Never Forget About the Donkey Kong Country Cartoon

first_imgStay on target The Ultimate Super Smash Bros. Character Guide: Diddy KongThe Ultimate Super Smash Bros. Character Guide: King K. Rool Even considering my overall high levels of Nintendo fandom, I’m a huge Donkey Kong fan. A gorilla wearing a tie is far and away the most hilarious Nintendo character ever created. And games like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat are legit masterpieces of platforming inventiveness. I’m very much into that ape.But what I’m not so into is DK’s ostensible nemesis King K. Rool, leader of the crocodile-esque Kremlin Krew. He’s just kind of uninspired. I didn’t mind that the post-Rare DK games haven’t really bothered with him. So while I should’ve been stoked to see K. Rool revealed as the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character (and to be fair his snazzy theme song remix and aggressive four-legged running have made him way cooler than ever before) instead I was just once again confused about his inexplicable fanbase.Still, more people talking about King K. Rool means more people talking about Donkey Kong in general. And that’s something I can get very excited about. But for me the most incredible piece of DK lore isn’t the Kremlins or Cranky Kong’s status as the original arcade Donkey Kong. It’s the fact that this horrifying Donkey Kong cartoon was ever even allowed to exist.I think it’s easy to forget this now that DK has become a bit of a B-tier Nintendo mascot at best, but the original Donkey Kong Country games from 1994-1996 were a very big deal. They gave the Super Nintendo a second life against the technically superior PlayStation 1. They innovated with advanced computer generated graphics. And they sold a lot of copies! It was peak-Donkey Kong season there for a while.So with that in mind it makes total sense to cash with some of kind of hastily slapped together Donkey Kong cartoon. And that’s exactly what we got with Donkey Kong Country the animated series in 1997. The first thing you’ll notice of course is the CGI visuals so eye-blisteringly bad they almost cross over into a kind of abstract art. It’s really impressive that anyone thought the limited CGI animation technology of the late 90s along with the shoestring budget of a licensed kids cartoon could produce something that anyone could stand to look it. This was only a few years after Toy Story. It’s even more ironic considering how cutting edge graphically the DKC games were with similar tech. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. By the way, although Nintendo and Rare surely(?) had some kind of input on this, the show was produced by Nelvana and that whole familiar contingent of French-Canadian animation houses that brought you similarly jank-looking (if better written) computer cartoons like Beast Wars and ReBoot.Get over the horrifying visuals though and this show… probably fine? I honestly don’t know because I can’t get past the horrifying visuals. The characters like DK, Diddy, and Dixie all basically look like their nude selves with the biggest exception maybe being Candy Kong’s extremely 90s redesign. I wish K. Rool’s eye was more bloodshot but whatever. And a bunch of gorilla fighting a bunch of crocodiles on a tropical island is a serviceable enough cartoon premise.There’s even this fun conceit where every episode has at least one song. These were the DK raps before the DK Rap. This is really where the show tips over into being ironically mesmerizing. Our social media manager Pete Haas said that “Funky’s movements look like death.”If you saw the Donkey Kong Country cartoon as a kid it’s probably pretty easy to assume it was just some banana-fueled fever dream. Like, I’m pretty sure I have a VHS copy of the “Legend of the Crystal Coconut” movie in my parents house but I always assumed it would crumble to dust if I tried to watch it now. But it’s actually disturbingly easy to watch any of the 40 episodes across two seasons not just on the weirdest corners of the internet but on just, like, basic-ass Amazon video streaming.The story goes that Nintendo had such a bad experience with the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie that it turned them off giving their properties to Hollywood (until the Minions folks came knocking). But I find it more baffling that they don’t seem to see the Donkey Kong Country cartoon as a similar embarrassment, as we continued to get Nintendo cartoons based on Kirby and F-Zero. Miraculously, Tropical Freeze even has a tiny reference to the show’s “Banana Slamma” catchphrase so maybe this was all canon the whole time. But my conspiracy theory is that this is just more proof that Miyamoto never really cared for Donkey Kong or his Country. “The dumb big ape and his fancy tie can rot in hell.”For more on weird forgotten Nintendo stuff check out our favorite Miitomo creations, our taste test with the Mario amiibo cereal, and our tribute to Miiverse.last_img read more