Reviews: Megas XLR
Kiva is an Action Girl. This isn't a surprise. Nearly every show tries to put one in, but it doesn't always work. In fact, because female characters tend to have realistic weaknesses, it pretty much always fails. The character will fall in love, get kidnapped, get injured, and no matter what her background (such as an Action Girl fighting in an alternate universe having to be saved by a doll), will not be the one saving the day. Not Kiva. Kiva's background is mainly unstated, but she is an insanely young commander fighting to defend Earth, and singlehandedly createdpiloted MEGAS. So when she gets to the past to discover that Coop's modified MEGAS beyond salvaging, she takes over, trains the Idiot Hero...and is the best-played Action Girl to date. Does she have weaknesses? Yep. She can't pilot MEGAS, or even survive in the present without Coop and Jamie. But she is still a hardened warrior who, by the midpoint of the season, has both boys so well trained a look from her is enough to get them to behavenot destroy things. Admittedly, it was disappointing that an entire episode devoted to her fighting a pirate stalker (Space Booty) didn't show her kicking anyone in the crotch, but given the fact that it was on Cartoon Network, it wasn't too detracting. As a character, Kiva is impressive. As an Action Girl, she is the most impressive character on television yet. Not bad for a show about a giant robot.
Mecha done different, done right.
What makes a series work? Is it conforming to the standards of it's genre? Pushing the standards? Nope. It's letting us have a good time. And I'll be damned if Megas XLR isn't fun from start to finish. The characters are just engaging enough to relate to, yet distant enough that you can put them into different scenarios and still get a laugh. Kiva plays the Action Girl role to the hilt, as well as pulling extra duty as the Fish Out Of Temporal Water and Straight Man to her allies antics. Jamie is the quintessential sidekick, sympathetic enough that you can root for him and laugh with his snarks, and yet perfectly suited to be laughed at as well. Coop? Coop's everything you could ask for in a protagonist rolled into one. He's a cool dude, he's pretty much One Of Us, a gamer and just a regular guy who happens to have a giant robot car. He makes trashing alien overlords fun to watch, not as good triumphing over evil, but Coop smashing stuff for the rest of us to enjoy, while still being the good guy. The show could have gone a lot of ways. Episode 1 starts off with a bleak future, drama reminescent of Gundam all over the place. Then it never shows up again. Why? For fun. Why does Coop join up with an obviously evil guy for gladiatoral fights? Not because he could fix the mech's time machine, but because he could be the champ. Why? For fun. Every episode just enjoys the scenario as it comes, making hillarious light of what other shows would cry out as horrible tragedies. Planetary destruction was never this funny. To make this better, the show knows it's action. Punchs, kicks, wrestling, karate, swords, weapons, Grievous Harm With A Body, oh so many misslies, all things commonly used and played with for the hell of it. The action stays fresh, and never gets dull. The Music takes all of this, and makes it nothing but epic. From the most kickass opening theme I've heard to surf rock to blaring metal to Ominous Latin Chanting, nothing is left without suitable music to go by. Or sometimes very unsuitable music that makes it all the funnier. And of course, oh so many parodies. It's a fountain of pop culture, movie, anime, and game references, with seemingly everything they could think of. I give it my highest recommendation. I dig Giant robots, you dig giant robots, we dig giant robots, chicks dig giant robots. Nice.