Anthropomorphic animal superheroes were all the rage in animation in the ’80s (and also ’90s), which is when action cartoons really came into their own, I think. One person who agrees with me on this is Wesley Teddy Louis, an illustrator and animator from the UK. He’s taken his love of television programs like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ThunderCats, and even some anime like Ronin Warriors, and combined it with a comic book he drew in 1991 when he was but a child to give us the opening to a TV show that never was but absolutely should have been: Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit.
God, there are so many great things about this short, but first and foremost is the animation itself. It’s the perfect throwback to that sumptuous and rich art style of those above listed shows, complete with the zooming backgrounds during action, a very Japanese way to do it. Next, we not only have the titular hero and his magic samurai sword and red armor, but we have his cronies, including a lady fox with a robot arm, a frog ninja with nunchakus, a beefy rooster who throws discs, and a huge Shaolin bear with a big hammer-like thing. I love them all; I want to know everything about them!
And the bad guys, too, are glorious. There’s a vulture for a leader, an evil lady cow, a gorilla with a massive gun, and my personal favorite… an evil giraffe! A GIRAFFE! It’s got an eye patch and a sword, looking very much like a ungulate Captain Harlock.
The whole story behind Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit and its creation can be found on Louis’ website for The Line Animation and you’ll find sketches and backgrounds and animation breakdowns, which are highly informative and also make me really sad it’s not a real TV show. Maybe if we wish really hard it can be a real thing!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!