Western Animation: Redakai
Redakai: Conquer The Kairu
is a Merchandise-Driven
cartoon series and card game developed by SpinMaster. The game centers around cards (Called "X-Drives
") that are made of clear plastic and have several transparent portions. There are three types of cards: Characters, who you start with three of, Monsters, which change the defenses and abilities of characters, and attacks, which damage opponents. First player to knock out all three of their opponents wins.
The Cartoon centers around a boy named Ky Stax and his friends Boomer and Maya who quest around the world trying to collect an energy called "Kairu", the life energy of the universe before the villain Lokar and his minions find it first. They do this by fighting other teams and transforming into monsters. The episodes are different every week without much of an overarching plot.
Redakai came in with a lot of fanfare but fell by the wayside in the United States after just a few months due to overwhelmingly negative reception.
There is in fact a Season 2 subtitled "Shadow of Lokar" that was in production and has been completed for some time now. Season 2 episodes have begun airing October 3, 2012...in France
... However, some countries like Australia are airing the English episodes (with the US having no sign of airing them at all) and can be found online if you know where to look
This series provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The show relies a lot on its supplementary materials to tell the story, such as the website and promotional videos carrying key plot points that often aren't visited in the show itself.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: About halfway through, these sorts of tips started coming up at the ends of each episodes, sometimes tips on how to play the card games and sometimes general advice. However, the card-game tips typically aren't applicable to the actual game.
- Anti-Hero: Team Stax.
- Artistic License – Physics: Lampshaded.
Techris: They should be doing faceplants into the chasm right now, not climbing to freedom!
- Big Bad: Lokar.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Zane in season 2 up until halfway in, though he does manage to corral Team Imperiaz to his side.
- The Big Guy: Boomer
- Broken Aesop: Episode four is about a macguffin which siphons Kairu from the surrounding forest, causing it to wither and die. Once the macguffin is dealt with the forest instantly heals, sending the message that environmental damage is easy to fix.
Boomer:Wow, when it comes to nature, you don't mess around, Maya!
- The Brute: Bash, and Techris, too, though less dumb then Bash.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Lokar and all of the E-Teens, even the Imperiaz who should otherwise be Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains.
- Season 2 shows a bit more sympathy towards Team Imperiaz, though not enough to stop yanking their chain.
- Cash Cow Franchise: Subverted. It was intended to be one if the huge amounts of promotions and merchandise are any indication. It was likely being groomed as the successor to Bakugan, but the lackluster TV show and high prices dashed it against the rocks.
- The Chick: Maya
- Creepy Twins: Team Hiverax brothers Vexus, Hexus, and Nexus most definitely.
- Twin Telepathy: They can communicate with each other mentally which leads to a lot of...
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The fact that they know whats on each others minds also allow them perfect synergy in battle, including...
- Fusion Dance: The ability to fuse their monsters Wendrax, Fangrax, and Neurax together into Hydrax.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: They all sound alike, so the only way to know who's who is to memorize what name goes with what emblem and eye color; Vexus is green, Hexus is red, and Nexus is blue.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: They're actually robots/androids created by Lokar himself. We find this out at the end of season 2 when he destroys them for disobeying him. It explains pretty much everything about them.
- Daddy's Girl: Season 2 episode "The Escape of the Imperiaz" shows Diara is this to her father, King Berkby, with Diara herself admitting as such.
- The Dark Chick: Zair
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Falling/being dragged into a Shadow Kairu-infested lake causes Ekayon, and later Maya and Boomer, to become this. Before Ky finds a way to fix them, the three tried to get/force Ky to take a dip as well.
- Flat Character: Our heroes.
- However, throughout the various 52 something episodes, we do learn more about them, their quirks and foibles than we knew going in. By the end of season 2, they're not as flat and are more rounded.
- Follow the Leader: It lists one of its biggest selling points as being like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Bakugan.
- The Hero: Ky; his father Conner, too.
- Two Girls to a Team: Team Imperiaz.
- Golden Super Mode: "Gold" versions of monsters tend to be very powerful.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Team Stax and Team Radikor. Also newbie Team Tiro. It's implied that Two Guys and a Girl is the average.
- It's All My Fault/Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ky knows the spread of Shadow Kairu was his fault and beats himself up over it.
- Kill It With Plasma: Metanoid's abilities are plasma-based: Plasma hands, plasma sword, etc.
- Many of Infinita's moves also use fire.
- Last of His Kind: Mookee comes from a world that was destroyed by Lokar and is, allegedly, the last of his kind.
- Limited Wardrobe: Everyone really, though in season 2 Team Stax do get variations on there clothes: Ky's vest becoming a long sleeve jacket, Maya gaining a red-and-white vest, and Bommer's vest becoming white and silver.
- Evil Costume Switch: Team Radicor in season 2, though they were always 'evil'. Not much changes really: Zair gains a red jacket, Zane gains a new cloak from Lokar's tattered robe, with Techris being the most obvious in a new "jumpsuit" with a new haircut.
- Loners Are Freaks: Subverted with Ekayon. He is relatively sociable when around Team Stax (though he did attack them when they first met on the assumption that they were E-Teens) and can, and does, work with them when necessary, but openly prefers to work alone even after meeting Team Stax and getting off well with them. He is shown to be pretty successful on his own, too.
- Luke, I Am Your Grandfather: Lokar is Maya's Grandfather.
- Meaningful Name: Some of the names. For example, Team Hiverax, as in HIVE-mind; the brothers are all on the same wavelenth, and Team Imperiaz, as in Imperial, that is, they're royalty.
- Minimalist Cast: Although the cast isn't small per se, there is a noticeable 'limitation', if you will, of characters in this show, with Team Stax seemingly the only good guys collecting Kairu until Ekayon comes along over halfway into the first season. Even then, he almost never shows up. There are more Redakai Masters other then Master Boaddai, so presumably, there are more good guy teams out there, yet we never see them and Lokar's E-Teens always end up targeting Team Stax. Due to the Kairu deposits often being in the wilderness, we see few characters of the day and even fewer recurring characters other than the E-Teens, making the character pool seem shallow compared to other shows of this type. Even season 2 doesn't do much to change it despite the new characters, Master Boaddai gaining new trainees, and Team Hiverax replacing Team Badicor. In fact it makes things worse by recycling a good deal of season one's characters of the day. At least the whole "We might see them again." bit isn't a lie here.
- New Season, New Name: Season one's "Conquer the Kairu" becomes season two's "Shadow of Lokar".
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Happens a lot with X-Drive Ass Pulls, but Ky's "Inner Kairu" is a particularly bad offender.
- Heck, it's practically an Invoked Trope, as it is said that one's Inner Kairu develops when the time is right...
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Cataclysm that wound up throwing the Kairu energy all over the world in the first place was caused by Ky's Dad, Conner Stax.
- Parents in Distress: The Imperiaz only work for Lokar because he is keeping their parents as hostages. In season 2 episode "The Escape of the Imperiaz", Diara, Koz, and Teeny finally find their parents Nan and Berkby in a crystal prison in a cavern, only to run smack into Team Radikor. Zane then forces them to work for him under the same stipulations as Lokar.
- Product Promotion Parade: Happens near the end of each episode. Getting the Kairu Energy "unlocks new X-Drives". It's like the characters just opened a booster pack as they list off what they all got. Late season 1 and season 2 tone this down some or mixes it up a bit.
- The Rival: Zane.
- Rival Turned Evil: Though Zane was always evil, once Lokar's out of the picture or so it seems... and he finds his X-Reader, he really loses it, declaring himself the one in charge over his own teammates and later even Team Imperiaz. He even dons Lokar's tattered robe as a cloak for emphasis.
- Zane was also a peer of Ky's and trained with him under the same Master when they were younger. His very bad attitude and dishonorable ways got him kicked out, which led him to joining Lokar.
- Robotic Reveal: Team Hiverax. It happens toward the end of season 2. Turns out they were built by Lokar, which we found out as he destroyed them for their betrayal/disobedience.
- Rogues Gallery: Lokar's E-Teen Teams would each take turns more-or-less with heckling Team Stax for the current Kairu deposit during an episode. The different Teams generally wouldn't interact with each other with some exceptions, more so later on in Season 1 and onward.
- Scenery Porn: Yes indeed! This show's art in general is very good, and often times the 'camera' pans out to show off the various beautiful landscapes and backdrops that Team Stax inevitably visit on their quest for Kairu. (Tellingly, they never visit populated cities, only small villages at most.) For some, the art is the primary reason for watching the show (if not the only reason).
- Ship Tease: Maya and Kieran in the latter's appearances. In Kieran's second appearance in a season 2 episode, Ky and Boomer definitely put the tease in Ship Tease for Maya, thus emphasizing it even more.
- The Sixth Ranger: Though not a permanent fixture, Ekayon is about as close as this show gets.
- Storming the Castle: Interestingly, this is done during the first episode of season 2 (rather than the end of season 1, due to the Kairu Tornament). Team Stax and Conner storm Lokar's Keep with the end result being an explosion that ruins the Keep and seemingly takes out Lokar. (Keyword being 'seemingly'.) Said explosion was caused by a container filled with large quantities of Lokar's stored and corrupted Kairu that Ky accidentally fires at in a battle. This explosion scatters the Shadow Kairu energy across the globe, thus setting up the premise for the season: find and collect the dangerous Shadow Kairu.
- Strictly Formula: Up until about when Ekayon first showed up, two-thirds into season 1, the episodes had a pretty standard formula: Master Boaddai would sense the location of a Kairu deposit and send Team Stax to collect it. They would arrive at the general location and try to pin-point the exact whereabouts with their X-Readers and Maya's ability to sense Kairu. Along the way, the E-Teens of the day, who happened to be looking for the exact same Kairu deposit Team Stax were, would intercept them (or vise-versa). A Kairu challenge would happen (with powers and no monsters) and Team Stax would usually (but not always) drive them off temporarily. They'd continue searching for and eventually find the Kairu deposit, only to come by the same E-Teens again. Another Kairu challenge (with monsters this time), with Team Stax usually coming out on top. They collect the Kairu, get new X-Drives they may or may not use, and go home feeling better about themselves, with a possible scene of Lokar reprimanding the failed E-Teens (additional obstacles when looking for the Kairu are optional). Once Ekayon first appears and onward however, the formula gets shaken up bit by bit. Early season 2, for example, has Team Stax not win as many decisive victories, even losing the Kairu to the Hiverax and failing to beat Team Radicor the second time around.
- Tagalong Kid: Mookee kinda filled this role early on, but it wasn't long before his appearances became more sporadic to the point were he stopped even being on the X-Scaper and just stayed at the monastery.
- The Stoic: Techris.
- Valley Girl: Princess Diara.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Bruticon
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Team Imperiaz in regards to rescuing their parents. All of season 1, Lokar was blackmailing them to find him Kairu with no inclination that he would ever free their parents. Then comes season 2 with Lokar seemingly out of the picture: they finally find their parents only to run afoul of Zane who takes up Lokar's blackmail to coerce services to himself. They then enlist Team Stax for help in taking down the Radicor, with some reluctance on Boomer and Maya's part, only to have that blow over, forcing them to double cross Team Stax (for the second time in the series). Even when the two E-Teen groups drive off Team Stax, Zane reveals he has no intention of releasing Nan and Berkby ever, and continues using them as leverage. It's unfortunate; if only the Imperiaz had the courage to stand up to Team Radicor's threats alongside Team Stax...