Lemme just start off by saying 2010 was a great year in animated shows. Unreal great. Like, seriously.
To put this in perspective, about 2007-2009 wasn’t a stellar time for animated shows. The best one by far was Phineas and Ferb, and maybe … El Tigre (which had so much personality andlife, but I haven’t seen since it aired so I can’t tell you how it holds up), but there wasn’t a lot of new stuff that lived up to the top contender.
Also important to remember is that in 2009, Cartoon Network briefly went insane and wanted to transition to more live-action shows or live-action/animation mixed like Out of Jimmy’s Head. None of these really held my attention, and it took airtime from the cartoons that could’ve come out.
We also could point out that Nickolodeon was well on its way to airing basically only Spongebob and Fairly Odd Parents forever amen (as much as I love those shows).
Disney Channel hosted P&F, but other than that, pickings were getting slim.
So, realizing that, you’ve gotta understand how remarkable it is that we were getting so many good shows all at once again! It was unreal!
But it didn’t stop there, not even for a year.
2011 gave us families.
2012 gave us blends of story and comedy.
2013 gave us stellar characters in interstellar adventures (also the Mickey Mouse shorts, but that might not count).
2014 gave us surprises.
2015 gave us heart.
And this year? A return to form. What with the Loud House finally breaking Nickelodeon’s streak of poor nicktoons, Voltron keeping the action cartoon alive from the Avatar team we love, and the upcoming Milo Murphy’s Law from the creators of Phineas and Ferb.
There’s also shows like Mighty Magiswords and Long Live the Royals on the way that could just as easily make this list.
So the question remains. What the hell happened in 2010?
Well, I don’t know what caused all this, but I’ll tell you what happened.
Sym-Bionic Titan happened on Cartoon Network’s Toonami. And nobody told me.
When I stumbled on it way after the fact, I thought I remembered seeing something like that advertised when I was a kid. You know, early 2000s action show. I figured it got lost in the Beyblades, Ben 10s, and Yu-gi-Oh ripoffs, and I could at least make peace with that.
But then I find out this aired just a few years ago and I’m shit-pissed. aND MY OWN BEST FRIEND APPARENTLY WATCHED IT AND NEVER?? TOLD?? ME??
how dare you I instantly forgive you.
What I’m getting at is this is a high quality show. Really high quality.
The basic premise is summed up best here:
The three main characters include Ilana, princess of the royal family; Lance, a rebellious but capable soldier; and Octus, a bio-cybernetic robot, all of whom must now blend into everyday life in Sherman, Illinois. Posing as high school students, Lance and Octus work to conceal Princess Ilana from General Modula and his hideous space mutants sent to kill the sole heir of Galaluna.
When called into battle, the Galalunans are outfitted with individual armor that provides more than ample protection. It is when the gravest of danger appears that Octus activates the sym-bionic defense program and he, Ilana, and Lance unite “Heart, Body and Mind” and come together to form the spectacular cyber-giant Sym-Bionic Titan.
If that sounds great, it absolutely is. The characters are well-devloped, the story is front and center, there’s continuity between episodes– everything we’ve come to love in some of our modern favourites. So, my point is … why the hell was this left out of the cartoon revolution?
Well … honestly, I can’t figure it out. Advertising? Not enough cross-promotion in the daytime? Weak word of mouth? It’s certainly nothing the show did wrong.
Why Watch It?
Reason 1: HOLY SHIT, IT HAS A STORY
I’m not gonna spoil much more than the summary, but despite the fact that it takes place on Earth for the most part and focuses on week to week stories, the overall story is very much in the forefront at all times– and you know how rare that is even for shows that do story well.
Reason 2: HOLY SHIT, IT HAS GREAT CHARACTERS
I’ll let you discover them for yourself, it’s too much of a treat, but I’ll just say, you might fall in love. Again.
Oh, and Voltron fans?
We found their son.
Reason 3: This Guy
So, even if you’re too young for some of these, you might’ve heard something called Samuri Jack is getting a fifth season after 10 years … and it’s going to be on Adult Swim.
Yeah, it’s gonna be badass.
The important part to all this is that this dude does awesome design, awesome shows, and if you have respect for any of these properties, you know you’re in for a good time.
Which leads me to
Reason 4: The Animationjfsfksnfksafafsj
Between the lighting and the angular designs, I just don’t know what to do with myself. Is bootiful.
Watch the first few minutes there. You see what I mean, right?
Reason 5: It Deserved Better
We’ve championed so many great shows in the past few years, but for whatever reason, we missed one. A great one at that. If you have any love for the shows I listed, I highly recommend you give it a chance. Who knows? You might just find another favourite.