In all my forays into geekdom, there are of course characters I cannot bear. It happens. Producers of movies, TV shows and comics all had it in mind that you had to have the ‘cute’ character. The one that you can make toys or dolls of to sell to the kids. “Moi-chen-dising!” like the one little gold alien dude said in that one movie. Or at least, something to get the parents to buy a ticket for little Johnny or Sally too.
I can remember the first time I recoiled from something like that. And like all you Mystery Science Theater fans can relate to, it was Sandy Frank I had to blame. It was Battle of the Planets. And it wasn’t the show’s fault. Not really. The show itself had a proud history. In Japan it had been called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. And it RULED. To me, it was the source of every sentai show that followed. I could go on about this show, but that’s a whole other rant. The point was… it was a BADASS action show in Japan. It was only badass in lowercase letters here in the US. Why?
Because of Star Wars, I think. You see, in 1977, Star Wars was all over the media like most Skaven/Rats are a little bit covered in hair. And the cute little droids were a goldmine. Suddenly any new property in this sudden sci-fi boom HAD to have cute droids in. And when Sandy Frank imported Gatchaman / Battle of the Planets from Japan, we suddenly had a cute robot and his little dog too. They served as the show’s narrators in teeth-grindingly painful little segments they shoehorned in. As well, the younger character Jinpei (Renamed Keyop for Americans) had his abrasive foul-mouthed dialogue butchered into weird birdlike chirps and coos and trills. I suppose it’s a blessing that I never really picked up in my youth that Alan Young (Duck Tales, The Time Machine) voiced both. At the age of 7, I hated them with an incandescent heat only accessible by someone too young to know how to control themselves.
And there were many, MANY other characters like this that followed. And it occurred to me… most of them were incompetent to some degree. Ineffective. They were the ones who typically messed something up that the heroes had to fix or rescue them from. Thankfully they weren’t the MAIN characters. It took us until last year to get one of those. (LOOKING AT YOU, KAZUDA XIONO!) And I’m betting you sat there with me and wondered, “Why the HELL do they put up with that thing??” I’m betting further that the ‘lessons of friendship’ the show usually preached to show why they kept the offending character around were NOT a justification for you. They surely weren’t for me.
So it occurred to me, even further… My guys here have been doing work on Star Wars minis as well as the Warhammer brand. Did they ever find themselves on the paintbrush end of having to do squads or armies of ‘cute’ characters they didn’t like? Aside from one very infamous character, the Gungans were actually pretty capable. “Thay’sn havin’ a grand army. They’sa warriors!” The miniatures exist. There’s even minis for Ewoks. Or as I like to refer to them, CARNIVOROUS MURDERBEARS. Have the guys had to paint any? I went and asked…
Nope. Not a one.
Further still… could you actually use those minis for Xenos in a Warhammer game? Well, the answer likely is no since everything is so very rigidly produced by GW. It’s not a game given to proxies. But consider friendly non-canon games. You and your squad of Astartes and crump-crump-ing along through some jungle moon under the bluish light of its jovian ocean primary… And then the place comes alive with the hooting and growling of an uncountable number of hidden Murderbears. Your HUD isn’t entirely sure, due to the foliage… but there may be less than oh… 5000 of them. And that’s when a log roughly the size and circumference of a city bus slams down on your team leader from 500 feet up in the tree-ceiling somewhere…
You’d nuke them from orbit to be sure, right? I know I would.
NOTE: I asked a pal of mine about this, and he mentioned that there’s some Astartes that have hopped right back up after being stepped on by Titans. So. Advantage: Astartes I think. That said… I have to think god-mode-ing through a horde of Ewoks would HAVE to be some fun.
What other things out there might translate well? Okay, right away? No Snarf. Let’s just be clear about that right now. The old Snarf from the original Thundercats is too awful to be borne in anything. Hell with Snarf. And that goes double for ‘T-BOB’. UGH.
Now… SLIMER on the other hand… There’s an undead agent of Chaos if I ever saw one. You can’t understand him. He leaves a slime trail of other-dimensional goo wherever he goes, or on whatever or whomever he touches. He creates problems wherever he goes. He seems to exist solely feed his maw at others’ expense. Horrific to the point of ridiculousness? Sounds like he’s a creature of Slaanesh, to your Noobness here. But really… let’s get down to business… the elephant in the room. The bane of the battlefield. The sore in the eye. The monkey in the wrench.
Of course we’re talking about Binks. Jar-Jar Binks.
I heard the fellas as they were streaming earlier today talking about Binks. And I remembered my thoughts on him. For me, to some degree anyway, the character was redeemed in the second prequel. He was a political statement from Lucas that many skipped over. He was the doggy ignorant face of the Republic, dooming the future to an endless galactic war. And did you know he survived? Yeah. That’s canon. He ended up, after the events of the original trilogy back on Naboo. Gone from a member of the Galactic Senate to a street performer in Naboo City. For his sins, I guess.
But there’s your agent of Chaos. Seriously. He’s Buster freaking Keaton crossbred with the Gene-Seed of an industrial nuclear disaster. There’s the creature you’d mobilize the Ordo Xenos to eliminate with all speed. They find him huddled in a field with a single meiloorun fruit, whining to himself and beggin’ ya pleasin’ not to be crunchin’ him. But a mere hour later, he’s the only thing left alive amidst the smoking remains of the Space Marines sent to expunge him from existence; their cruiser having plummeted from orbit into the Naboo capital and vaporized most anything within the surrounding 50 miles. He’s imbued with some kind of impenetrable plot armor and the random terrifying energy of every chaotic god you ever heard of. How is he not a Xeno devoted to the Chaos Gods, or an emissary of Slaanesh itself?
Or is it just me?
-Edward WinterRose has never really considered the idea of crossing other fandoms into Warhammer before, but finds it amusing nonetheless.