Well, this rounds off the GeneralsJoes “Sigma 6 Celebration”. I hope folks who are fans of the toyline enjoyed it, and I hope those who aren’t weren’s too put off by it, and maybe even found some redeeming characteristics buried within.
Obviously if you’re at this point, you’ve probably been reading all along, and have already perused the Season 1 Recap (Parts 1 and 2) as well as the first part of the Season 2 recap. So far I’ve covered the animated series as a whole all the way up through Episode 9 of Season 2. I’m actually somewhat surprised at myself for being able to stomach this out, because quite honestly I’m not a fan of the animated series. While there were snippets of cool action, and I always love seeing my toys come to life on the screen, as a whole the writing was painful, the dialog abysmal, and some of the characterizations were straight out of the worst stereotypes I can imagine. Yet some part of me enjoys the Sigma 6 universe so much, that it seemed a shame not to at least touch on the animated series to at least a degree. And at this point, I’ve gotten this far, might as well wrap it up.
In Part 1, I left off with a Cliffhanger, as Episode 7 ended with Sigma Strike Duke landing on COBRA’s Island base, and slowly meandering towards the colliseum, waiting to see what was in store for him (and also hoping to rescue his teammates).
Within the base itself, Lt. Stone and Scarlett are still being held prisoner, when Stone reveals something of a surprising nature.
Of course anyone who bought the toy knows full well that the enigmatic Sigma 6 Lieutenant has a cyborg arm, but apparently it’s news to Scarlett. This was sort of another missed opportunity, I thought. Since Stone’s arm appeared whole throughout most of the season to this point, I was kind of hoping that Firefly’s betrayal would lead to Stone’s injury that required the arm and eye. I figured that would add another element of drama to the situation, but unfortunately, the writers did not see it that way.
So Stone and Scarlett sneak out and go about setting the others free, but there is still some unresolved business between the Lieutenant and his former teammate.
Stone and Firefly trade blows throughout the bowels of the COBRA base while out and about, Sigma Strike Duke has to face off against numerous odds, including all of the former Overlords, and COBRA Commander himself.
That’s a perfect example of something I think the Sigma 6 cartoon got right. COBRA Commander is a bad ass, as he should be. He essentially went toe-to-toe with Duke, who is all ramped up in a P.O.W.E.R. suit, and pretty much took him down. Sure, COBRA’s operations were halted and he basically retreated, but he still beat Duke in hand-to-hand combat and left of his own volition. This is not your 80′s COBRA Commander, he’s got some punch.
As Episode 8 ends, we move on and sort of get greeted by a couple more standalone episodes that don’t offer nearly the fun of these larger scale ongoing story arcs. Episode 9 focuses on Hi-Tech and Spirit as they battle Overkill in the “Bio-Dome” and really, the only thing worth mentioning is the first appearance of the awesome Iron Hammer mech (though they call it Metal Mayhem in the cartoon):
As I’ve mentioned, I always love seeing the computer generated vehicle battles going on, and this is no different, but once Hi-Tech steps out of the mech and starts talking, it’s time to claw my ears out. Especially since in this episode he’s playing off of Spirit Iron-Knife (and the eternal conflict between technology and nature) and the voice actor for Spirit does a horrid job of over-acting, over-emphasizing, and generally sounding like an idiot throughout pretty much the entire episode.
Overkill does finally get out of his test tube in this episode and sets out on his own two feet, but essentially accomplishes nothing but getting smacked down in a Mantis Mech.
Episode 10 doesn’t fare much better as Zartan and the Dreadnoks are infiltrating a desert laboratory, and unwittingly set free some super-enhanced bugs. Lt. Stone, Tunnel Rat, and Kamakura set out to stop the whole operation, and again, besides some nifty vehicle action (we see the 2.5″ Street Razor in action for the first time!) there isn’t much worth mentioning.
One slightly redeeming quality about this episode is that as it closes, you at least get the idea that COBRA has a plan and it’s nearing fruition.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the past, these two episodes kind of take you out of the “groove”. The first 3 episodes of Season 2 were pretty good, and had a great rhythm, then these silly standalone focus episodes really pull you out. Then we get to episodes 7 and 8, and once again, you’re back in a fairly quick-paced and decent story, but then we stumble back to magical bugs and Overkill acting like a robotic chick and you don’t even want to watch the next episode again.
Well, that wasn’t a worry for much beyond this, because there were really only two more real episodes of Sigma 6 in Season 2, and in fact, in existence.
It appears that COBRA had a master plan while they were stealing Sigma technology, testing a microwave emitter, and doing all of those dastardly things throughout Season 2…they were making a Weather Dominator! Well, kinda. COBRA unleashes their weapon on the world, then approaches the UN and demands an unconditional surrender. When they refuse, COBRA freezes them solid and takes them by force.
The Sigma 6 team scatters, checking out COBRA Terror Drome installations in the South and North poles, with Snake Eyes leading the charge in the South. He quickly infiltrates the base, and meets up with Firefly, showing up here in his COBRA uniform for the first time.
Firefly is one of my favorite characters in the Sigma 6 mythos…his characterization is obviously significantly different than the Real American Hero version, but his cocky, computer expert and flamethrower personality all just seem to “work”, and I enjoy his transition to the COBRA side. He also goes toe-to-toe with Snake Eyes pretty capably, which is always a cool twist. Even though the Sigma 6 ninja manages to take down the Terror Drome, Firefly captures him as the ‘Drome falls down around his head.
Episode Twelve is essentially the end of the Sigma 6 animated universe. Even though there was a 13th episode, it was just a recap show, so the events of the story essentially end with this episode. Even though there is something of a culmination and a resolution of stories, the lack of drama or impact throughout the second season (except for a few isolated instances) really makes this a non-ending. It seems like it should be more satisfying, but so many of these episodes were so goofy and took you so far out of a realistic universe that the ending is just kind of there.
Essentially the Sigma 6 team all comes down on the last Terror Drome, determined to stop COBRA once and for all. COBRA brings their “A Game” as well, launching an all out attack on the Sea Titan headquarters.
The Titan is apparently decimated and sunk, so it’s up to the remnants of the Sigma 6 team to lead the attack. Piloting the VAMP, the RHINO, the Dune Runner, and the ROCC, Lt. Stone leads the attack with Tunnel Rat, Heavy Duty, Long Range, Kamakura, and Jinx, but they get a nasty surprise when they approach the COBRA base in the form of an energized snake-shaped energy tornado. Yeah, I know. Don’t tell me.
Thankfully the Sea Titan is revealed under the ocean, faking its earlier destruction. It combats the energy tornado, and allows the Sigma 6 team to successfully approach the Terror Drome.
But more interesting than the energy tornado is once the Sigma team makes it inside the Terror Drome we get some cool action between Storm Shadow & Snake Eyes, Lt. Stone & Firefly, as well as COBRA Commander vs. Duke. The animated series does at least make an effort to resolve the various different personal conflicts that permeated the Sigma 6 story, though none of them gets especially well resolved.
I pretty much captured the last 5-6 minutes of the 12th episode, just to show how these various conflicts get resolved and how the entire series ends. Good or bad, there is a certain appreciation for seeing the 2 year long event come to an actual conclusion.
It’s nice to see some action in this last episode, and I do have to at least commend Hasbro and Gonzo for at least bringing the series to a conclusion rather than just ending it (even though the last half of season two never aired in the US). COBRA is essentially captured (except for the Commander, who escaped) and the Sigma 6 team emerges victorious. Their battle cry is a far shot from “Yo Joe” but there is a resolution, which is something, I guess.
I’m torn over the animated series, as if you couldn’t tell. I love the Sigma 6 universe so much, so part of me does enjoy seeing them in animated form, though I try to focus on the action more and the dialog and over-acting characteristics much less. There are various moments of greatness sprinkled through the series…or at least moments of fun, but unfortunately many of them are sandwiched between moments of agonizing dialog and sketchy plots. This series will never be held on a pedestal, but I’ve got them all on DVD, and I’ll definitely keep a collection of them, there are things to like mixed in there amongst the rabble.