I'll be honest - when Xiaolin Showdown aired on Cartoon Network back in '06, after having figured it would just be another Kung Fu cliche' of a cartoon, I found myself enjoying it... for the time being at least. Maybe it was due to the show having a certain quirkiness, or maybe it was simply because there was something 'new' and actiony to watch. Either way, I eventually lost interest about mid-Season 2. I know why. To start off, I thought the first season did have SOME potential, regardless of the stereotypical characters, setting, plot, etc. And even though the show could be downright boring at times, some of the episodes were actually willing to stray into deeper, darker territory (somewhat). Overall, what Season 1 had going for it was its SANITY. Yes, that sanity had started losing its way late into the second season, and then in the third it almost completely disappeared. You can just tell that midway in the series the writers were losing their 'creative steam', so they compensated by making the show more zany and hyperactive (like what quickly became of Chowder). The result? Unfunny, unmeaningful beeswax. By the oh-so-lame last season, what believability the main characters had was gone, replaced by even MORE stereotyped, one-sided personalities. At this point: Omi's ego is overemphasized, Kimiko is somehow girlier, and Clay cares only about food and down-home Texas sayings. What about Raimundo? He USED to by my favorite character, and for the sole reason that I could empathize with him, so to speak. Now he ironically undermines everyone else's competence to show off his own (because he is to become the leader of course!). Any character development? Not quite - Omi, Raimundo, Kimiko, and Clay are LESS mature/thoughtful than they once were; and Raimundo's character hardly counts as depthful when he merely has to overcome his fear of 'not being good enough', on the basis that he should be a better fighter instead of a better person. (He had his own pride and stubbornness to deal with; couldn't he have been shown 'a lesson in humility' alongside Omi? Pffft, no, he's learned his lesson and corrected his flaws in a way that was not explained.) Don't get me started on every other passive Master Fung, obnoxious Dojo, flat villain, and the whole same-old-same-old good versus evil thing. Ahem. All I'm really saying is that Xiaolin Showdown is an average cartoon. Nothing too bad, but nothing too great. (Thanks to nostalgia, however, I'm looking to change that on my own terms!)
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