Monday, March 12, 2007

Pure, Unbridled Happiness and a 10-Year-Old Page Turned

Yesterday was a very, very important day for me. Why? Thanks to the Internet, I have just found the answer to a mystery that has been plaguing me for over 10 years. And, let me tell you, it feels good.

A long, long time ago, I had one of the first vivid dreams in my long history of extremely vivid dreams. There have been others that have stood out over the years, but I think this was one of the first big ones that's stayed with me through my life.

I, with several of my comrades, am fighting against a score of beasts and monsters. A short sword is in my hand, but I know I am the weakest of all those fighting. There is a barbarian-like man fighting at my side, as is an anthropomorphic animal of some kind (this was the only non-vivid part). We are inside a mountain, a volcano of sorts, and we do not have long. The sweat pours from my face as steam from the cracks in the mountain smashes against it. Time is running out; the mountain is collapsing, the magma rising, the creatures pressing in. We are going to die.

Suddenly, I see that there is a portal in the distance. If we can make it to that portal, we'll be somewhere - anywhere - away from here. Unfortunately, our path is blocked by our enemies. I yell to my companions that we have to leave, and they acknowledge me. We run towards the portal, but the closer we come, the more frantic the creatures become. My companions are slowed down in trying to hold them at bay. I call to the
m. They tell me to continue. I shout back that I won't leave them to die. And that is when the anthropomorphic animal tells me the only line I remember: "Maybe I'll come back as a butterfly." Only I escape, leaving my companions and friends to their doom.

I am later at my home, in my yard, where I am setting a helmet down on a simple wooden-cross memorial. I then walk away. As I do, a small butterfly comes down and lands on the helmet.

Hmm, maybe it wasn't as vivid as I originally remember, but the fact that it's stayed with me for over 10 years has to count for something. Tha
t's not my point, anyway. My point is that it was a very important and emotional dream from my childhood. You don't cry from many dreams, but I remembered that this particular one stirred up some emotion in my miniaturized self. As I grew older, though, I learned that there was one problem with the dream.

It wasn't my own.

What do I mean by that? Well, as time went on, I had this nagging feeling that what I saw and felt in that dream was not, in a sense, original. That the scene that played out for me was not an unique invention of my psyche. That I had, sometime, somewhere, seen it (or a similar scene) before.

That left me one question: where?

Being a TV-addicted child of the 90s, I rem
ember what is commonly referred to as "the second golden age of animation" from 1989 to about 1997. I won't go into the details (that can be saved for another time), but I think cartoons nowadays suck in comparison to when I was young, from production values to voice acting to everything (and also beg the question, why do cartoons in the age of computers look worse than when they were hand-drawn?). Regardless, I have watched many, many cartoons throughout my youth, and to find a single one which could answer my question of where I have experienced my dream before...well, it was a near-impossibility. I didn't have any resources to speak of, and the only people who might have such resources (adults) didn't know what in the hell I was talking about.

So, for 10 years, I have carried the burden of finding out what the source of my dream was.

Flash forward to yesterday (or Sunday, March 11, 2007 if you're not reading this on the day it was posted). I was going onto YouTube to reminisce on one of my favorite commercials, and my favorite commercial jingle, of all time:


However, one of the more interest
ing things about this video is the little URL in the bottom corner., huh? So, I hop on over to that page, which has quite the collection of old commercials, TV shows, and other paraphernalia. A nostalgic paradise.

While going through the various pages, from X-Men to Captain Planet to DuckTales, a voice suddenly whispered through my skull. I don't know where it came from or where it went, but as it passed through me, it spoke two words.

"Mighty Max."

I was taken aback by the thought, because I hadn't thought about Mighty Max in at least a decade. For those who don't remember, Mighty Max was the name of a fairly popular series of...some kind of toys, I'm not exactly sure what you'd call them. Here's a picture of one of the toy...playset...thing:

Jog any memories? No? Well, I tried. Anyhoo, the toyline proved successful enough that they decided to make a TV series out of it. Looking back on it, it was a fairly high-concept show, involving history, mysticism, predestination, religion and mythology, legends, and a surprisingly large amount of death for a cartoon. So, I watched the intro on it's page.

Watch it right now, just for kicks. Tell me what you see. Actually, I'll tell you what I saw: a barbarian-like character, an anthropomorphic owl character, and portals.

"No," I thought when I saw it, my eyes opening, "It couldn't be."

It was uncanny. And it made sense in a show about predestination and mythology and such. But I couldn't go on faith alone. I needed proof to put my mind at ease. So, I log onto my friend and yours, YouTube, and begin searching. I knew one thing for sure; if two of the main character's die, it *has* to be in the series finale.

So, I watch parts one and two of the last episode. I'll just spoil it now and saw that, indeed, those two characters die...but not like they were supposed to, and there was no butterfly at the end.

"NO!" I screamed, clutching my fluffy hair. This was the closest I have gotten to solving this mystery in ten years, and it turned out to be a dead end. It was a failure. I was a failure.

The more I thought about it, though, the more determined I became to find the truth. I was onto something. I may have gone into one dead end, but there were other avenues I could traverse if I just backed up a bit. Think, Andrew, think. This show involved time paradoxes. Could it be that they did die in an earlier episode, or something to that effect?

It was a long shot, but it was worth a look. I had no reason to be sure that this was the correct show, and yet I was sure. Something about it just told me I was right.

In order to avoid watching 40 22-minute-long episodes, I opened up all their respective Wikipedia pages to see if I could do some sort of "cyber-reconnaissance" mission. (And yes, I did try this beforehand.) As I read the brief description of each episode, I made a snap judgement as to whether it seemed to be a likely candidate or not. Episode 1? Of course not. Episode 2? No, that doesn't sound right. Episode 3? Episode 4? And so on, and so forth.

Then I got to Episode 13, which happened to be the first season finale (Hmm...interesting). Here's the description of the episode:

"Max has been having nightmares about Skullmaster's zombie legions tracking him down, and Virgil suggests that they gather a band of heroes and enter Skull Mountain to destroy the Crystal of Souls. They travel to different countries and enlist Hanuman, the monkey King, Beowulf, who slew the monstrous Grendel with his bare hands, Jonayaiyin, a Native American shaman, and Mujaji, an African warrior woman. This "maxnificent seven" enters Skull Mountain and battles an army of Skullmaster's monsters. From each of the heroes Max learns a lesson in bravery, then enters Skullmaster's inner sanctum alone and finds the courage to destroy the crystal. The heroes make a last stand to enable Max, Norman and Virgil to escape."
Look at the description of the heroes: Beowulf, a Germanic warrior (definitely barbarian-like), and Hanuman, an anthropomorphic monkey (in reality, a Hindu hero). Next, look at that last line again. "The heroes make a last stand to enable Max, Norman and Virgil to escape."

I allowed a smile to creep up my cheeks.

I raced back to YouTube to test my new theory. I typed in "mighty max episode 13" and was presented with either Part I or Part II. Of course, the important part happens near the end, so I chose Part II, which I am including below. You don't have to watch the whole thing. Only go to the parts at 7:11 (or 3:24 if the timer's running backwards) and especially 9:51 (0:45).

And upon seeing that, I stood from my chair and promptly fell to the floor, laughing.

Ten years.

Ten years. Ten years I have had this mystery, this burden, following me around, haunting me. Now, I no longer have mystery; nor do I have just a hunch. I have proof. I have found my answer, something I have almost given up on so long ago.

...And it feels nice.


Unknown said...

for the exception of the butterfly on the cross, that dreams reminds me of the end to that one show about a kid with a hat that did something. with that big protector dude who got killed by a spider and that chicken-owl looking guy. or than again it could just be me. i was thinking about that show the other day. that was a weird ending. especially for a kid show.


why do cartoons in the age of computers look worse than when they were hand-drawn?

because they lack the effort and the heart that the drawers had. Those guys put their sweat, their tears, their frustrations, their joy, their hate, their passion in that frame. for 12 frames a second. for 60 seconds a mintue. for 20 mintues an episode.


OHH! yeah that's the name of the show! wow that's been a while...
wow talk about a good guess!


yuppers. episode 13 does ring a bell. i can't remember how it ends, it was morning and i had to go to school.


wow! never thought that that show would have such a profound impact on someone.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mighty Max was an avatar of Lord Rama... that would certainly explain why the monkey god, Hannuman, came to serve him.