As if the urge to capitalize on the spirits and success of the Pokemon children’s franchise weren’t enough, someone decided it would be best to create an American version loosely based on the addictive game, or hobby, or whatever the hell it is that makes Pokemon so popular, and at least as of this writing, heading into it’s fourth season of episodes.
The idea is easy enough to follow. A young monk in training named Omi is the leader of a group of several other young monks. Among them are…Kimiko, the technical genius, the Western cowboy Clay, and the Brazilian Raimundo. They go around the world doing lord knows what. But hey, there’s an antagonist among the midsts, and Jack Spicer and a group of other villains challenges Omi and the good guys whenever they get the chance. Omi has a mystical object called the Shen Gong Wu that helps him and his friends with the unlikeliest of powers.
How is it like Pokemon you say? Easy, the good (Omi) and bad (Spicer) sides frequently use a variety of powers, though never one twice, with Spicer’s group looking to obtain the objects, and Omi’s group looking to defend the forces of good. There are various showdowns and powers to speak of. What’s surprising to me about the cartoon is that there are some familiar names to attach to some of these characters. There’s a mix of established voice talent, sure, but Wayne Knight (Seinfeld) plays the intuitive but nervous Dojo, Mr. Show’s Tom Kenny contributes some additional voices for the show, and Diff’rent Strokes Danny Cooksey handles the work of Jack Spicer. And in this volume of episodes, the first run of episodes from Season One is spread out over two discs for all to see and hear.
Full frame love and attention, but the colors really pop on screen. A wide variety of colors are used for the cartoon, and they are replicated well without any real bleeding to speak of.
Dolby stereo, and not much else. Fortunately, there’s not a 5.1 surround option to mull over for a kids show, those are only reserved for grown ups with good sound systems.
You mean aside from the usual Warner previews? Nope, not a thing.
For an animated show that appears to cater to the children with large ADD afflictions, Xiaolin Showdown isn’t too bad, it just has to be enjoyed in small doses to be appreciated. But if you’re any age over 12, this set is better for your young kids than for you.
Special Features List