Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Strange Childhood Recollections

It's on rainy days like this that a line from a cartoon I watched as a child comes back to me. I now know that it comes from the song 'Stormy Weather', but back then it was just some guy on a boat complaining about the weather.

"Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky."

That was from the first anime I ever saw, a VHS tape of two episodes of Thunderbirds 2086. It had, essentially, nothing to do with the Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds, save for the concept of International Rescue on an island and some fantastic machines.

As well as living in a massive Arcology (which I, again, wouldn't understand the concept of until playing Sim City 2000), they got to their vehicles via hover sled things. The black guy surfed on his, so that meant he was cool. Being 1982 and Japanese, they all wore flares and white slip-on shoes, futuristic tunics and awesome sci-fi uniforms. They were also known as 'Scientific Rescue Team Techno Voyager ' (or TechnoBoyger, in order for them to still have 'TB' on the sides of their vehicles) but that's the kind of thing you can only learn from the internet in later life.

Thunderbirds 2086 came to mind because of the episode 'Cloudburst', your standard natural disaster set-up where a couple of Pacific islands are about to be hit by a massive typhoon, which itself only came about because the weather-control satellites were hit by meteors. I remember watching and feeling the tension as a child, but as they were rescuing hundreds of faceless bystanders there wasn't the sense of urgency involved except when the Thunderbirds' machines themselves were about to be struck by hundred foot high waves.

'Cloudburst' was my favourite of the two episode for a few reasons. Mostly because the other one on my tape, 'Nightmare', scared (or at least unnerved) the bejebus out of me.

Flung straight into Episode 16 of 24 in the series, the story arc behind the malevolent Star Crusher and the Shadow Axis organisation is completely unexplained and the confusion brought me more tension. I had the impression that Star Crusher, rather than a man or alien, was some form of AI or other rogue computer, but that's based on just this one episode.

The story revolved around a space station where everyone was being infected by some sort of organic techno-virus to turn them into mindless zombie/cyborg slaves to Star Crusher, and the station's security organisation was in on it. As the station looked a pretty nice place to live, this again was an unsettling fact. Even the end of the episode, which was concluded quickly, was tense as the team tried to break into the control room to save the day.

As an introduction to anime that was made 30 years ago, Thunderbirds 2086 was a pretty decent one, I think. There are much, much worse things out there...

Things like now feeling incredibly old because a cartoon is as old as you, and your memory has brought it back to the surface thanks to some rain. Way to go, weather.

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