WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MANY RUINERS (SPOILERS, OMI ¬¬).
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
My sister and I had waited eagerly for Xiaolin Chronicles to premier ever since it’s W.I.P. (work in progress) video was leaked onto the internet last April.
We are both huge fans of the original show, Xiaolin Showdown, and counted down the days to when Chronicles would finally be broadcast on Disney 😄 across the pond on Monday 26 August 2013.
Thanks to the internet we didn’t have to wait until Cartoon Network UK eventually gets around to airing the first three episodes: New Monk on the Block, A Girl Named Willow and The Fall of Xiaolin, and watched them all back-to-back a day after the show’s debut.
What we thought:
The pair of us loved it.
It’s like the show has never been away. This is in part thanks to the show’s creator and producer Christy Hui still being at the helm.
The most notable change is the names of the Shen Gong Wu. Their original names are owned by Warner Bros. meaning for example, the Orb of Tornami is now the Orb of Torpedo. This necessary evil will take some time to get used to.
The only thing different about the characters is their design and their voices (except for Omi) but the latter is down to the series being produced in Canada now – you must have Canadian citizenship in order to work there.
What we liked:
Well for a start both my sister and I find the newest monk, Boris Antonio Rolf Jean-Pierre Gaulle LeGrand IV a.k.a. Ping Pong, absolutely adorable and to be a welcome addition to the original quartet. We also believe that new antagonist Shadow (Willow) will be a particularly tricky enemy to defeat, something the monks didn’t really have to worry about when they fought self-proclaimed evil boy genius Jack Spicer in Showdown.
My sister enjoyed the backdrops and found them much more detailed than the original series’. She also commented that the animation was more ‘fluid’. The redesigned Shen Gong Wu also seemed to do something for her. Me on the other hand, I prefer looking at the characters’ facial expressions.
The Xiaolin Showdowns themselves are now in 3D which gives them a more video game like feel. We feel it successfully separates the main episode plot from the showdowns, and Dojo’s into/outro eye-catch is a nice touch too.
I was pleased to see that the original quartet of monks (Omi, Raimundo, Kimiko and Clay) as well as Jack have aged slightly since the end of Showdown. Hopefully we’ll see some slightly more mature storylines, but bear in mind it is still a kid’s show – it’s just that there are many young adult fans. It’s also nice to see that Omi and Kimiko have gained some height and the boy’s voices now sound deeper.
Omi may not have altered design wise nor had his voice actress changed but we do like his updated dots which appear and rotate when his is concentrating. And in case you were wondering, no – he still can’t use slang.
Fangirls no doubt got a kick out of Chase Young wagering his ‘good looks’ in The Fall of Xiaolin and Jack’s love heart symbol too. Hopefully more nods to fans will happen throughout the series.
It would also be nice to see more popular culture references. Precedent has already been set with Raimundo and Kimiko’s Star Trek reference.
Stuff we, the fans, need to know:
It still hasn’t been made clear in Chronicles that the events of Showdown have happened or not. For instance, have Raimundo’s and Omi’s turns to the Heylin side still happened? I feel this issue needs to be addressed, as well as what happened in between Showdown and Chronicles if they do follow a linear timeline.
After all, Raimundo reached the rank of Shoku Warrior in Time After Time: Part II which was Showdown’s final episode. This made him team leader, but now all of a sudden the original quartet are all Shoku Warriors. Was Raimundo a good leader? How long did it take Omi, Kimiko and Clay to earn promotion?
We know why the names of the Shen Gong Wu have been altered, but will this be explained in the series?
Why has Dojo changed from being green to yellow all of a sudden?
How does Grand Master Dashi re-trap Wuya in the puzzle box? Why is there now a spring involved? If the events of Showdown haven’t happened, then why did Jack recognise Wuya when he released her again? There is a real danger of some substantially sized plot holes appearing I fear.
Personally I’d like to know exactly which country in Europe Ping Pong is from. It’s clear he can speak more than one language and has visited many nations, but where was he born? We know the birthplace/hometown of the other four monks.
What’s with Jack’s new headquarters? Have his parents kicked him out of the basement? Also, have Jack and Wuya taken a supporting role now that Chase seems to be the main antagonist? Jack may be an incompetent cry-baby, but he’s the most entertaining villain by far.
Speaking of villains, will Hannibal Roy Bean be making a comeback? If Katnappe and Cyclops can be brought back, then surely he must?
While I’m on the subject, will other minor characters be coming back e: g Jermaine and PandaBubba?
Finally for this section, will we get to see Raimundo’s family?
What my sister and myself are slightly unsure about:
Shadow reminds me of Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, and did we have to go down the clichéd route of a baddie with an English accent?
Did Ping Pong really need to look like a littler Omi?
Clay should lose the mullet. It just does not suit a cowboy.
Why has Master Fung gone all Obi-Wan on the monks at the end of The Fall of Xiaolin? Every so often they needed him to either put them back in their place or wake them up. He also had some terrific life advice for younger viewers.
The coming episodes:
Buddy Blue Ray and The Golden Bunnies will air on 14 September, Tokyo Madness on 21 September and Magic Stallion and the Wild Wild West on 28 September.
There will be 26 episodes in the first series of Chronicles with production of a second beginning later this year, with a tentative release date of what I assume to be late 2014 or early 2015. Talks are apparently underway regarding a third series too.
Gong Yi Tan Pai!