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I'm trying to identify this cartoon, I must have seen it around the early 2000s, maybe late 90s (it was in English and I'm from the US). I remember seeing it a few times, so I probably had it on VHS. It was likely a standalone thing, not part of a series, and it wasn't quite movie-length, perhaps 30 minutes or less. My memories are vague but here's what I can remember:

  • The main character had a spaceship, a small-sized one that only fit one or two people
  • It took place partly in space, but a significant portion was in some underground caverns filled with technology (it may have been on Mars, or an asteroid?)
  • The part that stood out most to me was a suspenseful escape sequence where something went wrong and the whole place was collapsing. There were red flashing lights and an eerie alarm sound
  • I seem to remember some large robotic-looking structure in the underground part (something like a Starman from EarthBound?)
  • I don't remember many characters, it had sort of a feeling of isolation. They may not have been human, perhaps anthro, but I can't say for sure
  • The eerie sound effects stand out in my mind, they weren't especially unique but I remember the synthesized space noises and the sirens of the self-destructing technology were unnerving
  • I believe it was cel animated with painted backgrounds

Sorry for all the vagueness, I may have misremembered some parts-- if you can think of something that fits some criteria but not the others, feel free to offer it up. The only things I remember for sure are the spaceship, suspenseful collapse/escape sequence, and feelings of unease it gave me.

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  • Hmmm… What about Crusher Joe? It’s an anime movie from 1983 that is up on YouTube dubbed in Russian, but was dubbed into English by a few companies in the 1990s. – Giacomo1968 Jun 14 '20 at 3:12
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    @JakeGould I'm sure it wasn't anime, but thanks anyway – Gelatino Jun 14 '20 at 3:35
  • Are you sure it was a TV cartoon? The computer game Space Quest I hits many of those points, and the 1991 VGA remake has a vaguely cartoonish feel. – R.M. Jun 14 '20 at 5:10
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"Space Ghost" made use of a small-cabined ship, and often featured caverns full of exotic machinery and robots. Many of the villains were anthropomorphic creatures (insects, etc.). Moreover, the show was a Filmation production which made use of the cel-over-layout structure you remember. "Space Ghost" often used an almost noir style in it's music and pacing.

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  • This isn't it either, but thanks for the help – Gelatino Jun 13 '20 at 22:56
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Maybe The New Adventures of Flash Gordon, animated series 1979-1982.

Some scenes feature caves where this lizard people enslave the characters (one of them is a Lion Anthro).

A group of the lizard people in a cave, all appear to be female, the lead one is holding a whip

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  • I don't think that was it. Though I can't remember the characters very well, I can say they didn't have a "realistic" build like the characters from this show. Thanks for helping narrow it down a little – Gelatino Jun 13 '20 at 16:43
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What you describe is a good match for an episode of Ulysses 31 called "Before the Flood"

It was made in the early 1980's, and uses cell animation, most episodes were set in space but this one begins in space then moved to an underground city on a planet. Episode length is 30mins. A small spacecraft that only seats a small number of people is used. There is also a large robotic looking structure, actually a spacecraft with a humanoid head at the tail end. There is a chase sequence to escape the underground city as it implodes/collapses and there are flashing red lights as you describe. You can watch this episode on Youtube here...

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Rocket Robin Hood. Small space ships, crew of two. Sherwood Asteroid and lots of underground cave adventures. Cell animation. Lots of 1970 funky jazz music and throbbing alarms. I loved this show as a kid!

Rocket Robin Hood sitting in his chair at the controls of his spaceship

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