Japanese and cheap

That practically was the case before in the mid to late 20th century that even as Japan began improving in the 50s, many Western animation production houses still turned to it because it provided cheap, quick animation. Historically, anything made in Japan had the same reputation as anything made in China today (though that too is changing quickly for the latter). Comes to think of it in hindsight, there’s a reason why in the 20th century before there were a lot of Japanese co-productions.

These included Alfred J Kwak, Superbook, GI Joe, Batman, Gargoyles and Thundercats. Currently, this has shifted to Korea and China especially for both Japanese and American productions. (I guess Japan at this point’s now a truly developed country so for most of the part, there needn’t much Japanese co-productions since it’s now a bit too expensive for that.) Not that there aren’t any more Japanese and Western co-productions but that these have gotten rarer.

Looking back, there was a time when Japan was more or less in the same economic situation as China is today. In the sense of being rising but still fairly cheap enough for international companies to turn to when producing productions on the cheap.

Bad, really

I think whoever liked Tigra must have a good point in which the real trouble with her presentation’s not so much with what she wears but how humanoid she looked despite her hybrid nature that some subsequent cartoonists will tweak it to be more bestial to whatever extent. (Fur, paws, even actual tiger markings.) Beginning with West Coast Avengers and Avengers: United They Stand and Marvel Mangaverse to some extent.

If that’s the case, that might explain why some cartoonists feel compelled to tweak her appearance. It’s not always even the outfit that’s problematic but rather how humanoid she looked to the point where her appearance in Avengers: United They Stand (itself a flawed production) seemed like the much better take as with Marvel Mangaverse and even the forthcoming cartoon design-wise.

Thundercats isn’t any better with some characters but at least a few of them (Tygra, Cheetara, Lynx-O) looked the part to whatever extent. That person’s point now makes sense that you need to combine human and animal anatomy well enough to make it convincing enough to whatever degree.

And it’s overdue for her.

Infomercial Anime

Whilst a lot of anime are made to advertise the very media they’re adapted from like comics and novels often with accompanying merchandise, stuff like Pokemon and Gundam are much more blatant infomercials. They practically exist to advertise games and toys like cards though they do have enough of a well-done storyline to get away with it. (The same thing can be said of Gummi Bears, Thundercats and My Little Pony.)

Not that it’s bad and when you think about it, such studios are paid to do it (and buying such merchandise acts as compensation for pirating games and anime episodes). The weird thing about some anime fans is that they act as if anime exists independently of merchandising. There are anime that do exist independently of merchandising but they’re very, very rare.

So the average anime being a glorified informercial for the media they’re associated with or adapted from’s an inevitable practise and similar things can be said of filmed adaptations of Harry Potter and the like.

Maybe way too tolerant

Like I said in another post, the real problem as pointed out by others (even within the fandom I think) is that the furry fandom seems to be too accepting of certain vices. But I’d argue anime has the same problem, in fact enough to create sex criminals such as Thaddeus McMichaels and Tsutomu Miyazaki. The fact that Nobuhiro Watsuki recently got arrested should prove that it’s high-profile enough to know anime (and anime fandom) aren’t any better either.

Let’s not forget that both furry and anime fandoms actually came from the same root, especially early on when it comes to both children’s animation and underground comix*. If you want something that’s closer to home, anime-wise, it’s Osamu Tezuka who not only produced a lot of anime classics but also furry ones like Kimba the White Lion and indulging in the infamous vice of transformation fanaticism.

(Journey to the West not only begat the Dragon Ball series but also has a lot of furries in it.)

The popular furry favourite Thundercats’s also animated by the Japanese. So it should be noted that both furry and anime fandoms share similar vices enough to be stigmatised even though the latter actually produced criminals. (But that’s also implying there might be more of them but most get underreported.)

*This includes Robert Crumb (who had a crush on Bugs Bunny) and Vaughn Bode (the lizards) as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming from the same environment as Omaha the Cat Dancer, Usagi Yojimbo, Howard the Duck (and a few others from Marvel and DC) and Fritz the Cat.

How it came to be

It’s debatable whether if certain characters are furry but it’s parsimonious that the Thundercats’ inclusion came about however through the Internet especially when its fandom came of age and began using it. It could’ve influenced some Thundercats fanart and even official productions like the 2011 one to some extent out of confluence. Even if not all Thundercats fans become furries but when a good number of them do get into furry fandom by chance, inevitably it also plays out the way fans come to redesign the characters.

I even said that the original one suffered from certain aesthetic problems of its time and even before that with the Wolverine hair phenomenon found in werewolf films making its way elsewhere and quite a few characters are convincing human animal hybrids (Tygra, Bengali, Lynx-O, Wolfsbane and Hepzibah). This was increasingly corrected in both fan art and some official productions like the 2011 one (though Wilykit and Wilykat’s parents looked more feline).

Some of these might be independent choices like with Mr Norton’s but because Thundercats fandom came about on the Internet where some of them came to be part of furry fandom proper that inevitably went with a need to make them more animalistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2011 Thundercats production came from this sentiment as well as a future one in mind.

Blame it on the times

I also think some of the problems with the 1985 Thundercats production (eventually nearly addressed in the 2011 production) were also shared with other media of its time and even before that in whatever degree. It’s something like the Wolverine hair syndrome even if that predated the character and some of the design elements had more in common with the way human-animal hybrids were depicted.

Colouring techniques and how fussy it is to draw fur (though that’s eventually overcome and included in the 2011 production). Like with some of the Thundercats, a few of these characters (especially Marvel’s Hepzibah) convincingly appeared as true human animal hybrids. The 2011’s not any better either though it’s likely a better one’s yet to come thus making the 2018 version a blip.

Not without flaws

Like I said before in another post, the 80s Thundercats was also flawed in that quite a few characters were convincing animal-human hybrids though adding fur and further appendages would’ve been too fussy. The 2011 version’s not any better though at least it gave them fur and prick ears. I suspect the overall aesthetic, though formative for some furries, kind of suffered from not being able to combine human and animal anatomy right but not without becoming unrecognisable either.

Though to be fair, only a handful (Tygra, Bengali and Lynx-O) managed to look fairly like the animals they’re based on whilst Cheetara’s caught in the weird middle between them and the less convincing looking ones. At other times, if some fan art’s any indication, a redesign might be needed to address some of the problems with the original version which was more or less partially answered in the 2011 production. The 2018 version might be a blip if a better one comes around so.