Battletoads is an animated masterpiece and also a failed cartoon pilot. It was based off the popular video game series of the same name, which was infamous for being extremely difficult to get through. The cartoon pilot is faithful to the source material in that some might claim it is also extremely difficult to get through. However, this is on purpose. Battletoads is very clever that way.
Battletoads was produced by DIC Entertainment, and begins with a scientist bird and a princess escaping from their home planet. I’m not going to bother looking up their names, so I’ll just call them Gyro and Peach. Gyro and Peach are escaping from the Dark Queen, who wants to steal Peach’s magical amulet so she can take over the galaxy or something. Even though I think she’s already taken over the entire galaxy. The message here is the lust for power is never satisfied. Battletoads is very clever that way.
However, I must spend a little more time talking about the Dark Queen here, since she might be the only reason older viewers don’t just stop watching this and move onto watching another video game review or whatever. In the immortal words of Zak in Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, she is “one bodacious babe.” Also, she looks like the sort of goth girl who “boycotted” shopping at Hot Topic once they started selling Fortnite merch. And whatever you do, do not Google “Battletoads the Dark Queen” without a safe search filter if you are in public…
Anyway, it is then when our heroes are introduced, who are three losers in high school. Again, I am not going to look up their names. Let’s just call them the Three Stooges. You know they are losers because characters keep calling them out for being losers. Battletoads is very clever that way. Also, the school principal has had enough of them, and forbids them to ever hang out with each other. I’m pretty sure it’s not legal for him to do that, but hey, the guy hates losers. In the immortal words of Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, “This man has no DIC…Entertainment.”
But just as things are looking hopeless for our band of losers, Peach and Gyro show up. Gyro decides it would be a good idea to turn the first three teenagers he finds into Battletoads, and the Three Stooges agree. And just like that, they are now giant ass toads. Now, I know what you are thinking. You are going to accuse the Battletoads of being a shameless Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off. I am here to set the record straight and declare that bullshit. Toads are not the same things as turtles! Try looking it up in a nature book. Also, the Ninja Turtles said “Cowabunga!” The Battletoads say “let’s get warty!” They are very different. (Also, many people online think the Battletoads exclaim “let’s get horny!” It breaks my heart to say that is sadly not the case).
From there, the Battletoads engage in a number of battles with the Dark Queen and her mutant minions who are very different from Bebop and Rocksteady. At one point, a freezer crushes Peach, but she just pops out of it licking an ice cream bar instead of being, you know, dead. This subverts audience expectations. Battletoads is very clever that way. Peach later gets a job at a donut shop where she wears a sexy outfit (hmmmm, I’m starting to see why the internet thought the toads made declarations about their horniness). And the Dark Queen is defeated no less than three times by the end of the episode. I’m not even sure why Peach and Gyro were worried about her. I’m pretty sure the Care Bears villains had a better track record.
Tragically, Battletoads wasn’t meant to be as a cartoon series, as this pilot was the only episode ever made. The Battletoads did recently see a video game reboot in 2020 which gave all of the characters underwhelming makeovers (sorry, OG Dark Queen fans), but it added a snarky sense of humor that players seemed to enjoy. As for the pilot, you can watch it for yourself below, complete with commercials. Please enjoy the greatest 22 minutes in animation history (and yes, that does include Fantasia).
Have a TOADTASTIC night, y’all!