I’ve been watching Voltron: Legendary Defender recently. I got into it via osmosis from seeing gifs and art posted by mutuals on Tumblr. I vaguely remember the original Voltron (it came before my time but I’d see parts of reruns at like 6am in syndication) but the new version looked cool, and it was by the same studio that did Avatar the Last Airbender. I definitely enjoy it and it got me to think about all the recent reboot/reinterpretation cartoons that are out now like She-Ra and the new Fruits Basket and made me think about series, both from the US and Japan I’d like to see have new interpretations and revivals.
1. Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders
I’ll forgive you if you’re not familiar with this title, also known as Princess Starla and the Jewel Riders, but it was probably my absolute favorite as a kid. It blended Arthurian mythology, magical transformations and various talking animals. Gwenevere, and her two best friends Tara and Falon are the Jewel Riders, protectors of the realm who use their Sun Stone, Moon Stone and Heart Stone to travel across the land and protect a series of magical stones that prevent Avalon from falling into the chaos of ‘wild magic’. When the story starts out, Gwenevere is still in training under the tutelage of Merlin when her evil aunt Lady Kay attempts to steal the twelve gems that keep the peace, but the gems are scattered and Merlin becomes trapped in the realm of wild magic. The rest of the series is about finding the gems, restoring order and trying to save Merlin before Lady Kay and later, Morgan Le Fey can get the gems and take over Avalon.
This show had everything: magic, fights, romance, talking unicorns and some really bad ass female heroines with awesome powers. The series was only twenty six episodes long, but had a full completed story. The animation style could be a bit hinky, but rebooted it could become a real epic. If I got my hands on this show I’d add even more Arthurian characters, make Tara and Falon a couple and update the animation so a new generation could appreciate this overlooked treasure.
2. Sailor Moon
Now, bear with me because I imagine this might be fairly controversial, but I think it would be interesting to see an American/western interpretation of Sailor Moon inspired by the original dub. The original version is finally available in an uncut new dub, but people still have a fondness for the original edited version, and Sailor Moon Crystal is sorta...lacking. The original version is very Japan-centric, and the fact is that it’s become something of an international phenomenon. I remember a very charming fan film of Sailor Moon that was set in New York that made some very interesting changes, including having Rei’s family run a metaphysical store instead of a shrine, and had Lita have a relationship with Jadeite. There is of course that infamous American stab at Sailor Moon from back in the day that blended animation with live action, but what I’m talking about is more like what Voltron did, take the story from the dub and retell it. Make the characters more diverse or even international, not just have the Sailor Scouts all be the from the same town. It could tweak the lore and create a more cohesive story that’s different than the original manga or anime, but still be along side the canon like the live action version or the musicals. In the right hands it could a really cool thing to see.
3. Jackie Chan Adventures
Jackie Chan Adventures was a cartoon from the late 90s/early 2000s which was inspired by the actor Jackie Chan. In it, Jackie, an archaeologist, his niece from Hong Kong Jade and his Uncle battled against evil mainly in the form of Chinese demons. It had a cool cast, cool lore and cleverly built up season to season by introducing characters and new lore in one shots, and then bringing them back as full season villains. The show sort of fell apart in its last season when it introduced a time travel plot involving a future version of Jade and the son of the dragon demon, but until then it was a lot of fun. A revamped or continuation of this series would be fun to see again.
4. Johnny Quest
Johnny Quest was an action adventure series about a boy named Johnny, his friend Haji, his dog Bandit and his father. It’s parodied by the Venture Brothers cartoon, but it would be nice to see a new genuine version. There was an attempt at a reboot in the 90s, but unfortunately it suffered from 90s EDGINESS GRR GRR and wasn’t as fun as the original. A new version with the fun and spirit of the original with some better animation and new adventures would be cool to see.
5. A Live Action Digimon movie
I really liked Detective Pikachu. While they could have gone the cheap, summer kid’s movie cash grab with a lame plot and relying on celebrities instead of the merits of its source material, they produced a fun movie that brought the Pokemon world to life. It would be cool to see the same thing happen with Digimon. Because Digimon operates under the assumption that there are multiple universes, a live action movie could easily take place with a new group of characters in our world interacting with Digimon to create a whizbang monster battle movie. Digivices, digivolution and tamers/digidestined could work in a new setting while having Easter eggs from the original canon to cater to fans. But more likely it would probably take the Sonic the Hedgehog route.