I have recently had the terrible affliction of getting theme songs stuck in my head. The most popular of these seem to be from cartoons, most notably the theme song from “A Pup Named Scooby Doo.” With that in mind, you can imagine how grateful I was to get a copy of Season 2 of The Teen Titans animated series. I can now hum the Titans song performed by Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi. I don’t recommend that you pick your TV based on theme songs, but I can tell you that this one is infectious.
The Teen Titans are from the DC comics universe. They live in a giant T in a city on the west coast, Real World style, without the hassle of parents or secret identities or really anything that might require long, drawn out explanations, back story or episodes full of character development and a lull in the action. In short, in every episode there will a villain who causes some sort of trouble that will require the Titans to sort it out. This often involves quick wit and cartoon violence! The Titans are Robin (whom you might recognize from Batman), Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy (whom you might recognize from Doom Patrol) and Starfire.
Season two sees the Titans coming to terms with whom they are and kicking some serious villain behind. This DVD contains thirteen episodes on two discs. According to wikipedia, the main story arc of season two is based on “The Judas Contract” from the New Teen Titans. It involves the Titans meeting another super-powered teen named Terra, their decision to let her join the team and its consequences. It also involves Robin’s arch-nemesis Slade who is voiced by Ron Perlman. Five of the episodes in this season focus mainly on Terra and Slade. They are entertaining. These episodes also have a subplot in which Beast Boy falls in love, which is both cute and a little heartbreaking.
However, my favorite parts of this season fall outside the main story of the season. They are all character-driven episodes focusing on how the Titans relate to each other and come to terms with their powers, their emotions, and who they are. Cyborg wrestles with his humanity in episode four “Only Human.” Starfire learns to trust that her friends will not abandon her in the face of change in episode seven “Transformation.” Raven learns that it is okay to admit how she is feeling in episode five “Fear Itself” and Robin is confronted by his need to succeed in episode nine “Winner Take All.”
The highlights of Season 2 include the first episode “How Long is Forever?” in which Starfire travels to a dark future and meets Robin, who is now Nightwing, and has to return to the past to set everything right and episode six “Date with Destiny” in which the villain’s list of demands includes a date with Robin. However, my favorite episode in this season is number 11, “Fractured.” In this episode, Robin’s fan boy from another universe pops over the Titans’ universe after Robin injures himself fighting Johnny Rancid. During the course of the episode reality is fractured in attempt to fix Robin’s broken arm and the Titans have to battle not only to make reality whole again, but to save the city from Johnny Rancid’s dark view of things. This episode rocks, from the clouds at the beginning of the episode to the portrayal of the changes in reality; I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Teen Titans is directed toward the younger crowd (the DVD is part of the “DC Comics Kids Collection”), but it is still entertaining with a fun, anime-inflected animation style. Sometimes you just want to watch something that is fun and not complicated. When the Titans get excited, their eyes become big, white, round circles. When they get mad, the animation becomes bare bones showing their heads as circles with gigantic screaming mouths. It is great!
The extras on this disc are wee, and nothing to really get excited about. There are a few trailers and a brief montage of what happened in season one. I would have enjoyed a longer, more in-depth look back, but much of this season can be enjoyed without previous knowledge of what has happened on the show or the Teen Titans themselves. However, the DVD does have additional language tracks. If you're interested, you can watch The Teen Titans in both Spanish and French!
The Teen Titans are amusing and I recommend this DVD if you’re not into DVDs with a bunch of fluff and extras. Teen Titans, GO!