Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
Shout! Factory has released the latest entry in the seemingly endless line of cartoons imported from Japan featuring children who do battle with each other using tiny robots, strange animals, or tiny, strange robot animals. This one is called Medabots, and with four discs featuring a total of 26 episodes at the low retail price of $34.95, it’s not a bad deal, if you like that sort of thing.
In this series, most children own Medabots, adorable little robots that are usually about two- to three- feet tall and covered with a variety of weapons. Disagreements between children are not solved with fisticuffs, but rather through “Robattles” between their Medabots, with the winner receiving a Medapart (such as an arm, leg or weapon) from the defeated Medabot. The soul of these subservient little robots lies within a small metal artifact usually located in its back. Most of the Robattles are accompanied by a title screen stating the Medabot’s owner and various statistics. It’s sort of like if Pokémon and Mega Man got together and had a baby.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, on with the story. The show revolves around Ikki, a young boy who dreams of being a Medabot champion, and his group of friends. Due to a recent string of Medabot thefts, Ikki’s parents won’t buy him one, so he’s forced to save up the cash and do it on his own, but all he can afford is an outdated model. Luckily, he finds a medal in a river, and he’s in business. The only problem is the medal he’s found was recently stolen and subsequently lost by The Phantom Renegade, who seems to be some sort of criminal that looks a lot like a clown version of the guy from V for Vendetta. Ikki ends up with his very own Medabot, who turns out to be one heck of a good fighter, and unlike other Medabots, has a mind of his own and a very sassy attitude. Hijinks and adventure ensue.
While I didn’t love it, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Medabots. It’s not the type of show I would normally watch, and it certainly isn’t aimed anywhere near my age group. Still, I found myself chuckling at a few of the jokes, and genuinely enjoying the interaction between Ikki and his Medabot. The stories that ran throughout the series were decent.
Now, it certainly didn’t make a convert out of me; I’m not going to rush out and buy the rest of the series. In fact, I didn’t even watch all of the episodes in this set, and I have no intention of doing so, but if you’ve got kids who are into anime, and you just can’t stand the stuff, you might find Medabots to be something you can enjoy together. It’s not nearly as annoying as a lot of other cartoons imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. If you’re someone who does enjoy anime, I’m guessing you’ll really dig this one. Medabots has a good sense of humor, interesting characters, cool-looking robots, and, if I may say so, a totally rockin’ theme song.