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.
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.
In a spooky house
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!