Well, Xiaolin Chronicles is finally upon us. I will be reviewing each episode as they come out and giving you my thoughts on them, and you can leave your opinion in the comments or in the forums. This is the review of the first episode: New Monk on the Block. Since it was known beforehand that this show would have many changes, this review will be split in two parts. The first part will be about all the changes to the show in general, and the second part will be about this specific episode. (WARNING: The overview of the whole series so far may contain spoilers of the three episodes that have been released.)
Changes to the Show
One of the biggest changes to the show was voice acting. Now, you can tell that the characters have new voice actors; they’re not amazingly similar. But they do sound good. They are different, but they each fit their role, and sound like older versions of their characters, which I think is what they were going with. They wouldn’t sound the same anyway if they aged (except for Omi).
And going along with new voice actors is new Wu designs, some new abilities, and names. For the most part, I think the names of the Wu fit the ability of the Wu very well, for the most part. Kimiko’s Wu name is just flip-flopped, but Raimundo’s Wu appears to be named after a person now instead of storms. There have been Wu named after people, so it’s not a new thing, but it feels different for Raimundo’s Wu.
And the final part of the XC changes is animation, both 2D and 3D. The 2D animation is amazing, just like the original show. It is a slightly different art style than the original Xiaolin Showdown, but is a good art style, and I enjoyed watching all the action scenes in it. The 3D, however, was just decent. The animation is the level of CGI in most T.V. shows nowadays. The characters seemed to move slower than they did in 2D, although that may have been me. I didn’t hate watching the 3D animation, but as of now, I enjoy the 2D showdowns better.
New Monk on the Block
New Monk on the Block had a lot riding on it. Many old Xiaolin Showdown fans have been waiting seven years for this show, and the many changes to the show left most people cautiously optimistic. So, how did the first episode do? It was a pretty good episode.
The episode starts off well, with a nice introduction to the show. However, this introduction also spoils who the new apprentice will be, the main story of this episode. Most people probably could guess anyways, but I think they shouldn’t have added Ping Pong into the intro until after he officially became an apprentice. Master Fung introducing the monks is nice, and they give a very good reason as to why an apprentice is needed. Part of becoming a master is teaching others. Omi is hilarious as a drill instructor, and the humor of the show is there just as before, along with Omi’s slang. Ping Pong, who I originally thought of as an Omi clone, does have his own personality. I found him a lovable character, and I can’t wait to see him use his element.
I do like how the show can be watched by new viewers to the Xiaolin world as well, with Master Fung telling the story of Wuya and Dashi. One interesting piece of information from this story is that Xiaolin dragons made Wu throughout time, and Dashi didn’t make all the Wu. Could our Xiaolin monks make their own Wu one day? Anyway, the modified story is pretty good, although I think it’s silly that Wuya was trapped in a spring instead of a puzzle box. On the villains’’ side, Jack Spicer acts a lot like his old self, which is good to see. It’s not really explained where he went after the end of Xiaolin Showdown, which I hope they will later. It’s also not explained how Wuya got back into her ghost form as well. Another thing not explained about Wuya is how she is holding the Monkey Spear, something she could never do in the old show. If she can hold Wu, why does she need Jack to get the Bubble Brains?
The introduction of Willow is nice, and it reminds me of the Screams of the Siren episode with the cliffhanger at the end. She is a good fighter, and it’s hinted at her magic when she throws a snowball with a little more power than normal. The Bubble Brains Shen Gong Wu has a pretty good ability, but it doesn’t seem to have much use except for Wuya. Perhaps they will show off its powers later, and make it a powerful weapon.
As for the showdown itself, Ping Pong was very clever with his use of the Orb of Torpedo. Omi’s jealousy is a nice plot point to spread out over the next few episodes, and it makes sense based on Omi’s character. Overall, the episode was a nice opening. There were some changes from the original show I didn’t like, but most of them I did. It leaves a lot open in the future, and has a nice cliff hanger to get you to watch the next one. It is watchable by old fans and new fans alike, which is an added plus. When you put all the changes aside, it still has the humor and action that made the original show a hit.