Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Martin Mystery

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Plot: Ego-driven paranormal maniac, Martin, his hot-headed slightly skeptic step-sister, Diana, and Java the Caveman work for a secret organization called The Center, where they combat supernatural forces. Martin, Diana and Java are sent on their latest mission to France where several children have mysteriously gone missing, leaving being an odd goo behind as the only clue. Martin deduces that the boogeyman is really behind this, kidnapping all naughty children and leaving them for eternity in his bog. Can the boogeyman be stopped?

Breakdown: Annoying main characters? Check.

Trying desperately to shove over-the-top anime style comedy into our faces whenever possible? Check.

Bad animation? Check.

Expressions that don’t match what’s being said half the time? Check.

Lack of sound effects at noticeable points? Check.

A bunch of teenagers working for a secret organization where there are odd entrances everywhere? Check.

Untold amounts of things that make no sense? Check.

We truly have something made from Marathon Media and Image Entertainment – the same companies who produced Totally Spies! Also known as “we don’t know how to get out of this formula” inc.

I remember Martin Mystery being advertised quite a bit when I was a kid. And I definitely remember them advertising the crossover that Martin Mystery did with Totally Spies! However, I never once sat down and watched a single frame of it. I dunno, it just never caught my attention.

Now that I’ve given it a shot, I’m quite glad it never caught my attention.

To get this out of the way, this show is harmless and less annoying than Totally Spies!, but that’s basically saying ‘Drink this! It’s not as disgusting as urine!’ The subject matter is also more interesting than Totally Spies! with paranormal monsters instead of ridiculous spy villains. Still, this show is basically using the template for Totally spies! just aiming it more towards boys.

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The first episode starts off with Martin, Diana and Java at school (Java acts as the lunch worker. No idea how or why) Martin makes an idiot out of himself trying to hit on some girls when he has pudding in his teeth and then he spills some of his food on Diana sparking the running side-plot of this episode. She claims Martin is such a slob that he can’t stay clean for 24 hours. They make a bet on that statement, and the loser has to give Java a foot massage.

They go through a “SECRET” door in the fridge of the cafeteria to the home base, The Center. This is so obvious it’s ridiculous. Yeah, Totally Spies! had the girls be swept away from wherever they were, which was unrealistic, but at least they were usually transported so quickly that no one would be able to notice. Martin yells to use the door in the fridge, points at it as he’s yelling, they slowly open the door wide, the doorway friggin’ glows and they take their sweet time walking through it. Anyone could walk in there at any time. Even if the doorway had some cloaking device or something, plenty of kids just saw the lunch guy, Martin and Diana disappear through a fridge.

They get briefed from female version of Jerry named MOM, who gets them up to speed on the plot and they head off. After some detective work and another kidnapping, they decide to set a trap for the boogeyman. What is this ingenious trap, you may ask?

Using innocent children as bait, with their parents oddly easily obtained consent even though they’re aware of the situation, they hope to manhandle the boogeyman into submission or capture him in a net. Did I also mention this boogeyman can create portals and can turn into a multitude of maggots? (alright, points given for creativity)

Martin, Diana and Java follow the boogeyman through his portal and are thrown into the boogeyman’s bog. While Diana and Java land in the water, Martin lands on land. I know what you’re thinking (or maybe not – you probably forgot about this dumb plotline already). “Hey, that means he lost the bet, right?” You’d think, but no. And, also no, he didn’t use some gadget (he has them because of course he does) to save him or some clever idea to avoid it. He just lands in it. On his back. Then he proclaims that he ended up being completely clean after that.

Uh, yeah Martin….no. Just no. You’re in a bog. A swamp. A marsh. A quagmire. They are wet areas no matter if you’re in the water or out. They’re muddy, they’re gooey, they’re swampy. They’re swamps. There’s no way you land flat on your back in a bog and not get dirty. I don’t care how dry that piece of land could possibly be, you’d still get dirty. I could land flat on my back in my front yard after a drought and still get dirty.

What’s worse is later he falls in the bog again, this time on his front, and they’re still making off like it’s fine because it’s land. Dirt is dirty. What is so hard to understand about that?

They find the kids in the bog and manage to escape the boogeyman’s world. But they still have to figure out how to beat the boogeyman for good. That requires replacing the final page of a book about the boogeyman that they took from the library that the first girl was taken from. Java and Martin combat the boogeyman and Diana suddenly arrives with the final page from they-forgot-to-write-that-part-land. She reveals that the ending states that the kids return the boogeyman to his book, and that’s how he’s defeated.

After sealing the boogeyman away, it’s revealed that, during the whole hoopla, Martin somehow got a tiny yellow stain of unidentified stuff on his shirt, making him lose the bet.

Guys, you had an out. Just have Martin just some of the gook from the book on his shirt before he locked the book. Or have him be all dusty after he caused two clouds of dust from the mountain of books he landed on during the fight (That happened and there was no mention of the bet. Yeah it seems stupid to mention such a thing during a battle but A) no one in these series ever cares if what they say is appropriate for the situation and B) this was a guy who refused to follow the boogeyman through his portal earlier in the episode because he was afraid he’d get the gunk on him. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen)

MOM shows up and congratulates them while Martin arrogantly takes all the credit. These surprisingly British locals from this French town also thank them and the stain suddenly falls from Martin’s shirt. Seems the stain was a small piece of paper from the library, so he didn’t lose the bet afterall, making Diana the Java masseuse. The end.

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As a first episode, it does fine. They introduce the characters and the world they live in perfectly fine. The main story is alright, and I do like how they portrayed the boogeyman, but he’s defeated and worked around very easily. The side plot served no purpose whatsoever and Martin should’ve lost it at least three times if anyone pays attention or uses basic logic. In the end, it’s the fact that the show itself is stupid and one of many of basically the same show from Marathon and Image that really hurts it.

I don’t like Martin much at all. He is one of so many of that dumb as hell trope ego-tiscal main lead who has nearly everything go his way or he somehow makes everything come out on top for him if he does suffer a setback. Usually these characters have some form of redemption in that they truly care about the victims or their duties but, no. Martin loves the supernatural, he loves investigating it and seems to be perfectly willing to put the mission and lives at risk if something petty that might chip his ego is in the way. He seems to do this job to see supernatural things and be proven as right all the time.

Diana is flatout annoying with how much she bickers with Martin. And her main character schtick makes no sense. She’s basically a skeptic, which is illogical since she works for an organization that is specifically designed to combat paranormal threats. She’s voiced by Kelli Sheridan, but she’s yelling so much that I don’t care.

Java is a caveman. He talks like a caveman and is strong. I have no clue how or why they’re partnered with a caveman, but there he is.

All in all:

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If you hate or dislike Totally Spies, you probably won’t like this much better. It’s loud, obnoxious, there’s not much effort put into the story, there’s even less put into the little details of continuity, logistics and plotholes, and it gets to a point where it all melds together into white noise for me. I may subject myself to an off-the-cuff Cartoon Step-By-Step or some singular review, but for now this is being dropped to my ‘no’ bin.

Recommended Audience: Kids might find the concept of the boogeyman here to be kinda scary maybe. Other than that, nothing. 5+

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