When I was a kid I remember catching a little bit of this X-Men carton called Pryde of the X-Men on TV one random Saturday Morning. The cartoon featured Kitty Pryde on her first crazy adventure with the X-Men team. I was blown away, not only by the great animation, but by the fact that it was mysterious. There was only this one episode and nothing else. Why wasn’t I watching an X-Men cartoon series that was totally bad ass? The cartoon had been better than a lot of the superhero cartoons I had grown up with, there had to be some sort of reason for this injustice!
Years later they released the thing on tape and I was able to see it again. It wasn’t as amazing as what I “remembered”, but it was still pretty damned great for a 1980s animated series.
According to Wikipedia the mystery of why this particular X-Men cartoon done by Marvel Productions is finally solved. Apparently Marvel Productions hit huge financial troubles and could only focus on making Muppet Babies and could not afford to launch an X-Men cartoon.
The money for Pryde of the X-Men came from the Robocop animated series of all places! Instead of producing a 13th episode of Robocop, Marvel Studios put the money into Pryde of the X-Men.
The animation was done by Toei, which is probably most famous in the U.S. for Dragonball Z. It’s some of the best I’ve seen in 1980s era cartoons, though who knows if they’d have had the budget to keep that quality up over the course of the series.
One of the weirdest parts of Pryde of the X-Men is Wolverine’s Australian accent. Australians were super popular for awhile in the ’80s and supposedly Wolverine was going to be an Australian ex-patriot in the comics, but it never came to fruition. Weird. I didn’t know a whole lot about the X-Men, so I just ran with the Australian thing. Years later when I found out he was Canadian it was kind of a let down. Sorry Canadian friends, your accent isn’t as cool.
It’s also strange to see Dazzler on the team as she’s probably one of the more obscure X-Men, but it’s still pretty cool at the same time to have such a minor character in animated form.
I also love that the White Queen, Emma Frost, is involved in the story before she became as popular as she is these days.
Also notable is the fact that there are so many familiar voices from 1980s cartoons that it’s just a treat to hear them all in one place. At times it feels like a G.I. Joe / X-Men crossover.
While I prefer the animation of Pryde of the X-Men way more over the 1990s X-Men series that came to be, it’s doubtful that a series would have been as close to the comics as the ’90s series. Still that’s just speculation.
Pryde of the X-Men does have a bit of a popular legacy. It was the inspiration behind the X-Men Arcade game, which lives on in the hearts and minds of many child of the 90s.
X-Men Arcade came out in 1992 and at the time I thought it was weird that Dazzler was a selectable character. Knowing the history of Pryde of the X-Men helps explain that one. I can imagine one of the Japanese developers wondering who was on the X-Men, then seeing the Japanese animated cartoon and thinking, “Oh yeah, Dazzler is one of the main X-Men, we have to use her.”