Movies / Animé and Toons

The Adventures of Aquaman: The Complete Collection

By Hervé St-Louis
January 16, 2022 - 06:57

Aquaman, king of the seven seas rides his sea horse Storm and battles evil aliens, monsters, villains and undersea foes with the help of his trusty sidekick, Aqualad, and pets, Imp and Tusky. Can Aquaman and Aqualad protect the oceans from evil? Warner Home Video released this edition to match the release of the Aquaman movie. This four-disc set, containing all 36 episodes was also released in 2007.

This is the first cartoon series featuring Aquaman. It was produced for television by Filmation as part of a combo with Superman. The series is in the classic limited animation look from Filmation, with reused stock sequences and familiar tropes repeated in most stories. I had watched the Super Friends cartoons and their awful depiction of Aquaman, but I was unfamiliar with the much more dynamic Filmation series. Instead of being the butt of jokes, Aquaman was a useful hero who protected the seas and the kingdom of Atlantis.

Most stories featured Aquaman, Aqualad, and their pets fighting the menace of the week undersea, with the hero often saving the day by calling help from sea creatures who are as much a part of the fight as he was. While the series is pretty limited and dated, it is still much better than the Super Friends’ depiction Aquaman that obliterated his reputation and made him a joke for nearly 30 years. It took a lot of heavy lifting by DC Comics, and Warner Brothers to finally lift the stigma around Aquaman.

Had the Filmation lead been followed, Aquaman might have fared better, much like his Marvel counterpart who never became a joke, while being so much sillier. The character’s designs miss the Alex Toth touch. It’s pretty rough animation with a ball of hair that does not part away when he swims forward. Yet, it created some iconic image of Aquaman riding a seahorse, as ludicrous as that may sound. A few things never made sense to me, such as why the people of Atlantis breathe air, while Aquaman, Aqualad, and Mera can breathe underwater. Aren’t they all form the same place?

The restoration of the original film stock seemed good with great quality, which is a feat when it comes from Filmation produced series. The restoration of Filmation series often is from PAL sources which are translated into NTSC. The series was good (for its) time and gave a blueprint of how superhero stories featuring Aquaman could be. Moreover, many of the stories were written by comic book writers quite familiar with Aquaman, such as Bob Haney.

If you seek nostalgic entertainment, this might be for you. Kids today will also be entertained with the simple stories and wacky voice talent and reused animation. I would use this series with kids to explain to them the animation process. Unfortunately, the only languages available are English and English for deaf audiences. You’ll get a kick at how Mera is the incompetent damsel in distress, how Aquaman refers to Aqualad as “tadpole” or how the latter likes alliterative expression such as "suffering swordfish” or something like that.

Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: February 5, 2022 - 09:39

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