"What's a Quantum Singularity?"
"It's like a Black Hole, but portable. And with a cooler name."
-- evil space robot wrestling promoter Magnanimous gives Coop a physics lesson.
The crossover between Japanese and American pop culture may just have reached
its pinnacle with this show.
"Megas XLR" is the heartwarming story of a talented young car customizer
from New Jersey, his slacker buddy, the giant robot he salvaged from his local
junkyard, and the ass-kicking girl who came back from the future to retrieve
that robot so it could be used to fight off an alien invasion. Coop, our big-boned
blond-goateed hero, is enamored with the idea of owning his very own giant robot
(come one, who can blame him). However, the robot itself, Megas, was damaged
during its travels through time, so Coop has... spruced it up a bit. It has
a snazzy blue paintjob, stylin' flame decals along the side, an eight-ball shifter,
and those mudflaps with silhouettes of naked women on them. Oh, and he had to
replace the head with a classic convertible car, steering wheel, ten-disc CD
changer, pine tree air freshener, and all.
Coop and his buddy Jamie are content to use the tricked-out Megas to terrorize
the neighborhood (in a good-natured way, of course) and compete in auto shows
(where even giant robots are no match for the bass and amp a good lowrider is
equipped with). Kiva, the girl who has come back to the past, though, only wants
her giant robot back so she can save the Earth from green tentacled robot-piloting
aliens, and she is not pleased at all to be trapped in the past with a couple
of primitives like Coop and Jamie (the term "monkey-thing" gets bandied about
a lot). It's all she can do to work on repairing the time shunt on the Megas
and corral those two ADD slackers long enough to use the Megas to fight off
various giant robot and alien attackers, all of whom want the power of the Megas
for themselves. In between getting slurpees at the local convenience store,
This series throws the contents of your average Gen-Xer's brain into a blender,
adds in some nitrous, spices things with a definite Japanese animation sensibility,
and mashes the "puree" button. "Megas XLR" is a madcap mix
of pop-culture-fueled antics from around the world, part anime and part "Jay
and Silent Bob." It features karaoke sonic weapons, DDR machines used as
manual backup controls, the entire bow of the space cruiser Yamato popping from
Megas' chest, green-skinned alien catgirls, food courts on the Planet of the
Space Amazons, Voltron's blazing sword, the one and only Bruce Campbell guest-starring
as a wrestling promoter who's just a giant floating head with little dangly
arms and legs (thus bearing a suspicious resemblance to Marvel Comics' oddball
villain Modok), and enough "Transformers" riffs to make this particular
reviewer's inner fanboy very, very happy.
The best thing about this whole show is the way it takes none of it seriously.
It doesn't even take ITSELF seriously. The characters are likeable, but are
often the objects of this series' humor as much as the pop-culture references
are. Coop is a good-hearted but easily-distracted doofus who'd rather spend
his time playing video games or tinkering with old cars than saving the world.
Jamie is a self-centered, slightly cowardly slacker who is sort of like Shaggy
from "Scooby Doo" crossed with Randall from "Clerks." And
Kiva is stuck-up and disdainful of her two erstwhile partners, despite (or maybe
because of) being the smartest and most competent member of the trio by far.
Their odd character clashes and brief asides (especially Coop's, who often has
"Family Guy"-like flashbacks to his many screwups, like putting squeezy
cheese into a power coupler that looks an awful lot like the Autobot Matrix
of Leadership) help keep "Megas XLR" from being just another lame
anime parody, and instead transform it into both a satire and a loving homage
to everything that's cool to people of my generation.
Though there have been just three episodes broadcast so far, "Megas XLR" has
quickly become a must-see on Saturday nights, even surpassing the much-hyped
"Gundam SEED"on Cartoon Network's revamped Toonami block. It's clever, it's
funny, it's action-packed, it has Wendee Lee and David Lucas as two of the main
characters, and it's just plain messed-up at times.
Other giant robot shows only WISH they could be this cool.