“And this is to go even further beyond, momma.”-Johnny Bravo (probably)
Internet archivists have finally found and uploaded a long-lost Cartoon Network segment in which ‘90s toon star Johnny Bravo did color commentary on a sped-up episode of the formative shonen anime Dragon Ball Z, and it’s now on the Internet Archive for your viewing pleasure. Check it out and be amazed that Bravo’s anime reaction is pretty much everything you’d hope it to be.
On Sunday, LSuperSonicQ, a YouTuber who specializes in unearthing and analyzing previously lost episodes of cartoons, tweeted an Internet Archive link to the previously lost episode of JBVO: Your All Request Cartoon Show, aka JBVO.
— LSuperSonicQ (@LSuperSonicQ) May 14, 2023
What was JBVO on Cartoon Network?
JBVO was a fourth-wall-breaking talk show spin-off of the cartoon Johnny Bravo, in which the pompadoured twunk would pose as a talking head and play cartoon episode requests from real-life callers. Typically, recommendations include Bravo airing episodes where he is featured as a special guest in other cartoons, like Scooby-Doo.
That’s exactly what happened on the May 5, 2000 episode, which kicked off with Scooby Doo. But around the midpoint a caller named Jennifer from Sterling, Colorado calls in and requests that the shlock jockey play her favorite episode of Dragon Ball Z. The only problem with her request was that an entire episode of DBZ had the same 24-minute runtime as JBVO, and the show was 14 minutes into its broadcast when Johnny read her request. Ever the consummate professional, Bravo cut Jennifer, his “pen-pal momma,” a deal by airing an extremely fast-forwarded episode of DBZ while doing some color commentary over the Super Saiyan spectacle.
“There you go. Kinda loses something when you fast forward something, doesn’t it Jennifer,” Bravo said. “Well I’m sorry, little lady. I love that show and I love you so I wanted to play it for ya because this is Your All Request Cartoon Show. Thank ya, pretty momma.”
Bless his heart.
In retrospect, Bravo’s decision to fast-forward through DBZ episode 103 was the right call, seeing as how “Pathos of Frieza” served as the tail-end of Goku and “that Frieza guy’s” infamous 20-episode battle—anime’s second-longest fight scene in terms of episode count. I bet a lot of JBVO viewers were thankful that Johnny Bravo’s director-cut commentary of DBZ’s famous “five-minute” fight scene clocked in at only 30 seconds. Quality over quantity and all that jazz.
The rest of JBVO is being recovered as well
In an LSuperSonicQ video from before the new discovery, they note that JBVO’s reputation as a piece of lost media stems from the show’s weekly recordings, in which Bravo’s voice actor, Jeff Bennett, would reference things like the date, which didn’t lend itself to re-airing. Meaning, if you didn’t have a VHS tape handy to record the show, you wouldn’t be able to rewatch the show. According to The Lost Media Wiki, about half of JBVO’s 28 episodes are still considered lost. But that is quickly changing.
Speaking with Kotaku, LSuperSonicQ revealed that a viewer of his original 2017 video named Sanders reached out to say that they were in possession of every episode from JBVO via their mom, who had worked on the show at Cartoon Network (hopefully Sanders gave her a superb Mother’s Day gift). With the help of another fellow lost media hunter named Jericho, LSuperSonicQ says the trio plan to recover and upload all 28 episodes of JBVO to the internet for folks to enjoy.
“This was one of my favorite pieces of lost media so I’m very glad to see it resurface,” LSuperSonicQ told Kotaku. “It goes to show that no matter how long a piece of lost media has been lost for, there’s always a chance for it to reappear someday.”
Update 05/15/2023 6:20 p.m. ET: Added new details about efforts to recover the entire series.
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