Amidst the smoldering ruins of Thundera, Lion-O mourns his father and contemplates revenge. He then sets out to find Mumm-Ra’s lair with Tygra and Cheetara in tow. WileyKit and WileyKat tag along against Lion-O’s wishes. When the quintet reaches the treacherous Sea of Sands, they encounter Captain Koinelius Tunar and his crew of fishmen. Tunar is obsessed with capturing a creature known as Ramalak. Lion-O and company find themselves as participants in Ramalak’s wild quest, whether they like it or not.
As the new Thundercats series presses on, it reveals itself to be a true odyssey filled with strange lands and even stranger creatures. While the series premiere was firmly rooted in medieval fantasy and Arthurian legend, “Ramalak Rising” nearly feels like a throwback to the aesthetic of the original syndicated series.
While watching, my cousin noted that he found the Pokemon style animation to be a turn off. While I don’t whole heartedly agree with him, I can see what he means. The sharp chins and soft colors on display definitely lend themselves to a more annoying and childish brand of anime. The creature designs in this episode especially seem geared for one of those Japanese card games. The original syndicated series had a similar penchant for such strange characters. The emphasis on WileyKit and WileyKat’s increased presence also serve to make the proceedings feel a bit more juvenile.
Despite the slightly less mature tone of this episode, there are a few positives. The action scenes are reminiscent of similar moments from Clash of the Titans (both versions) and The Pirates of the Caribbean films. They have a grand mythic quality, and for the most part are just as fast moving as the ones from the premiere. Unfortunately, it’s more fun to see Lion-O and company do battle with humanoid creatures as opposed to a giant tentacled beast. I also appreciate the idea of a literal sea of sand with crashing waves in which ships can stay afloat. The moment showing the fate of Jaga is also well handled.
This episode also shows Lion-O developing a bit of an impulsive and arrogant streak. This is clearly lifted from the original Star Wars trilogy, and suits the material well. It’s nice to know that Lion-O won’t always be so likeable. In only three episodes, the character appears to be evolving, and that’s a very good sign.
“Ramlak Rising” is okay for what it is, but I’d prefer that the side/supporting characters be a bit less childish in their conception from here on out. I’d much rather see Lion-O encountering Mumm-Ra and the mutants instead of fishmen. I’m praying that future episodes do not introduce a new incarnation of the Ro-Bear Berbils. The tone of the series premiere was nearly pitch-perfect, and needn’t be sullied by the presence of the Thundercats equivalent of ewoks.