Sometimes you look back at things you loved as a child and you wonder. You wonder what you were thinking, you wonder what it says about you, you wonder if you were alone.
For me, that thing is Animorphs.
More specifically, it’s the character of Tobias in Animorphs.
You see, Tobias is not a person. Well, he's not always a person. Tobias is a bird.
Okay, a little context for those of you who did not grow up watching Nickelodeon shows in the late '90s. Animorphs was a children's book series turned TV show that ran from 1998 to 2000. It's part of the reason a lot of young girls grew up with crushes on Shawn Ashmore (okay, fine, X-Men probably had something to do with that), and it's the reason that, to this day, when I see Paulo Costanzo's name I picture a big blue centaur thing.
It was about a group of kids who stumbled onto a crashed alien ship and got magical powers that let them morph into any animal after touching it and … I don't really know, assimilating its essence or something? Basically, it taught kids to go wandering around the woods at night, to approach strange glowing spaceships and to definitely touch that bright glowing cube that the giant buglike alien hands you because it will definitely give you superpowers and turn you into interesting book covers that were also kinda nightmare fuel.
Anyway, all the kids got fancy turn-into-your-pets and also a bizarre number of wild animals that let you touch them without biting your face off magical alien powers, but Tobias was special because he was a rule breaker. You see, there's really only one rule of being an Animorph: You cannot stay in your animal form for more than two hours.
Tobias breaks that rule pretty much immediately, staying a hawk when he gets trapped in an enemy lair, and he gets stuck that way. He's a talking bird for a huge portion of the series and … I kinda liked it. He was kinda mysterious, and he had an air about him where he was simultaneously "from the wrong side of the tracks" and a secret poet who would definitely make you a mixtape of, like, The Cure and stuff.
Wait, does that make me a furry? Shut up, fellow Animorphs fan, you were kinda into it too, so don't give me that disapproving glare.
But, as with all things, I have questions. Like, did he build a nest or sleep at other people's houses? Did the other Animorphs have like a Tobias time-share where they each were just randomly caring for a bird of prey for a week and their parents were totally fine with it? Was he still attracted to human females or did his hawk instincts take over and he found himself with the urgent need to preen and strut and show off to other lady-hawks?
And did ANYONE at school notice that this kid was missing or that suddenly there was a giant bird trying to take algebra?