Banana Man – The Full Moon Review!

As my British readers (of which I’m told I have 2!) will testify, today’s cartoon Banana Man is in fact a British Cartoon! I believe that it has to do with a kid changing into a superhero called Banana Man. Based on that it probably has the feel of a Captain Marvel/grocery produce section crossover feel. I’m also fairly certain that it’s done by the same good people who created Danger Mouse and Count Duckula. I also think (wow I am a guessing encyclopedia about this show!) that it be the first among those shows so it could have a sketchy “first cartoon by that studio” feel. Either way I can’t wait to sink my fangs into this retro toon from across the pond. Presenting Banana Man. The Full Moon Review!

The opening credits seem very iconic. I feel like it was something I heard over and over again during my childhood though, since I wasn’t lucky enough to be British, that wasn’t that case. Since I’ve never seen the show and already feel nostalgic about the story told in the opening I have good feelings about the show. So far I could have just guessed the entire premise of the show on the fly ant it seems like it would’ve been pretty accurate. Eric eats banana.


Eric turns into superhero called Banana Man.
Nice simple to the point concept. Lets see what this episode has to offer!

Banana Man Episode #1. Banana Man Meets Dr Gloom!

Wow the animation is somewhat on the crude side but in an interesting way. I’m a big fan of things that “have character” and this definitely fits that bill. The episode opens with Eric and his babysitter playing some kind of crazy foreign British card game called “Happy families” which I think is similar to go-fish or old maid.

MEANWHILE!!!

In a spooky house


the evil General Blight


and his friend DR Gloom

Have been plotting against our hero Banana Man. The narrator (which is kind of Bullwinkle narrator-esque but played straight) is treating all of these characters as if we should already know who they are. I don’t even know who Banana Man is much less the baddies I also have no idea why the villains hate Our Golden hero or why Eric can transform in the first place. Was he gifted with magical banana powers by an ancient banana wizard? Or given a special piece of banana jewelry by an inter-dimensional fruit based corps of space heroes? Where is the gritty origin story?

At any rate they come up with some kind of evil plan after having been thwarted by our hero one to many times. We cut to Eric and the Babysitter now watching the news where we are told that if Ban Man doesn’t appear in person to negotiate the earth will be destroyed!

Eric immediately changes and as Banana Man wonders Where “this Dr Gloom” is….so he doesn’t know the villains either? Hmmm. After the newscaster comes out of the TV and snaps our hero into action

He is on his way. He flies through the air by running in mid air…I like it! And eventually arrives at the house/operating room/castle of Dr Gloom bursting through the wall. He for whatever reason, turns his back on the villain who bashes him over the head with a hammer and straps him to an operating table where he shoots him with an age regression gun (not really sure why he had to be strapped down to be shot with a laser but okay. Anyway Ban Man turns into a baby and the Dr takes photos of him to send to the legions of Banana Man fans around the world. When the press gets the pictures all hope is lost by everyone apparently. Even I don’t think he’ll save the day!

Side note: before transforming Banana Man’s trusty assistant Crow (a talking crow) tells our hero that he will find a way to save him. They never mentioned this character before so I’m not sure if we’re supposed to know him or not.

So Dr Gloom gets frustrated out of his mind by the screaming baby he now has and tries to get it to be quiet. The crow convinces him to quiet the kid by giving him a banana BAD IDEA Dr! (In real life as well. Terrible choking hazard.) The baby transforms back into Banana Man who admires himself in the mirror. The Bad Dr attempts to shoot him again but Banana Man pulls the old grab the mirror and make the villain shoot himself trick!

The laser shoots the Bad Dr and he is transformed into a villainous baby version of himself. At once this does two things 1. It turns the tides against evil! And 2. It provides inspiration for the upcoming cartoon series being produced by Vic Sage and myself entitled “Villain Babies!”

So Banana Man Saves the day once again! Or…y’know…for the first time. He leaves the baby Dr Gloom on the doorstep of his rival the evil General Blight with a note telling him to lay off the evil and take care of his new adopted son! (ooooh snap!) and then heads home for dinner. He arrives home gets questioned as to where he’s been. Out saving the world! He says and then gives us a wink and a shhh. Don’t worry Banana Man. Your secret is safe with us.

What a fun cartoon. The episodes are short and the animation is off-beat but it has a ton of charm and some great humor including 4th wall breaking stuff which is always good in my book. I highly recommend this to anyone who has never seen it. It makes me want to explore some new retro British toons so if anyone has any to suggest let me know. Now if you don’t mind I’m gonna go eat a banana! …hey, it could happen!

ClaymationWerewolf

Dedicated fan of puppets, horror and classic animation. Fueled by nostalgia and driven to spread my own brand of "truth" to the fandom. Remember playing as a kid and trying to tell a coherent story with totally mismatched, unrelated toys? It's like that....of the mind!

Latest posts by ClaymationWerewolf (see all)

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

23 thoughts on “Banana Man – The Full Moon Review!

  1. Nickelodeon showed this cartoon with Danger Mouse and/or Count Duckula. I used to love when he’d say, “I have the strength of 10 men…10 BIG men!”

  2. Drahken says:

    Bananaman was indeed british in origin, but that doesn’t mean it STAYED “across the pond”. It aired frequently on nickelodeon in the 80s, as an interstitial thing. It would always air at least once during the dangermouse show, and also randomly during other daytime shows on nick. To the best of my knowledge though, it never aired during count duckula because duckula didn’t start airing until after nick had stopped airing bananaman.
    I believe that I wound up seeing every episode of bananaman when it was on nick, and most episodes several times. It never did give any real backstory to anything, and many of the characters actions had no purpose in the story (like bananaman turning his back on the villain in this one), they were just done as a deus ex machina of sorts. The show was clearly never meant to be taken seriously, just as a comedic farce.

    Many old british toons aired on nick back in the 80s, some also aired on various children’s shows on broadcast networks. You already mentioned dangermouse & count duckula, there was also doctor snuggles, paddington bear (the old, oddly animated ones, where most of the characters were southpark-esque paper cutouts, while paddington himself was more 3d), simon & the land of chalk (a precursor to chalkzone). If you include stop-motion as “cartoons”, there are series like “old bear stories”.

  3. Drahken says:

    re Bananaman’s origins: He originally appeared in a british comic strip. In that strip he was given 2 different origins;
    1) He came from the moon. Bananas power him up because they look like a crescent moon.
    2) Dr blight irradiated a banana & accidentally left it next to eric when he was a baby. Eric wound up eating it, and thus gaining his powers.

    Some other british toons;
    The Shoe People
    Hattytown Tales
    The Animals of Farthing Wood
    Watership Down
    William’s Wish Wellingtons
    avenger penguins
    alias the jester

    …and if you’re in the mood for odd little foreign toons, these 2 series have always been among my favs;
    Lilliputput
    la linea
    They are italian, and have no actual dialog (they have gibberish dialog, but it’s gibberish in any language), and are very quirky.

  4. I remember watching this on Nickelodeon. The channel was already a favorite and then here comes this bizarre cartoon. It actually aired after Danger Mouse. At least at that time. Must have been one of the first Nick runs when I caught it. Then I’m not sure when it aired because I could rarely find it again. But I will always have a soft mushy potassium spot in my heart for Bananaman!

  5. @Doug He did have the strength of 10 big men! not particularly bright men…but big!

    @Drahken…wow man! fantastic comments as always. Every episode of Banana Man and you lived to tell the tale. You are truly a hardcore cartoon commando! I’m a big fan of British entertainment but I haven’t explored the british cartoon world (at least the retro one) nearly enough. Thanks for the suggestions I will be checking them out!

  6. @Kevin Hellions Thank you for the comments man! I’m a big fan of weird old cartoon and I’ve known this existed for a while but waited until now for my “virgin viewing” This was delightfully weird I wish I would have known about it as a kid I would’ve really dug this. The world no longer believes in high minded super hero themes like “banana” ….yeah, our culture has definitely lost something.

  7. Alphacentaurian says:

    What was really fab about these toons, is the voices were done by the British comedians The Goodies!

  8. Dar says:

    I remember having a comic of his even before seeing the series. It was big-format hard-cover thing from the early 80’s.

    But the whole concept was so over-the-top awesomeness!

  9. @Alphacentaurian That is awesome…I thought there was something unusual about the voice acting…like it had more “character” than it should. Very cool to know man, thank you!

  10. @Dar that sounds exactly like the kind of weird nostalgic treasure I get into. I would love to get my hands on some of those original comics…wonder if i can find them digitally somehow.
    @Drahken…LOL I certainly hope so!

  11. Drahken says:

    re Bananaman comics: He appeared in the UK publications nutty, dandy, and beano. Torrents for these often appear on demonoid, just look for “uk pack {NUMBER}”.
    You can also find some of the bananaman pages online directly by doing an image search. This, for example, is one site I came across that way: http://petergraycartoonsandcomics.blogspot.com/2011/04/meet-ups-bananaman-meets-gums.html

    It’s interesting to not that most british comic “strips” are actually full page (sometimes even 2-page) deals, not the little 3 panel things we’re used to here in the states.
    …Although… There was once a time when american comic “strips” were much the same. Up until the 40s or so, comic strips (at least the sunday ones) would fill an entire page & each panel would depict full bodies & scenes instead of just talking heads. Gradually they shrunk down to the rinky-dinky things we’re familiar with today.

  12. While every one is remembering BananaMan, Danger Mouse, and Count Duckula… Let’s not forget the adventures of Super Ted!! The superhero teddy bear that used to rip his own outer bear skin off to reveal his super hero costume…

  13. @Drahken Banana Phone for the win! haha! thanks for the heads up about the comics my friend! I’ve always been curious about the comic torrent thing (some of the comics i liked as a kid don’t seem to easy to find in paper form) but I’ve always been too much of a wuss lol have you had any luck with it?

  14. Drahken says:

    re torrenting comics: I torrent comics on a weekly basis, keeping up with spiderman, hulk, transformers, and some other odds & ends. I’ve torrented the uk packs on several occaisions too. They tend to go rather slowly (not many seeders, the seeder/s have low upload speeds), but no problems (it just takes some patience).
    If you download comics, you’ll want a comic reader program. (The comic scans are just JPGs in rar or zip files & can be extracted with any archiving prog & viewed with any imaging prog. However, when you use a comic reader, it’s a much smoother & easier experience, not that different from reading the actual comics.) If you’re on windows, I would recommend cdisplay, mangameeya, or honeyview.
    If you haven’t torrented before, you’ll also need a torrenting prog. The opera browser has a built in one (though it’s rather low quality), though the one I’d recommend is qbittorrent (no, the “q” isn’t a typo). It’s small, fully functional, open source, cross platform, free, and doesn’t have malware (like the searchbars utorrent tries to install).
    Feel free to email me if you need help with it (although if you’re on mac or *nix, I can’t help you with specific progs, I only know windows).

Leave a Reply