Were there any 80/90s cartoons with good fight scenes(Not Anime)

The Overlord

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
5,947
We're talking about what the most animated (typically most expensive) portion is.
No, a great action scene conveys the story, the characters, and the production values within that scene.
It's more of the entree or the main hook if it's great because it's what the episode builds up to or maybe even kicks off to set the pace.

I'm thinking the late 90s had most of the best fight scenes, given Godzilla "Zilla" got its own show to thrash around a new monster each week. Before that, since the 80s, you mostly had a ton of shootouts, laser light-shows or a bit of swashbuckling...and also Peter Chung.

Not always, for example a Batman vs. Scarecrow story is about psychology, not action. Batman can take Scarecrow in a fight, all day every day. But Scarecrow exposing Batman to his fear and Batman having to stop Scarecrow from blanketing the city in his fear gas, that is not a problem that can be solved with fists. Same deal with Batman vs. Riddler, it's a battle of wits, not fists.

Or look at Ghostbusters, usually the Ghostbusters just zap ghosts and trap them, but some ghosts are immune to their weapons and the Ghostbusters have to find a different way to defeat them. There it's about figuring out a puzzle, not using karate to subdue a ghost.

If the new Nick Star Trek show is just about blowing up Romulan warships and nothing else, that misses the point of Star Trek.

A cartoon with great action and nothing else is like a movie with great special effects and nothing else, all style, no substance.
 

Checkerboard

THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
7,327
Location
Cartoon Headquarters
Hm. So even the likes of Ninja Turtles, Spiderman, Batman, Transformers, GI Joe or Thundercats all had bad action scenes? Other action shows that come to mind like Conan Adventurer, Swat Kats, Centurions, Jonny Quest as well? Maybe Wild Cats can save it?
 

Mostezli

N0t 4 3very1 & Th@t'$ OK
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
2,617
Not always, for example a Batman vs. Scarecrow story is about psychology, not action. Batman can take Scarecrow in a fight, all day every day. But Scarecrow exposing Batman to his fear and Batman having to stop Scarecrow from blanketing the city in his fear gas, that is not a problem that can be solved with fists. Same deal with Batman vs. Riddler, it's a battle of wits, not fists.

Or look at Ghostbusters, usually the Ghostbusters just zap ghosts and trap them, but some ghosts are immune to their weapons and the Ghostbusters have to find a different way to defeat them. There it's about figuring out a puzzle, not using karate to subdue a ghost.

If the new Nick Star Trek show is just about blowing up Romulan warships and nothing else, that misses the point of Star Trek.

A cartoon with great action and nothing else is like a movie with great special effects and nothing else, all style, no substance.
What you mean to say is that an action scene doesn't always involve solving a problem with fists or karate.
Psychological battle of wits as in Scarecrow laying in a comfy recliner as Batman and him talk it out?
The action is Batman actively finding a solution to disarm the tear gas bomb whilst overcoming his own gas-infected conundrum if that is how it plays out. How that's executed is where qualifying it as "great" or not comes into play.

A cartoon with great action should be great at animating a story if they can show so well rather than tell it.

In any case, this is different from what OP is requesting.
 
Last edited:

The Overlord

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
5,947
What you mean to say is that an action scene doesn't always involve solving a problem with fists or karate.
Psychological battle of wits as in Scarecrow laying in a comfy recliner as Batman and him talk it out?
The action is Batman actively finding a solution to disarm the tear gas bomb whilst overcoming his own gas-infected conundrum if that is how it plays out. How that's executed is where qualifying it as "great" or not comes into play.

A cartoon with great action should be great at animating a story if they can show so well rather than tell it.

In any case, this is different from what OP is requesting.

I think we may be defining action differently than OP intended (though the OP is free to correct me). Now are talking about drama, storytelling, battles of wits, problem and puzzle solving, beyond just fight scenes. I think by that definition, the action in BTAS and Gargoyles is great. The fact that Spider-Man TAS failed in terms of animation, plot and characterization, means the bad fight scenes just stand out.

There was a cartoon in 2004 called The Batman where they tried to make Joker and Penguin into a physical threats to Batman and it just came off as silly when a short, fat, penguin man starts doing flips and jump kicks against Batman. At least they kept Riddler as a mental giant and physical weakling.

The essence of great dramatic storytelling in an action series is conflict and peril. A lot of Superman villains do not present a physical threat, his arch enemy is a corporate tycoon that Superman could kill with one punch. But Superman being invincible doesn't by itself protect civilian from his villains and that can be the peril, where the price of Superman's failures is not his life, but the lives of others. I think Superman saving a train or a plane is a nice intro action scene before the main plot happens. There is an a scene from a Superman comic, that will likely never make it to animation, where Superman saves a teen from committing suicide by talking her down from it, that is more Superman than some flashy fight would be.

I actually think talking a villain down can be effective sometimes, you can't do it all the time, because that neutralizes tensions, but occasionally it can work. The series finale of X-Men TAS involved the X-Men talking down Magneto. There were also Ghostbusters episodes were the Ghostbusters won by helping a ghost and then convincing it to leave, after than try to trap it.
 
Last edited:

Mostezli

N0t 4 3very1 & Th@t'$ OK
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
2,617
I think we may be defining action differently than OP intended (though the OP is free to correct me). Now are talking about drama, storytelling, battles of wits, problem and puzzle solving, beyond just fight scenes. I think by that definition, the action in BTAS and Gargoyles is great. The fact that Spider-Man TAS failed in terms of animation, plot and characterization, means the bad fight scenes just stand out.

I actually think talking a villain down can be effective sometimes, you can't do it all the time, because that neutralizes tensions, but occasionally it can work. The series finale of X-Men TAS involved the X-Men talking down Magneto. There were also Ghostbusters episodes were the Ghostbusters won by helping a ghost and then convincing it to leave, after than try to trap it.
Those are what transpire in an action scene. All the editing, the various dramatic framing of characters &/or nameless crowds, all the tense & gripping interactions/circumstances within the physical confrontation that occurs in the most immediate possible fashion. For sure, a hero overcoming natural peril is part of that as Milo Murphy's Law can attest to.

Talking a villain down/vice-versa isn't an action scene.
A great fight scene has all the same attributes of a great action scene with the obvious specification.
 
Last edited:

The Overlord

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
5,947
Those are what transpire in an action scene. All the editing, the various dramatic framing of characters &/or nameless crowds, all the tense & gripping interactions/circumstances within the physical confrontation that occurs in the most immediate possible fashion. For sure, a hero overcoming natural peril is part of that as Milo Murphy's Law can attest to.

Talking a villain down/vice-versa isn't an action scene.
A great fight scene has all the same attributes of a great action scene with the obvious specification.

Talking down a villain still can be a great scene, if it is done correctly.

I think the OP was talking solely about fight scenes, if we are talking about action in this context, stuff like BTAS and Gargoyles would have great action scenes.
 

PapaGreg

Open bar knock yourself out
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
5,864
I can see an argument to be made that a great action scene is like an interesting spice for a stew or icing on a cake, it adds flavor, but by itself, it does not fix much, but if everything else is not working and its not there, it really is noticeable. I do not mind if the BTAS's or Gargoyles action scenes are not as good as say DBZ, the story, characters, and the production values are so great, that it doesn't bother me, Batman should be more about detective work and solving puzzles, rather than fight scenes. I like the fact the Gargoyles glide rather than fly, making the heroes less powerful adds extra peril and the heroes have survive on their wits rather than just muscle through by brute strength.

Like I said that was 5 year old me talking and I'm explaining why at the time I preferred something like DBZ/Yu Yu Hakusho over

Then you have something like the Ghostbusters cartoons, I am not sure how you give them ''better action'' scenes when the series relies more on comedy and horror and the action is the Ghostbusters using their equipment to trap ghosts, there is action in it, but that is not the selling point of the series, it's usually the Ghostbuters have to figure out some puzzle to defeat or trap the ghost or they do something to convince the ghosts to leave.

Star Trek is one of my favorite franchises and it is more solving problems with your brain, rather than your fists, I hope the Nick cartoon reflects that.

I will say, in Spider-Man TAS, where characters are not allowed to punch each other and since that cartoon lacks the story depth or characterization BTAS or Gargoyles had, the bad fight scenes become far more noticeable.

Avatar the Last Airbender combined great fight scenes with great plot and characterization, but that happened in 2005 and was influenced by anime.
[/QUOTE]
I can see an argument to be made that a great action scene is like an interesting spice for a stew or icing on a cake, it adds flavor, but by itself, it does not fix much, but if everything else is not working and its not there, it really is noticeable. I do not mind if the BTAS's or Gargoyles action scenes are not as good as say DBZ, the story, characters, and the production values are so great, that it doesn't bother me,
Again this is 5 year old me talking and keep in mind as a 5 year old who just watched DBZ, Yu Yu Hakusho, Outlaw Star, and Big O(which was Batman with a mech) Gargoyles and BTAS just seem bland to me as a kid(though I did enjoy STAS)


Batman should be more about detective work and solving puzzles, rather than fight scenes. I like the fact the Gargoyles glide rather than fly, making the heroes less powerful adds extra peril and the heroes have survive on their wits rather than just muscle through by brute strength.
I mean it can be both yeah sure the things you mentioned are important to the Batman mythos but the guy is still a master of all martial arts and the fight scenes should show it. I know I should't compare the two since one is a show and the other is a movie but compare this fight to a ninja master to the one with Shredder
Or if something more cerebal or pragmatic Batman fighting the turtles.


Then you have something like the Ghostbusters cartoons, I am not sure how you give them ''better action'' scenes when the series relies more on comedy and horror and the action is the Ghostbusters using their equipment to trap ghosts, there is action in it, but that is not the selling point of the series, it's usually the Ghostbuters have to figure out some puzzle to defeat or trap the ghost or they do something to convince the ghosts to leave.

Ghostbusters aren't martial artist or even athletics they are blue collard nerds who are paranormal pest control technician so I wouldn't expect that property to have good fight scenes(maybe action scenes)

Star Trek is one of my favorite franchises and it is more solving problems with your brain, rather than your fists, I hope the Nick cartoon reflects that.


I mean Star Trek is just about exploration and learning about society so again you aren't going to expect any good fight scenes, compare that to a guy who dresses like a Bat and fights criminals and Gargoyles who fight all kind of things from robots to cyborgs to death avatars to goodfellows. Again its not to say those shows are bad because they have bad action scenes heck I enjoy Megalobox but those scenes are bad despite it being a series based on boxing.



I will say, in Spider-Man TAS, where characters are not allowed to punch each other and since that cartoon lacks the story depth or characterization BTAS or Gargoyles had, the bad fight scenes become far more noticeable.

Funny enough I enjoyed that Spider-Man TAS as a kid

Avatar the Last Airbender combined great fight scenes with great plot and characterization, but that happened in 2005 and was influenced by anime.
 

The Overlord

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
5,947
Like I said that was 5 year old me talking and I'm explaining why at the time I preferred something like DBZ/Yu Yu Hakusho over

Then you have something like the Ghostbusters cartoons, I am not sure how you give them ''better action'' scenes when the series relies more on comedy and horror and the action is the Ghostbusters using their equipment to trap ghosts, there is action in it, but that is not the selling point of the series, it's usually the Ghostbuters have to figure out some puzzle to defeat or trap the ghost or they do something to convince the ghosts to leave.

Star Trek is one of my favorite franchises and it is more solving problems with your brain, rather than your fists, I hope the Nick cartoon reflects that.

I will say, in Spider-Man TAS, where characters are not allowed to punch each other and since that cartoon lacks the story depth or characterization BTAS or Gargoyles had, the bad fight scenes become far more noticeable.

Avatar the Last Airbender combined great fight scenes with great plot and characterization, but that happened in 2005 and was influenced by anime.

Again this is 5 year old me talking and keep in mind as a 5 year old who just watched DBZ, Yu Yu Hakusho, Outlaw Star, and Big O(which was Batman with a mech) Gargoyles and BTAS just seem bland to me as a kid(though I did enjoy STAS)[/QUOTE]

That's fair, I can see for some kids, the action would matter more than the stuff I am talking about.


I mean it can be both yeah sure the things you mentioned are important to the Batman mythos but the guy is still a master of all martial arts and the fight scenes should show it. I know I should't compare the two since one is a show and the other is a movie but compare this fight to a ninja master to the one with Shredder
Or if something more cerebal or pragmatic Batman fighting the turtles.

But there are Batman were it wouldn't make sense to have this level of fighting in it, like Batman vs. Scarecrow or Riddler and then you something like ''The Batman'' from 2004 where they tried to make Penguin into a physical threat to Batman and you this short, fat little man using jump kicks on Batman and it just seems silly.

There is a balance to be stuck here.



Ghostbusters aren't martial artist or even athletics they are blue collard nerds who are paranormal pest control technician so I wouldn't expect that property to have good fight scenes(maybe action scenes)




I mean Star Trek is just about exploration and learning about society so again you aren't going to expect any good fight scenes, compare that to a guy who dresses like a Bat and fights criminals and Gargoyles who fight all kind of things from robots to cyborgs to death avatars to goodfellows. Again its not to say those shows are bad because they have bad action scenes heck I enjoy Megalobox but those scenes are bad despite it being a series based on boxing.





Funny enough I enjoyed that Spider-Man TAS as a kid

Fair enough, I like Spider-Man TAS when I was younger too, but I do not think it holds up, for many reasons.

I do think sometimes a series is not always action-heavy. The Spawn cartoon was from the 90s and not for kids, but Spawn usually either fought guys who he outclassed or guys who outclassed him. Gangsters, serial killers and government agents were no match for Spawn, but when he went against a demon more powerful than him like Violator, Spawn got his butt kicked. There were some decent fights between Spawn and a vampire and later against some angels in season 3.

Actually I think the Maxx had some decent fight scenes and some creepy atmospheric scenes.
 
Last edited:

Rick Jones

fan-man
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 27, 2008
Messages
11,404
Location
177A Bleecker Street
Trying to think of Western action scenes from the 80s and 90s that hit me on that visceral level and my mind instantly goes to Transformers and GI Joe's movies. I could watch Optimus vs Megatron's last showdown a million times and never get bored. Everything feels hard hitting and brutal and it really feels like a fight with stakes unlike most of what happened on the series. It probably helps that production was done overseas and everything or that it wasn't being done for the theaters and not TV.

Things were just different back then. Before Fox Kids started taking its chances with Batman and X-Men, we weren't seeing fights really happening much on kids TV cartoons. When I think of shows like Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends or the 1988 Superman series, I'm just thinking of a lot of hugging and judo tossing, etc. We weren't seeing punches being thrown or kicks landing. Even something like Dungeons and Dragons, which had an occasional death or deadly situation, didn't really highlight physical violence. Network censorship was incredibly tough. I still remember the first time I saw G-Force: Guardians of Space on Cartoon Network, a much censored version of Gatchaman, it seemed so raw to me in comparison to the American adventure series I loved and enjoyed. Our stuff was just not as quickly paced before McCracken was doing Powerpuff Girls, maybe, and that still wasn't going into the more serious action shows as yet. It was all so new to everybody doing it.

Western action was also just generally different to stuff we'd see out of the East from Hong Kong or Japan. What we expected out of movies like Lethal Weapon or Die Hard was much different to what you'd get out of a movie starring Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I think this went into animation as well. What is a tense, well-choreographed scene in Batman is incredibly different from DBZ. I was born in the 80s and I wasn't really paying much attention to DBZ and other anime of its ilk until I was in high school already, so maybe I was too conditioned with the Western standard of action animation already. I can still watch a lot of the old 90s stuff and enjoy it pretty much the same or from a different standpoint than I did when I was a kid, while I still go nuts when I see something with amazing choreography and animation.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

Spotlight

Staff online

Who's on Discord?

Latest profile posts

The 1st day of this year's Advent is here. I wish everyone here the best of their events during the Xmas season (including Xmas and New Year's Eve/Day).
If any Sonic media deserves an animated series based on it, I'd say Post-SGW Archie Comics is prime choice.
Streaker Prower wrote on Vuxovich's profile.
Hey @Vuxovich, Here is what the Five Anime Distributors would be for the Big 5 Media Conglomerates

Sentai Filmworks would be owned by Disney
NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan would still be owned by Comcast
Funimation would still be owned by Sony
CBSParamount Entertainment Japan would be owned by ViacomCBS
Viz Media would be owned by WarnerMedia
Streaker Prower wrote on Vuxovich's profile.
Hey Vuxovich, could you imagine if One Piece was dubbed by FUNimation Entertainment from the beginning. Could you also imagine if ViacomCBS competed with Funimation, Sentai Filmworks, Viz Media and Geneon Entertainment.
So for years, I have said omnikron instead of omikron/omicron.

Featured Posts

Top