tek's rating: ½

Sym-Bionic Titan, on Cartoon Network
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streaming sites: iTunes

First of all, the premise kinda sounds like a mash-up of various shows I've seen before any number of times, but then again lots of shows are like that. Certainly I was more than willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt, because it's created by Genndy Tartakovsky, who made several cartoons I really loved (Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, etc.) I thought this show was kinda cool at first, and it got continuously cooler as the series progressed. If it lasted longer, no doubt it would have gotten cooler still. Unfortunately, it seems to have been cancelled after one season. (Though I swear at one point they called one episode the first season finale and later called the next one the second season premiere, now they seem to call it all one season; I hate when that happens.) Anyway, there's just so much left unresolved, so I'm not giving up yet on the series continuing somehow, somewhere, sometime. We'll see.

Anyway, here's the plot: There's a planet called Galaluna, which is in the middle of a terrible war against General Modula. He was formerly one of Galaluna's greatest warriors, but after being presumed dead and left behind in a battle against creatures called Mutraddi, he eventually learned to control the Mutraddi. With them as his army, he returned to Galaluna and essentially defeated it. Though there's still a ragtag resistance, they're constantly on the verge of being wiped out, and the rightful king of Galaluna is Modula's prisoner. Meanwhile, Princess Ilana escaped to Earth, along with two protectors: an elite soldier named Lance, and a bio-cybernetic robot called Octus. They're trying to blend in with Earth society, in the town of Sherman, Illinois, where they quickly acquired a house, and started going to high school. Octus has a mostly transparent body, but he can project holograms to disguise himself however he chooses, most commonly as either Ilana and Lance's "father," or a nerdy student called "Newton," who goes to school with them. (At first I didn't get the impression that Newton was supposed to be related to them, but later on it seems like he is, though I'm not sure how exactly.) Lance quickly became very popular at school, even though he takes little interest in anything except his duty to protect Ilana. Still, the two of them often argue, so Octus has to be a more rational influence on them. (There is a vague concept that Ilana is the heart of the team, Lance is the body, and Octus is the mind.)

But life isn't simple for the three of them, because General Modula continues to send monsters to Earth to find and kill them, so that the rightful heir to the throne couldn't lead a rebellion against him, or whatever. Ilana, however, can activate robotic armor called Corus, while Lance can activate armor called Manus. And the two of them can combine with Octus to form the Sym-Bionic Titan, a much huger robot (with a mostly transparent body) with various weapons and such. So, they continue to defeat the monsters Modula sends. But there are also humans who don't trust the Titan. There's a general named Steel who sees both Titan and the monsters it battles as alien threats, and wants to destroy them all. And there's a mysterious guy named Solomon, who leads the Galactic Guardian Group (G3), which is kind of a Men In Black-type of organization, I guess, defending the world against aliens. (Steel and Solomon do not get along.) However, we don't see much of Solomon or G3 until the first season finale (or rather the middle of the first season, I guess). But there are hints of someone Solomon works for, the identity of whom viewers might well guess, though by the end of the series the truth hadn't yet been revealed.

Anyway... the stories are often kind of simplistic, even cliched; but I do like the characters, and there's some genuine depth. The long-term story arc is pretty good, and I really wish more could have been learned about everything. There were occasionally some interesting flashbacks to life on Galaluna. What else can I say? Modula is a pretty good villain, both powerful and clever. Even though so far the heroes always win, the villain does make some progress. I do enjoy the fact that while the show can be funny and kind of... cartoony... it can also be pretty serious and dark. Oh yeah, and the fanservice isn't bad, either (I mean, for a show that's somewhat kid-safe). And that's all I can think to say, I guess.

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