Saturday Morning Cartoons: Captain Bucky O’Hare

Bucky O’Hare was an interesting blip in the early ’90’s. If people remember it at all, it’s either because of the still awesome opening credits song, or the Konami Nintendo (NES) game. Bucky O’Hare was created by Larry Hama (of G.I. Joe fame) in the late 1970’s and was eventually published in a brief comic book arc in 1984. The book followed the titular green hare and his crew of the spaceship the Righteous Indignation. The ship and crew were members of S.P.A.C.E , Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment, which was run by inept mammals. The evil toad empire was waging war against the Aniverse (a parallel universe to ours) after being militarized by their ruler, a computer A.I. system called KOMPLEX. The system was original designed to run the consumerist toad culture before taking over. Interesting parallels and foreshadowings to today.

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Bucky’s crew was comprised of first mate Jenny, a cat with psionic powers, Deadeye, a four armed eye-patched ex-pirate duck, Blinky, a one-eyed android, and Willy DuWitt, a preteen from San Fransisco who was accidentally transported to the aniverse and trapped their. An interesting combination.

After their short existence in comic books, 7 years later in 1991, the crew was brought to life in a short lived 13 episode animated series called Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Menace. Or Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars. I’m not really sure. After watching a few episodes to review for this post I don’t think they know either. The opening credits have Toad Menace, but the narrator uses Toad Wars. Meh. The show was weak anyways. The animation was stilted, even for 1991, and the voice acting was lazy and half asleep. Bucky voice actor Jason Michas sounds like he took Ambien before recording, and probably shared it with Jenny V.A. Margot Pinvidic. Scott McNeil (Deadeye), also gave an incredibly poor performance. He’s one of my favorite voices having done work on ReBoot, Dragonball Z, and Fullmetal Alchemist, but this was some of his worst work. I’ll chalk it up to being early in his career.

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I assume the show only existed because of the TMNT zeitgeist and animation studios temporary quest to make everything anthropomorphic. Regardless, the show spawned an awesome game for the NES from Konami. The game was very much a Mega Man clone, where Bucky must go around rescuing his crew. Each rescued member brought with them a different weapon type and special ability. The game was nonlinear in the beginning, allowing players to select any stage. After the initial stages were beat, players were captured by the Toads and last 2/3rds of the game were spent breaking out of their ship. I remember playing the crap out of this game when I was younger. It took me a while to learn the patterns for the game but eventually, I beat it. This guy makes it look easy. I still hold out hope we’ll see it on Nintendo’s Virtual Console.

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There was also a 4-player co-op from the arcades that was released in ’92. The gameplay was in the same vein as the TMNT and X-Men side-scrolling beat-em-ups of the time. Knowing the show wasn’t being renewed, the game actually gave a conclusion to the story line.

If it wasn’t for the game, I don’t think I’d remember watching this show. Rewatching it now showed me again how much nostalgia plays into certain things. While I can wholeheartedly recommend the NES game, I would say avoid the show. Or at least, know what to expect before going in. While there hasn’t been a DVD release, all 13 episodes are on youtube, with the first episode here.

Also, I loved how often the show forgot they were in outer space, and neat things like, physics.

Do you remember Bucky O’Hare? If so, from what format? Comment below, on Facebook, or tweet! If you enjoyed this post, please share!

“Calamity and Woe!”

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