Former Member of: The Clerics
Animal Species: Cat
Voiced By: Emmanuelle Chriqui
Taking aside all of the jokes that I’m sure have been made of Cheetara and other similarly feline women in most media, because really that’s unbelievably old by this point… Though admittedly I do find her the most aesthetically confusing of the ThunderCats. Those ginormous disks on her wrists and ankles aside, what is with those things on her legs? Are they a part of her, some manner of strangely exotic clothing, what?
Confounding clothes aside, the main reason that I like Cheetara more than the others is that she is the most distinct in the whole group. She stands a strange middle ground of being the most mature and yet should arguably be of a similar temperament to Lion-O or Tygra, the latter of whom is close to her age physically though not so much emotionally. Heck, there are many a time when she talks down to Panthro about his attitude and he’s not far older than her but is arguably far more experienced in how the world, and war in general, works.
That’s not to say that Cheetara is inexperienced in battle. Far from it, if anything she’s got quite a fair share of combative experience due to her time with the Clerics. The Clerics, in the revised series, are a group dedicated to the protection of the royal family and whose duties included the stewardship over the Book and Sword of Omens. What’s really rather interesting about the Clerics though is that all of them are capable of moving at incredible speeds but as far as we are shown, only Cheetara is a Cheetah.
In point of fact, it was shown in her first test to try and join the Clerics that Cheetara, despite being a young child at the time, was easily the fastest amongst them, even compared to the likes of Jaga, the leader of Clerics and Chief Advisor to King Claudus himself. Though never outright clocked in the series, Cheetara demonstrated that she is able to move fast enough that she was able to not only outrun a pair of futuristic motorcycles but was able to scale the interior of the Tower of Omens by running upwards along the walls.
Cheetara’s chief weapon is her staff, the first of which was bestowed to her upon entering the Clerics and the second gifted to her as an apology by Viragor the guardian of the Forest of Magi Oar. Though no explanation was given towards the first staff and it ability to shrink and expand itself, the second one was made from the branch of the eldest tree in Magi Oar and is far more powerful in comparison. This staff was able to not extend itself to incredulous lengths but can create and manipulate massive tree roots and launch out sharp and deadly thorns. By magic or by sheer might, Cheetara also showed multiple times that she can cause whole troops of Lizards to go flying with but a single sweep of her staff.
Though not the oldest amongst them, Cheetara is arguably the most mentally and emotionally mature and yet strangely naïve when it comes to romance. Excluding the stupidity that is her relationship with Tygra and how it had begun, which in itself was rather sweet but so disgustingly cliché and nonsensical, Cheetara confessed to never realizing that she had unwittingly started a rivalry for her affections between the two brothers.
I can’t help but question her naivety when one considers how often she stood up for Lion-O against Tygra and his immature idiocy and how many of her training and counseling sessions with the young Lord of the ThunderCats left him, quite literally, hot under the collar. That she chose Tygra, as a child no less for the simple act of giving her a gift that helped prove her worth to Jaga and the Clerics, was frankly unbelievably disappointing for me. Excluding all of the tension that she brought upon Lion-O, the few interactions that she had with Tygra prior to the start of their relationship showed that she tolerated his presence at best.
Overall, amongst the ThunderCats as a whole, Cheetara is one who doesn’t truly grow and develop as the series progresses, which mostly fell upon Lion-O and the others. There never really was an episode that focused strictly on her and her alone, but rather helped other characters progress and change. Even the episode that featured her as a kid joining the Clerics was more about the source of her and Tygra’s relationship and not really about Cheetara as a person.