Storm Hawks (A Star Fox Anime Discussion)
The third in a set of posts comparing other franchises to the Star Fox universe in hopes of finding something that would satisfy us Star Fox fans in absence of an actual Star Fox anime.
In this computer-animated show from the late 2000s, the planet is full of mountaintop kingdoms, where the valleys below are all but uninhabitable. The characters instead fly around with skimmers, motorcycle-airplane hybrids that can transform back and forth. Ship to ship combat is done with energy weapons, energy swords, and hand-to-hand combat by LITERALLY JUMPING ONTO THE OPPONENT'S SHIP IN MIDAIR to fight them. There are numerous races beyond humans, each with different affinities and cultures. The show is about half action/mission, and half slice-of-life.
When you think about the structural elements of a show like Storm Hawks, it's hard to imagine that it WASN'T inspired by Star Fox. Let's break down the similarities:
- There was an elite team of heroes who tried to stop a threat, but were betrayed by one of their own resulting in the loss of the team (just as Pigma betrayed James)
- A descendant of that elite team forms a new squad, and, though lacking experience, manage to become saviors in their own right (just as Fox descended from James, and made a new Star Fox team)
- The squad consists of a four-man team of pilots with individual aircraft (like the Arwing pilots of Star Fox)
- The squad's aircraft are housed and supplemented with a larger command ship that acts as their home base, and is flown by an eccentric character (like the Great Fox and ROB)
- Each squad-mate brings unique skills, like leadership and technical skill, which also influence their piloting skills (Fox is a leader, Slippy is the tech guy)
- They have a mandate to stop the evil bad guys, but as such a small, unknown squad, they are only called upon as a last resort ("It's about time you showed up, Fox! You're the only hope for our world." - General Pepper)
- They travel to many different locations with wildly different environments and local wildlife (like the planets of Lylat)
- Their primary energy source and technology systems are based on energy crystals (It's a stretch, but, you know the gems in Star Fox Adventures?)
- Even their name is similar: Storm Hawks, Star Fox
The similarities extend to some of the characters, too. There's Aerrow, the leader, who is more or less exactly like Fox McCloud. Always trying to do the right thing and keep his team moving towards the goal. Piper is a technical genius, but struggles a bit as a pilot. She also happens to be the wise character most of the time, being the voice of reason within the team, as Peppy is for Star Fox. Dark Ace, the betrayer, is very similar to Wolf. He follows orders from the big bad, but he is much more personally interested in defeating his rival, Aerrow. Master Cyclonis, the main antagonist, is shown to be very technically skilled and spends most of her time manipulating her armies from behind the scenes. Yet, she's not above taking care of situations personally if she deems it necessary. She's very much like Andross in that way.
But not all the characters match up very well. Finn is a cocky marksman, although the running gag is that he almost never hits anything, which kind of defeats the point of his character. It just leaves a cocky self-important guy who isn't actually living up to his own claims. While Falco is cocky, he's at least competent. Finn is clearly the main gag character. Junko, the final member of the squad's main pilots, is referred to as the strongman. He's the muscle and has a heart of gold, but is easily tricked or distracted. Now Stork, the helmsman of the the Great Fox-like Carrier, is probably the most interesting character in the entire series. While he isn't similar to any Star Fox characters, he steals most of the scenes he is in, because of his amusing levels of paranoia and pessimism. In a world of overly optimistic and bright-eyed people, he's the lone person who says "We're doomed!" the second things look like they might end badly (and usually before that too).
On top of all of that, the main characters, including most of the bad guys, are in their late teens and early twenties. They are portrayed more often than not as being short-sighted and overly emotional for what should be a very serious war-time situation. And that's when they're doing legitimate military missions. The other episodes are more slice-of-life, and are the same sort of rehashed morality plays you've seen everywhere else where one character makes an obvious mistake, and the audience learns a lesson about why that choice was a Bad Idea™. Even the height of Falco's pettiness, when he left the team prior to Star Fox Adventures, was not up to scale with the sort of ill-advised, inter-teammate interactions that happen almost every episode.
It's a real shame. Storm Hawks was overly silly as a whole. And this is coming from a guy who plays video games about foxes in spaceships shooting giant monkey heads. You see, Storm Hawks has a fantastic lore and setting. The characters have a lot of potential, as does the show. Unfortunately, the series creator barely scratched the surface. At first, in seems like this is going to be a serious show, where battles are won and lost within a larger war that our heroes are barely able to withstand. And there are some episodes in this series that are really good! Overall, however, the incompetence of the villains, the choices that defy common sense, and the lack of maturity often displayed by the main characters make for a show that is only really entertaining for much younger audiences.
Nothing great is accomplished, and the characters don't really progress. It seems this show, like most other American cartoons until recently, was trying to make each episode stand on its own. This was a common practice for all TV until recently, actually. Statistically, most people will watch an episode during reruns, not during the initial release. For a long time, it was thought by producers that audiences would become overly confused when seeing the episodes out of order. To prevent this, most TV shows simply made sure that each episode never really changed the status quo, so the audience would never feel lost. As a bonus, episodes could be swapped around and few would be the wiser. Thankfully, in more recent times, it's been discovered that audiences would much rather be a little confused than to have a show with no consequences or character development. If Storm Hawks had been made today, we might have gotten a better show.
Long story short, I personally recommend that Star Fox fans watch a few episodes of Storm Hawks, in spite of its flaws. Preferably watch the better episodes. I complain so much about the show because I care about it. It really is SO CLOSE to being really good!
Where can you watch the show? Well, there are DVDs, but they are mostly out of print (low popularity?) and are very expensive. I also know that the show has been posted to a ton of different streaming websites of... questionable legality.
I've seen most of the episodes, but I haven't seen the end of the final season (the second season). I don't know how it turns out. Did it end on a cliffhanger as so many cancelled shows do? Or did they give it a real climax? I guess I'll find out, because in spite of it's flaws, I'm still going to finish watching this show. What about you? Did you ever see Storm Hawks on TV? I managed to catch a few episodes back when it was originally airing, and it was interesting enough to me for a second look. Do you like the show? What would you change? Do you think Star Fox could learn from this show, and what could Storm Hawks learn from Star Fox?
Storm Hawks I love storm hawks it was one of my faveret TV shows as a kid.
i remember an old CGI spanish series almost imposible to find now that was called DEFENSOR 5 that always remindsme of star fox, even whit the base they operated, extremelly similar to the base on star fox of SNES
also in a more adult version there is YUKIKAZE or even SUPER DIMENSIONAL FORTRESS MACROSS, in fact im pretty sure that the idea of starfox 2 /zero of a walker arwing comes from the gerwalk mode of the valkyries of that serie
@picoletor I’ll have to look those up but they sound interesting.
I think I’ve seen it as a kid, but I’m not really sure. The animation and story reminds me of Slugterra and upon searching, it was made from the same guy: Asaph Fipke.
I wonder if this show shares some similarities, but I think is a stretch.
Also, Mr. Krystal, you typed a lot of stuff lately. Are you sure that you will not get carpal tunnel syndrome again? *Knocks on wood*
Funny thing about this, I might have saw Storm Hawks somewhere before back when I was a kid. Anyway, this is quite an anime discussion so far with some mentions having bits of Star Fox inspiration as you said. I have no idea if you’re going to talk about your ideas of what the Star Fox anime should be like and how and when it should happen, but I do have some ideas if you’d like to hear them.
Absolutely. That’s what these posts are for, and to inform you guys of other options for shows until Nintendo gives us the real thing.
It’s ulner nerve syndrome. And I think I have it under control. It’s not great, but I’m managing.
That’s good to know, but you didn’t answer my question about the ideas I have if you’re interested to hear them for a Star Fox anime.
I still have storm hawks merch from my child hood and I got seasons 1 and 2 on DVD.
the clossest connection Storm hawks has to starfox is the plazarians and Radar Aerrows co-piolet and side kick.
@ N J FOX yukikaze and macross shouldn´t be too hard to find in youtube (macross is easier to find , even censored and whit some names and plot changes as robotech: the macross saga), about defensor 5…. well i tried to find it for years whit no luck, even the intro in youtube, instead of being the spanish ne is one in arabic…
You: “I do have some ideas if you’d like to hear them.”
Me: “Absolutely. That’s what these posts are for”
You: “you didn’t answer my question about the ideas I have”
I’m not sure how to be more clear, man.
YES, ABSOLUTELY! Please share with us your thoughts on a Star Fox anime. I want that. Please do. That was one of my goals for this whole thing.
Well, when I said; “you didn’t answer my question about the ideas I have.” I was trying to be like; “Would you like to know what I have have in mind for an idea for a Star Fox anime?”
Here’s my idea as far as a Star Fox anime would go. Since we know that Zero attempted to have an animated short to promote the game, so if I had to bet Nintendo could do some chronicles of the events during the Lylat Wars, called Star Fox Chronicles, part 1 the Lylat Wars. At least as a call back to the old days, much like Pokémon did for the side stories in Pokémon Chronicles like with Misty and how she tries to become a great gym leader. But if Nintendo isn’t going to plan on doing the for Zero / SF64, they might as well do it as a comic with more developments and details.
And since Star Fox 2, a cancelled Star Fox game is making an import to the switch, maybe Nintendo could make an opportunity to make a story leading up to SF2; Star Fox Chronicles, part 2 Andross Returns. The story on how Miyu and Fay got onto the team and cut out during the 8-year gap, how Andross manages to returns and come back to life, and the inclusion of the comic story Farewell beloved Falco. It’d be something that Nintendo could go for if they take elements from Zero / 64, having the vehicles transform as SF2 has during production, make a connection to the comic in a way that would lead prior to Star Fox Adventures.
Speaking of which, Star Fox Adventures would be something really big for Nintendo to work on, if they were to give Adventures and Assault complete HD remakes or reimagining with taking the formula of Adventures into a style of Star Wars Battlefront 2 with Darth Maul’s characters mixed with the staff’s mechanics. Getting back on track, for a 3rd set of the anime of Star Fox it’d be; Star Fox Chronicles, part 3 Sauria’s Crisis and Krystal’s shatter past. This would be a really good opportunity again if Nintendo were to give a backstory on Krystal on how she escaped her home world’s destruction, how she managed to get to Sauria in the first place, and how she knows about Andross. I did a video about a game idea for Krystal’s backstory and how it’d be similar to Adventures in a way, but also try to be Star Fox at the same time. But aside Krystal’s past, it be important to know how Andross discovered and use the Krazoa magic and technology to his advantage to be reborn again and Falco’s return after the 4 years from the Farewell beloved Falco comic. Star Fox Adventure’s story is flawed and unanswered questions, but I find the game’s story to be charming in a way like a cheesy early Disney movie from maybe the 40s, 70s or 80s type way.
Now for Star Fox Assault, the best game by far and can be something handled really with its linear story like with Adventures. Picking up around after how Krystal got some clothes and the Star Fox crew upgrade everything they have with the end of Adventure’s chronicle story. Star Fox Chronicles, part 4 Assault of the Aparoids; could take things further then what the game did with a bit more development on the aparoids themselves and how they came to be, how Panther became part of Star Wolf and Oikonny and Pigma left or got fired for a reason, how Tricky becomes a leader and his parents weren’t around in Assault, some secrets hints on how Peppy and Rob survive at the ending of Assault, and some more romance development with Fox and Krystal.
With the Chronicle story from SF64 / Zero leading up to the events after Assault, the story could pick up at present day time and be a big thing for the new game since it’s been about over 10 years prior to the last canon game (I wouldn’t say it be Command since it’s confirmed that it’s not canon to the main storyline with 9 different, mostly mediocre / bad endings except for Lucy and Krystal and especially Goodbye Fox). After learning a lot from those events during the 8-9 years, we could see more with Star Fox and their adventures, see more minor characters like Bill, Katt, Lucy, and Dash get some development since there wasn’t much for them in the games. Even for Miyu and Fay, maybe getting rehired with Star Fox having a bigger budget to hire back the 2 from SF2, or they have become a dynamic duo in a way. The love story with Fox and Krystal development even further and having some mature themes in it. How Star Wolf went from killers and criminals to anti-heroes in Assault and trying to figure out what they do now adays for a living, how Oikonny somehow surviving the attack from the one aparoid and trying to revive his uncle’s empire, and Tricky becoming a strong and wise leader on Sauria. The possibilities are endless as it can give so much for Fox and the cast.
That’s a lot of details. I have to disagree with you on a couple points, but overall, I wouldn’t mind Nintendo fleshing out the in-between times. Of course, if they do, that might remove possibilities for new games within the timeline, though.