Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monsuno Episode 2: An Explosion Too Far

And now, Monsuno episode 2: No One is Really Disabled As Long As They Have "Courage"!

Picking up where we left off, we find several S.T.O.R.M. agents looting the remains of Jeredy's lab. Chase and Co. are also hiding out there using the "Hiding in plain site" tactic. However, we need something to explode in the cold-open, so S.T.O.R.M. has planted a bomb to destroy the remaining evidence.

After the opening, Chase and co. find the bomb and book it before it detonates. After their escape, they see the S.T.O.R.M. troops that had been salvaging the ruins driving off in a large truck and go after it.

And now we are treated to an actual smart move: Chase knows he wields a huge monster that conventional weapons are useless against, so naturally he uses it to attack the truck and chase off its occupants, netting him and his friends a snazzy new piece of high-grade military hardware. Nice!

They also have the common sense to loot the truck, netting some additional info, a new product for the kiddies to buy, and some spare empty cores. They also come across an empty core that is active, indicating that there is a Monsuno attached to it, but it's missing.

Another one of Jeredy's logs comes up in the presence of the core, detailing the development of the monsuno "Quickforce", a sort of griffin monsuno made from high-energy ore. We learn that while Jeredy developed Quickforce to study energy limits, S.T.O.R.M. wanted to push Quickforce to its absolute threshold. We then see S.T.O.R.M. had looted the lab while Jeredy had been out, and Jeredy then sets off on his own.

Jeredy says that they would have subjected Quickforce to painful experiments, but you have to admit that a guy who is busy making huge, mashed-up biological monstrosities in the middle of a secret jungle laboratory has very little wiggle room when it comes to judging the morality of others. Also, it turns out that S.T.O.R.M., a known military organization, funded Jeredy so that they could, surprise surprise, weaponize the Monsuno.

So Chase and co. decide they need to save Quickforce.

After the act break, we find S.T.O.R.M. at a large science facility performing those nasty experiments on Quickforce. Jon Ace states how he cannot bear to watch the experiment, to which Trey responds callously that they need the information.

Back with our heroes, Jinja lives up to her pit-crew-worker fashion sense by hotwiring the truck and switching the radio from elevator music to heavy metal. She takes the wheel and they race off. They approach the base and attempt to get in, but Bren botches the passcode confirmation and they are caught.

With all the guts and none of the intelligence of Spike Spiegel, Chase volunteers to act as a decoy by leaping out of the truck and running for it...for some reason without unleashing Lock. Jinja and Bren hack the system to set off a chemical-detection alarm that would empty out the room Quickforce is in. Jinja then...*ahem*...drives through the hallways to get there, basically ruining the truck in the process.

Finally, at the room Quickforce is in, Jinja and Bren begin debating who should get Quickforce. Jinja believes she can handle the wild nature of Quickforce, but Bren insists he should get Quickforce. So, naturally with alarms going off and gunfire everywhere, the fate of the entire rescue operation is decided by, I wish I was kidding, a game of rock-paper-scissors. Bren wins and begins to try to recall Quickforce, but doesn't have much luck (Maybe if he remembered he needed to say "Return"?)

Meanwhile, Chase is trapped and gets in a fight with Jon Ace. Jon Ace unleashes Blackbullet, a fast, bird-like Monsuno who starts to make quick work of Lock. However, Chase figures out to use the smoke to obscure Lock until Blackbullet comes close, finally landing a hit. Jon Ace returns BlackBullet, admitting that Chase has built a fast bond with Lock that allows them to fight that way.

Not satisfied, Trey pulls out another new Monsuno-brand product and launches Riccoshot, a beetle monsuno that begins to attack Lock, causing intense collateral damage to the base in the process. Lock is overwhelmed by Riccoshot.

Not all is lost, however, as Bren has succeeded in taming Quickforce and joins the fight against Riccoshot. They trap Riccoshot within the science base and have Lock destroy the support beams, bringing the house down onto Riccoshot. Chase and Bren then escape on the back of Quickforce.

They meet up with Jinja who had been securing a ride. Thanks to her reckless destruction of their state-of-the-art military vehicle and Trey's reckless destruction of everything else, she shows up driving a small cargo truck resembling a golf cart. The three then sputter off into the sunset.

This episode starts off well, but quickly dips into the not-so-good territory. After the first act break, the characters lose most of their common sense with Chase trying to take on armed soldiers without using Lock's help despite having done so earlier, Jinja's joyride costing them a nice base of operations(and potential playset, I'm guessing), and Bren's game of rock-paper-scissors or die routine.

A big theme of the episode is Bren developing courage; however, we don't really see much of his cowardice beforehand and what little we see is handled in a very clumsy fashion. The stakes are also not very high when Bren tries to get Quickforce. It's not like Jinja had been nabbed by a soldier and he needed to courage-up Shinji-style to save her nor did he know of Chase's plight outside. Nope, he just wants a mon for himself and he'll take on anyone at Rock-Paper-Scissors to get it!

And what about Jeredy? I'm wondering about him now, as his data logs seem to be there to manipulate the kids into doing his dirty work. Could Jeredy have defected to the EEEVIL Eklipse after how S.T.O.R.M. treated him in order to get his revenge? I'm certainly entertaining the possibility of Jeredy actually being a villain at this point.

Speaking of questionable people, Trey has gone from morally questionable to full-blown psychopath. His rampant use of Riccoshot that he made no attempt to control or contain cost S.T.O.R.M. a billion-dollar facility and no doubt millions more with the aircraft he destroyed, a level that almost puts Bask Ohm to shame. If he's not the one on the receiving end of a Charlemagne lecture soon, I might quit this series.

So, after a promising start, this episode falls flat on its face and seems to center more around showing off the shiny new toys kids can buy rather than developing the characters, who are sadly still rather bland. Unless we get an episode with a little bonding and a little more character development, my hope for this series is starting to wane.

1 comment:

  1. This is so funny!

    I fancy myself a bit of anime fan. I really made an effort to branch out when I came of age and started college. While stuff I found like Gurren Lagann and Detective Conan has some good writing and animation, this clearly is looking to set the genre back to the 1980s, with Carl Macek's infamous scripts.

    It would be right at home in the '80s, where the roost was ruled by merchandise driven shows like Transformers, GI Joe, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.