Reviews: Sym Bionic Titan
Intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying
Sym-bionic Titan is a show I'd have liked to see continue. It's clearly something the creators thought long and hard about, setting things up, establishing backstory, analyzing characters and laying plot threads... .. And it really doesn't go anywhere. Our three main characters aren't without chemistry, but the story never really takes advantage of it, nor does it really expand on it. This isn't through a lack of effort! No, the trouble lies in the lack of any real secondary characters. Aside from the villains, we have Kimmy... and that's about it. We get two villains - Modula and Steel, neither of whom is ever fleshed out enough to really do much for the story. Steel is a generic General Ripper, which isn't a bad thing on its own, and Modula never really gets a chance to do anything other than rhasp and throw monsters at some teenagers. He feels like someone who SHOULD be threatening, but who I wind up wanting to snark at instead. This is the series' underlying problem. It sets things up, but never delivers. The characters are sympathetic, but never become likable. The villains are obstacles, but never scary. The monsters are cool looking, but never interesting. I would go so far as to describe this series as Power Rangers, minus the inherent silliness, with no added substance. The fights with the Mutraddi beasts tend to feel tacked on, the lack of secondary characters causes the main ones to grow rather stale quickly, and there's never any real sense of peril or emotion. The series certainly DID improve as time went on, which leads me to my biggest woe. Had it been allowed to go on, I have no doubt that it would have grown the beard. But it left us too soon, before it could ever really mature. Give it a look see though. Unsatisfying as a whole, but not a waste of time. If it gains a big enough fanbase, it may yet return to grow its wings.
Not Your Average Robot 'Toon
It's sad to see this show come to its untimely end. It seems as though every time I love a show on Cartoon Network, they cancel it before its run is truly over. The first time I saw a trailer for the show, I was half-asleep, extremely tired, and under the influence of cold medicine. All I remember was seeing Lance and mistaking him for the opposite gender. I completely forgot about this until the day of the premier when my friend was hyping it up. I decided to give it a try... and I fell in love. It's not a generic high school comedy 'toon, and it's not your average robot show either. It manages to combine the two and make it work, while keeping the humor and action elements intact. That's what kept me hooked. It was action-y enough to keep my attention, and humorous enough to convince my family and friends to watch it with me. I'm extremely disappointed that CN didn't make the decision to renew this show for another season. I was overly excited to find out how many of the overarching storylines would end; but the show's life was cut short before my questions were answered. The ending dissatisfied me as well- I expected more of a Downer Ending than what they gave us, but complaining won't change that, I suppose. Overall, in my opinion, this is a great show with plenty of action, humor and amazing art to boot. Its flaws are few and far between, and most of them can be attributed to its getting Screwed By The Network. So what are you waiting for? Go watch it! Now!
One Season Wonder?
I can't help feeling that this show is (intentionally) being written with only one season in mind. The plots to resolve have been few and far, and some episodes (such as "Roar Of The White Dragon") feel like pure filler. As I write this, I can only think of three major things still left unresolved:
- The story of how General Modula was "betrayed" by the King (probably a misunderstanding coupled with alien possession.)
- The origin of The Titan, which probably involves Octus' as well;
- The revelation of who is Solomon's master (almost surely Lance's father. )
A Great Work that will Never Lose Its Spark
The first trailer of the series that this troper saw showed just the Titan stomping through a field, making it look like little more than "just another giant robot series." But after some convincing from a friend, I watched it and saw not a generic show about giant robots, but a well-developed story about three individuals trying to adjust to a new setting, with the feelings and anxieties that come with the situation. Our stars Lance, Ilana, and Octus have more dimensionality and charm to them than most animation, nay live-action shows would care to put into their characters, but unfortunately those often get more recognition than this show. Having grown up with watching The Powerpuff Girls, there's some sweet nostalgia of seeing the familiar Genndy Tartakovsky design and story quirks as well as an even sweeter satisfactation of seeing that style take whole new levels of badassery and a genuine sense of heartfelt storytelling. Not only that, but it's combined with some of the most spectacular CGI blending that this troper has ever seen in a TV show as well as some great traditional animation, fantastic voice work, and pretty good music as well. One thing that impressed me the most is its cinematic style of using music to substitute for sound effects, like in the endings of episode 13 and 18; stylistic choices like that make for more poignancy than just sound or dialogue ever could and it's not something you see a lot of these days. It's a real shame to me and my friend (who's also a huge fan) that this show is getting cut off after not even 26 episodes. There's just a bit too much to wrap up in the remaining two episodes, and one can only wonder how far this show might have gotten if it lasted longer. But what this troper is most definitely sure of is that nothing can quite replace the feeling Sym-Bionic Titan and its characters gave: a renewed sense that a story that's as smart as this can really impact audiences today. The show has had its day in the sun, however short-lived, but I have a feeling that a cult following is soon to follow. Like a good teen comedy, it can be adorable and heartwarming even as it shows the comedic cruelty and awkwardness of high school and like all great anime it's equal portions awesome and thoughtful. To me, Sym-Bionic Titan is another addition to the shows that I'll always treasure.