Featured TV on DVD Review: Slugterra: Return Of The Shane Gang
February 11th, 2013
You know how some times bullets are called slugs? Imagine a gun that fires living slugs. Imagine a gun that fires living slugs that start out really cute and then "evolve" into giant monster versions of themselves. That's the idea of Slugterra. I've reviewed a number of toy related cartoons recently and for the most part they've all started to blend together. Will the pun-based premise help this show stand out? Or will it fade into the very crowded field?
The show begins with a showdown between Will Shane and Dr. Thaddius Blakk. They are both slug-slingings, but while Will is a great hero, Dr. Blakk is evil and has corrupted his slugs using ghoulish magic in an attempt to take over the world. It seems this new slug is even more powerful than he imagined and using it causes a massive energy spike that causes Will to disappear. Before he does, he is able to send his slug, Burpy, up to the surface to find his son and give him the letter. Will left Eli a note, which explains the world of Slugterra. 100 miles below the surface of the Earth, there is another underground world that only a few humans know about and even fewer have gone.
There is also a few other species living in Slugterra, including the molenoids, who have amazing sense of direction and are often used as trackers. Eli meets one of these molenoids, Pronto the Magnificent. He immediately joins with Eli. Unfortunately, while he's big on ego, he's low on talent, even in tracking. The pair set off to defend Slugterra, but Eli needs to get some experience dueling. He really needs the experience, as on the way to the tournament, he's nearly beaten by a random thug. Fortunately, he's rescued by Beatrice "Trixie" Sting. The pair later meet in the city just before the tournament starts and she joins up as well. We later learn she's one of the few people who treats slugs like they're anything more than just ammo. Pronto finds Eli a sparring partner, Kord Zane, a cave troll. They hit it off, as Will Shane said great things about cave trolls to Eli and Kord always wanted to meet a Shane. Eli, and the audience, learn the basics of a duel, and soon it's on to the tournament.
It shouldn't be a spoiler to learn Eli wins his first match (and the tournament). However, Dr. Blakk learns about Eli for the first time, and their inevitable confrontation is set.
Slugterra is a Pokemon clone. There's just no way around that fact. It follows the formula very closely, and because of that, there's not a lot that needs to be said when reviewing it. If you've seen any of these shows, and there are dozens of them, then there's not much here that will surprise you. It does have some aspects that help it stand out, and not just the out there premise. The series tends to have more action and more intense action than most such shows. You rarely get the sense that Ash is in mortal danger in Pokemon, but here Eli is nearly killed a couple of times in the early episodes. (And of course Will was sucked into that power surge in the first episode.) The look of the series is very cool and that's probably its best asset, as far as helping stand out amongst the competition. The writing is good, the characters are acceptable, but are mostly archetypes, and the show never strays far enough from the formula to shine.
Extras include a 12-minute featurette on the show. There is also three Slugisodes, which are one-minute instructional videos. This is better than most similar shows have.
Slugterra: Return Of The Shane Gang is the first DVD from the series and if you are already a fan, it has good value for the money. If you've never seen the show but like the genre, then it is worth checking out. If you are not a fan of the genre, it doesn't do enough to escape the formula.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Filed under: Video Review