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Did you watch the pilot to the show? Well, you have seen 80% of the best jokes.
I had high hopes for this show, I thought it will be on pair with "Over the Garden Wall", "Steven Universe" or "Gravity Fall". An end product is just okay.
The first episode leaves strong impressions. Main heroes are very likable, mystery intriguing and fist cart creative. But as the show goes on the new 'words' they visit lean closer to random that fascinating. And Tulip's emotional arc, while very mature, is really predictable. I never really felt her emotion, despite going through a few similar experiences to her.
And the main mystery, the train. This paragraph will contain tiny spoilers, but I still suggest you read it. Ready? Set? Go: we never learn what it is. We learn a few things about it, but core questions "what's the point of it? What it gains from doing this and that?" are never answered and frankly, that really disappointed me. The concept is what too complicated and detailed to brush off like Tooth Fairy, the thing that just does a thing just because.
So it a bad cartoon? ...Probably not. You can still watch it, it's less than 2 hours, but I seriously suggest you lower your expectations from 1st episode. There are rumors about a sequel, but I'm not holding my breath.
I really don't like modern cartoons at all. I hate their annoying art styles that I find unpleasant to look at. I hate their style of humor. I hate their lack of good storytelling.
Not that the past was perfect, mind you - 1980s cartoons may have been far more story-driven, but they tended to mostly use the same standard realistic drawing style again and again. The 1990s tried too hard to be Darker and Edgier.
But finally, out of nowhere, here's a cartoon short, a pilot episode even, that shows real promise. It's the most refreshing thing I've seen in a long time, possibly since Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Infinity Train may currently only be a test pilot thrown out by Cartoon Network to see if there's enough interest in a full show, but already there's a rapidly forming fandom that's spreading the word, creating fan art, and more. I happened to discover the show because it showed up recommended on YouTube. So, what's the fuss?
Well, what we have here is a mystery-themed adventure, with a lot of humor that's not too obnoxious and is genuinely clever. The pilot episode establishes things very quickly: an intelligent girl of indeterminate age (middle school?) named Tulip is lost on a reality-bending train with a humorous duo of combinable tiny robots that follow her orders. Any train car can be absolutely anything, and many contain puzzles for her to solve before she can move on to the next. And we see her enter a train car that opens into an expansive world run by dogs who are being menaced by rising tides and some kind of monster.
We're introduced to a bunch of genuine mysteries that hint at a much larger narrative. Some are set up clearly, like the number on Tulip's hand. What does it mean, and why does it decrease not by 1, but by 4, after the strange robotic "Steward" is scared off? Some mysteries are solved during the episode, like the cause of the tides, and the appearance of the "monster". And some mysteries are outright brought up. The biggest being the robotic Steward. It looks creepy, like some kind of spider-like collection of wires with a human-like mask face. It attacks not Tulip, but her robots, then tells Tulip to "get back in [her] seat" before it leaves through a hole in the "sky" of the mini-world within the train car. That raises far more questions than it answers - actually, we get no answers at all!
This cartoon has a lot of promise. For once, I don't mind the art style and find it to have its own charm. It contains tons of mysteries both big and small, both ones that are solved within the space of the episode, and ones that linger. It's adventure-oriented and story-driven, and much of the humor is actually subdued and witty. I can see myself watching this if it gets picked up as a full series, and I really hope it does. It's a breath of fresh air in an industry that I feel badly needs one.
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