If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen me cover Season One of the Sigma 6 cartoon in two parts here and here. I’ll be doing the same thing this time around with Season Two, covering the first 6 episodes in this article, then covering the next 6 episodes in Part Two. Episode 13 of Season 2 was merely a “recap show” wrapped into a pseudo-Awards show, so I didn’t feel that was even worth including.
It should be noted that in the US, Season Two only aired through Episode 8, the rest of them were found on the Canadian station YTV, or Hasbro’s “MonkeybarTV” website.
Season Two, like the first season, was a very mixed bag of up and down moments. The overall story and plot was more sinister and serious than the first season, and the atmosphere was a bit more grown up, but the dialog actually took a number of steps backwards. We got introduced to some great new characters in Lt. Stone and Firefly, and the dynamic between them both had lots of potential, but when the show had a chance for great drama, it usually elected for ridiculous dialog and over-anxious voice acting which took it out of the moment.
Sigma 6 find themselves across the pond in Europe, attempting to thwart COBRA’s latest schemes, however they don’t realize that a stranger from the shadows is watching their every move, and may actually be closer than they think.
Like in Season One, Season Two placed a nice emphasis on well orchestrated and nicely animated vehicle battles, which fit into the Sigma 6 dynamic fairly well since they took this opportunity to launch their 2.5″ vehicle line. While the “Mission Scale” series of toys didn’t fare very well at retail, the designs were just as impressive as the Sigma 6 action figure designs, and looked pretty slick in animated form. The computer generated animation also meant that the models were very toy-accurate and it was really almost like seeing your toys come to life on the TV screen. The Dragonhawk pretty much took center stage there.
Most of Season 2 seems to focus on COBRA utilizing a traitor in the Sigma 6 ranks and launching various sneak attacks on the team. While the Dragonhawk took to the air for the Sigma 6 team, COBRA had their own huge battle cruisers and fleets of Firebats to fight back with.
Like the first Season, the second has it’s share of pretty darn cool animation, especially in the vehicle battles, as Firebats, the VAMP, the Dragonhawk, etc… all weave in and out of rocket fire, zip through the air or on the ground, and pull some pretty neat acrobatics. So that part of the action in this series remains consistent. However, it almost seems as if the more…”personal” fight scenes pick up a bit in their intensity as well, especially as we come into the third episode in Season 2. What has happened is that COBRA launched a surprise attack on Sigma 6’s new base of operations, the “Sea Titan”, a massive submarine headquarters. Their attack succeeds mostly due to a virus planted in their computer system by the COBRA traitor. COBRA steals the Dragonhawk to harness the secret “Sigma” technology, and Sigma 6 is in close pursuit.
Lt. Stone then inflitrates COBRA’s island base and uses his “Sigma Sight” functionality for the first time, in a cool way that also emulates his toy, which came with a COBRA Trooper Disguise.
Typically in the Sigma 6 series, the action seemed somewhat choppy, at least where the human beings were concerned, but Season 2 seemed to be at least somewhat of an upgrade, even if the animation in general took a couple of steps backwards. Episode 3 is actually pretty loaded with action, though, even as Stone infiltrates the base, Duke, Firefly, and Long Range take a more direct approach.
Once Stone gets to his destination, he comes face to face with Destro and a very cool battle scene ensues that is one of the best in the series. As Destro studies the technology of the Dragonhawk, Lt. Stone confronts him and the two do battle in a way that two enemies hadn’t yet to this point. The only way Stone even has a chance is when Duke makes a surprise rescue, and the two of them can still only barely hold their ground against the very powerful Destro.
Episode Three was surprisingly loaded with action, and turned out to be a lot of fun. In fact, the first three episodes of Season Two seemed to indicate that Sigma 6 had really rounded a corner and had a load of potential, but I don’t think it ever met that potential from here on out. There were definitely a few more flashes of coolness, but no sustained story arcs or drama that made any sort of impact.
Episode Four was a landmark of a sort as Hi-Tech finally ditched his old uniform and got his Sigma Suit, his new plasma cannon, and the H.O.U.N.D. Sentry. Along with the appearences of those items, Destro also busted out his Mantis Mech and the two went head-to-head. The end results are as you might suspect from a Sigma 6 show, but it’s a neat fireworks display regardless.
Of course a good deal of the coolness of this fight is taken away every time Hi-Tech opens his mouth, but still the somewhat annoying nature of his over-acting dialog can be at least a bit overcome by the toy-accuracy of the plasma weapon and seeing him absolutely lace the Mantis Mech with its full power.
With Episode 5, the entire Sigma 6 series takes a quick nosedive and immediately eliminated any potential hopes I had for a change in quality, as it showcases, believe it or not, a hamburger eating contest between Tunnel Rat and Heavy Duty, with the loser having to train to be a ninja. No, I’m not making that up, and no I’m not making up the fact that the episode ends with Tunnel Rat doing a jig and singing “King Tunnel Rat, the ninja, King Tunnel Rat the ninja“… ick. Let’s move on, shall we?
The Sixth episode was at least a step up from the Tunnel Rat ridiculousness, and featured Snake Eyes, Duke, Scarlett and Heavy Duty in wintery Romania. We do get a glimpse of Arctic Snake Eyes’ snowboard (though Snake Eyes himself remains in his standard ninja uniform), Duke in his own Arctic gear, and the Sigma 6 ninja meets up with this universe’s version of Timber for the first time. All throughout this, we get re-introduced to Overlord Virus, and Destro tests out his new microwave emitter. Not a bad episode, per se, but really nothing striking about it, and it does little to progress the story. However, that changes with Episode 7.
The episode starts off with Firefly, Tunnel Rat, and Heavy Duty in a dark alleyway, making plans on meeting up with a COBRA turncoat…but the turncoat ends up being on their side, and they are quickly brought down.
This is one part where it seems like there was some lost potential. We could have had some great build up to the big “betrayal”, but instead it just sort of happens, and it happens after two meaningless episodes to boot, so it loses all impact, all drama, and all necessity. Nobody was on the traitor’s trail…so why reveal your cover now?
Anyway, after the betrayal in the back alley, we turn our attention to the Sea Titan.
You say “Product Placement”, I say “wow, cool!” There’s no doubt that Sigma Strike Duke was meant to be a big ticket item for the toyline at this time (even if he did end up being one of the larger clearance victims of the year) and Hasbro made plans to push him big time. Episode 7 starts up with Duke testing out the Sigma P.O.W.E.R. armor, to Hi-Tech’s delight, even if there are some apparent technical issues to be worked out.
More pressing matters are at hand, though, as Sigma 6 team members suddenly start dropping off the map. Stone and Scarlett move in to investigate…
Like I said before, this whole sequence could have even more impact and more drama if it was drawn out a bit more, or led up to differently. As it stands, Scarlett just seems to assume that Stone is the traitor, only to find out that she’s wrong at the end. I love the scene above where Firefly forces Scarlett to gun Stone down in the alley, however again, the impact is lost by the fact that the shooting doesn’t even seem to do much damage, and Stone ends up awakening in a COBRA prison cell a short time later, practically unharmed.
However, Stone’s awakening happens in Episode 8…first we have to finish episode 7, which winds down with Hi-Tech and Duke tracking Sigma 6 to a remote location and launching “Project Defiant” an orbital rocket that delivers Sigma Strike Duke into the belly of the beast.
I’ve covered seven episodes in Part 1 of this article, so might as well end on a cliffhanger. Come back later on today for Part 2, when I talk about episodes 8-12, which progress the story further and wrap up the Sigma 6 animated adventures.