The 1980s was one of the last great eras of children’s cartoons. It was during this era that animators and networks gave kids shows the likes of The Real Ghostbusters, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and so many others. The list could go on for days. Something interesting to note of the 80s is that among all of the great children’s cartoons spawned during that era, many of those greats were forbears to what are today, examples of the de-evolution of anime. Some of those great classic anime cartoons include: Thundercats, Transformers, and the focus of this review, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. Fans of today’s take on anime likely don’t even know about these and other classic anime cartoons. But if not for these and other classics, much of the empty hulks that call themselves anime today might not even have existed. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors is proof of that.
Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors only lasted for one season with a total of sixty-five episodes. In early 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment released the second half of those episodes in the second volume of episodes from this classic. The second half of the show’s sole season sees Jayce and his friends continuing their journey to find Jayce’s father and rid the universe of Saw Boss and his minions. The show’s writers largely do a good job with this final set of episodes. Though, it should be noted that the series’ final episode does turn out to be rather anti-climactic. Of course that is linked to the failure of the toy franchise on which this series was based. Had the toy franchise succeeded, audiences might have gotten better closure. Regardless, the show’s writers did craft some interesting episodes that its original audiences will enjoy just as much today as they did when they watched the show as children.
The scripts for Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors provided some pretty entertaining stories for the most part within each episode. Just as interesting to note here in the second half of the show’s sole season is its continued similarity to certain other cartoons of its time both stylistically and musically. Audiences that remember the original Thundercats, Transformers, and to a lesser degree, The Real Ghostbusters will see some similarities between those cartoons and this one, stylistically speaking. The colors and forms are very similar when put next to one another. Being that they were both creations of DiC (now Cookie Jar TV), the similarities between The Real Ghostbusters and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors is not so surprising. There is even a similarity between the music in the pair. Both being from DiC, they obviously shared those elements. What is interesting is the comparisons to the likes of Thundercats and others of that ilk. Anyone that is a fan of the Dragonball franchise will even see some very blatant similarities between certain characters from that franchise to the design of Saw Boss. Both Dragonball and Thundercats are both from different companies than Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and The Real Ghostbusters. It goes to show even more the influence of this classic cartoon.
There is one more factor that fans of this short-lived classic should take into account that makes it more fan friendly. That factor is the set’s packaging. Mill Creek Entertainment has maintained the standard of packaging discs in its multi-disc sets in separate standard paper CD/DVD envelopes. There are those that have chided Mill Creek for this standard. The use of standard envelopes is slightly problematic. But it has its positives. The use of envelopes allows consumers to carry single discs with them instead of an entire box if they want to enjoy the episodes with their friends and family. Perhaps something that Mill Creek should consider for future releases is the use of envelopes with padded backing so as to better protect the discs in their releases. That aside, it is still a much wiser way to package DVDs than other companies. And because of that, it’s one more positive overall to this classic cartoon’s release. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Volume 2 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via the Mill Creek Direct website at https://www.millcreekdirect.com/jayce-the-wheeled-warriors-volume-2-33-episode-set.html.
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