The Adventures of The American Rabbit
|“||Well, after seeing this all the way through I can certainly understand how a kid who loved this film in the late 80's would grow up to make a webcomic featuring a cross between pikachu and sonic that goes nowhere.||”|
|YouTube commenter satinsguard, upon watching this film.|
The Adventures of The American Rabbit is an insipid 1986 animated film directed by Fred Wolf about Robert Rabbit, a bunny who is transformed into a superhero to defend his friends, family and land from pollution and the Mafia, all while cavorting around in probably the most laughable "costume" in superhero history; his regular self painted in the stars and stripes, and wearing roller skates despite the fact he can fly.
The American Rabbit originated as a poster character created by Stewart Moskowitz. Since some of Moskowitz's creations were used as mascots in Japan, anime powerhouse Toei Animation co-produced the film with Wolf. The Adventures of The American Rabbit bombed at the box office (gaining a mere $291,126 in its opening weekend) and quickly fell into obscurity. It was the last theatrical film made by Fred Wolf, so it was a miracle that the next year, two projects he helped produce were major successes. Nonetheless, it set the standards for young Christopher's perception of many things, including himself, America, storytelling, race (something that will become quickly apparent to any viewer of the film in question), honesty and respect for oneself and others (which, as in the movie, are given much talk for no reason whatsoever). His claims for being truthful, honest, and decent are almost certainly informed by the movie's shallow glossing over of the issues in an anvilicious fashion. Even the "famous" cover for Sonichu #0 is plagiarized partially, in an eerie subconscious fashion, from a scene early in the film where the titular rabbit goes out from his home village, encouraged by his father.
Robert Rabbit is, next to Sonic the Hedgehog, one of Chris's biggest role models in life. In Chris's Wikipedia entry, he stated "they REALLY SHOULD HAVE MADE A TV SERIES of him." Along with Filmation's Ghostbusters, American Rabbit is another obscure cartoon likely culled from videotape bargain bins that had an inexplicably large impact on Chris's childhood. Why Chris latched onto a shitty cartoon movie from the 80s so hard is anybody's guess, though the colorful visuals, easy-to-understand plot, and anthropomorphic characters are probably a significant part of the reason.
The Adventures of The American Rabbit seems to have had a tremendous influence on Chris's narrative style; the film has numerous plot holes, a bland Aesop-style moral tacked onto it, moments that make you go "Wait, what?" (e.g. when some weasels somehow take over the world by kidnapping a couple of moose who make chocolate for a living), and the use of anthropomorphic animals as heroes. In other words, key ingredients of a Sonichu comic.
What's truly startling, however, is how much of it seems to have influenced Chris outside the Sonichu comics.
A character in the movie has a speech at the rally against the evil gang in the movie that starts out verbatim the same way that CWC's Second Message does, with the Panda character leading off by saying that "[they] all should know [him] by now." Much like the protagonist of the movie (and a lot of bad children's media) Chris regards his own actions as morally good no matter whether they actually are or not, and inversely the actions of his antagonists as bad simply because they aggrieve him. This very simple mentality doesn't seem to be directly tied to this movie until you look closer at it: The Jackals can get away with tormenting and destroying as they see fit, just like several things that Chris has compared the same way. If you look closer, constant analogies between this horrible movie and Chris's almost-equally-horrible life become woefully apparent.
This includes Chris's tendency to play into conspiracy theories. In American Rabbit, all problems stem from the same small group of antagonists, in much the same way that Chris views all those who Kick the Autistic as part of a conspiracy to ruin his life. In many ways, The Adventures of The American Rabbit thus provides one of the most compelling and disturbing looks into Chris's worldview outside his own body of work. Such was the import the young Chris assigned this testament to mediocrity that it became the centerpiece of not only how he writes and even influenced how he talks, but formed a big part of how Chris views the world itself.
Possible influences on the Sonichu comic
In the story, Rob Rabbit is visited at birth by a wizened old rabbit, who keeps tabs on him throughout his life until his latent powers are revealed when he saves his family. He then appears in a wizard's robe (for some reason; he isn't a wizard) and tells Robert that he has inherited the Legacy of the American Rabbit. This is very similar to Chris's Anchuent Prophecy, where Chris is given superpowers for no reason other than being the author's literal Mary Sue.
Shallow love interests
As soon as Rob meets the pink Bunny O'Hare, it becomes very obvious that the two are attracted to each other. Granted, unlike the Sonichu comic, American Rabbit actually remembers that it's supposed to be for kids so there's never anything more than a peck on the cheek. Regardless, this could have easily set the standard for Chris's idea of love at first sight - Sonichu and Rosechu were in love less than five pages after they met. The movie only features ONE female character - the aforementioned - who does absolutely nothing whatsoever to help fight evil, helping to set the standard for Chris's views on women.
Worthless side characters that all look alike
To be fair, he could have just as easily gotten this from Sonic the Hedgehog or other media, but it's certainly present in American Rabbit. The band Rob travels with is called the White Brothers Band, a group composed of five white rabbits who look and sound exactly alike. Even the Chaotic Combo receive (marginally) more development than this.
Worthless side characters in general
Notionally, besides attempting to make money to rebuild a bar, the characters traveling with Rob believe that they have a "duty to fight against evil," but out of all of them (including Rob) only Ping Pong the gorilla actually does anything effective to thwart the antagonists. This is mirrored in Sonichu, where often the entire cast will struggle to defeat an enemy (or in the case of the women, stand around and watch) because Chris wants his flavor of the month to be the focus of the action.
Worthless law enforcement
Rob's world has no meaningful law enforcement and the Jackals are free to terrorize, destroy, and threaten the global economy as they see fit (even though, as addressed, the means through which they do so make absolutely no sense). The Jackals' ability to get away with what they do in the cartoon indicates that, American Rabbit aside, there is no organized police or military force of any kind. This is analogous to the dystopian CWCville, where Chris-Chan Sonichu and his Electric Hedgehog Pokemon are the only thing standing between the Private Villa of Corrupted Citizens and the terrified citizenry of the ailing dictatorship, rather like things are for the bulk of Sonichu before CWCVille was revealed to be under martial law.
All the protagonists are worthless
With all his superpowers, Rob punches out all of two Jackals during the whole movie. Every other time he uses his powers is to save himself and his moron friends from another trap the Jackals have sprung on them. At one point, Rob is reduced to a blubbering mess, and has to be given a pep talk by the same geriatric rabbit who was watching over him as a child (who is now a New York taxi driver for some fucking reason) before he can finally save the day once and for all. This worthlessness can be seen in both Sonichu AND Chris, particularly during the earlier comics where Chris was always getting saved by Sailor Megtune.
A villain in a staff
Or at least, a villain ON a staff. The main antagonist of the movie, Vultor, is portrayed as a man entirely concealed in a gangster suit and hat, with a staff that doubles as a perch for his pet vulture. It's later revealed that the gangster suit and hat were filled with nothing but air, and that the vulture IS Vultor, and has somehow been controlling the suit in a way that is never addressed by the movie. While Count Graduon isn't directly controlling Mary Lee Walsh, he certainly calls the shots, despite being less powerful and trapped in a fucking staff.
Plot holes and loose ends
As mentioned, a great many inconsistencies exist within the movie. The whole reason Rob and his band start to travel America is to raise money to rebuild a bar, but all the venues they plan to play at get destroyed, they lose their car, and even their instruments. At the very end of the movie they can't even afford to rent new ones, but this point is never addressed since the fact that Vultor has been defeated automatically means it's a happy ending. Not to mention the aforementioned "chocolate moose" plot. The only excuse that The Adventures of The American Rabbit has is that it is just a single hour and a half movie made for children (and even then, children deserve far better animated movies than this), whereas Chris will either forget about plot points in Sonichu until he's reminded in the Mailbag, or have the story in his head all along and expect everyone else to magically understand it, and get angry when they inevitably don't.
- Bugs Bunny
- Robbie Sonee, possibly named after the film's incompetent "hero".
- Robee Sonee and the Tomgirls, Robbie's Tomgirl years.