Was Tygra the TCs' Aquaman?

Discussion in 'ThunderCats (1985)' started by Tygra_Rules, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Tygra_Rules

    Tygra_Rules Thunderian Legend

    This post is just a funny thought more than something to go on and on, but of coursefeel free to comment. I just did it because I like both Tygra and Aquaman the most in their respective shows (yeah, I guess I have something for underdogs).

    It’s not a secret that all cartoons in the 80s followed almost the same formula, with similar personality traits on their characters: the leader, the strong one, the smart one, the female (usually an agile, sensitive one although brave enough to confront the main malae character), the kid(s), the comic relief, etc. One character could be missing in a show, others would combine two traits, but the formula was pretty much the same. And 7 seemed to be the magical number (think of D&D, MOTU, Gummy Bears, Super Friends and, of course, our beloved ThunderCats).

    In this post, I want to compare the last two, and more specifically the two characters I consider to be the designated victims in those series (and, coincidentally, my I-don’t-know-why favorite ones): Tygra and Aquaman. About the first one, we all have discussed his status for many years in many different threads and topics. About the latter, the WHOLE WORLD has done that job, mocking him around the web, TV, movies, etc. But was it for free? I think not. And having rewatched Super Friends over the last couple of months, I found many similarities between these two characters that I want to lay out here. As I said, this is just for fun, but I would like to see what you think about it.

    First things first though, the shows. In their early seasons, both shows had 7 characters. In TC we had Lion-O, Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara, WilyKat, WilyKit and Snarf, while in SF the original roster consisted of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Marvin and Wendy / Wonder Twins and Wonder Dog / Gleek. "Aha! There are 8!" you might say. Yes, that makes 8 SF against 7 TC, but it’s also true that Batman and Robin can be considered as one single character too, so there we go.

    Also, in each team there was one main woman (Cheetara / Wonder Woman) which could be considered third in command, but got second-in-command prominence almost every time. There was also the “minor” female (WilyiKit / Wendy or Jayna). Also, the team’s minor male, along with the pet, got the comic relief role (WilyKat and Snarf / Marvin and Super Dog or Zan and Gleek). And then some more characters were added as seasons went on.

    And then the main roles. The leader (Lion-O / Superman); the strong guy (Panthro / Superman… again); the smart guy (Tygra / Batman); the agile, brave female (Cheetara / WW); the comic twins (the kittes / the Wonder Twins); the pet and last but not least the vulnerable, almost useless nobody-knows-what-is-he-doing-here whose only purpose seems to be getting captured time after time to make his teammates look good. In SF that would be Aquaman. And who fulfills Aquaman's role in TC? Yup, Tygra. Hey! Wait! Wasn't Tygra the TC's Batman? The smart guy? Sure, but remember that Superman got two of the main traits (leadership and strength), so then one TC should take two roles as well, and that one was Tygra: he was both the smart one and the designated victim, which in SF were split between Batman and Aquaman. You know who got the short straw out of that one.

    So, here the similarities I found between them.

    Color orange. Not much to say about it, only maybe that it was the more distinctive feature in both characters. But there might be something there in the fact that orange is a secondary color, and they were the only main original grown-ups to have it. Yes, all the others (Lion-O, Superman, Panthro, Batman, Cheetara and WW all used red, blue or yellow -if not the three of them-, which are primary colors, at least in classic color theory). Also interesting to note is that gray was present in the second-in-command character (Panthro and Batman… say what you want about Tygra being second-in-command, it was just a thing of title more than of importance in the show, and his clothes were shades of gray anyway).

    Boots / feet. Both Tygra and Aquaman had something original about their boots that distinguished them from their teammates. Tygra’s boots, as we all know, had open toes and ankles, while Aquaman boots were, well, non-existent. Was there some kind of fetish in producers and writers that made them pick it on the “barefoot” characters?

    Water. This is more a difference than a similarity, but was still important in both characters. For Tygra, water was a weakness while for Aquaman it was its main strength.

    Designated victim. Both of them fulfiledl this role at their best. Abducted, captured, mind-controlled, enslaved, tied up, cuffed, hypnotized, aged, transformed into something else, you call it. As TvTropes says, they were not just the victim of the day, they were the victim of every day.

    Useless powers or good ones that usually got forgot
    . Tygra’s invisibility, we can’t deny, came in handy many times, but there were so many other occasions in which he seemed to forget he could turn invisible and save the day. Same with Aquaman. In so many episodes he got attacked by a giant octopus or a shark and, rather than using his telepathic powers to command those creatures to leave him alone, he struggled and struggled and finally used it to call some fish to his aid. It just doesn’t make sense. About the useless abilities, we have Tygra’s mind powers and Aquaman’s super strength (yes, he possesses it), super speed and enhanced sight and hearing.

    Neglection. Both characters were the most neglected ones by writers and producers. In the first season(s) of their respective shows, were the teams were smaller, they were the ones to be absent from the action in most episodes (among the grown-ups), either by staying at the team’s base or being out in some mission. And when they showed up in an episode, they seemed to have the least number of lines, sometimes even none. And things got just worst when their respective teams recruited new members (Lynx-O, Pumyra, Bengali and Snarfer / Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom, Hawkman & Hawkgirl, Firestorm and the “ethnic” SF); by this time, they were just written off of an important number of episodes. I really think if writers and producers had something about orange, no-booted, water-related characters…

    Peril and dangerous situations. Finally, they both suffered similar predicaments, as you can see in the following posts because it seems it was too heavy to upload.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  2. Tygra_Rules

    Tygra_Rules Thunderian Legend

  3. Tygra_Rules

    Tygra_Rules Thunderian Legend

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