terribly mutilated way with nonsenical translations, I think even altered story lines, different voices of course, and of course various stories glued together and mixed with our creatures – it was an ugly mess.
    Only comparable with a b/w early evening series, where they chopped and mixed Laurel&Hardy, Keaton (!!!) and what-was-his-name-?-the-one-with-the glasses into one silly and stupid blend of 25 minutes – and that was that.
    Only in the 1980s in the “Third programms” (we had only two stately run telelvision programs, later the single Laender (like Bavaria, Hamburg etc.) were allowed to run programs of their own, and there films were broadcasted in full, different angles were taken etcetc – and only there – in the middle of the night – one could watch Laurel&Hardy in full, Marx Brothers in original et cetera) it was possible to see some of the cartoons in their original versions.
    Sometime in the eighties I guess the Japanese series turned up, like “Wikkie” and a terrible “Nils Holgerson” thingy – they were bad and terrible then and remain to this day. I especially remember a take on “Heidi” – I mean the book itself is nearly grenzdebil, but that Japanese comic strip version was subterranean, firing phantasies of violence and terror in my innocent mind. Even today I have serious problems looking at what they call “manga”.

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