Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Wander Over Yonder

Plot: The ever-happy Wander and his trusty steed, Sylvia, explore the outreaches of space and save its inhabitants from the treachery of Lord Hater.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, even though I had heard a lot of great things about this show, I went into this with unease. At face value, this series has a lot of trademarks of two other popular shows I’ve reviewed that I either hated (The Mighty B!) or just didn’t mesh with (Mighty Magiswords). And those trademarks, again at face value, were randomness being mistaken for comedy and louder=funnier, I guess.

I was really worried that Wander Over Yonder would just be another one of those shows, even if it was created by Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends creator, Craig McCracken.

However, to my surprise and delight, it didn’t turn out that way. Yes, Wander Over Yonder is very bouncy and quick, but it’s melded with a lot of clever humor, very likable characters and voice acting that is both fitting and doesn’t grate on the nerves. When I heard Wander ‘s voice, I was very shocked. It’s a rather normal voice, though obviously inflected to be cartoony and peppy a bit. Usually, the main characters in shows like this have high-pitched overly exaggerated torture device voices, but Wander, voiced by Jack McBrayer, is perfectly fine to listen to.

Speaking of sounds, however, there are some instances in this first episode where I honestly can’t make out what they’re saying, especially Hater’s minions who continuously chant something I can’t make out. Even when Wander repeats it, I can’t understand what he’s saying. It really sounds like ‘Tastes great, less filling.’ but I sincerely doubt that’s it.

The music is a nice change of pace, being of a more country style without being super western. It’s very catchy and easy on the ears.

The art is pretty unique, and the art coupled with the animation is an interesting amalgamation of Dr. Suess, old 1920’s animation and modern styles. It’s very cool, even if some shots are a little jarring.

As for how this episode works as an introduction, it’s pretty good. We don’t learn of Wander’s background or anything, but we learn a great deal of who he is, who Sylvia is, who Hater is and how their dynamic will largely play out. We also begin to get attached to these characters and get a relatively good grasp on their world all in an impressive time frame of 11 minutes.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

Wander Over Yonder is certainly a great example of how to do the classic fun bouncy style of cartoon correctly. It kept putting a smile on my face, and I can see it being one of those feel-good shows I watch whenever I need a lift in my spirit. The only sad aspect of this is that Wander Over Yonder was canceled after two seasons, despite the massively positive reception. Another one of those shows where I missed out on something great while it was still around.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Star vs. The Forces of Evil

Plot: Princess Star Butterfly is sent to earth to hone her skills with her newly acquired magic wand. She’s more than happy to use her wand to her heart’s content, but she causes a lot of problems due to her lack of experience with it. On earth, she is sent to live with the Diaz family and becomes friends with Marco, a widely known ‘safe kid’ who wants nothing more than to be seen as a risk-taking bad boy. Ludo, the villain of the story, finds out she’s living unprotected on earth and prepares to take her down. Together with Marco, Star utilizes her new powers to fight off the forces of evil.

Breakdown: Melding magical girl elements with good writing, funny comedy, fun action and instantly likable characters. I think I’m going to cry.

I have seen some of Star vs. The Forces of Evil in passing a few times, and I’ve definitely heard good things about it, but I’ve never started from scratch. The theme song snagged me in from the get go, and it’s just a fun ride all the way through after that.

I love the style of comedy. While it is loud and sometimes bordering on annoying, it never goes too far into irritating territory and hits the mark nearly every time. It has a great flow to it as well. Characters will just be talking or walking around and there will be jokes strewn about the scene – it’s great.

As a first episode, it does a great job at introducing the characters and making you connect with them instantly. From their very first lines, you know exactly the type of people Star, Marco and even Ludo are. Ludo kinda reminds me a bit of The Dark Lord Chuckles: The Silly Piggy from Dave the Barbarian, now that I think about it. Star is….a little too much in the energy department, but I think she’ll even out more as time goes on.

I absolutely love Marco, though. He’s not immediately made out to be an obvious love interest to Star (Though, there’s enough there for me to safely assume she at least becomes his crush later), and he’s not the reverse damsel in distress (A la Ron Stoppable) as he has fighting chops himself. It’s so refreshing to see these types of character pairings fight alongside each other for a change.

While we barely learn anything about Mewni, Star’s home dimension, outside of it being….another dimension….with magic, we do get a good grasp on the world they live in, the plot and their motives….after all, the show is called Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

I will say that the second episode (This show/episode is one of those ‘two episodes in one’ deals.) wasn’t as strong as the first mostly because it recycles a very overused plot. When you have a main character who has moved to the show’s location somewhat recently, you tend to get that ‘best friend from my old town and they turn out to be a dickweed, especially to the new best friend’ plot.

This time it’s with Flying Princess Pony Head. She is a flying princess pony head…..*cough* And she does not appreciate Marco even existing. What’s weird is that, unlike in a lot of other plots where the MC will accuse the new best friend of being jealous of the old, Star instantly believes Marco when he tells of how she’s been treating him, and she chooses to defend FPPH by just saying she’s rambunctious and possessive. Not sure if that’s better or worse.

Even though this is a VERY overused plot, they do enough with the writing to make it seem much less tired than it would otherwise. There are many funny moments, it ended one a sweet note and TIL you can apparently say ‘turd’ on Disney Channel.

The art and animation are growing on me very quickly. It’s very bright and active. In the stills, it looks great, but the actual animation took me a little getting used to. It has a problem with having the lines and colors of the bangs cover the eyes but still have the lines for the eyes come through. It’s not a major issue, but it’s a pet peeve of mine in animation. Otherwise, the art is very bright, stylish and appealing, and the animation is more fluid and real than a lot of ‘Flash’-ish shows of late.

The music is great, though maybe a bit too loud sometimes. That could be my headphones, but I don’t think so.

Verdict:

cbxcz0k

This is another show I’m very excited to continue. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype all the way through.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Slugterra

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Plot: Will Shane is a respected man of justice in the world of Slugterra – a world miles beneath the surface where people battle using slugs with various powers. While combating the evil Dr. Blakk, he is met with Blakk’s newest creation – corrupted slugs. One of them opens up an interdimensional void that sucks Will up, but not before he sends his faithful slug, Burpy, to the surface world to notify his teenage son, Eli, of his fate. After Eli learns of his father’s fall, he follows the instructions on a letter he left behind to finally go to Slugterra and earn his rightful place as a shane, if he wishes it and only when he turns 15.

On his 15th birthday, Eli heads down to Slugterra and follows his father’s directions to find a place to live, a mode of transportation and some starter gear. However, he’s aggravated when he learns that Slugterra has been taken over by thugs in the years of the shanes’ absence. Since Eli has no formal training and only one slug, he is quickly tossed aside when he tries to enforce law and order.

In order to help him out, a seeming burglar of his father’s hideout, Pronto, tells him to earn respect and training by winning a local tournament. Eli is pumped to finally start fighting, but since he’s just starting out can he even win a qualifier?

Breakdown: Okay, I really need to start paying more attention to Disney XD because they seem to get way better shows that whatever they sling on cable.

Slugterra didn’t look like much to me when I first glanced at it, but I was surprisingly intrigued by this show….they shoot animals out of guns at each other, and they transform in mid-air into awesome monsters! Out of context, that’s seemingly a hair below animal abuse, but it’s actually really cool!

In just our starter episode, part one no less, we are introduced to all sorts of interesting slugs, creatures and characters that get you amped up to see more.

I do have some bones to pick, though.

First, the pacing is kinda break-neck. We go from Will’s battle to his fall to Eli learning of his fall to him being 15 and going to Slugterra in just a handful of minutes. I think we could’ve made this a bit smoother considering this is indeed a part one.

Second, Eli’s response to his dad ‘falling’ (IE Dying) is uh…less than emotional. I swear, he looks sad for about a second then gets pumped when he learns of the letter his dad left, instructing him on how to start his shane training and how to get to Slugterra. It’s really off-putting. The families of soldiers and law enforcement officers are also prepared for something bad to happen to their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have an expected emotional response to it happening, especially when Will seemed like a single dad.

This lack of emotional response is even more off-putting when he gets to Slugterra and has the gall to complain about the vehicle his dad left him. Gee thanks dead dad for leaving me full instructions on how to get to this awesome fantasy world and leaving me a place to live, new clothes, a blaster, a powerful slug etc etc. But this vehicle’s a hunk of junk. Pft.

It’s somehow even worse when it’s revealed that the vehicle in the hideout wasn’t even the one he was talking about and Eli’s real ride is super cool. You don’t deserve a cool ride when you’re a spoiled brat.

Third, for seemingly being the hotshot of the tournament, Shockwire’s battle with Eli was kinda lame. If it’s so well known that his slugs can misfire when they’re overworked, surely this crowd favorite would know about it and not shoot off his slugs willy-nilly. And after one hit by Burpy he surrenders? Come on, dude.

I do commend Eli for asking which of Shockwire’s slugs wanted to go with him instead of just taking one. That shows a level of respect for both the slugs and the world that no one seems to have.

Finally, I hate to say it, but the overall plot is cliché city. From the dead dad to the upstart son to the evil bad guy of badness who is named, of all damn things, Dr. Blakk, and the corruption that puts the world at risk. I’ve seen more creativity on the nutritional value chart on my multivitamins.

Overall, however, this is a very fun and engrossing show that I will be glad to continue. Sadly, this show seems to be in limbo because no new episodes have been made since October 2016.

Verdict:

cbxcz0k


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