Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Storm Hawks

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Plot: In the treacherous world of Atmos are Squadrons meant to protect the land and skies from all threats. Each Squadron is lead by a Sky Knight, and consists of several pilots of land vehicles that can transform into flying vehicles both meant for combat. Aerrow and his team, Finn, Junko, Piper, Stork and Radarr are aspiring to be a real Squadron since Aerrow is now and official Sky Knight, though their application is rejected due to their age. When an old threat, Cyclonis reappears and attempts to take the main powering crystal of Atmos, the Storm Hawks gear up to try and take her down after the only Squadron left suffers from a betrayal and defeat at the hands of their own leader.

Breakdown: This plot follows a hell of a lot of formulas of kid shows. Team of kids are great at something and passionate about it, but the adults keep treating them like kids so they take on a big bad to prove themselves as worthy of the titles they desire. Over the top evil villain who seems to shop at the nearest evil outlet store. Energy crystals that are essentially macguffins. Fairly perfect if not somewhat cocky main lead who gets all the best stuff (IE, a special move that is only given to Sky Knights). Wacky animal sidekick. Etc.

It’s not breaking any major ground here.

That being said, I did enjoy it more than I first thought I would. The premise is simple and somewhat tired, but it makes it fun with the air battles, vehicles and even some of the weapons. They even have lightsaber-like battles. Seriously, blades of light that make almost the exact same sound when being swung. Though I really don’t appreciate the whole ‘leader gets a special super move when his teammates don’t have much to show off’ thing.

As a first episode, it’s fairly messy. They explain the world kinda well, and the same goes for the Squadrons, but they don’t explain what a Sky Knight is, why and how Aerrow became one, why they get special powers, where these crystals come from and why they’re so powerful, who Cyclonis is or what Cyclonia is.

In regards to characters, we get good intros to each one. Aerrow is a bit too much of a typical leader character. He seems to have few flaws, is really talented and strong against people way older and experienced than him, and has that good ol’ never give up attitude.

Finn is comic relief in the form of an ego-maniac, but he seems to mean well. Despite his ego trip, he never seems to talk down to people or seem more important than the mission.

Piper….I’m going to refrain from calling her the token girl, because she hasn’t shown any signs of being anyone’s love interest, not even Aerrow’s, and she seems like a very capable strategist. I am a little miffed that she doesn’t seem to actually have any fighting moves, though. I don’t want to see what could be a good female character in a kid’s action cartoon relegated to ‘support.’

Junko is kinda funny. He’s the big dumb guy of the group, but seems capable and nice enough.

Stork is also fairly unique in that he seems equal parts dark humor and paranoid ramblings. His green character design makes him stand out, and I can see him being a favorite character, even if he is slightly mean sometimes.

Radarr is like a weird weasel rabbit thing that acts as Aerrow’s co-pilot and engineer. He doesn’t talk, and I found his antics to be a bit too over the top.

Many of the other characters are mostly unimportant for now, but I do have to address Cyclonis….who gave her that voice? I know she’s probably pretty young, being the granddaughter of the first Cyclonis, but she sounds way too young. It’s like some kid playing dress-up. The ridiculously stupid outfit does not help matters either. She has a hood that actually separates into several long skinny spikes around her head….

The art is….fine. Fairly simple and craggy designs that stand out but aren’t very detailed at all. The animation is stilted and awkward a good chunk of the time, though the budget and focus seems to be put on the battles, which is really where it counts most here. When scenes are slow, though, the animation really just gets weird, however.

The music is actually pretty nice. Orchestral scores that usually fit with the scenes just fine.

Overall

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I was on the fence about this for a while, but I decided that it was worth continuing on for a bit anyway. I did get some laughs here and there, and I didn’t experience any points where I wasn’t enjoying myself. It’s just not the most original thing ever. And really, that’s a hard point to make in today’s originality drought.

Recommended Audience: Some mild violence, but nothing I would call bad at all. 5+

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