Shounen Step-By-Step: Medabots Episode 1

medabots-episode-1-title

Plot: The biggest ‘sport’ in town is robattling; pitting two medabots against each other in combat. Nearly everyone (every kid anyway) has a medabot and while some medabots are meant for mundane tasks, practically everyone with a medabot robattles. Ikki is the odd man out in his school. While he loves watching robattles, he doesn’t have one himself and this leads him to be the subject of ridicule. However, when his friend Erika is cornered by a bunch of medafighters who have been forcing other medafighters into submission battles (battles in which the winner gets a part of the loser’s medabot), Ikki spends every penny he has buying an old model medabot that he names ‘Metabee’ to save her and her metabot Brass.

Medabot Debuts:

Peppercat: A CAT type medabot, Peppercat has electric abilities and high speed.

Dr. Bokchoy: A BOK Type medabot, Dr. Bokchoy is good at scanning, making him effective against enemies with cloaking abilities, but he ultimately has no combat capabilities and is mostly used for research.

Brass: An SLR type, Brass is ultimately unimpressive. She has weak weapons and poor aim, but her aim can be increased substantially by her variablehair.

Metabee: A KBT type, Metabee is an older model medabot with a focus mostly on projectile attacks.

Phoenix: A PHX type, Phoenix mostly employs fire attacks.

Blackram: A DVL type, probably poking at the term ‘devil’, Blackram has powerful physical attacks but virtually no defense.

Cyandog: A DOG type medabot, Cyandog is a mediocre medabot with a focus in shooting. Cyandog in itself is known along his master as being awful in battling because its medal is a monkey type, meant for hand to hand combat, and his body is meant for shooting. Spyke refuses to get a hand to hand combat model body due to a preference for shooting models and doesn’t want to get a new medal, so he remains in suckage.

Battles:

Samantha Vs. Student Council President: Winner – Samantha

Spyke vs. Rockers: Winner – Rockers

Ikki vs. Rockers: Winner – Ikki

Breakdown: Medabots was a show that I caught while watching Digimon on Fox/ABC family. I was never really too into it because something about the show never really sat right with me. Maybe it was the aspect of robots over what I was normally used to in these shows, animals or spirits, but I really kinda liked a bunch of the Medabots. Maybe it was the main character who really has nothing unique to his name. Maybe it just seemed like nothing particularly important was ever happening. I don’t know, but despite this I still watched fairly frequently as it usually came on right after Digimon.

Getting into the first episode, they really waste no time introducing us to robattling as our very first scene is of a robattle. The two contenders, Samantha and the Student Council president are battling to see if Samantha and her crew should be allowed to use the Student Council room as their own personal meeting room. How odd that so much is concerning the Student Council when I can bet anything that robattles and medabots aren’t allowed on school grounds. If they are, that’s BS. I couldn’t even bring my Pokemon cards to school. 😦

I would say this battle explores the rules of robattling, but it really doesn’t. It just shows the average structure of robattles, which is the exciting twist of ‘give them commands and watch them fight’. Mr. Referee’s only job, at least at this point, is to declare a winner and make sure no one gets hurt. But nearly every robattle I remember is merely decided from the medal popping out and I don’t know what Mr. Ref would do if any dangerous situation did arise. Submission robattles involve handing over one of the losing medabot’s parts to the victor, so yay we also have pseudo-gambling.

This battle also introduces us to Samantha, the screws, Ikki and Erika, and their rather shallow character traits are pretty much laid on a platter. Samantha’s a bully, the screws are mindless followers of her, Ikki’s bland and a bit of a jerk, and Erika’s obsessed with journalism and is also a bit jerkish.

The first battle of the series is at least pretty interesting, but the fact that Ikki points out that there’s no way Dr. Bokchoy can win before the battle even starts is pretty lame, even if he does get off a hit. It also showcased some strategies of these battles such as sacrificing all armor for speed.

Ikki is mocked frequently because of his lack of medabot and it pisses me off more than it should. Erika asks why he doesn’t just do what she did and ask his parents to buy him one, but Ikki says his parents think they’re too expensive and want him to save up the money and buy one himself.

Now, we can all relate to some degree. Most of us as children have asked our parents for something expensive and been denied, but his tight-assed shrews of parents won’t shell out probably hundreds of dollars, maybe thousands, for a sophisticated robot that is only destined to be damaged and destroyed 15 minutes after he purchases it. And what’s worse is that they actually want to teach him the meaning of a dollar and make him buy one himself after saving up. Why is no one calling child services?!

Henry, the owner of a local Medabot shop, kindly offers to give him an older model medabot with the money he can offer, but Ikki and Erika laugh in his face and mock the thing. See what I meant about jerkish? Even an old discontinued medabot is better than no medabot, Ikki, and you were lucky to find someone willing to basically give you one with the pittance in your piggy bank.

This episode also introduces us to the Rubber Robo Gang and the Phantom Renegade, neither of which you can really take seriously at this point, but the main thing is that they try to steal a rare beetle medal, but the Phantom loses it in the river only to be found later by Ikki, meaning he has an advantage by default and just so happens to be offered a medabot that is perfectly compatible with the medal since Metabee’s a rhinoceros beetle, KBT type.

While Ikki bitches some more to his mom about not having a medabot, they see a news report about a group of thugs forcing people in submission robattles while Spyke, one of Samantha’s crew, loses a new part of his to these thugs called the Rockers.

Erika and Ikki learn of this, follow Samantha and the screws to see them confront the Rockers and end up getting in the middle of it. Since Ikki has no medabot, they leave him alone, but they try to pressure Erika into battling with Brass.

Ikki runs off to buy the KBT model he was offered earlier and we’re shown the mechanical aspects of medabots as Ikki puts his together. It’s nothing that complicated, just a skeleton and external parts that are interchangeable. The main aspect, however, is the medal, which is the mind and soul of the medabot.

By the way, I never realized that Metabee’s name had nothing to do with a bee. It’s metal and beetle combined….In my defense, he IS yellow.

Ikki’s return and first battle are pretty predictable. Metabee won’t start up, he starts getting his ass kicked because of it, Ikki yells at him and then Metabee kicks all of their asses. Ikki doesn’t even really do much besides yell at Metabee and change him into attack mode, which I’m fairly certain he was in either way.

Erika is completely ungrateful saying that Ikki merely ran away and him doing so made her lose the chance to get pictures, which is a total lie considering all of her film was used up by the Rockers before Ikki even left.

And the final kicker is when Metabee finally speaks and expresses outrage at his master calling him a piece of junk and starts shooting him. I should mention that I hate Metabee. His voice, mannerisms, catchphrases, all of them. Hate hate hate.

Final Notes:

Entire Show – The art and animation are appalling. The art is not detailed in the least and we’re not even blessed with any shading most of the time. It’s also sometimes hard to tell what’s going on in robattles because of the sloppy art and animation.

Entire Show – The English dub, while not being that bad, is just blech because there are so many moments when you see the characters screaming or yelling something but the actors just refuse to put any emotion or additional volume into their voices. Also, Samantha’s voice is really irritating.

If these Rockers are such douches, why don’t they take all of the medabot’s parts when they win?

This episode was a fairly formulaic intro. There are some funny, albeit predictable, moments, and I find it strange that the most unique and funny characters are ultimately the bad guys save Mr. Ref.

Next time, Ikki and Erika become popular targets for robattle after Erika runs a story about him beating the Rockers, so Samantha and the screws decide to have a shot at him too.

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