With the release of ThunderCats on DVD, it’s now easier than ever to truly appreciate the beauty, creativity and diversity of the animation on the series. ThunderCats was worked on by a variety of different animators, and as such there are many subtle yet unique differences within the animation of different episodes. Each frame of animation in an episode of ThunderCats takes up just a fraction of a second, and sometimes to truly appreciate the depth and beauty of some of the animation it’s necessary to view scenes frame-by-frame. Sometimes by doing this it’s also possible to find some really unique and fun artwork hidden within an episode’s animation, as these frames below demonstrate!
ThunderCats was animated in Japan by a company called Pacific Animation, but despite these origins was always created with an American audience in mind – however, in the early season 1 episode “The Tower of Traps”, it’s clear that the animators decided to have some fun by creating a couple of frames, seen for only a fraction of a second, reminiscent of a Japanese anime style!
These images are all used in the sequence where Wilykit is trying to outrun the traps laid by Karnor, the robber baron, and are in stark contrast to the style of animation used in the rest of the episode – the ThunderCats’ Japanese animation origins have rarely been so obvious as in this scene!