Friday, March 2, 2012

Monsuno Episode 3: Moose-Cannon Pit-Fighting

Sorry, no pics, this time, iTunes won't let me screen shoot so I'll have to get them later. I'll update this post when I get the chance.

So, Episode 1 was pretty good and episode 2 was so bad I've re-written it in my head, but mother always said I should take three bites of anything before I decide I don't like it. Redakai struck out fast after the first episode left the needless message of "Slavery is wrong, but making fun of people for skin blemishes is funny and appropriate", episode two struggling to make Team Stax look smart by making the Radikor random rock-punchingly stupid by comparison(Not to mention that whole "Blowing up the pyramids" thing), and Episode three where Ky puts EVERYONE in critical danger for selfish reasons yet isn't reprimanded for it. Monsuno is currently 1:1, so lets see what episode three, "Underground"(Sheesh, don't they know how pretentious one-word titles sound?), brings!

Starting with the odd term "8 Hours Later" we find Chase and Co. fleeing through some underground tunnels. They bust open some rusty doors only to find themselves on some subway tracks, and the 9:35 approaching them right on-schedule.

After the opening, we leave the forest setting behind for the metropolis of "Axis City". This is presumably what happened before "8 Hours Later". Jinja has discovered someone named "Granny Future" through her connections, who is supposedly a reliable source of information. With no other leads on Jeredy's whereabouts, they head for Granny Future's place.

After a strange 80's eating montage, they arrive at a house a fair distance from the city and encounter Granny Future, who directs them to a place called "The Underground" to seek out a man named "Mr. Black" and gives them a charm for luck. After Chase and Co. leave, we soon see Granny Future isn't all she's cracked up to be, as she retreats into a secret lair and reveals that the stone is a tracking device complete with microphone.

Chase and Co. find themselves in both the literal and figurative underground, a Monsuno pit-fighting arena built underneath a decrepit and abandoned part of town. They are confronted by a large, hideous mix of lobster, fly and scorpion colored red. Chase reaches for Lock, but the red Monsuno vanishes. It was actually being used by the underground's bouncer "Righty" to scare off unwanted intruders. Jinja name-drops Granny Future and they are let in.

Once inside, they see two hideous monsuno, also colored red, fighting each other. They then meet "Mr. Black" who says that Jeredy had been there, but he'll only divulge more information if one of the kids puts their Monsuno on the line and battles in the arena. He also sweetens the deal by offering them some Monsuno Essence held in a case nearby, guarded by Righty and his partner Lefty, if they win, which would energize one of their empty cores.

Bren volunteers and heads to the arena, only to find his opponent is Mr. Black himself. However, the seedy pit-fighting arena is, surprise-surprise, rigged against him, and Quickforce is quickly defeated when Granny Future pulls the strings from afar.

Jinja immediately notices the cheating and forces Chase to stand down after he offered the next fight, instead insisting on good ol' fashioned fisticuffs with Mr. Black, wagering her own freedom against Quickforce and the Monsuno Energy. Unable to pass up the chance to land his own anime-babe, Mr. Black ignores the orders of Granny Future and accepts, but instead sics his thugs Lefty and Righty on her. It turns out to be a fake-out, though, as Jinja whizzes by them and snatches the now unguarded Monsuno Energy out of the case. The three then book it.

Having caught up to the cold-open, our heroes flee the rolling subway (Or is it "The Underground"? Heh heh...) down the tracks. However, it is quickly catching up. Thinking quickly, Jinja uses the Monsuno Essence to unleash her new monster, a large moose that manages to stop the subway before it hits them.

The three make it to a subway platform and get off the tracks, but are confronted by Mr. Black and his two thugs who are intent on collecting on Chase's offered fight. All six get into a showdown that eventually bursts into the streets above. During the fight, one of the Eklipse Monsuno's attacks causes the collapse of a nearby abandoned building. Lock acts on its own and throws one Eklipse Monsuno into another one and into the path of the building. Realizing this is a good idea, Jinja has her new Moose-suno do the same thing with the remaining Eklipse Monsuno, causing all three to be defeated.

Mr. Black and his thugs try to flee, but Chase has Lock capture Mr. Black. Mr. Black reveals that Jeredy really had visited the Underground, asking questions about the Eklipse. However, Mr. Black knew nothing. Granny Future tries to contact Mr. Black through his earpiece, but the proximity of the microphone in the charm causes nasty feedback that Chase notices. He then destroys the stone.

Back at the home of Granny Goodness, Granny scolds Mr. Black for disobeying her orders which cost them the Monsuno Essence and the kids.

Later, Chase and Co. are hiding out in an abandoned workshop where they hear word that S.T.O.R.M. has launched a cover-up of what had happened that night.

This episode... isn't too bad, actually. We get a better feel for the world Chase and Co. live in as well as the conflict involved. Our first encounter with Eklipse is obviously just scratching the surface, but now we know they are a resourceful and cunning bunch with few qualms about tricking children for their own benefit.

Due to this, I thought at first that they had been lying about Jeredy just to catch Chase and Co. in their web, making the reveal that not only had Jeredy actually been there but was also asking questions about Eklipse rather intriguing and might support my initial accusations of him being a villain. S.T.O.R.M's cover-up also throws their relationship into question.

There were still a few problems. Starting off the "8 Hours Later" in the cold open rather than leaving the cold open alone and saying "8 Hours Earlier" after the opening credits is just bad form. Also, Jinja's method for getting the Monsuno Essence was a little contrived, but after a couple of seconds I realized that it's because it was the only way she could think of to avoid Eklipse's traps and she never intended to seriously fight them at all. At least she didn't challenge Mr. Black to a Rock-Paper-Scissors contest.

Also, the "Hotdog Montage" ranks up with "Lish" as one of the show's more off-putting moments. The scuffles between Bren and Jinja are a bit annoying, but at least they've mentioned it in-continuity so hopefully it'll ease off.

Otherwise, it was a great world-building episode that has made me more interested in seeing what happens next. I'd still like a little more character-building from time to time, though. At least it seems Chase has grown a little more cynical from his experience trusting Granny Future.

So, this show still has a chance if it can hit its stride. Until then, this is Kohdok signing off.