Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cartoons, mes amis, cartoons

In order to protect my image as a leisurely pensioner, let me just say that I've been busy this month. Watching cartoons. French ones. 

Pokemon is pretty much the same (good) in every language, but, as you might imagine, the French have a good number of their own shows which, at least to my untrained eye, seem pretty unique. My favorite was the Tom & Jerry-like show featuring two vindictive cats sharing a house with a bunch of pesky little bugs. I give them credit for mentally challenging plot twists, one of which involved some characters being within the electricity (eventually freed when the one kitty unsuspectingly prints them out of his computer).

Another might have been set in Marseille and seemed to follow some very urban orphans through daily life on the streets. Slightly depressing for a cartoon, I thought, but I guess if you think kids should know everything about the real world, this is a fairly innocuous way to do it. In the end, the police offer slipped on some oil and never found out what they were doing in that shady-looking warehouse on the wharf. (There must have been a legitimate reason for them to gather there, but I wasn't in touch enough with my inner orphan to figure it out.)

And you know you're in Europe when you're watching "Galactic Football," a cartoon that features a team of sleek futuristic athletes, counseled by an old doctorly fellow with white hair and a hip shaman-woman with a few braids mixed in with her long and flowing hair. Well, perhaps battle masters more than counselors: they seemed to be the ones setting up the team with epic battles against violent, magical football teams. In the end, it turned out to be simply another Pokemon knock-off, complete with battle cards and special powers. Except it is a bit weird to arrange Pokemon-style conflicts with real people, particularly when they are mortal. There was something creepy about the young footballer having to pay the ultimate price for the cause of galactic sports. (Again, there may have been some global issues at hand which legitimized this deadly athletic combat but this was unclear to the naive viewer.)

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