SYM-BIONIC TITAN “I Am Octus” Review

Sym-Bionic Titan (Cartoon Network)

SYM-BIONIC TITAN “I Am Octus” Episode 14 – I never would have expected that I’d be so impressed by an episode of Sym-Bionic Titan in which Octus was the main character driving an emotional story line, but tonight’s episode, “I Am Octus” totally did it.

In the very first scene with Octus, Ilana and Lance at a modern art exhibit, I have to be honest, I related most to Octus’ description of the painting they were looking at. Obviously Octus, like many people, doesn’t innately grasp the feelings evoked by art so both Ilana and Lance misguidedly extend his technical understanding to the whole of Octus’ personality. They conclude that Octus’ inability to interpret the underlying emotions in art as the fault of him being a robot while at the same time being completely oblivious to the reality of Octus feeling frustrated, angry and hurt in that exact moment. Obviously he’s more than a machine and I think that deep down, both Ilana and Lance realize that, but in a moment of thoughtlessness, they hurt Octus because they carelessly forgot that he was capable of having feelings.

Octus continues to show emotion throughout the episode – mostly frustration, self-doubt and disappointment, but also genuine concern for both Ilana and Lance as his companions. As he works through his issues, he becomes more confident and by the end of it, he’s decided he’s satisfied being Octus even if he doesn’t know what exactly what he is. Octus’ final monologue was particularly touching because I imagine there are many people out there who are able to relate to him. I have a few friends who have personalities very similar to Octus. They’re brilliant and analytical individuals, but they have a difficult time grasping social situations and relating to people emotionally. Eventually, they become flustered and upset with themselves because what is so natural for most of us, can be so difficult for them. Octus may look like everyone else on the outside but he processes things very differently on the inside. It’s inspirational to hear Octus vocalize his realization and acceptance of the fact that being different on the inside is OK. He is Octus and that’s all that matters.

I loved the art and animation in this episode. Everything was so vivid and colorful and I particularly enjoyed the warm depiction of the village in France. The way the villagers were animated and interacted with one another really made the place seem so alive before the strange effects of the Mutraddi came into play. After the last couple of episodes that were set in smaller areas, it was nice to see the three of them in a variety of settings this time in different countries and in big cities. Even though the time-freezing ability was pretty cool, the Mutraddi bat-dragon-beast-thing wasn’t too interesting as a villain, nevertheless, it was drawn and animated well so the final battle scene with the Sym-Bionic Titan ended up being pretty fun.

While I always thought Octus was a cool character, I definitely like him much more now. The episode did feel a little slower than others but I really liked the heavy character development so the slower pace was worth it. I’d be happy to see it this same kind of character driven episode with all our protagonists especially if they can pull it of like they did for “I Am Octus.”