By: Gregory Weagle
All right folks; I have found another TaleSpin editorial to write about (which is hard to do these days.) and it deals with a topic which started days ago in the TaleSpin Yahoo Groups concerning Kingdom Hearts. As I have said before in case some forgot that I was againest using T rated characters in a Disney setting. That's not to say that Kindgom Hearts was a bad game; I didn't feel that it was right. However; Disney allowed this and it's their characters and game (along with Squaresoft whom I have some respect for after rejoining Nintendo) so I don't really have a right to complain. Squaresoft is now considering releasing a sequel to Kingdom Hearts sometime in the future and some Talespinners are already pleading for Disney to bring the TaleSpin characters to the game. I know for a fact that if Disney does decide to let Square create Kingdom Hearts 2 (and considering that it is a kid's game, plus Square's realationship with Nintendo is much better now, it will be for Gamecube or multiple platforms); the chances of TaleSpin characters being used are near zero or absolute zero. This is very sad in a way because TaleSpin would fit Square's image of a RPG quite well and I have more trust in Squaresoft then Disney Interactive. TaleSpin is more towards the T rated character then most Disney cartoons although Gargoyles and even Darkwing Duck are closer to that mark. However; I believe that TaleSpin is more atuned to Final Fantasy than Gargoyles is……..….Alright folks; I cannot hide it anymore. This was originally supposed to be the “TaleSpin: Disney's Final Fantasy?” editorial that I originally promised to the world but couldn't deliver because a website was planning to do that for me. Sadly; that wesbite (which is of a similar name) hasn't been updated for two years now. Now it looks like I'll have to write the editorial after all. That all right because I have a lot more to say about TaleSpin's connection to Final Fantasy and it's connection to a Gamecube/ DreamCast title: Skies of Arcadia which several fans of that game have stated an indrect link to the series…..….. Back to the editorial; when I watch TaleSpin and play the Final Fantasy series, I noticed some interesting similarities to them. Please note that the two series are very different from each other and there are no copyright clashes here. This is not the Tales of the Golden Monkey or Laputa or Procoo Rooso type of similarity. Nor is Skies of Acardia the same as TaleSpin (not even close) despite having some connections. So with that in mind; here's what I noticed in Final Fantasy and in TaleSpin while watching and playing both:
[1.] Chocobo [Final Fantasy] VS Gorrilla Birds [TaleSpin]
Ah; the second most famous yellow bird which is a cross between a canary and a ostrich (next to Big Bird of course) and Square's biggest mascot started his appearance in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy III (In America; Chocobo debuted in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type which was renamed Final Fantasy II USA). It has a wide varitey of uses in the Final Fantasy games: It can be used as a Summon (which debuted in FF3j as well); it can get fat and store items, use as transportation or racing (can be black or yellow) and even to restore MP (white in color). It also has it's own theme music which is pretty cute (Final Fantasy IX's is the best I think). On the other side you have the Gorillia Birds which debuted in the first act of Plunder and Lightning and made another appearance in Ransom of the Red Chimp of TaleSpin. They are grey in appearance and look like a cross between an ostrich and a peacock (without the tail feathers). They can be used as transportation or racing and can also be used to fight. They cannot restore magic (for clear-cut reasons) and do not have a theme music. They also tend to be more malevolant than Chocobo's are and they do stink. Baloo and Kit had a very tough time dealing with them as wild semi-furries. Chocobo's tend to be more friendly and just swack while Gorrilla Birds can kick and bite very well without even provoking them. Still; it was Ransom of the Red Chimp where we clearly see a number of furries riding them is where I see the homage to the Chocobo from Final Fantasy IIIj. Still; that theory is a tough one to believe since Final Fantasy IIIj was released in 1989 and TaleSpin was still in production in 1988. Personally I think both character are completely different despite their similar essence and I love both with the Gorrilla Birds more because Gorillia Birds are more useful in breaking up fights without being directly involved. Don Karnage knows this all too well.
[2.] Moogles [Final Fantasy/Seiken Deseteu] VS Yenekara [TaleSpin]
Also in the Japanese version of Final Fantasy III; there was the debut of the Moogles. They are little white cats with red wings and serve a number of purposes. In Final Fantasy VI; Mog was a moogle who can dance. In Final Fantasy IX; there was the Moogle Mail Service and they sold items, save prograss and allowed the use of tents. In Final Fantasy VII; Mog was part of the Chocobo Summon Materia. There was a moogle village is Secret of Mana (Seiken Deseteu II in Japan) and it was a negative status condition. They are of course cute furries in general. In TaleSpin; the Yenekara was a buffalo-like furry who is usually six inches tall; about half the size of Mog (small enough to fit into Kit's baseball cap); but has a similar body to Mog and has bird wings instead of bat wings. It appeared in Mommy for a Day and it had the special ability to grows to 12 feet instantly when wet. It can also fly and be used as a hovercraft for three people. Like the moogles they are mystical creatures; but are not well respected to the outside world like moogles are in Final Fantasy. (Macknee comes to mind). Moogle can fly as well (Final Fantasy IX comes to mind); but cannot grow beyond the size that they are when adult. Again; it would be hard to prove that the Yenekara was inspired by the moogle; but this one is easier because there are much more glaring similaries. Two more interesting notes: The Yenekara retains an element of the Fat Chocobo (Final Fantasy IIIj, Vj, and VIIj) in that it can squash people like MacKnee. On another note: In “The Sound and The Furry”; the furries (which WildCat calls lobsters) are also like the Moogles in a sense without the wings and Japanese-stereotypical eyes.
[3.] Shinra [Final Fantasy VII] VS Khan Industries [TaleSpin]
Here's an example that is more explict compared to the generalization of the previous two examples. Shinra was a multi-national organization (and considered mostly evil by some) who creates the energy of the Lifestream; the source of energy into fuel in order to power their empire (ie: machines, technology and of course materia) of Midgar which is a facist state. It does have reisitance from a group called Avalanche which dennounces (and use terrorist acts) the use of the lifestream and blames them for killing the planet (not to mention hatching Serpioroth into his crazy state to destroy everything.) On the other side; you have Khan Industries which is owned by its CEO Shere Khan which is the most powerful multi-national in all of TaleSpin. His sciencists created a powerful stone that could be used for limitless energy. Like Shinra; Khan Industries has a power presence on the world stage with its mining facilties in Boomstone (see Citizen Khan); it can create gas shortages (On A Wing and A Bear); powerful technology (helicopter in Baloo Thunder) and can put the competition out of business (From Here to Machinery). There are noticable differences between the two as while Shere Khan is unemotional he is a pussycat compared to Shinra. Shere Khan still has to contend with the government although he always finds a way arounf that and he's not trying to destroy the earth just to gain power. While some might suggest that Hojo is the answer to Dr. Debolt or Professor Buzz; I think Hojo a very unique character because he's very creepy while Debolt and Buzz were just funny.
[4.] Cid [Final Fantasy] VS WildCat [TaleSpin]
Call me crazy; but I have some interesting revelations concerning WildCat that I haven't mentioned in the WildCat Profile/Editorial. Anyway; the guy known only as Cid has become a popular name in Final Fantasy lore; appearing in Final Fantasy Iij as an airship rider. He also fixed airships in Final Fantasy Ivj, was a technologist in Final Fantasy VI, an engineer in Final Fantasy V, a creator in Final Fnatasy VII and a king in Final Fnatasy IX. WildCat is a meachanic and somewhat an inventor on the fly with his goofy ways of fixing stuff (using eggbeaters and such). He is a mountain lion and he is often funny in a physical comic sense. While Cid is more serious; they both are the best at their craft (Cid with airships and WildCat with plane) and are often counted on doing the thankless job of helping the main characters out with their transportation needs.
[5.] Cecil, Locke, Zidane, Cloud, Gau [Final Fantasy] VS Kit Cloudkicker [TaleSpin]
Note that I've combined these characters into one group. I call these the Souls of Darkness; beings who make good despite being evil at first (Gau I add for another purpose which is comparable). Cecil was following orders from the King of Baron (disguised as the King and really is Cainzzo) from Final Fantasy Ivj, Locke was a treasure hunter and thief from Final Fantasy VI, Cloud was a swordsman who worked for Solider in Final Fantasy VII, Zidane (the monkey/human hybrid) was a thief and kidnapper from a gang of thieves who was stealing Princess Garnet (who wanted to be kidnapped) in Final Fantasy IX and had a past which is very creepy and Gau was a wild boy who was rejected by his parents in Final Fantasy VI. Then you have Kit Cloudkicker who has the youth and lack of parents of Gau (without the wildness), the darkness of Cecil where Kit questions himself at times, the criminal past of Zidane (and Locke to a lesser extent with his love for treasure hunts) with his time with Don Karnage and the mystic of Cloud where he wonders who Kit really is. Mind you only Cecil was around when Kit was around so these comparsions are more Kit being the inspiration to these character than anything else. Kit is basically a unique character although it does have some inspirations from The Little Rascals (in dress at best); so trying to create comparsions for this character are shaky.
There are a few more comparisons; like the Air Pirates VS The Turks (or the Air Pirates VS the Evil Air Pirates of Skies of Acardia), Baloo VS Barrett, Molly VS Relm, and a few others that are not in my head at this time. However; you can see the similaries; although the majority of the similaries took place after TaleSpin was created. Remember that Jymn Magon and Mark Zaslove use to be Japanese anime fans and much of TaleSpin (animation only) was created in Asia. There are also many examples of TaleSpin being the inspiration for Skies of Acardia; however.
As for Kingdom Hearts 2; I would not mind seeing TaleSpin makes its return here. Sure; the creators might turns the characters completely out of character, but then again we have been doing that with our fanfics so the complaints are not really that valid. (Swearing, on-screen death, sexual innunendo etc.) Of course; considering what Kingdom Hearts is, having human characters in furry enivornments would provoke out-of character responses too. One possible storyline plot would be to have Kit come back to Don Karnage and they team up (with Zora or whomever the main human character is) to stop Heartless (who has turned Kit's family to the evil forces) from destroying the world of TaleSpin. TaleSpin has the characters to carry Kingdom Hearts on its own; but adding Gummi Bears, Ducktales, Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck would put it over the top. Gos Vs Kit? Kit and Goselyn together? Think of the storylines in that one…..!
Now that I have taken care of that editorial forevermore; I would like to end my editorial with a few thoughts. I was reading up some data and fact from a website which has done a tribute to Don Rosa. I noticed something that would shed insight into the plans that Disney might of have. Don Rosa admitted that he wrote three episodes of TaleSpin. I am firmly taking this as truth since it is Don Rosa; but the only problem with that statement is that only two of Don Rosa's episodes ever aired: I Only Have Ice For You and It Came From Beneath the SeaDuck. One episode is unaccounted for. Doesn't that make you start to wonder? This is the smoking gun for the truth: There are lost episodes of TaleSpin that have yet to air and they will proably never air. In the late 1980's and into 1990; Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin were being shown and they were the two best shows in all of the world although TaleSpin was #2 behind Tiny Toons by a good half-point (although TV ratings are so subjective that only a select few can vote and Tiny Toons' quality was fairly low; particually compared to the Looney Tunes series) and was doing better than the Disney execs thought it would. Too bad that Jymn Magon didn't get the plugging that TaleSpin deserved (and earned) until after 1993 when the show meant nothing. During that time; FOX and Disney did have a respectful agreement to air TaleSpin and Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers on FOX networks. Disney was at the time pleased and wanted to extend TaleSpin past the 65-episode mark; a feat that was well earned considering how groundbreaking TaleSpin was at the time. However; Disney started to get into a conflict with FOX with its syndicated boardcasters concerning a second season. The conflict went unresolved and Disney cancelled the two shows after one season and later removed all Disney-related material from FOX. While Disney had the right to create TaleSpin; FOX was the only one who had the rights to boardcast it. In other words; Disney could never boardcast new episodes of the show after the fact. Flying Dupes was indeed the last episode despite the fact that Disney might have been planning to give the series the 100 episodes that Ducktales enjoyed. I ask this question to anyone in DTVA: If TaleSpin didn't achieve the rating it was supposed to then what ratings were you expecting? 5.0? Ratings that rival The Simpsons which you know are impossible to achieve? This is a very poor excuse since let's face it: Comedy and wackiness is going to win the day everytime. The fact that TaleSpin which had dramatic moments and its quality would make The Simpsons blush in disgrace got a 3.8/3.9 in the ratings is a feat in itself. Only X-Men got close to those type of ratings and it was based on a popular comic. The fact is that TaleSpin was dumped because you forgot to realize that FOX held the rights to boardcast those episodes and those rights should have been yours. If you did that; you would have boardcast them on ABC like you did with Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin would be in its second season and have up to 100 episodes like Ducktales did. Look; I can understand that going on forever can kill a series. However; if you do it right you can make a series go three to four year longer than its lifespan. The Simpsons had six to seven years worth of good episodes so it can be done. Besides; it would be nice since I would like to see what Jymn was thinking as canon and see how it compares to our takes of the TaleSpin world through our fanfics. One more thing…If there weren't any lost episodes then explain to me why much of the TaleSpin opening footage doesn't exist in any episodes aired? Kit's “odeo” doesn't exist in any episode, Baloo's female cross-dressing isn't in any episode. That picture from 1993 KIDS magazine doesn't exist in any episode that has aired. Do I sense something afoot? This is evidence and Disney must face the facts….They screwed TaleSpin; not Jymn Magon; and not the public who didn't get it the first time until after 1993. There are also some other things that bother me. Like how come there are 2 forty-four minute episodes in the series. Doesn't that tell anyone that there might have been a plan to do 44 minutes in every episode (P&L not included)? Jymn Magon has stated that he was designing TaleSpin like little movies which is codeword for OAV…and there's always the question of why you would voice the equalivant of a five year run? 195 episodes anyone? If Disney were smart they would release the entire season on DVD including P&L (even if the edits weren't restored) so I can complete my reviews and the Crew Talent Tribute for 60% of the episodes that I don't have…..
Such questions with no answers; go figure…. That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next time with an editorial on a preview of the 2003-2004 edition of my favorite whipping boy; The DirtBox ….ERRR…FoxBox.