symbionic symbionic

Sym-Bionic Titan talkback

Starts tonight on Cartoon Network: Genndy Tartakovsky’s latest series (created with Bryan Andrews and Paul Rudish), Sym-Bionic Titan. Anything Genndy does is worth watching… but will it help revive Cartoon Network’s fortunes? Time will tell – in the meantime, what did you think?

  • The Brewmasters

    To be clear, if you haven’t seen the show, don’t comment on this thread or it’ll be deleted. These comments are intended to provide a talkback forum for those who have watched the first episode.

  • Chris

    Not bad, but TOO. . . DAMN. . . SHORT!!!

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I would let it pass if only for it being the first episode, but they certainly had ground to do some sort of backstory to the situation, which we get some sprinkling of during the show, but perhaps as more episodes appear we’ll get some better opinions for the series, but for now, it’s only the first episode, and very often first episodes tend to be like this IMO. They do certainly cram a lot in I have to admit.

  • holyduck

    The action part is definitely there, and I love the inspiration of the main characters from the theme of “heart, body, and mind working as one” into an anime-esque mecha series. But the show seems very distant. The character designs are a bit weird. We do not understand why a planet like that exists, so why should we care… that may not be the focus of the show. Plus, the main characters are very stoic, and not exactly personable. I would’ve liked to see a human character befriend them and have as much development as they do. Maybe that will happen later.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      That was my gripe about it. I sorta felt we were missing the “earthbound character” who would find out their secret and do anything he could to help his friends in their struggle with this enemy and other situations going on behind the scenes. We often have characters like that in anime I’m sure, though perhaps we may get one of those as the series progresses.

  • It’s a fun show. It would be tough to predict how well it’ll do, but I’ll certainly be back for more!

  • Having saw this half an hour ago, I really enjoyed it! This was definitely worth the wait. I’d say, it’s much better than Genndy’s own SAMURAI JACK, especially in terms of plot. I really hope the show lives up to its potential in the coming episodes.

    The series is basically a mixture of Gou Nagai’s UFO ROBO GRENDIZER and MAGNE-ROBO GA-KEEN (which had a 2-in-1 hero/heroine combo), with other anime and tokusatsu (SPFX) throwbacks. Really dug the Super Sentai-style Red-Ranger soldiers in some scenes!

    The animation, character designs, and backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous. The character development is really good, too! As some have pointed out, the hero Lance resembles GRENDIZER’s hero Daisuke Umon/Duke Freed. I like the other two heroes (the princess and robot) as well! The robot forms are impressive, as is the singular Sym-Bionic Titan.

    Everyone can keep their BEN 10s and GENERATOR REXes; this is a series I can really get into. I think we have a very solid winner with SYM-BIONIC TITAN! I look forward to more episodes.

  • Lala-Marin

    I can really respect the level of nerdiness that Gendy injected into this show. Lance looking like Ryoma from Getter Robo, the mysterious secret organization firing the Yamato’s wave motion canon…

    I’m impressed. The animation is incredibly fluid, the humor isn’t forced, the princess is an incredible dork, everything worked. And the Yamato thing, that was really awesome.

    Now, if only we could get more Titan Maximum.

  • I really loved the “heart, body, and mind” concept with the Sym-biotic titan itself. The episode itself was really delightfully surprising, as I really wasn’t sure how to approach the show from the previews that were given online. It really grew on me in the end, and watching the episode itself felt really familiar, yet new and a nice kind of different.

    I really can’t wait for more episodes.

  • NC

    LOVED IT!!!!! Loved the lighting. Loved the background. Loved the character designs. But what I loved the most was pointing out every single artistic and literary reference in it. Mostly spotted a lot of Frazetta and Moebius, but even crazier I had just finished Robert E Howard’s “Savage Tales of Solomon Kane,” and lo and behold who shows up but a mysterious, pale, black garbed conundrum named Solomon. I must have MORE!!!!!

    • NC

      On another note did no one else find the stereotypical high school tv shows to be a crack up? And then it ends with “Next on the CW” and the “I can’t read” line was classic!

  • It’s a beautiful looking series, and I like the idea of the network allowing a series director to take a shot at telling a much larger, longer story arc… as opposed to the usual slapdash episodic action fare.

    I wish there wasn’t as much CG, so that all the giant robots were hand drawn instead, but that’s a personal preference, really. Still looks great though.

    • Lala-Marin

      Ditto about the CG. It was my only complaint.

  • The action’s there but not quite heart-pumping. (Basically the sequences felt like generic Voltron action bits–which I suppose is the point). The backgrounds are killer.

    Overall I haven’t warmed to it but am optimistic about future episodes.

  • victoria

    seems alright, had a few laughs and it shows promise but I wish I could like the characters more. Same problem I had with Samurai Jack, great shots and backrounds and action but I would’ve been more willing to keep coming back if I cared about the characters.

  • Cameron Koller

    Am I the only one seeing a Zambot 3 influence?

    • Lala-Marin

      I’d prefer not to think of Zanbot 3, otherwise the characters’ futures aren’t looking so bright. I saw some GaoGaiGar in there. “Galactic Guard Group,” huh? Boss.

  • Justin M. Durden

    I liked it.

    Because, I trust Genndy.

    • Tim Douglas

      I LOVE GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY(‘s work). But this didn’t grab me like his other shows, I’ve actually been unsure since I first heard about it. (Why do I feel so guilty saying this?)

      That said I too trust Genndy & I’m sticking with it 100% I’m sure I’ll warm up to it.

      Also – I’m completely ashamed that I don’t get the references…everyone please educate me.

  • it was great despite the concept which i think is kinda hackneyed but oh well

  • Watched this with my 11 year old son.
    The whole time I was watching it, I’m thinking..” Mighty Orbots ” was better.
    My son liked it, I was bored.

  • Billy Batz

    Great backgrounds and robot designs, bad script.Another kids in school cartoon.Man, I hated school when I was a kid, I wouldn’t want to watch a robot show about school.Bottom line: it is ‘Herman’s Head’ plus “Amazing Three”.2010: America finally does a giant robot show, and it’s derivative. If you like twinkies, you’ll love it. But if you enjoy steak, you’ll prefer the real thing: any of the 40 year backlog of giant robot animation from the land of the rising sun.

    Question: why did they need to protect the princess from danger, when in the first action sequence it’s established that she transforms into a golden armored robot that kicks butt?

    How did the heroes confuse the earth military with the enemy that attacked their home planet. they look totally different.

    Why did the woman in the parking lot scream when she saw the heroes from another planet? Aside from the robot, the boy and girl look exactly like earth people.they aren’t scary at all.

    • fang wolfie


      1 she kicked the HUMAN MILLITARYS BUTT, back home they had huge, muscelbound, weapon toting, monsters that have aparently almost wiped them out before they came to the planet the princess is from.

      2 different planets, diferent enemys, could have been hazy from their flight, could have night at home not be as dark as on earth making them not see as well, there are a lot of reasons

      3 wouldent you scream if a clear robot and two odly dressed people who say salutations instead of hi came up to you from behind?

  • I really enjoyed it! I too trust Genndy’s creativity.

    I feel like most people aren’t going to except the character designs because they are very pop art in a way. I know many ignored 2004s “The Batman” character designs because they were so different compared to past, but that’s one of the reasons I still watched it, because it was different along with different story telling.

    I really just think the 3D needs to step up more, but still a very enjoyable show that I will probably watch every week.

  • La Pulga

    Beautiful design, epic backgrounds, superior production values…

    …but do you think Genndy actually has any FUN doing this stuff?

  • Artisticulated

    Watched it with my nine-year-old son. We both liked it. Good pacing. Involving story. It’s just that when the big Sym-Bionic transformation finally came…

    …Fireboy’s wreaking havoc and the city’s in ruins and the emergency mode kicks in ’cause there isn’t any time left and all other options have failed and there isn’t any time left and everyone’s desperate and, oh yeah, out of time. But hey, let’s not rush this “becoming the giant techno-magical warrior protector” process. Let’s take our time, discuss our feelings, do some laundry, reminisce over coffee, strike some poses. I’m sure Fireboy’s fine with that.

  • Ted

    Ugh, high school. Ugh, they have to have secret identities. Visuals seem dumbed down. Brian Posehn’s voice… I don’t know what they’re trying to get him to do with it. Hopefully the series will not be mutilated in its entirey and this was just a “we need to set up the whole backstory in one episode no matter how dumb it comes across” episode.

  • Tee

    It was nice to look at for the most part, but I wish it had even attempted being original. I felt I’d seen it before. I don’t know if I’ll be back.

  • FP

    It’s always surprising to see a TV show look as good as TITAN. It was good. The action sequences were dynamic.

    As for the tired “kids in school” setting, I can handle it as long as there’s enough crunchy violence to keep it moving.

    What’s with the 10-second theme songs on these new shows? I miss the JONNY QUEST-style intro suites.

    • holyduck

      This is the pilot episode. Predictably, the rest of the episodes will have a full-fledged OP sequence.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        That’s good to know. I wouldn’t mind either if the opening was more a prologue of the events leading up to the start of the episode with the show’s title that came after it, but that’s just me.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more Jerry – Genndy has to be one of the best animators CN has ever had. Being a fan of Dexter, PPG, and Samurai Jack there’s no way I wouldn’t miss out on the premiere of this amazing show. This is definitely something new from the mind of Genndy Tartakovsky and all I can say is… I love it. The characters are unique and the story is original (so far). I don’t want to get off topic by saying this, but I’m detecting a pattern in CN’s decision making… the recent people in charge (*cough* Rob Sorcher *cough*) really have no idea what they’re doing. I’m pretty sure we all knew that when CNReal and the live action shows were announced, but along with that they’re not giving a lot of their new cartoons chances. Honestly, Chowder and Flapjack had so much potential and they canceled them after 3/4 years of production. I’m kind of worried about Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Sym-Bionic Titan might have the same fate if someone doesn’t step up and say, “We need to change things… again.”. But anyway, Sym-Bionic Titan rocked.

  • Genndy……Rides Again!! Would love to see the Movie, down the line, sooner than later.

  • Paul K.

    Another classic from Genndy Tartakovsky– it was well animated, brilliantly designed, wonderfully paced, and jammed with enough dynamic action and heavy exposition to make the half hour fly by. The production quality exceeded my expectations of the limitations of an animated television series. I really appreciated every aspect without catching all the retro-mecha references (I mean, I get the general era, but those shows are all decades ago). Hopefully, S-BT won’t dwell too much on allusions in future episodes (though Tartakovsky often does). However, I don’t mind the amount of Tezuka influences.

    I’m set on watching Sym-Bionic Titan until the series ends (which will hopefully be a distant future of some sort).

  • tonma

    I rarely like my first episode of any cartoon, I don’t know why, I didn’t think much of the first episode of samurai jack and I hated Dexter’s lab at first(dee dee), but nowdays I just love Genndy.

    And this, well I think is obviously referential of many anime shows, but it’s old school stereotypes and that was a lot of fun to watch when I was a kid. I haven’t come back those ever since, so this really takes me back.
    Look at the palette, backgrounds, grainy sepia tones… This is supposed to hit your nostalgia just as Dexter did in it’s time but I’m pretty sure all that is just the hook, I’ll have to trust there is more depth in this project, because yes, the pace of the episode felt very rushed.

    Now, I loved the henchmen with scarfs and bell bottoms, that is damn cheesy and you can tell Genndy is keeping the cheese in this one too.

    He’s really cheesy and fun.


    2 words…. AWE- SOME!! I love Lance, he’s ssooo funny. Especially when he told the teacher “No…” Poor Llana its her first day and she’s already been put at the bottom of the social pyramid. Same goes to “Newton.” The action is great and I LOVE how it looks like Astro Boy. It seems as if they were goin’ for an anime sorta thing, when it comes to the look, but with a touch of America- I like that! Nice job Tartakovsky- you’ve done it again.

  • I think it`s a good begining, but we need more episodes to see how heat-up this series.

    Good work Gendy!!!

  • sym-bionic titan you had me at “wave motion cannons.”

    Ok now to be fair, this being a pilot means that we aren’t seeing near the whole picture. I don’t know why they turn into robots, why the government has a secret alien kicking team, and i don’t know exactly what the bad guys deal is. Any of these can snafu the whole over time, but I like what i’ve seen so far.

    The Designs are crisp and sharp.
    The characters aren’t stupid.
    It moves along.
    It amused me.

    Really can I ask for more?

    Lazarus Lupin
    art and review

  • Mike Suolen Bahl

    The only thing American about it are the secondary character designs. Everything else seems like a poor attempt at outright copying giant robot anime serials from the 90s. They even got the stiff animation and cheesy dialog down.

    Props to the background artists though, in some shots.

    • Lala-Marin

      90s? This is a 70s super robot homage if I ever saw one. What does everyone have against Gendy paying his dues?

      • Mike Suolen Bahl

        70s if you limit yourself to looking at the lead character designs. But watch any Gundam or Evangelion show from the 90s. Same thing, just done worse.

      • Lala-Marin

        Wave. Motion. Canon.

        The 3G is pretty much the only 90s reference. There’s nothing Gundam about this show (even if there were, that’s from the 70s), and Eva, really? The story is closer to Grendaizer than anything, which, as I said, is a super robot show from the 70s.

  • Andrew

    Good clean fun. What’s not to like?

  • For the most part, I loved it. The three characters are pretty interesting, representing heart, body and mind, and I think this is a High School set-up I’ll enjoy (not usually a big fan of that). Lance’s voice actor is a little…eh, but Tara Strong and the host of usual Cartoon VAs make up for it. GORGEOUS animation, CG stuff included; I think using CG for robotics and machinery is just fine and kind of makes sense (i.e. hand-drawn graphics for living beings and computer-generated graphics for artificial beings). Here’s hopin’ it continues forward…

  • incredibleJeff

    I enjoyed it.My only complaint was that there wasn’t more.I am curious about learning more about each character,I see alot of potential in the series.

  • QuietDesperation

    I went into it with the same “meh… high school life” concerns some other had, but it worked for two reasons. [1] It was stylized to the point of being parody (the hulking brute jocks were hilarious) and [2] the cliquishness was seen from an alien point of view as being backward and primitve! Most excellent! I also like how the robot appear to be composed mainly of force fields or some sort of morphing super plastic or… something. It’s transparent! :)

    The only glitch I see is the title.

    I told a friend who is also a fan of this stuff.

    Me: Tratakovsky has a new show on this Friday.
    Friend: Cool. What’s it called? I’ll Tivo it.
    Me: Um, Bio… robot… something with a T… sim… um… it has a big robot. Just check the schedule.

  • While I liked the introduction of several threats to the core characters (the shadowy military dude, the traitor on the home planet), the first 15 minutes are pretty much the most expositional writing I’ve ever seen. The main characters completely explained what happened to them – then we cut back to the planet to see exactly what they explained.

    I have hope for the show, but that was pretty glaring. Does look beautiful though.

  • I am sorry but the characters did not offer me ANYTHING.

    They do have symbolism, however I am not pleased on how little they have to share with everyone. I would have expected them to start having a bond with local humans in the high school, even if the relation was awkward or unpleasant. Lance fought some jocks at the cafeteria but that doesn’t mean anything, plus that scene has been recreated countless of times. (Spider-Man, Sky High, many more but I don’t remember the name of the shows)

    Megas XLR had more to offer as the characters were not perfect, plus Kiva would start to develop a friendship with the two “primates” of Coop and Jamie, but that’s another show.

    My point is, I expected much more development in the characters. The action and art style are undoubtedly great, but the core is missing vital pieces.

    I know that Genndy can do way better than this, and I will wait for the next episode to see if they actually start giving us a reason to care.

  • Cyle

    I enjoyed it a lot even with the high school setting (the “WC” TV show was funny). The first episode is always tricky, and I rarely enjoy the pilot as much as I do the rest of the series. You have to set up the story before you can get things going, and sometimes that can make things feel slow. I think they did a pretty good job though. It will probably take a few more episodes before we can start judging the characters and plot.

    I love the look of it. The backgrounds were fantastic, and I dig the character designs. I don’t mind that it has CG animation, but it seemed too stiff. There were a few issues with the dialogue and voice acting, but overall it was really fun. I’m definitely looking forward to the next episode.

  • Stone

    I’m always down for good Sentai references. The first episode was very exposition heavy, which is uncharacteristic of Genndy’s usual direction, as I think of him as a master of brevity cartoon-wise. But, there’s obviously a LOT of info that needed to be presented so it’s only natural, I suppose. I hope later episodes will be more focused and not so all over the place. Also, I hope the main characters begin to feel more defined as the season goes on.

    SA-weet backgrounds. The G3 have already piqued my interest as the cool wildcard faction.

    More of THAT, Cartoon Network. Please.

  • I was throughly unimpressed, but from my experience its very rare for the first episode of any giant robot show to be any good.

    I have high hopes that it’ll improve but to do so it’ll have to get over its cliche and immature take on its high school setting.

  • Ain’t nuthin’ new, but pretty to view!

  • Matt

    I’ve been loving the show ever since I got to see the episodes early at work (I work at CN.) I’ve only seen 3 episodes, the first two and episode 9, but everything I’ve seen, including 9, was fantastic. The action doesn’t let up and the humor is always genuine and refreshing, considering everything else that’s out there.

    I think it’s funny how some people are writing this show off based on the high school premise, but if you actually pay attention, you’ll see how much the show is making fun of the typical high school drama cliches that have permeated TV nowadays. Genndy is very much making a parody of that dynamic with this. From what I could tell, the high school aspect of the show is a very minor background element anyway, strictly serving as a vehicle to support the story, which is much wider in scope.

  • Oshvat

    I really enjoyed it, the animation was good and fluid, and the the story was same old, same old it worked for me. I see watching TV for your info on the world being a good bit of fun for the show. I loved the design of the robot forms, it reminded me a lot of the robot design for Five Star Stories with the elegant look.

  • After seeing the initial designs I was wondering how they’d be able to animate all the details of the S-BT – the 3D move was smart and it looks great.

    Fun designs, awesome action and amusing storytelling – that’s enough to keep me coming back for more.

    S-BT and Superman/Batman Apocalypse in the same day…great weekend. ^_^

  • JMatte

    Can’t make any judgement after just one episode, but I am looking forward to more to see how it all develops. Gotta give some time for the characters to grow. Can’t be done in just 20 odd minutes.
    Graphic style is cool, cuts and layouts were great in some moments.
    I’ll have to agree with one of the posts above: please, don’t go into long dialogs in the middle of a battle! Breaks the rhythmn, plus the villain surely wouldn’t just be standing there, waiting for them to realise what new power they’ve just discovered.
    So, apart from a few tempo tweaks, curious to see more.
    I wonder if we’ll get some animation re-use everytime they merge into their symbioticrobot form, like all the good classic anime shows, ha ha!

  • Tim Douglas

    Time to reminisce:


  • Agree that the secondary characters hold more appeal. I’m not taken by the overall synopsis or setting, but I’m prepared to be surprised. The bgnds are beautifully constructed, slick but still painterly. Thought the two lead humanoids’ mech designs were overly familiar. Still rather see more Samurai Jack.

  • james madison

    I just caught the re-broadcast.

    I really like what I’m seeing.

    It is a mixture of not only traditional and CG, but a mixture of the 50-60’s sci fi movies as well as the contemporary.

    The animation timing is great, but that is a staple of Gennedy’s work.

    I guess my only constructive criticism would be is not to make the series a “soap-opera” style show, that does not allow potential new viewer a “jumping on” point.

    Great job by all of the people involved.

    A question to any who would know –

    *Being that Genndy Tartakovsky has a great track record with producing/directing, is he the owner of the series, Or is it a Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. property?

    *Moderators – If that question seems/becomes potential for thread drift, my apologies and of please delete it.

  • Dev

    Personally, I love the writing in this show. Yeah there are some plot holes you can drive a truck through in the first episode, but it’s the FIRST episode.

    That said, the eclectic spread of visuals is not working for me. Every time the human designs of the main characters were on screen with any of the CG elements it was just jarring enough to take me out of the show and make me notice it. I love the mech design, I love that an American cartoon is trying to do a super-mech story… But the 2D visuals are the weak point here.

    Ironically, this show is followed by Generator Rex, a program with the exact OPPOSITE problem. Gorgeous visuals and story that’s almost better with the sound off.

    Just my two cents.

  • Wolf

    I disliked the 3d animation, which looked rudimentary and dated.
    It wasn’t even warranted given that the robots actually moved in a typical Genndy fashion with sudden jumps in animation from pose to pose.
    That could’ve very well be drawn and it would probably take about as much effort.
    The design of the robot is also very generic and it looks like a cheap noname brand toy.
    Usually in super robot shows the robot is the main attraction. Here it just looks like they grabbed the first unrefined design off the creative desk and ran with it.

    The rest of the show features cliche after cliche.
    Exploration with cliches was much better executed in Samurai Jack, where the unique setting offered interesting adaptations of “I’ve seen that before” scenes and characters.
    Over here it just looks like they copy pasted things into the show that we’ve seen a hundred times before, but without really adapting anything. It basically looks like a clip show of stale cliches.

    Basically, my opinion is that the show is not really taking the premise and doing something creative with it, but rather taking the premise and giving us absolutely nothing new. It’s just lacking creativity.

    Genndy, super robot shows are not really about the robot striking poses. At least they haven’t been about that in the last 30-40 years.
    His previous works had this creative charm about them that’s almost whimsical. Here that charm is completely missing.

  • Loved every minute. Loved the pop culture satire, the empathy of the characters. No, not a lot of info but it’s a series, it’s supposed to leave you wanting more. All in all, a fantastic piece and I can’t wait for episode 2 and beyond.

    I also have to note how cool I thought it was that the head of the Sym-Bionic Titan looks like a Spartan. Just really cool to me.

  • Hal

    All the teenage high school stuff worked like gangbusters – so much so that I almost wish it wasn’t a monster of the week Voltron show. The bizarre Conan In Space aesthetic of their homeworld is fun, as is the villain’s design (a nice combo of the captain from STARBLAZERS and a GIANT ROBO villain) but the conflict between the Army General (John DiMaggio voiceover!) and Secret Agent Solomon Kane (Robert E Howard reference!) was already dragging the half hour down. Lots of potential though, especially considering the inevitable lovers are pretending to be BROTHER AND SISTER… that could be fun and awkward down the road. For a pilot, its pretty solid and I think there’s potential to go either way – but whoever voices the robot/nerd NAILED it. Here’s hoping it can find a nice stride and let the high school comedy really resonate, since its Gendy I’m pretty sure they’ll shake up the MONSTER OF THE WEEK format a bit to just do some fun character episodes.

  • daniel smith

    sym bionic titans the best i dont get you cartoonnetwork you have something good and you throw it away are you mental our something i love that series and i wanted to see more along with the other was worth watching i believe you have fail over the past few years of making ctnw better than it already its just stupid dont end up like disney channel,you saw what they did they took the icon of disney all for a pop star hannah.right now nicktoons is doing better then you guys you had every thing back then now your just putting stupid retarded shows on the network that no one watches. for example you had the money maker naruto thousands of thousands people watched guys were getting millions of dollars and just when it was getting good you let it go and guess what your doing the same to sym bionic titans. now disney xd has it and you had your chance to get more money off of us but you blu it. come on man think for once make the right choices please for you sake and ours dont end up like disney man dont.