Resembling a cross between “Gigantor” (for those old enough to remember that) and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” — only with better animation than the former, and more brains than the latter — Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Sym-Bionic Titan” delivers a full-throttle, finely calibrated ride. Drawing from numerous sources, this action-packed, high-school-set Cartoon Network entry should score a bull’s-eye with boys and tweens, while providing a logical companion to the “Clone Wars” franchise. About all that’s missing is a pithy catchphrase and pronounceable title.
Aliens on the run, the Princess Ilana (voiced by Tara Strong), her protector Lance (Kevin Thoms) and robot Octus (Brian Posehn) have fled to Earth, where they hope to blend in as teenagers at high school. Octus rather awkwardly poses as a robot-shaped nerd but, on the plus side, he’s terrific at math.
Alas, the evil General Modula has seized control of their home planet and is in hot pursuit, dispatching enormous monsters to destroy them. Fortunately, Lance and Ilana can individually morph into metal-clad warriors and, with Octus’ help, join together into the gigantic Sym-Bionic Titan, a way-cool-looking construct who wields a power sword (whatever happened to Voltron, anyway?) he uses to cleave opponents in two.
Frankly, the plots are secondary, though the producers do have some fun with the aliens’ view of high school’s caste system, having derived their advance knowledge from what looks like a CW drama. The visual design and action sequences, however, are topnotch, befitting Tartakovsky’s work for Cartoon Network on “Samurai Jack” and the “Clone Wars” shorts he produced prior to the current series.
This is clearly traditional animation by and for those who love the form and embrace its ability to present grand imagery — without feeling compelled to dumb itself down for the kids.
“Titan” might not be titanic, but as for fighting the good fight for right against wrong? Bring it on.