Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Shadow Raiders: Volume 2

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch a movie and blog about it.  I've stumbled across my DVDs for the old cartoon Shadow Raiders, and today we're on volume 2.  This is in my notes on January 27, 2019.

Continuing my plunge through Shadow Raiders.  As I said before, the series can be divided into a series of 4-episode long story arcs.  The theme of this second arc seems to be the forces of the Beast planet probing the early days of the Alliance, looking for weaknesses and trying to drive them apart.  And many times, they come close to succeeding. 

Wolf in the Fold - The Alliance has their first strategy session, but it ends almost as soon as it starts when everyone fights over who should start the meeting.  Graveheart, our reluctant hero, is still reluctant to seize command, especially being the only commoner in a roomful of royalty.  And here is where Lamprey of the Beast planet strikes.  Princess Tekla, our lone survivor of Planet Tek, has been comatose since the first episode.  Lamprey seizes control of Tekla's body.  Graveheart is more than happy to relinquish command to the resurrected Tekla, but everyone agrees that something about her seems off.  Lamprey finally blows her cover when she starts asking for things that Tekla should have no knowledge of.  But the damage is done, as Planet Bone storms off in a huff, and Lamprey, still possessing Tekla's body, escapes with Emperor Femur. 

Mindwar - Our heroes catch up to Emperor Femur and save him from the possessed Tekla.  As I'm sure you can tell from the title, most of this episode takes place in Tekla's mind, as she tries to expel Lamprey and re-take control of her body.  This episode also shows how it frequently goes to dark places, as on a few occasions, Tekla takes charge and begs Graveheart to kill her, as it'll be the only way to kill Lamprey, too.  And Jade seems more than willing to do it.  But, Graveheart comes through with an inspirational speech about how an alliance means not leaving anyone behind.  This gives Tekla the strength to expel Lamprey, and newly awakened and back in control of her body, Tekla becomes chief advisor to the Alliance. 

I just like the ending of this one.  Graveheart comments how the Alliance endures, and Jade simply replies with, "So it does."  I just really like the line reading that the voice actress uses.  It's amazing what little things stick with you. 

J'accuse - The Alliance is scouring Planet Fire for hidden Beast bases.  While taking a walk to clear her head, there's an accident, and Jade is accused of murdering a guy.  While she's thrown in jail to await execution, Graveheart gets the standard 24 hours to find evidence to clear her name.  Of course, it's revealed that Jade was framed by Lamprey to drive a wedge into the Alliance.  Jade's name is cleared, the Beast forces are routed from Fire, and all is good. 

But still, like I said about how this series goes to dark places.  In a lot of cartoons, you can hardly get away with straight-up murder.  But they do it. 

Blood is Thicker... - The search for Beast bases moves to Planet Ice.  As our heroes have another strategy session, word comes down that the Beast forces have kidnapped King Cryos's daughter, Lady Zira.  The Alliance pretty much drops everything to mount a search and rescue mission, leaving King Cryos's palace on Ice vulnerable to attack.  Graveheart stays behind to defend the castle, while Cryos goes off on the rescue mission.  When Zira is safe, Cryos knows he committed a cardinal sin of royalty:  he puts his own family above the needs of his own people.  Knowing that he's now become a liability to Planet Ice, Cryos abdicates the throne. 

Still some great stuff going on here.  Despite being 20 years old, this CGI has held up surprisingly well.  The movements are a little stiff, but the environment is just so lush.  But what made the series work were there characters, as they're still just so compelling to watch. 

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