Yes, I'm kind of back but still dealing with Sandy related issues and getting ready for college in about a week. Well, I just saw the first 3 episodes of Xiaolin Chronicles and I have to say - they were.........................eh. I mean, don't get me wrong but I have quite a bit to say about these three episodes so tomorrow - I'm going to post my thoughts on these three as well as the animation, place settings, each character and how the episodes played out based on several factors I hold highly. So, if nobody has a problem with it - I'll post my thoughts tomorrow since it is getting kind of late here but I'll go ahead and post sections of what I'm going to discuss and critique..
Episodes in Summary
First of all, I love the opening of the show - even though it has taken the route of the 30 second openings which I usually am sad about (and don't get me started with 10 second openings - 2011 Thundercats opening sucked), it feels very reminiscent of the old opening and I like the update with animation in it as well. I like how it actually has some word dialogue in it as well so if nothing else, I'll watch the opening with excitement and keen interest.
The episodes themselves - I thought they were okay overall. I do think it was a strong three partner that set up the new team, the new characters and what we will be expecting. I like how they showed us the old temple first and it being destroyed at the end of the three partner - leading up to the new temple which we will see later. Who knows, maybe Master Monk Guan will make an appearance and he'll lead them to a temple - possibilities are teeming. I do enjoy Ping Pong's development and how the other monks are really enjoying his company and his helpfulness in things - I have a feeling Raimundo is going to take advantage of Ping Pong's willingness to do other's chores. I did enjoy the evil plot and how Heylin seems to have gotten stronger with the destruction of the temple and now, having no Shen Gong Wu of their own so back to the drawing board - great way to start a new journey. I will mention by critiques below but yeah, overall - episodes as a whole were pretty good but the problems lower the score for me because I am a big fan of the show and I'm a nitpicker so when I see things like this, *sad face*
Characters - Old and New
First of all, I think they captured all the characters well with their personalities and actions on how the fight and interact. Omi is still the same as ever and it's great to see and his wonderful faces are the best, my favorite being when Kimiko chokes him to show them where the vault is but my favorite will always be the one from Omi Town. I didn't think I would like Dojo's new look but it's actually really nice and I'm down with. However, I really don't like what they did with Cyclops and Tubbimura - Tubbimura looks like he went on the Biggest Loser reality show and lost weight and Cyclops looks like he has the Benjamin Button syndrome of aging backwards; he looks smaller and more childish to me. Also, Katnappe having a dog makes no sense either so not really fans of that. However, the big ones for me was Ping Pong and Shadow - I absolutely love these two. Ping Pong is so adorable with what he does and how he interacts with things - it's like rewatching Omi as he developed over the course of Xiaolin Showdown. I love how he has glasses and he can use them to see behind his enemies and when he loses them, he still tries fighting. I also liked his backstory of him being from Europe and using language from his home country because it shows he is still trying to learn English. I have to say - his hyperattitude as a messanger boy reminds me of Baron Leltoy from Bakugan (I wonder if they copied my idea from my fanfiction - looks over shoulder) so I look forward to seeing more of him and his development. Also, I absolutely love Shadow - she is great from her design to her voice, which is so devious and dark. I also like the way she fights as she is very versatile with both fighting skills and Shen Gong Wu. Also with the way she and Chase look and interact, it's almost as though she and Chase are related (hope it doesn't lead into what I'm thinking but anyway). Willow however, I foundt to be uninteresting and so annoying - must be the Texan/Southern voice. And trust me, I'm a sucker for blondes but I just couldn't stand this character and I hope with these three episodes - we have seen the last of that character and if not, I'll just skip over her scenes. So, character wise - I think it was really well done, aside from the villains and Willow especially, and I look forward to seeing more of the two new characters and the others as well.
Let me give credit where credit is due - the people they got to voice the characters is great. They were able to get people that sounded almost like if not pretty close to the original character voices. The biggest ones that amazed me was Eric Bauza as Jack Spicer and Michael Donovan as Dojo - Jack has such an iconic voice and Mr. Bauza does an excellent job making it seem like he never left - no offense to Tara Strong's Jack. Michael Donovan I feel also did a great job impersonating Wayne Knight as Dojo - I'll still miss Wayne but for what we have - it was great. Also, like I said before - I love Shadow and Ping-Pong and I love the voices they have for them - for some reason, I think they made Ping Pong's voice a Chimpunked version of Omi's at times which is absolutely hilarious but oh boy, Shadow's voice gets me as well. Willow's - don't even get me started - it annoyed me since Clay is the only one who can have a dignified Texan accent. So, overall - I think Mrs. Hui and her team did great with backup voices
Place Settings (What Happened to Jack's House?!?!?!) (RAGE!)
First of all - I don't hate all the settings; I think what they did with the temple is very nice and I really enjoy the fact that they didn't just show us the new temple right away that we have seen. Chase's lair is stilll dark as ever and yet, I still miss the vastness and the size with the whole city like feel to it so yeah, it's mixed for me there. I did also enjoy a lot of the places they did go to like the snow mountain and the multiple geysers place with the spiral walkway going down so that was good. But now, we get to the big one I don't like - WHAT HAPPENED TO JACK'S HOUSE?!?!?!? I mean, I'm all up for new evil headquarters but it's a factory - we aren't in Gotham City and every fun factory or house belongs to the Joker - which this place looks like by the way. If they had done something like Jack with suitcases and his bots and they stand outside the entrance of the building and Jack's says "Finally, out of the house and now, I have my own evil factory/headquarters - home sweet home!" That, would have been great and I would have accepted it a lot better than just there. The funny thing about Jack was he was a so called evil boy genius and yet, he worked out of his parent's basement - which was funny and actually inspired me with one of the villains in one of my upcoming fan-fictions so yeah, not a fan of Jack's new home but overall, not bad for places
Animation Style - 2D style
Xiaolin Showdown is known for adaption a 2D style with their animation and it works great and so far, I'm liking most of the animation with this one as well. The characters and settings are pretty close to the original and it works and the changes they have had to make due to the Warner Bros and Warner Sister influence - they also work well, especially Chase's redesign. I do have question though why the style of the preview clip is very different than that of the 3 parter - the animation of the preview clip looks bit more fluid than this but I guess we'll see what happens over time. Also, the magic of Xiaolin's 2D supremacy is in it's humor and I have to say - the humor is spot on. It never left and it's great all the way through - no complaints whatsoever with that part; best humor moments always for me will the faces Omi makes. However, as I mentioned earlier - some character designs with 2D I don't like such as Cyclops and Tubbimura and..........that blonde I must not name again in the future - Willow. The 2D were mostly all pretty good, minus some underwhelming areas like Chase's hideout - I miss the big city. So, not much to complain about the 2D cause it's still there, it does it spot on and I enjoy it immensely so props to that.
Animation Style - 3D CGI
For those of you who don't know - I hate CGI and I will never stop hating until it actually does something right - people think it's the next generation of animation - which I disagree. Video games are one thing but television doesn't work - very rarely does CGI work like with the Green Lantern series so this was a big factor for me. I said before with those here that when I saw the preview clip with the CGI ship that I actually thought it might work, minus the Tron suits which I don't get still. After seeing two CGI Showdowns - I'm kind of iffy on it now. I mean, I can understand the good guys getting the Tron suits but Jack looks silly in one, Willow's was weird with that loop of hair and I couldn't tell if Chase had a suit on since in the preview clip, he doesn't glow that green color. Now, this could improve in the future but I don't think the villains should be wearing the Tron suits in my opinion - I think it's distracting and it makes it look like the heroes aren't the only ones who get special suits - we can't leave the bad guys out. Also, the CGI fights were okay - Chase still kicks butt against Mary Spicer (take as a joke) but yeah, didn't find them all too good and I still miss the regular Xiaolin Showdowns which I think showed more emotion and skill in fighting than these do - favorite is Omi vs Dashi but yeah, could improve but still iffy on them right now.
Missteps and Changes (and trust me, there are quite a few)
Get ready - this is going to be a long one. From my first impression regarding the 3 part debut - it seems as though they are attempting to not only start off from where they left off but also trying to reintroduce the series to new viewers, which I find rather distracting being a fan of the original show. Now, I was excited when they started off with Master Fung saying now that you are all Shoku Warriors but then when they got to the rehash of the story - I was like "Wait, didn't I hear this before?" and yes, yes I did. I also didn't like what they did to change the battle between Wuya and Dashi where Wuya gets trapped in a Slinky. Granted, it did make me chuckle a bit but they say a spring but it's a Slinky and everybody knows it. It kind of betrays the Puzzle Box story and I would be honestly shocked if Warner Bros and Warner Sister own the name for Puzzle Box - that would be so stupid and silly. I also didn't like how they reintroduced Wuya - the fact that they stuck with the Slinky story and they almost reintroduced her the same way as in Showdown with Jack opening the box and releasing her - brings up a lot of unanswered questions as to what happened during the time skip. Plus, she knows Jack and says he's still trying so yeah, Wuya was neither not reintroduced correctly or they just haven't explained it yet. Also, how the heck did she get the Monkey Staff/Spear - I'm sure that Slinky doesn't have cargo bays inside of it. Other than the other obvious flaws between the story of the original and this new adaption; yeah, mixed to negative but could change..
Now, the showdowns themselves - I actually enjoyed the one between Ping Pong and Jack. Ping Pong was very creative with the Orb of Tornami and let me point out, Omi's reactions were absolutely hilarious and I really liked how the rules were changed and Omi was mad at it. Jack was good with the monkey staff but I wanted to see the monkey army - maybe they hate CGI like I do. The 2nd showdown however, I didn't like for various reasons before, during and after. Let's start with the the beginning when Chase arrives and says he'll wager his good looks. I'm sorry but this is pathetic of Chase - Chase always wagered a Shen Gong Wu but hardly used them; relying on his own skills than using magical toys. The fact that he isn't wagering a Shen Gong Wu kind of betrays the Xiaolin Showdown in itself. Also, when Dojo says oh look, a Shen Yi Bu - haven't seen one of those in years. Umm......first off, according to the official Scroll Rulebook, a Shen Yi Bu Dare is when two Shen Gong Wu are wagered by both parties. Second, a three way Showdown is called a Showdown Trio - if Warner Bros and Warner Sister own that, I'm going to be pissed off now. The Showdown was okay in itself but the ending was rather silly - I'm sorry but they made Chase look weaker that he should have been. When Chase fought Omi with Follow the Leader, he lost with style and he did it well. Even when he fought Hannibal Bean and Kimiko as Jack - he still lost with dignity and gave it an effort and we expect him to be defeated by a blonde with one kick - shameful at most.
Now, onto the Shen Gong Wu - I don't mind the changes mostly but if a Dodgeball baseball bat is dangerous - I'm going to just get my catcher's gear on and I'll take it like a man. What I really have a problem with is they seem to be reintroducing Shen Gong Wu as being hidden again. We all know that the Shroud of Monster Camo is the Shroud of Shadows - I don't mind the camo design per say but why put Monster in there and why make it look like you are wearing a poncho when wearing it - I kept on thinking Jack Spicer looked like Mary Poppins when wearing it. I do like the enhanced purple smoke of the Woozy Shooter/Bunny but I think changing it from a awesome looking gun to a carrot was a bit of a stretch. The Tangle Web/Medusa Comb I don't mind - Medusa works well with the comb since Medusa has such nice long snakes.......I mean, hair but sadly, it looks more like something a Kardashian would wear....BOOM! (and for those who don't know that - that was a Jon Stewart reference). I didn't fully understand the Sword of the Storm's new name but I'll roll with it. I actually really like the Fist of Tebigong's new name - I think I like Fist of the Iron Bear more. So yeah, mixed on the Shen Gong Wu but so far, not bad. Now, I'm assuming this would be Shen Gong Wu related but I have a problem with the Ancient Scroll. The design is okay and I do like the updated animation with what each Shen Gong Wu does but did they really have to leave so much blank space and not have a name at the bottom of the Shen Gong Wu - that to me was disappointing.
Okay, here is a real big one for me - the Bubble Brains. Now, I'm not upset with the Shen Gong Wu itself but what I'm really confused with is how they are able to use a name of something they technically can't. Now, for those who don't know - there is a card game that was made by Wizard and there was a card for the Bubble Brains. It had a different design of course as well as a different ability but here's the problem. Warner Bros owns the right to all the original Shen Gong Wu names, which I would assume would include the card game Shen Gong Wu as well. So, if they are able to use the Bubble Brains name in this show - why are all the other Shen Gong Wu being forced to undergo a name change. I don't mind redesigns but that doesn't make sense to me at all. Although, if the card game Shen Gong Wu are separate from the TV series - then we might see the Polar Paws and Bear Baton so let's see what happens with that but yeah, that doesn't make much sense to me - **** Warner Bros and Warner Sister!
Another problem I have is the Wudai weapons - why aren't we seeing them or a hint of them so far. I mean, if the Warner Bros and Warner Sister own them as well - another reason for me to be mad because there was so much buildup for them and they used them more in season 3 than actual Shen Gong Wu I believe. If name changes are required, I'm up for it but seriously, they need to bring those back into play in some shape or form. Maybe in flashbacks or maybe Dark Shoku Warriors or something but anyway, this is just a personal one for me.
What Happens Now/Future
Well, first off - when they have commercial breaks; I hope they don't have the cow farting green gas out and then something stupid like Wudai Fire Hose - it's not funny and rather stupid, even for Disney. But anyway, I like how the series started, despite the flaws I feel kind of hurt it. I look forward to seeing what happens since we have a nice cliffhanger and resolution to look forward to next week so I guess I'll see what you guys have to say about it.