Let's do this.
Objectivity was key when I asked you all to narrow down 68 cartoons to fill a bracket. The absence of 'Batman: The Animated Series' is probably one we'll lament throughout this process, but we must soldier on.
I've written you some quick write-ups and analyses of each Play-In Round matchup (I've devoted all free time to this, basically).
As we did for nominations, for the first couple rounds voting will be done in the comments. Feel free to add your super-subjective and ultra-illogical reasoning behind why 'Yogi Bear' will beat 'Inspector Gadget,' but try to at least be clear on who your final vote goes to.
I can't wait to read some of these. Here are mine:
Avatar: The Last Airbender vs. Pirates of Dark Water
Manipulation of the elements is the key variable in this matchup of at-large bids from the Nickelodeon and Hanna-Barbara Conferences. We’re in Metro City, here, which has all four seasons. Aang and Katara are the focal points of The Benders’ offensive attack, and the ability to control both the air and water could spell doom for one of the last squads in the dance. The Pirates will rely heavily on Tula, who can also use the elements to her advantage, but one-on-two is never a good gamble. At the end of the day…water and air bending look to be too much for the crew from Mer to overcome. I see Avatar moving on to be sacrificed to Bugs and the Gang.
Aeon Flux vs. Thundarr the Barbarian
Ookla the Mok is just fun to say. The big fella has the ability to be an X-factor in a matchup that lacks real star power. The leather-clad assassin and the leather-clad barbarian are top-billing in a clash of one show that seems to want to be a weirder ‘Blade Runner’ and another that looked like the love child of Conan and Luke Skywalker. MTV sends a weak conference champion to The Dance, but at least they send a representative. Linchpin contender Beavis and Butthead lured Daria into separating into their own Mike Judge Conference, which has been a disaster. A brief resurgence by the guys from Highland brought back some attention, but neither the head banging duo nor the melancholy animated incarnation of teen angst even sniffed this bracket. Look for Flux to get flushed. Ookla the Mok.
Ookla the Mok.
Inspector Gadget vs. The Yogi Bear Show
Yogi made a living outsmarting Ranger Smith for those pic-a-nic baskets in Jellystone Park; always with help from Boo-Boo. Inspector Gadget made a living outsmarting (outdumbing?) Doctor Claw and MAD; always with help from Penny and Brain. Penny is the star of the show here; mainly due to Ranger Smith not having access to a tablet computer and smart watch. Yogi will struggle to find steals, and when his pressure can’t create steals…he can’t get out into transition. Brain will put Boo-Boo on lock down with a distinct size advantage, and we’ve already mentioned how Penny neutralizes Ranger Smith on defense. Hanna-Barbera sent the most teams to this tournament, but the ones who effectively shut down the Bears’ basket attack were ultimately the ones who got the higher seeds and the easier road. Gadget made it all the way to the DIC Conference Final, but was undone by M.A.S.K. having way cooler modes of vehicular transformation than going from a mini-van to a sports car. Gadget still snuck in, and will more than likely have a shot at Scooby Doo; where we’ll get to see two crime-fighting dogs slug it out. Go, go Gadget Beer Fridge.
Gargoyles vs. Space Ghost
The Disney Conference was sort of an enigma this season. In what was possibly the snub of the tournament (Batman may object), Walt Disney Cartoon Classics bowed out of the Conference Tournament early in a pillow fight against Muppet Babies, and the Selection Committee couldn’t allow them in on tradition alone. One additional season of Gargoyles could have potentially moved them to the 14 line, but in this ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ world, Phineas and Ferb took that slot and may get boat-raced by Ren and Stimpy in Gotham City.
Space Ghost was a Hanna-Barbera conference victim of longevity. Like Gargoyles, one or two additional seasons may have sent Space Ghost as high as the 12 line. Alas, we find two squads squaring off who were undone in competition for the same reason.
Ghost is the lone superstar on his team and usually finds himself gassed at the end of games from having to constantly rescue his sidekicks. He’s great in his own right…probably a top-ten player in this field, but when you simply don’t have the talent built up around you, there’s little margin for error. The Gargoyles have the size advantage at every spot; anchored in the middle by Goliath. Without his ability to go coast-to-coast, Space Ghost may have a very short stay in Metro City.
The Card Chronicle Cartoon Challenge has begun. Voting starts...now.
Much in the style that was predicted...the Pirates had a hard time navigating the water and air while the 'Benders ran all over them. Avatar leaves Metro City victorious, and will advance to Tuesday in Gotham City to play the bunch that once took down The MonStars. Granted...#23 won't be suiting for for the Tune Squad, but Avatar has their hands full.
In a clash that ended a little closer than the others, Aeon Flux edged Thundarr. I'm not sure there are 'upsets' at this stage,' but I thought for sure that Ookla the Mok was too much for the assassin to handle. I was wrong (there's a first time for everything) and Aeon is moving on to Wednesday in the Mushroom Kingdom (the second-longest travel of the #16s. Only Arlen, TX to Orbit City is longer) to take on The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No Cinderella Story here.
Remember Orbit City via Arlen, Texas? Yeah...Inspector Gadget and the crew had to board one of those Elon Musk rockets and get moving immediately after the matchup with Yogi Bear. Gadget's bunch had little trouble, as beating a 'human transformer' proved to be much more difficult than getting picnic baskets past Ranger Smith. We get that Braniac Dog vs. Hungry (possibly stoned) Talking Dog matchup that we all wanted in the #1 Scooby Doo /#16 Inspector Gadget tilt, but don't send Brain and Penny into the Round of 32 just yet. Scooby didn't get there by accident.
Space Ghost busted up Gargoyles in what looked like a scrimmage. It's rare to double-up a team's score, but Space Ghost TRIPLED-UP on Gargoyles. The bigger they are, the harder they fall; I suppose. Next up for Space Ghost is Animaniacs, however...so we'll see if the momentum he built against the Scottish Stone Squad can continue against the deep and talented group led by Yakko, Wakko, and Dot.