I recently watched the mid-90s cartoon show on Hulu for the first time since it aired on television. And I have to say that it touches me on a level that I don’t think anyone marketing a cartoon to sell toys really has before or since.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when cartoons were usually made in such a way as to appeal to the most number of age groups. And they usually stuck to a really clear-cut list of things you can and can’t get away with regarding real life issues like war and politics. Shows like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs got away with well written and subtle jokes aimed at an adult audience, even though any four year old could plop down and watch it and have just as much fun as a teenager, or even their parents.
Exosquad broke all the rules of what cartoons could get away with- in the western hemisphere anyway. Japanese anime had been catering to an adult and mature audience for decades at that point, and even their toy-selling shows like Mobile Suit Gundam, Dougram, Votoms, and a slew of others had very adult themes. I think Universal Studios was aiming at that market here in the US; told exactly like an epic war movie.