SYM-BIONIC TITAN “Disenfranchised” Review

Sym-Bionic Titan "Disenfranchised" Episode 15

SYM-BIONIC TITAN “Disenfranchised” Episode 15 – So much of this episode of Sym-Bionic Titan brought flashbacks of my high school years in the late 90’s. Not the alien battles or the military spies of course, but little details scattered throughout the episode that made me think that either the 90’s feel was all intentional, or that some things in high school really never change. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Disenfranchised is the name of the goth rock band playing in the cafeteria at Sherman High that inspires Lance to learn to play the guitar. The band’s sound reminds me a little bit of The Cure on “Wild Mood Swings” except instead of Robert Smith, they’ve got Trent, from Daria, singing lead vocals. Their opening performance even reminded me of a Mystic Spiral show and I started thinking the band was supposed to be a spoof on the brooding musician type in the same way that Trent and Mystic Spiral had been. When Lance took an interest in the band, however, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to take them seriously.

In the end, they come off as an exaggerated caricature and when the lead singer tells Lance, “you’re too mainstream” it’s totally a jab at the alternative hipster types that pride themselves on being counter-culture before counter-culture was cool. I liked that Lance brushed off the band’s condescending attitude after being dropped from the band. It totally proves how much cooler Lance is for just being himself without trying to be a stereotypical popular kid or a scenester and as a result, people naturally want to be around him.

My flashbacks didn’t end with the band though. General Steel was back in this episode of Sym-Bionic Titan and one of the most popular and annoying gag from my high school days – the old “whaaaaasssaaaap” bit – resurfaced to prove how out of touch General Steel and his men were with modern teens. I admit, I still laughed at it, so I guess that makes me old.

The spy that General Steel sent, Steve “Babyface” Stevens, looked a lot like Archie Andrews on steroids. Even if he looked young enough to blend in, he stuck out like a sore thumb because of his backward ideas of the teen social world. I loved watching Octus/Newton mess with him especially when he switched around the labels on the bathroom doors and later, the stand-up sit-down bit that Ilana and Octus pull in the cafeteria to confirm their suspicions was also really funny.

Stevens interviews a number of the students to find out more information about the aliens hiding in the school. The interviews were pretty hilarious and I cracked up at the end of the last interview when he asks with confusion, “So, Lance and Ilana are brother and sister? How is Newton related?” but the student he asks is too distracted by the camera and just responds “hi mom!”

I totally loved the monster this week. An awesome flying space dragon that breathes fiery red laser beams? Yes, more please. As much as I want them to beat the bad guys every time I was sad to see this Mutraddi get spliced up. It was just such a cool looking beast that it seemed too good to waste so quickly. Luckily, the fight scenes were animated fantastically so at least it died an awesome death. The follow up fight scene at the concert was really good too even though the creature was less impressive without its full body. The fight raging on in the background made the concert seem like it was part of a crazy music video and I liked how the music eventually seemed timed perfectly with the action in the battle. The last moments of the song when the creature explodes looked seriously cool and it was probably my favorite moment of this episode.

It feels like it’s been a while since there was an episode like this where we got plenty of action without skimping on the normal high school stuff. The first few music scenes were a little long for my tastes, but in the end there was a good payoff with a battle nicely synced to the band’s performance. One of my favorite things about Sym-Bionic Titan is that the every day teen drama is given just as much attention as the sci-fi action story, so it’s easy to relate to the protagonists even if we’ll never fight monster aliens. In my opinion, this episode did that pretty well.