Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Daily Cartoon on Car JoeMez! We’ve got something…something for you today so let’s get the other stuff out of the way quickly.
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In 1992, Disney released a movie called THE MIGHTY DUCKS that featured a ragtag group of Pee-Wee hockey playing underdog kids from Minnesota overcoming the odds and defeating the much more talented and wealthy team from a neighboring district all under the guidance of Emilio Estevez who was sporting some great fucking hair.
This movie was such a smash hit that it inspired two sequels, a genuine NHL expansion hockey team and, of course, this: an animated series of its own! The series lasted 26 episodes and debuted in 1996 which is curious timing seeing as how the first movie was already four years old and the hockey team (founded and owned by Disney) entered the league for the 1993-94 season so it’s not like we were still awash in Mighty Ducks mania.
But there we were, getting a Saturday morning cartoon about a group…you know what? I’m going to copy and paste the premise of this show from Wikipedia because, if I explained it myself, you’d think I’m on the crack.
In another galaxy exists a planet populated entirely by humanoid ducks. Dubbed “Puckworld” by its inhabitants, it is an icy planet, perfectly suited to the Ducks’ favorite pastime, hockey. For the citizens of Puckworld, hockey was not simply a sport, but a way of life, occupying virtually every aspect of day-to-day existence.
Legend has it that centuries ago, during an invasion by a reptilian race called Saurians, a duck named Drake DuCaine became the planet’s savior over the Saurians’ Overlords. The legend tells that DuCaine did so with a high-tech goalie mask. With it, DuCaine sent the Saurians to a mysterious “Dimensional Limbo”.
The last of the Saurians escape Dimensional Limbo and returns to Puckworld with an armada of robotic attack ships. The group of four is led by the last of the Saurian Overlords, Lord Dragaunus, who is assisted by his minions Siege, Chameleon and Wraith. They invade the planet and enslave the people of Puckworld. After some time, a resistance is formed by Canard, who has found The Mask of Drake DuCaine. With it, the wearer of the Mask could see through the Saurians’ invisibility cloaks. Canard forms a band of Ducks to fight Dragaunus. The members of his team consists of Wildwing, Nosedive, Tanya, Duke, Mallory and Grin. They go on a mission to destroy Dragaunus’s fortress the Master Tower and free the planet from the Saurians’ control. While the mission is successful, Dragaunus and his forces manage to escape in their ship, the Raptor. The Saurians open up a dimensional gateway to escape through, but Canard and the others follow him into the portal with the Aerowing, intent on stopping them.
Dragaunus attempts to get rid of the Ducks inside the portal by attacking them with an electromagnetic worm that will grow until it can swallow the Aerowing. In a desperate attempt to get rid of the worm, Canard sacrifices his own life by throwing himself to the worm. Before doing so, however, Canard gave the Mask, and leadership of the team, to Wildwing Flashblade, his best friend. Both the Raptor and the Aerowing leave the portal and enter a different dimension, landing in the Earth city of Anaheim, California. The Ducks meet Phil Palmfeather, a human who becomes their manager and makes them a legitimate NHL team. Their arena, only known as The Pond in the show, has a hockey rink that doubles as a landing pad for the Aerowing above and has a formal HQ below. On Earth, the Ducks and Dragaunus continue their fight, with Dragaunus’s plans of conquest often curtailed by damage to the Raptor’s power source and his efforts to find a new source of power, although there are other villains that also challenge the six Ducks.
Got it? It’s fucking batshit crazy. But somebody thought we absolutely needed this. One thing that did come out of this is that the character of Wildwing ended up becoming the actual fucking mascot for the NHL team.
…so there’s that.
I remember this show existing and also remember not caring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode, but – all cards on the table – after that background plot, how could I not be excited for this shitshow? It’s just gotta be fucking Bananatown. Just has to be.
Let’s watch a cartoon.
Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series E.26: “To Catch A Duck”
Originally Aired: January 17, 1997
We open in what appears to be a museum where Dragaunus has sent a couple of his henchman to steal some jewels that he needs to support his new weapon. They are, of course, immediately foiled by the Mighty Ducks and disappear to explain their failure to their boss. Dragaunus says he must call on an old friend from Puckworld to do this job: Falcone.
Mallory is constantly questioning Duke’s allegiances since he used to be a criminal on Puckworld before he switched sides and joined the Duck resistance. The rest of the Ducks still trust him, but when the gems are immediately stolen after the last attempt, they have to question Duke just to be sure. The plot only thickens when they catch on to the fact that it must have been Falcone due to clues left at the scene. Duke is certain he must be working for Dragaunus, but there is suspicion since Duke and Falcone used to be in a gang together on Puckworld.
Simple, yet effective storytelling. I can hang with this.
Duke figures out the trail of high-end gems and anticipates Falcone’s next heist. When he arrives with Tanya and Nosedive at the Pacific Museum, Falcone is already there. Falcone is able to lock Tanya and Nosedive in a vault, while Duke convinces him he’s back to a life of larceny and wants in on Falcone’s deal with Dragaunus. The other Ducks don’t see Duke’s endgame, though, assume they had misplaced their trust in him all along.
Duke and Falcone head to London to steal an even bigger jewel from the clock tower of Big Ben, but Falcone double-crosses Duke and leaves him to be found by the police while he grabs the jewel for himself. Unfortunately for Falcone, Duke escapes the clutches of the police and has a face-off with Falcone. Falcone comes out on top and heads to his scout ship to steal the weapon – a mind-eraser ray – for himself, but Dragaunus is waiting for him and tosses him out the door.
The Mighty Ducks arrive on the scene and begin the chase after Dragaunus while Duke catches Falcone and hands him over to local law-enforcement. Nosedive and Tanya shoot down Dragaunus’s ship as he teleports out of trouble after which, the Ducks gather together to apologize for doubting Duke and having learned a valuable lesson about teamwork and friendship.
Honestly, I liked this! It was a lot better than I thought it could have been. A lot of it is pretty paint-by-numbers, but was done in a fun fashion that made it a pretty enjoyable and easy watch.
I’d like to have a better understanding of war on Puckworld that caused the Ducks and Dragaunus, but obviously, I’m not going to have that understanding from just one episode that happens to be the final episode in the series. Also, seeing as this was the final episode, there wasn’t really any closure or finality to the saga of the battle between the Ducks and Dragaunus which would bother me as a watcher, but isn’t surprising given the “plan of the day” format used by the overwhelming majority of cartoons at the time rather than a more episodic storyline with a continuous plot.
All in all, pretty fun, but probably not something I’ll ever feel the need to watch the full library of. If you’re looking to check it out, there’s a bunch of episodes in decent quality on YouTube, but don’t believe there’s been a DVD collection put out that I’ve been able to find. I did look, but didn’t come up with anything. Feel free to send some info along if you know of such a thing. I did find a VHS release of a the first few episodes sewn together that collectively acted as an introductory movie, but that’s all. I don’t have a VCR anymore. This does me no good.
So go, check it out, or send me memories of when you used to watch. I love hearing that shit. See you tomorrow.