Teen Titans tek's rating: ½

Teen Titans, Cartoon Network
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Well, this is clearly not related to the DCAU cartoons (Batman, Superman, Justice League, et al.) Which is kind of good in a way; being a stand-alone series means it can do its own thing without worrying about anything that's been established by those series. Of course, it's also more... well, cartoony (and very much anime-influenced), than those shows. Which isn't a bad thing, either. It gives it a chance to be a fun show, not too serious, more silly. Still, the early plots are sometimes a bit cliched, if generally entertaining enough. But it gets better as the series progresses. There are some very serious storylines that develop....

Anyway, the show's about this group of teenage superheroes who live together in a T-shaped tower. The leader is Robin, who was of course formerly Batman's sidekick, though we never see Batman in this series at all. But Robin's the only character in the show with whom I was previously familiar from other stuff. Other Titans include Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg. Of course the heroes battle different villains each week, but the pilot introduced the mysterious Slade as the major recurring villain. (I say "pilot" because it was the first episode aired, though actually it was the third in the show's timeline, apparently.) The episode also introduced another major group of villains, kids who had trained at the H.I.V.E. Academy, including Jinx, Gizmo, and Mammoth. Other members of H.I.V.E. will occasionally be seen, later, I think.

Anyway, Robin gets pretty obsessed with stopping Slade, while Slade would like to turn Robin to his side. Later, a character named Terra is introduced. Beast Boy has a crush on her, and she's eventually invited to join the Titans. However, it turns out she's working for Slade. Eventually Slade and Terra are both defeated, but things sometimes happen to make it seem Slade may return. And indeed he does, as part of a storyline about Raven's destiny, which involves the end of the world, in season 4.

Well, lots of different stuff happens throughout the series. Various one-shot villains, various recurring villains, various stand alone stories, as well as story arcs. There's a second group called Titans East established in season 3, with some help from Cyborg. Season 5 mostly is about the Brotherhood of Evil, who are fought by a group of superheroes called the Doom Patrol, of which Beast Boy was a member prior to joining the Titans. And now the Titans get involved in the fight against the Brotherhood. And not just the main group of Titans and Titans East, but eventually all sorts of Titans from around the world, many of whom had never been introduced in this series prior to this season's arc.

Dunno what else to say right now, except that the theme song is performed by popular J-pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, which I think is pretty cool... Some weeks they sing it in English, some weeks in (mostly) Japanese. And as a special service to any of you out there who, like me, always found it a bit unfair that every Titan except Cyborg gets a number at the end of the theme song ("one, two, three, four, go!"), let me share this little epiphany I had one day: "go" is Japanese for "five." Oh, and I once had some Teen Titans Hero Pops, which I thought were some of the best popsicles ever. So I'm disappointed that they don't seem to be making them anymore.

See also the TV movie Trouble in Tokyo


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