It‘s the Cartoon Apocalypse, and No Quality Animated Series Shall Survive

Illustration for article titled It‘s the Cartoon Apocalypse, and No Quality Animated Series Shall Survive

So you know how I was a wanderer who took shelter in an abandoned mail truck, put on the deceased driver's uniform, and now I deliver mail to the ragtag settlements of post-apocalyptic America? Well, I had a buddy who did the same thing, except he ended up in a fire truck. Things were going great until there was an actual fire in the village he was staying at. The lesson here is fake-delivering mail is much, much easier than fake-fighting fires. As always, email your questions to Now, on with your letters!


Clone Wars

Eric O.:
With the growing number of recent reports showing success in cloning and related biological experimentation, why haven't we heard of efforts to recreate recently extinct species?

What's keeping biological scientists from cloning thylacines, dodos, great auks, or even aurochses?

Well, there's lot of potential reasons. But honestly? Probably just money. There's no real profit in bringing back the dodo, so free enterprise isn't going to pay for that research, and the government would rather spend its money on science that helps humans, and/or preserves the animals that are currently going extinct.

And this is simply assuming you just want to pop a couple of dodos out of the clone oven to live in a zoo or something. If you wanted to reintroduce the species back into the wild –- a kind of "our bad, nature!" apology gift –- I can't even imagine how many dodos we'd have to create in order for the species to actually propagate. I know it'd be a lot of money, with no discernable benefits for anybody except the dodos (and possibly not even them). And even if we did, what about the food chain? How badly would other nearby animals be fucked if we tried to shove dodos back into their environment?

It's going to take one crazy rich dude to decide to devote his fortune to bringing back extinct species. He'll have his heart in the right place but no grasp of the scientific consequences of his actions. And then Dodo Park will stand as a silent warning to all who seek to tamper in God's domain.

No Justice

William S.:
Dear devoted postman,
I have just recently learned that cartoon network is cancelling Young Justice and Green Lantern: the animated series from their dc nation block only to be replaced by Beware the Batman (‘s butler's guns) and Teen Titans Go! Now don't get me wrong, the more superhero shows out there the better, I say, but I have no idea why the better written shows are getting cancelled all the time? Spectacular Spiderman, Avengers EMH, Thundercats, now two of the most entertaining shows on cartoon network. I thought at first it might be that they aren't silly and light enough for younger audiences but that doesn't really make sense if they're bringing in a new Batman show and a realistic Avengers show. What's your opinion? And why on earth is Ultimate Spiderman still going strong?

Illustration for article titled It‘s the Cartoon Apocalypse, and No Quality Animated Series Shall Survive

I would love to give you an answer to this, but it's boggling my mind too. So many great cartoons have been canceled recently -– mostly superhero ones –- that it almost seems like a conspiracy. The only reason I'm sure it isn't is because Adventure Time is still on. But I know for a fact that the Avengers cartoon didn't have great ratings, and I'm pretty sure ThunderCats didn't, either. Maybe Young Justice was a bit too serialized for kids -– I loved it, but I can see kids just tuning in being baffled — and maybe kids have already forgotten what a "Tron" is.


But none of this explains why Ultimate Spider-Man is doing well. And it is. It's doing really well. The young audiences of America have spoken, and they chose the goofy, drama-free Ultimate Spider-Man over the epic and wonderful Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. It remains to be seen how Beware the Batman(‘s Butler's Guns) –- very well done there, by the way –- will do, but Batman cartoons traditionally do pretty well no matter what, because it's about Batman. I fully expect Beware to do gangbusters, just because life is terrible like that.

Turtle Plower

Fuck/marry/kill: the Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles.

Hmm. Fuck Raphael, because he's the hotheaded, emotional one, and that generally indicates passionate sex. Marry Leonardo, because I appreciate that with his leadership skills he can provide stability for me and our turtle children, and also he has katana, which I find to be the superior turtle weapon. Kill Michaelangelo, because I couldn't handle his faux surfer drawl or his epicac pizzas. And then Donatello can go off and do machines or whatever.


Anime-ted Series

Robert T.:
I don't have much disposable income, not that many do nowadays, and I refuse to torrent so my only access to anime is either through Netflix or Hulu+. I was hoping you could point me towards some of the better series available on these services so I can get my anime fix without going broke.

Illustration for article titled It‘s the Cartoon Apocalypse, and No Quality Animated Series Shall Survive

Well, that's a tall order, but here's a few recommendations.

One Piece. If you want a rollicking action-adventure, I cannot recommend this series enough.
Death Note. This amazing psychodrama -– about what would happen if a kid actually had the power to kill anyone he wanted -– still boggles me with its awesomeness.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Pretty much the greatest cyberpunk crime action-drama ever, and it's as thoughtful as it is entertaining.
Hellsing: The most insane vampire-vs.-supernatural Nazis series you'll probably ever see. Make sure you watch the 9-episode "Ultimate" version, not the 13-episode TV series, though.
Samurai Champloo. Hip hop and samurai from the creator of Cowboy Bebop, and almost as good (episode 15 is a personal favorite).


FLCL. It's insane and borderline incomprehensible, but it's also a stunning coming-of-age story with the best soundtrack ever.
Robotech. The entire ‘80s series is just waiting for you to give up after the Macross saga (but at least give the New Generation stuff a try, too).
Fullmetal Alchemist. A great, action-packed fantasy drama. Both the original anime and then the second anime, titled FMA Brotherhood, which more closely follows the original manga, are worth the watch.
Fruits Basket. It's a pretty great shojo comedy drama, if you're into such things. I am, so no judgments.
High School of the Dead. For all your large-breasted high school girls fighting zombies needs.

Surely there are some more suggestions from the peanut gallery, eh?

Just-us League
Caity H.
Why is the Justice League movie dependent on Man of Steel being good? Even if people don't Superman, they'd still have a decent chance of liking Justice League, right?


You are 100% correct, Caity, which is why you and I are just too smart to be top-executives with 8-figure salaries at Warner Bros. The two are tangentially related – they both have Superman in them – but even if audiences hate Man of Steel, there's still every reason to believe they'd see Justice League, because it has Batman in it. In fact, it has a bunch of superheroes in it, and that's kind of a draw on its own. Hell, even if Man of Steel tanks, I think most people would see Justice League even if Henry Cavill played Superman again in it.

But regardless, even if Man of Steel is terrible, WB still has two years to make Justice League, which is more than enough time to make any necessary changes, like taking out all MoS references and casting a new Supes. I think Justice League would fine even if they decided right now it's going to a direct Man of Steel sequel. There's a two year gap between the two movies, and that's a long time.


Justice League will live or suck on its own merits. To postpone JL because MoS sucks is to leave money on the table, which has been WB's modus operandi when it comes to DC movies for years. They're so scared of failing big that they never take any big chances, which not only prevents them from succeeding, but ensures all their non-Batman DC movies are mediocre at best.

I don't see this policy changing anytime soon.

AT-AT Your Service

Eddie Lloyd:
I was just thinking, why has no one made a walking, remote-controlled AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back? With all the robotic toy tech out there these days, it shouldn't be too hard for someone who knows what they're doing.

Could you please, please, please post a "call" to robot geniuses to make one? You would make my year if you did. And just think, if you did post that, we'd all see (and possibly be able to buy) a walking AT-AT! Think about it!

Illustration for article titled It‘s the Cartoon Apocalypse, and No Quality Animated Series Shall Survive

Dear Robot Geniuses:
Please please please make a remote-controlled AT-AT. And I don't mean like some rinky-dinky R/C car, I mean like that awesome 15-inch voice-remote-controlled R2-D2 from a couple of years ago. I want my R/C AT-AT to walk, stomp, move its head, and fire missiles. Ir you could use the unbelievably awesome AT-AT vehicle from the Star Wars toyline –- the recent one that's 2-feet tall -– that would be great, thanks.


In my opinion, the AT-AT is the coolest vehicles in all of Star Wars. I cannot tell you how much I support Eddie's plea.


Fight Club

I was thinking about the apocalypse (as I often do) and an idea struck me. What if the best way to fight an apocalypse is with an equal and opposite apocalypse? I mean the Japanese have been practicing this for years, pinning Godzilla against Megalon and whatnot. Should we be looking to create a robot apocalypse to fight the coming zombie hoards? Then maybe we can invite some Martians (from beyond the moon) to come fight our robots? Sure some of us will be enslaved. Good idea? or really really bad one. Also, we would need an apocalypse to fight the Zombie Cyborg Martians



Good idea in theory, bad idea in practice. Say the dead rise from the Earth and we make robots to fight them. Even if the robots do manage to take care of all the zombies, they'll eventually rise up against us. We've just traded one apocalypse for another.


And I'd leave the Martians out of it. There's no guarantee they would actually help us before enslaving us. They'd be just as likely to pair up with the zombies or robots to help them fight off that pesky "human apocalypse."

Oh shit. Are we… are we some other creatures' apocalypse? Are we apocalypsing some poor creature right now? Mind = blown.


Do you have a letter for or to the Postman? Questions about nerd culture? Queries about Ideas you want to share? Email!



Ken, the best way to fight an apocalypse with another apocalypse is with giant robots under human control (see Evangelion and upcoming Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim).

Speaking of Evangelion, Rob, why didn't you recommend this to Robert? Despite not seeing the show, they have recently recreated it as 3 movies (Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo), and I saw the first 2 (third hasn't come out yet). Now THOSE are epic movies. But I agree: DeathNote, Hellsing OVA, FLCL, Samurai Champloo and One Piece are brilliant. Is Ghost in a Shell series really good, though? Because I remember seeing the movie, and although it was action packed and interestingly philosophical, at some point it just became too deep and heavy. Or maybe I was just tired...