My Favorite Intros logo

I was trying to decide what to write about today. As I was surfing through Tumblr I saw posts for two intros I really enjoy. One of them I like for the music and not as much the visuals. This isn’t My Favorite Theme Songs, this is My Favorite Intros, so that one was out. The other is the intro we’ll be looking at today for the animated version of Men In Black. This has a decent theme but really cool intros that the theme does match up with. So it’s the one I went with.

The idea of Men In Black comes from UFO culture and conspiracy. Some people who claim to have seen unidentified flying objects also claimed that men dressed in black and wearing shades came to them claiming to be from the government and tried to make them shut up about what they have seen. Some of the conspiracy theorists even suggest they’re actually space aliens. Whether this inspired the entertainment franchise or not I couldn’t tell you.

The Men In Black was a set of two three-issue miniseries created by Lowell Cunningham about a government organization who polices all kinds of paranormal activity from space aliens to demons and other such things. A new recruit learns the MIB is really trying to control the order of life on Earth. The movie Men In Black dropped the “the”, the paranormal aspects, and the evil shadow government subplot and was about a group protecting Earth from evil aliens while taking in good ones, hiding them because Earthlings as a whole aren’t ready to accept alien life. Also the movie and comics based on the movie’s universe were more comical than the original comic. We can debate the questionable aspects of both versions of MIB another time. The movie was popular enough that an animated series aired on Saturday mornings on Kids WB, and it’s intro is just as creepy and silly as the show itself.

The series had to make a modification from the movie, since they decided they wanted to keep the theme up with rookie agent J and senior agent K. Remember that the cartoon began after the first movie and ended well before the sequel, where they could have continued J and L from the end of the first movie, but decided on a stupid way to bring K back. (Men In Black II was okay but as time has gone on I would have been satisfied without it. I haven’t seen the third movie but I hear good things about it. The premise doesn’t interest me and the series kind of did the storyline already.) I kind of understand it but you can’t really place it anyway in the movie. I don’t want to spoil the ending because I really like it but all I’ll say is K leaves, and events in the series says it took place after the first movie. Maybe the second gives this a new place to put it in the timeline, except that the sequel shoved L aside off-screen to bring K back, which I wasn’t a fan of.

Enough about the show itself, let’s talk the intro. There are hints of the humorous elements of the show. You have the alien who decides to show off at the police lineup and J bringing out the “noisy cricket”, the handgun from the movie (more like finger gun) that has enough kickback to send J flying. The rest is more serious and creepy. You have the main agents getting ready for their next case, the aforementioned lineup, and the scenes around MIB headquarters that could be any other story about government agents tracking down dangerous criminals…just with space aliens popping up, including the trailed suspect that turns into a monster.

Interestingly the sci-fi elements are a bit toned down outside of the aliens. You do have the car that has a superspeed mode, and the eye piece that sees through the perp’s disguise, and then the guns that you don’t even see being used. Even the aliens (outside of the shapeshifter) act like normal human criminals, even the show-off. Outside of the way the logo for the MIB is displayed there isn’t anything spacey in this intro about space aliens being policed, which I think serves the whole undercover operation part of the franchise’s story. Nothing to see here, people, just your average crime drama.

The music really sets the tone. Like the intro there is little sci-fi to it, but it’s very serious in tone. It’s the kind of theme song I would expect from a nineties crime drama. There’s also that lineup again where the aliens turn in step with the rhythm in both of their forms, which looks neat, as well as that part in MIB HQ where the people walking around look like they were filmed frame by frame with frames missing. That’s pretty much what webcams could do back then, although it may be intended to be security camera footage. The music does work perfectly with that scene which makes me think that the composers and animation director worked together to make it work.

When so many 90s intros were about being EXTREEEEEMEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!111 this intro is so much better. It sets the tone of the show (or at least the serious elements, which makes the humor a surprise but hinted at) and is just nice to look at. I also recommend checking out the show, but last I heard there was no full series release. I hope that changes because it’s a good show.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

14 responses »

  1. Sean says:

    The intro music has a strong hip hop influence. Gee, I never knew there was a cartoon of MIB. Then again after 1991/1992 with Pirates of Dark Water being the last 90s cartoon I watched, I really lost touch with what was happening with 90s animation. For instance, I missed out on the animated Godzilla series from the late 90s.

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    • It’s a 90s cartoon based on a movie starring Will Smith. (An instrumental of his theme for the movie was used in the closing credits) so being hip-hop is no surprise.

      As for Godzilla The Series, it redeems the things the 90s American Godzilla movie did wrong. Except it’s still not Godzilla. It also showed Ian Zeiring is one of the few Beverly Hills 30210 stars to make a good transition to voice acting and was better as Nick than Broderick was.

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      • Warren B says:

        True, true! It’s still Zilla, or GINO, whichever you like (to be technical, it’s last surviving offspring from the movie); but the stories, and the behaviour of the monster, cleave a lot closer to the original Toho Big G. In fact, the show sort of hearks back to the earlier Godzilla cartoon – sailing the world; discovering giant monsters; and calling in Godzilla to whup them. Thankfully, no Godzooky.

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        • Godzooky was more useful to his crew than that silly robot, though. It seems to be there just so Nick’s assistant can have it spout pop culture references and annoy it’s creator (one of three actors from the movie to reprise their role in the series) and then get tossed Team Rocket style or smashed by the monster-of-the-week.

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  2. Warren B says:

    Sean, you missed some good stuff! Maybe I say this because I grew up during the nineties, but IMO it was a golden age of ‘saturday morning’ action/adventure cartoons. I’d caught bits and pieces of earlier cartoons – I was fond of Thundercats, He-Man, Pirates of Darkwater and especially TMNT – but when Bruce Timm’s Batman hit the scene it was like a quantum leap in animation quality and storytelling. That led onto the Superman and Justice League cartoons, and while the latter didn’t show up on UK terrestrial TV as far I know, Adelaide Productions stepped up to fill the gap.
    This MiB show was one of theirs, as well as the Godzilla show, and you can say the same thing about both: they have great, cleverly-crafted intros (I’d say the MiB intro is better – I agree with SWT’s opinions about it. It’s very slick.), backed up with well-animated, generally well-written episodes. I think it helps that the look, especially the aliens and kaiju, were designed by Fil Barlow, who also came up with various gribblies for Adelaide’s Jumanji, Extreme Ghostbusters, Starship Troopers and ‘Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot’ shows. The writing on all may vary from good to average, YMMV, but they all look pretty good. 🙂

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    • I’m still a sucker for the 80s since that’s basically when I grew up (although I was born in 1973) but for every GI Joe Extreme or James Bond Jr. (do not watch those, they’re not very good) there were shows like the ones Warren mentioned. I personally recommend MIB, Big Guy & Rusty, and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles. (Sean, remind me to show you that next time you’re over or look for it on Crackle–I think it’s there.)

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      • Warren B says:

        Ha! James Bond Jr. That takes me back. It was like Captain Planet without Captain Planet.

        Second the recommendation of BG&R, and Roughnecks. Funny, those seem to follow the same Adelaide trend of being arguably better than their source material. For the former, if only because the source material was just a 2-issue comic miniseries. And thinly-plotted too, IMO. The cartoon took that and bolted on a pretty good series arc and character development – e.g. Dwayne’s attitude towards Rusty being foisted on the Big Guy. (I still blurt ‘For the luvva Mike’, to this day)

        And it has R. Lee Ermey and Clancy Brown! Take that, modern-animated-films-built-around-celeb-voicework.

        For the latter, the iffy Paul Verhoeven movie; although it did take some vague cues from the original Heinlein book. Maybe the reason it could be seen as better?

        (Sorry SWT, didn’t mean to hijack the comments section!)

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        • The comments section is usually pretty dead around here anyway. And I also use “for the love of Mike” on occasion. I haven’t read the comic, but I tend not to like the few Frank Miller works that people like.

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  3. Sean says:

    You’re right, Warren. After 1992 with Pirates of Darkwater, I stopped watching cartoons. So I missed out on a lot of good stuff from 1992 to 1999. Just like Tronix, my major cartoon decade was the 80s although with a little bit of the late 70s too. But when I have time, I will have to explore more about those toons from the remainder of the 90s. I thank you both for discussing here about some of the cartoons from that decade.

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  4. Sean says:

    I’ll begin by starting to learn about Starship Troopers. Just the title alone peaks my interest. As a Star Wars/Star Blazers kind of guy, it sounds like that show could catch my interest.

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    • Warren B says:

      Sean, if you – ahem – want to know more, there’s a great Starship Troopers site at Trooperpx.com, that deals with all the versions and adaptations. Here’s the Roughnecks page:

      http://www.trooperpx.com/RSTC/series.html

      If I could sum it up quickly (could be difficult for me) it’s not the kind of ‘look at these gung-ho fascist idiots’ satire of the movie, but it does have a kind of Vietnam-movie/war-is-hell vibe. Even victories can end up kind of gloomy for what’s ostensibly a kids’ show, though by that token it doesn’t go too dark. On the Vietnam movie note, it does have a parallel with Apocalypse Now, in that the narration and a lot of the action are from the point of view of a military, but somewhat naïve journalist, attached to a combat squad on the front lines.

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