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A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.
Never as cool and stylish as the credits suggest it could be but still good enough for the intended audience
A long time ago, Dragon protected the valley but was punished by heaven for his arrogance. He blamed us. Now, trapped in his icy prison, he plots to destroy us. Our only hope might be Panda's pupil Skunk-Fu. "Balancing the earths and the heavens with the old wise Panda and a whole pack of brethrens. Fox, Rabbit, Pig, Snake and killer bees. Duck, Crane, Tiger fighting off Ninja Monkeys and Baboon that evil tyrant won't prevail over young Skunk's skills and that ill stink tail. Defender of the valley from the Dragon in the lake, using mind, body and soul with a fly-ass meditate".
Having recently massively enjoyed Shaun the Sheep in the same time slot, I was hoping that Skunk Fu would be a similar animation in how it appeals to adults as much as children. Sight unseen I set my video to record it daily for a few weeks before I finally sat to watch it and, on the basis of the credit sequence alone I must confess that I thought it was going to be wonderful. In fact, such a joy are the credits that they are worth a mention. Visually they are a fantastic mix of Oriental and flash animation cut together in a way that is stylish, slick and cool but it is the title music that stuck in my head. It isn't what you expect from an Irish children's animation on at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but the credit sequence plays out under a great, if short, track recorded for the series by Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan.
Problem is though, the title sequence is so cool that it did mean my expectations of the show itself were maybe unfairly raised because, although enjoyable, the series didn't draw anywhere near as much laughter as I would have liked. However, I do acknowledge that I'm being unfair to it by expecting too much. For what it was, the show itself is quite funny because there are imaginative narrative devices put in there as well as several little touches that adults will appreciate more than their children. However there is not really enough of it to make it good enough for adults to really make a point of taping it in the way that many did with Shaun. This is not to say that it is not worth seeing though, because for target audience it is an enjoyable cartoon, with simple morality tales making up each story.
Visually it is bright and cheerful but understandably not as cool as the titles in that regard. The characters provide some comedy. Skunk is a cheerful sort and makes for a bright lead. Panda is well cast and fits well in a clichéd "old master" way but it is the support cast who provide some colour around the edges. Praying Mantis is a Christopher Walken impression of sorts for no real reason, Rabbit is gung-ho and is a bit like Han Solo (and indeed has some of his dialogue). Pig sounds like Bob Goldthwait (from the Police Academy) movies. Baboon is quite a good "sergeant-major" type but Dragon is better pitched to have genuine menace as the main "baddie".
It is rarely hilarious but I did enjoy it for what it was. The opening credit are by far the best part of it and adults will probably find there isn't enough for them to justify them watching more than a couple of times. For children and young teens though it will offer more because it does have a slightly adult edge (reminded me of Ren & Stimpy in some regards) but still also be clean, suitable and accessible for younger viewers. Wanted it to be cooler and smarter but it is still good entertainment for the intended audience.
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