So the new Star Wars cartoon has made its small screen debut and it is definitely a good start for the future of the franchise.
Episode 101, Ambush, follows the exploits of Yoda and three Clone Troopers that are trying to negotiate an agreement with the planet Rugosa to open trade routes and secure the system from Separatist hands. Unknown to Yoda until his arrival is that Asajj Ventress has beaten him to the planet to try and sway the King of Rugosa, Katuunko, that the Separatist droid armies are a better security option over the Jedi.
After escaping a space battle with his mini squad, Yoda accepts Ventress’ challenge to prove the Jedi’s worth. The episode then involves a lot of fighting and a couple of good Yoda teaching moments with his classic theme and all and the episode felt really good and right at home with the Star Wars universe. The animation is the same as the recently released feature length version of and the fight scenes have plenty of fun and ingenuity pumped into it as the previous Clone Wars series. The show also does a good job of making the Clones more then drones for the slaughter, and gives them good personalities. The show also holds the bit over PG brutality that the movie did, and will shock you from time to time with some of the things they get away with.
The show is off to a good start with this episode and I can’t wait to see more Yoda action in later episodes.
Episode 102, Rising Malevolence, revolves around the Jedi’s search for a Separatist secret weapon that is destroying fleets and leaving now one behind. Master Plo Koon is sent with a fleet of two Republic Battleships to the system of Abregado to investigate when his fleet is decimated by the secret weapon in question, an Ion cannon onboard the Separatist ship the Malevolence commanded by General Grievous. Dooku is also on board to inspect the new weapon and is pleased with what he has seen so far. Master Plo Koon was able to escape with a Clone Commander and two Clone Troopers in an escape pod but not before Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka, Anakin’s Padawan, receive a message from Plo Koon reporting their position. Anakin is instructed to take his fleet to a rendezvous, which he obliges to, but not without bending the truth a bit as he and Ahsoka head off to find hopeful survivors in Plo Koon’s fleet.
The episode then cuts between Anakin teaching Ahsoka how she should be handling herself with the Council and Plo Koon and company trying to find ways to survive as Grievous has dispatched a pod-hunter to destroy any remaining survivors. The action doesn’t pick up towards the end, and when paired after Ambush, it might seem a little slow, but the story does a good job of blending a few story lines into a 22 min episode. The wisdom of the Jedi is on display here again as well, and Anakin’s attitude rings true to the films as well.
While this episode falls short of the excellent Ambush episode, it’s still a solid entry and shows of the variety that we can expect in this series that is going to last for hopefully the fully planned 100 episodes.