Scene and Reviewed: Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground
Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground All-New DVD Collection from the Slugterra Animated Series Coming March 4, 2014 from Shout! Factory Kids and Nerd Corps Entertainment!
I had the opportunity this week to review a collection of Slugterra episodes. Having never heard of the show before, I thought it would be a good excuse to spend a morning watching cartoons. For the uninitiated, here is the official description that accompanied the DVD:
“Slugterra is an epic sci-fi comedy adventure set deep underground, where the ammo’s alive and only the quick survive! In this luminous, high-tech, underground world, every cavern holds a new adventure, a new battle and weird little slugs to be discovered.
In this collection, join our hero Eli Shane, his gang of slugslingers, and his best slug buddy Burpy on their numerous adventures Whether they are thwarting a mad scientist, facing an Ice Ogre or questing after fabled treasure, Eli and the rest of Shane Gang prove they are ready to slug it out!”
Well, that sounds exciting, if not a little familiar, right?
I decided to do a little research in order to really understand what I was about to watch. Slugterra is a Canadian/American animated series that premiered on Disney XD Canada in September 2012, and on Disney XD in October of the same year. They’ve aired three seasons so far, and a Canadian film is slated for Spring 2014. Heroes of the Underground is the 4th volume in the Slugterra DVD collection series. The series has spawned numerous online games and tons of merchandise, mostly targeted at what I would guess to be boys aged 6-11.
The story itself is pretty formulaic. Our hero is Eli Shane, who was sent to the underground world of Slugterra at the age of 15, for what purpose I still do not know. Once there, Eli meets the standard cast of characters: the plucky girl, the gentle giant, and the comic relief. Together, they make up the Shane Gang. The resident villain is Dr. Thaddeus Blakk. In Eli’s apparent quest to be the best slugslinger of them all, he will do battle with Dr. Blakk and his thugs, er, slugs, as well as duke it out with other slugslinging challengers.
The slugs in question are kind of cute, actually. There are nearly 50 types of named slugs throughout the series. Each one possesses a ‘special power’ such as Fire, Ice, Electricity, Water, Air, and so forth. Characters going into battle take their slug of choice, load it into what looks like a shotgun shell, and fire it from a larger blaster. Once they have been shot, the force of the blast causes the slug’s power to take control, transforming it into a powerful force to be reckoned with. If you have been treating your slugs nicely and taking good care of them (letting them sleep in a tube sock on your bed like Eli) then the discharged slug will return to you, or at least to your home. If Dr. Blakk gets a hold of slugs, he uses ‘dark water’ to transform the slugs into Ghouls, of which there are 20 different types.
And….that’s it. That’s the entire point of the show.
I wish I could say more, but with the absence of a true story arch or semblance of a plot, it was a struggle to hold my attention. The CGI looked really good. The landscape and look of the underground world and all of its caverns was actually beautifully designed. The animation of the characters and slugs themselves reminded me of the style Disney employed for the movie and TV series Lilo & Stitch. The show was a little darker than I expected, with regards to the violence. It had moments where it wanted to be the sort of show an adult could enjoy watching, while trying to maintain the expectations of a Disney children’s series. And with the idea that characters must collect, train, and battle their slugs, it is hard not to make comparisons to the juggernaut that is Pokemon. Though, given the choice, I would take Slugterra over Pokemon in a heartbeat.
Ten minutes into the first episode and I was asking myself, “Wait. What am I watching?” But then again, what do I know? I am not a boy aged 6-11. Clearly, with everything that I have seen online, the series has a large and loyal fan base. Just because it didn’t click with me doesn’t mean it isn’t the bees knees for someone else. After all, it definitely had enough action sequences to keep a young child entertained. And the slugs, with their funny expressions and awkward teeth, are sure to be all the rage for little girls of the same demographic. If slugs were that cute in real life, I might collect a few myself! Be sure to check out the Bonus features which include a ‘Draw Your Own Slugs’ segment. The kiddos will have fun with that one.
Get ready to Slug it Out on March 4, 1014 when Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Nerd Corps Entertainment, releases Slugterra: Heroes of the Underground 5-episode DVD collection.
- A Distant Shore
- The Journey Home
DVD Bonus Features Include:
- Drawing Your Own Slugs!
About Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc.
Nerd Corps Entertainment is a privately held IP creation, development, production, and distribution company based in Vancouver, Canada, with offices in Toronto, Canada. The company’s mandate is to produce stylistically innovative animated projects for television, online, and mobile based on a solid foundation of creative and exceptional storytelling. Working in a state-of-the-art studio with highly skilled artists and production staff, Nerd Corps’ expertise in creative development and execution covers all aspects of property generation and management, from development and production to distribution, marketing, interactive and licensing. The studio’s award-winning stable of productions includes original series Kate and Mim-Mim, Endangered Species, Slugterra, Storm Hawks, League of Super Evil and Rated A for Awesome, as well as Dragon Booster for Alliance Atlantis and Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5, Max Steel and Monster High for Mattel, Inc.
About Shout! Factory:
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blue-Ray offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music, and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras. Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY nominated “best of” compilations. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America. Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California.