A huge part of my childhood was spent watching cartoons on the TV. Some of the more memorable shows include The Uncanny X-Men, Batman: The Animated Series, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Voltron, and of course, The Visionaries.
Who could forget the Visionaries?
But I digress. One of the best parts of growing up during the 80’s and the 90’s was the fact that quality cartoons were produced during that era (some of them were even developed here in the Philippines!). I don’t know what my generation’d be like if we didn’t have the regular Friday and Saturday morning shows to look forward to. Back then, we kids didn’t have access to cable and Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon was only a two-hour slot on (I think) RPN 9. We didn’t have the luxury of wall-to-wall cartoons, and we had to content ourselves with what we got.
And, truth be told, we were generally pretty happy with what we did get. Ain’t that right, fellow 80’s kids?
Nighthood’s a gem that very few Filipinos know (or remember) from the golden age of Saturday morning cartoons. When you start talking about Lupin these days, you usually either talk about Maurice LeBlanc’s character, or the anime spun off from the aforementioned property, Lupin III. I generally don’t have anything against the former, and the latter is like white noise filling up the gaps between Arsene Lupin and Sherlock Holmes. What I don’t get is why very few people remember that, for a short period of time, Arsene Lupin, the most critically-acclaimed gentleman thief who is said to rival Holmes in both intellect, and bedside manner, was immortalized in a short-lived but nonetheless impressive Saturday morning (or Friday evening, as it were) cartoon?
The series, if you look at it closely, resembles the lines and grittiness that the Batman: TAS was known for. Except that where the solid polygons on Bruce Wayne finished, the wispy, Alfons Mucha-esque lines on Arsene Lupin began. If you watch Lupin closely as he emerges from the shadows, monocle first, you’d see hints of anime and Batman; I’d even go as far as to say that for a French-produced series, Nighthood featured a lot of salient qualities that, despite the poor quality of technology back then, made Saturday morning cartoons worth watching.
What were these qualities? Good pacing, a decent storyline, and characters that you could really get into. Those are some things that we rarely encounter in cartoons these days. And I can’t help but feel that my nieces, my nephews, and my future kids (if any) are missing out on something that made my generation extra special.
Or I could be waxing whimsical here. It doesn’t matter. I could say, with utmost certainty, that my cartoons were awesome, and I believe that Nighthood was a good example of what the TV had to offer back when I was a kid.