I’m starting to see a little pattern here. A lot of the books that I read in my youth became TV programmes in the 90s, much like books that were publish in the early 2000s beings adapted to the big screen today.
Animorphs, to me, is to science fictions books what Goosebumps was to horror. It made me like the science fiction genre and was a great series that had such as impact on me that it spilled over into my everyday life. For example the first (and only) fan fiction I wrote was based on the series and I developed a crush on a boy because he looked like the character Marco. Uh enough of that, here is Animorphs.
Created by K. A. Applegate, it followed five human teenagers Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel and Tobias as well as their alien ally, Aximili Esfarrouth Isthill nicknamed Ax, as they fought an unseen war against an invading alien race called Yeerks, a parasitic slug like race that could control a host by sliding into the ear and taking over the brain. The term Animorphs comes from the six protagonists’ ability to change into any animal that they touched, a gift given to them by Ax’s race to help them fight the war that came to Earth.
Animorph was published by Scholastics and ran from 1998 to 2001. It was a 54 book series, each book was told in first person and the 6 main characters took turns to narrating each book. It was made into a TV series which lasted two seasons from 1998 – 2000, but I don’t really know much about that, I never watched the show. The theme of the Animorphs series is, of course, war and how war effects everyone on a personal level. From Book one we are introduced to happy-go-lucky teenagers, and as the series continues the audience is shown how the war with the Yeerks is slowly changing each of our heroes. By the end, relationships fall a part, trust is lost and they no longer have a clear moral compass. It follows other core motifs such as, sanity, leadership, freedom and coming of age during this time.
I read all 54 books growing up, including one or two of the companion Megamorphs books. I honestly have not read a series since that opened my eyes to how war could affect people, especially teenagers. My favourite character, as you might already have figured out, was Marco. He was a joker, someone who didn’t really take anything seriously. Travelling with him, through his books made me see how a person could change so much and yet not at all. By the end of series Marco was still the joker, but he had his own dark side. In the face of war he kept his original personality, and although there were times when he lost his way, he would always see the bigger picture. The only time he lost faith in what the team had to do was when he found out that someone close to him became a Controller for the Yeerks but that made him fight even harder. Ultimately he had to accept that he couldn’t save everyone he loved. He made peace with his lose and when his best friend Jake needed him, he didn’t think twice about joining him on his suicide mission.
Overall Animorphs was an awesome series that not only children could enjoy but adults as well. In 2011 there was a re-release of the series. Look out for it on Amazon, or any local book story, it is worth reading.