English Dub Review: The Reflection “Downtown L.A.”

Snakes! Why does it always have to be snakes?

Overview (Spoilers)

Eleanor surrenders herself to Wraith’s forces. She declines the wiretap, but the government forces give chase anyways. The enemy pulls out their big guns, using illusions to distract the drivers, phasing through buildings, and even throwing their electric-user at them. He launches their van into the air and is about to kill the lead agent when Vi and Michael arrive on the scene to save her. At the same time, Lisa, X-On, and his investigator buddy are captured by government agents. These agents work for the Reflected Control Department. Department of what we don’t know. Army, Navy, police, CIA, Homeland Security? We don’t know. They’re men in black and they are gonna hold our heroes because Eleanor didn’t play ball. This ticks Lisa right off, but it seems Vi is even more out of control. Michaels uses his Reflected-sight to see what is up with his wife. She reveals that she is being called by Wraith and the other dark reflected. They let her go, knowing that she is going to lead them straight to Eleanor.

Courtesy: Funimation

Our Take

There are two segments to this episode, and they have completely different tones and feels. The car chase was exciting and showcased the villains’ powers nicely. The agents have to dodge through some rough terrain and smash through fences to keep up with the baddies once they start passing through buildings, but thanks to some advanced Google Maps, they catch up. The scene is well animated FOR THIS SHOW, but only because the cars are handled with CG. This lets the animators do all sorts of things with the vehicles without having to spend time in Illustrator building these crappy drawings they call animation. The rest of the episode goes back to traditional animation and continues to do their usual (bad) job of them. The animation is choppy, much of the lineart is inconsistent, and the art lacks details. The electric guy has a great intro, as he jumps out of the moving van, right at the government van. It’s startling in how quick he flies through the air, then launches his target with an electric blast. His fight with Vi isn’t all that much, as she just bear hugs him, and he eventually gets away. Oh, and while all this is going down, the girls from Japan are still deciding between beef or shrimp for their in-flight meal.

Despite the fact that this episode has a rather exciting chase scene at the beginning, not much happens. As soon as the enemy gets away, we are ushered off to the RCD HQ. There, nothing happens. Really. There is no point whatsoever to going there. Oh, this is the government agency responsible for taking down the dangerous Reflected. Nice, and? And nothing, Vi rips a hole in the ceiling and leaves. There isn’t any information to be gained, no action to keep my attention. Nothing. You could have just as easily had that happen anywhere, with the female agent being the leader still. The only thing this guy contributes is the names of the two Reflected Factions, and we could have made those up. The episode ends as our heroes chase after Vi, but Ian also gives chase after the AI in his supercar tells him that the flying retro robot could be a Reflected named Lisa. How does it know? Is it linked in with some sort of registry database? If that existed, then why haven’t all the Reflected been rounded up by the paranoid government? So, what we see here is a show that is not only terribly animated but horribly written. It brought in an entire scene for the express purpose of introducing the RCD, but no reason for them to be there in that form. We see a hero who has an AI with knowledge it shouldn’t have that speaks with the voice of his dead friend but somehow doesn’t creep him out. There’s just so many logical leaps that follow the acres of nothingness, that you wonder what the point is after a while.

And holy crap the voice acting and its direction are so bad! The leader of the RCD is like a deep-voiced robot who runs down his batteries with talking. He will go for half a sentence, stop for a second, then continue that sentence. Coupled with the terrible habit this show makes of having characters just stare at each other awkwardly, we spend the second half of the episode wading through silence! When X-On arrives in the facility, he steps up behind an agent, and the two just sit there grunting at each other. And not in the “hey, you thinking what I’m thinking, due to our shared experiences” kind of way. More like the “hey, this is really awkward and who are you” kind of way. This continues for a while, until the robot talks, then they continue again. Why? What is the function of this grunting? Why do we still have so much blank stares, now of people who aren’t X-On? We are wasting so much time on nothingness and empty air. Who thought this was good enough to greenlight?

SCORE

Summary

So between terrible animation only made viewable at times by CG vehicles, and the broken voice acting, nothing can save this episode. I give it four flipped black vans out of ten.

4.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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