Hello, Spongey here.
I like a lot of shows. From oldies to today’s selection, I like plenty of TV shows from cartoons to live action stuff. I’ve covered a lot of shows on here, either through tributes, lists, or general look at articles.
Naturally, I have plenty of favorite episodes of these shows, and I like to share them with you. Sometimes I will do as a list, like with Phineas and Ferb, My Little Pony, and some coming up. Other times I just do a look at the show like with Sofia the First.
However, sometimes I simply cannot find a way to share my favorite episodes of a show through my usual means. Either I have very little to say about the show that has not been said by other people, or I can’t really make a concrete list. Even if I have an all time favorite episode, I simply cannot come up with a decent list.
There are various other reasons but those are the main ones. Either I don’t have a ton to say on the show for a Tribute/Look or I can’t think of a decent list. And that’s where my new segment comes in.
Welcome to Spongey’s Favorite Episodes.
In this segment, I simply discuss my favorite episodes of a show. I’ll just simply go through a ton of episodes I think are the best, and explain why. The way I do it will really depend on the show. Sometimes I’ll do it by Season, other times I’ll do it by category. We’ll just have to see.
This section may be not frequent, as I will try as hard as I can to come up with a list, or do a look at in some way. I almost did it with MLP til I got the by Season idea. Same with Gumball, almost did until I found a good list.
And even the subject of our first one was not planned, until bad things happened. See, I planned a post on the big Three Disney XD Cartoons, and typed out a good chunk of it.
…But then I lost the laptop and thus lost that post. I was in no mood to redo it, but I wanted to discuss these shows in some way. So I decided to just do a full post for one show, and for the others, I’d do this.
I do really want to discuss them in some way, and this seems like a good way to do it. This will be quick, so it may not be the best, but I think this shows the typical format of a SFE well. It will change depending on what we are doing, though.
If it’s only one or two shows, it will be what you see below, but if it’s many (like I do plan to do) then it may be a bit different. But in general, this is how it will be done.
I plan to do my Disney XD speil in a future post, so I’ll cut it short for now. Their animation has been on the hit or miss when it comes to success, but they have had a few notable hits. They haven’t had a ton of shows not based on movies, but the ones that they have tend tend to be good.
Heck, they are now home to Disney Animation and general and honestly handle it better than the main channel. And two of these shows happened to be fairly solid and suprsingly enjoyable. So let’s discuss their best hits today.
These are my favorite episodes of Kick Buttowski and Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja
Both of these shows helped establish Disney’s XD Tone, as well as their tendency to exceed expectations. Kick Buttowski is about the adventures of a young daredevil named Kick (he has a real name but this is cooler) who does all kinds of crazy stunts, with the help of his friend Gunther, while dealing with his jerkass brother Brother and other obstacles.
At first it seems it like it would be another one of those vain attempts to be EXTREEEEEM, but as I mentioned before, it actually works. Mostly because they keep the lingo to a minimum and focus on the positive elements of this premise.
They mostly use it to take mundane situations and make them as crazy as possible. Most episodes have some high octane action stuff with said stunts and have plenty of creativity. It also had a decent cast of memorable and likable characters.
It’s hard to explain why it works better than you’d expect but it just does. For the most part, it’s just a fun show with a good heart. Heck, it even managed to be consistently solid from Episode 1, with only one episode I don’t like.
Pinch Sister actually has a lot of what I thought the show could be like: A Jackass ruining the neighborhood with stunts and just in general not being nice to anyone.
I’ll explain other elements as we go on. For now, let’s look at the episodes I enjoyed the most from this show. Now I will picking just 5, and not in a big order. Can’t pick one favorite, but I suppose the last 2 are close.
Also, I may not go into as much detail as I usually do. I’ll try my hardest though. Let’s begin with…
Truth or Daredevil
Writer: Derek Dressler
This was the first of two double length specials they did, and it’s a pretty memorable start. Kick is forced to be with his boring grandfather, but things change when he reveal he was once a spy, and tells a story of how that happened.
The set up is slightly typical but once it gets going, it never lets go. It’s a big spy action thriller thing with the Kick Buttowski cast filling in certain roles. It’s not the most original but it has a lot of fun with it’s premise.
It’s a good example of how the show just had a ton of action when it comes to the action and sunts. The stakes just makes this a bit bigger than usual. The plot isn’t really the focus, as it’s a big excuse to have tons of action and creative situations, which is fine. It’s fun to see the characters in these roles, like Gunther as this scientist, and Wacky Jacky as …well Jacky, just helping Kick a bit more.
And there’s Brad…as the dictator of an evil Axsis looking to take over Europe. Uh…i think you can guess who he is supposed to be. Let’s move on. Every second has some fun action scene or an amusing gag.
It’s just bursting with fun from start to finish, even in the wraparound stuff. The extra length helps to flesh it out more and do even more with the premise. I don’t want to say much more, because it’s more fun to see it for yourself.
There aren’t any epic twists or anything, but it’s still plenty of fun. Although I wish Kenall had a role in there somewhere, felt a bit weird without her along with everyone else. Otherwise, this episode is a blast.
It takes a good premise, and just runs with it, which is what a lot of the best episodes do. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Yeah, this show’s episodes tend to be a bit simple which is why I warned you these wouldn’t be too long.
Either way, this is a tour de force worth listening to.
Kyle E Coyote
Writer: Derek Dressler
For one episode in Season 2, there were 3 short segments for the half hour instead of 2 11 minute ones, kind of like what SpongeBob did a few times. They likely did this since since each concept couldn’t quite fill the full time, and wanted to experiment with some fun ideas, like the afromentioned SpongeBob did.
While all three were fun (minus Locked Out’s rather cruel ending…), this one was the best of that set. As the title emplies, it’s one big homage to the Road Runner cartoons, with Kick trying to catch Cousin Kyle, as he is running a muck thanks to an energy drink.
And it’s not just the just format they homage, every single aspect is a reference. It’s mostyl silent except for Kyle going “Chug Chug!”, it has over the top wack slapstick, and even has a similar logo and way of transitioning to the next scene.
You can tell they actually did their homework and were big fans, because it’s a proper homage that does it justice. There are a lot of really funny gags, and the slapstick is really well animated, and actually fits the style of the show.
It even works on it’s own as a fun little slapstick piece. All of it is just really well, and incredibly enjoyable. My only complaint is that it ends a tad abruptly. I almost wish it was longer, but I know this kind of thing would wear out it’s welcome if it has longer.
But that shows how good it is, I wanted more! As good as “Rocked”, the other great short, was it didn’t quite do that. ..I can’t really say more since it’s like only 5 minutes and part of the fun is seeing all the creative gags, and I don’t wanna spoil that. Yeah, this shows episode tend to be kind of simple.
Which is why I didn’t’ dare do a full list and did this instead. Either way, this is an homage done right with wonderful animation to detail, and some funny and well done slapstick gags. It’s a blast all the way through.
Bwar and Peace
Writer: Derek Dressler
- think I’m noticing a pattern here.
Anyway, here we have the other half hour episode, and it’s not quite as fun but it’s still very solid. Plus it lets me talk about my favorite character, Gunther.
See, I noticed a lot of cartoons recently feel the need to have the major male friend character either be a wise ass or an asshole. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s a foil for the more likable lead but a lot of the time they are too jerkish for their own good, and you wonder why they are even friends.
Howard Weinerman is a good example of this, and while he’s okay sometimes, he tends to fit in this mold. In this show with Kick’s natrure it would have been so easy to do that. But instead, Gunther is actually a really nice ugy who is a faihtful friend.
He’s totally up for helping him with his stunts, even though it’s not his thing and he sometimes think they can be a bit dangerous. He’s not even the pussy friend who never wants the lead to do anything, he’s always supprotive.
And he works on his own because he’s a genuinely funny comic relif, mostly because his family are vikings. No, they are not just descended from Vikings, they are actually Vikings from The Old Country.
Because it’s funny. With so many shows making this kind of character a pain, it’s so great that this show took the high road and got comedy just out of him being amusing instead of going fo the cheap jokes.
Plus, Brad fills the jerk quote nicely as it is.
That leads to us to this episode, where they stage stunt to film and send to an old country film festival. They plan to have Gunther do it but Kick ends up doing it by accident and he ends up winning and they all go the Old Country.
They mistake Kick for the genuis behind the stunt, and later on they end up mistaking Gunther for their hero, Thor Thorsen and cuz he felt bad for the previous misunderstanding, Kick convinces them this is so, so he will be hailed as a hero.
You can guess how things go wrong from there.
By all means, I shouldn’t like this one that much. The plot is pretty cliché and they don’t exactly do much new with it. So if you don’t like it, I can’t quite defend it with facts like I usually do. But I do like it, and I think it’s just because the characters are already likable enough to carry this kind of plot.
Plus, in the first half Kick does not take any glory. He’s always trying to tell them that Gunther did but he can’t get a word in. He has no interested in taking credit, and Gunther does see this and just laments that this even happened.
Granted, Kick being written well causes a minor issue later but it still works. And you see why he claims Gunther is Thor, because he feels bad. Kick is just a good friend here. But then of course, the power goes to Gunther’s head and he wants to stay because he doesn’t wanna be a wing man and yada yada.
This part isn’t quite as strong, as he is a bit on the jerkish side and Kick isn’t to blame too much because he was likable. …But on the other hand, Kick maybe shouldn’t have laid the people astray and let this happen to begin with.
But I can let some of it slide because it isn’t too bad, and it has a really sweet ending. That kind of pulls this one through. There’s some good heart and the relationship between the two shines qutie a bit here.
It shows how likable they are when they can make a cliché plot enjoyable. The comedy works too. The setting is a bit tired but they do some fun things with, especially with the subplot where Brad tries to pick up a viking woman.
I like it when they make the jerk kind of pathetic, like with Robbie V or Lars. It means the shows know they aren’t a threat and just have fun with it and Brad is a nice example of that. Even if the sibling rivalry stuff is a bit old.
My favorite joke is when they got to Fore Shadow Park.
“Somehow I knew we’d end up doing there”
Nice. Oh, and there’s Dad’s postal fetish. That’s a thing. And yes, he is voiced by Brian Steppank and that is awesome. (And since there’s no other place to mention this, Kendall is Emily Osment)
I admit my appreciate for Kick and Gunther’s friendship is way this is even on here, but I do think it’s mostly really good. Not only is it funny, but it has some sweet moments and the characters end up being likable in the end.
It kind of tests you because if you haven’t liked the characters a ton by this point, it may fall flat, even with the ending. But if you do like them, it will stand strong. And I do think the ending saves it, by making both in the wrong but not really unlikable.
It’s a pretty solid half hour that is one of the better stories on the show. It may not be orginall, but it is a lot of fun and fairly well done most of the way through. And it shows why Gunter is amazing. All of that is why he might be one of my favorite “friend” characters in animation, at least in the longest time. But hey, that’s just me.
Overall, this episode proves even weak plots can be saved with decent writing, good humor, lovable characters, and a lot of heart. It’s a very good episode.
A Cousin Kyle Christmas
Writers: Patrick Andrew O Connor, Joe Liss, and and Dave Newman
…Yeah, I’m going to have to slightly skip this one because I already talked about it in my Disney Cartoon Christmas post. My feelings haven’t changed too much so there’s not much point in going over it again.
However, I will paste what I said there in case you didn’t read that post, and I’ll see if I can add a bit more afterwards:
“This episode is really good. It could have been forced, and i suppose it is, but it’s surprsingly sweet and enjoyable. It mostly has to do with Kyle himself. He’s the typical annoying Cousin, and he is annoying because he follows Kick around and never shuts up.
From that, you think he would be The Scrappy, but from what i can tell, that honor goes to Wacky Jack (Dog with a blog totatlly ripped off that name, btw) and people to seem to like Kyle.
I think the main reason is that he’s at least not trying to harm Kick or anything like that. Honestly, when Kick is nice to him, good things come out of it, like here. Although the plot line of Kick learning to accept him has been done, but this one does even better.
Also, being voiced by Tom Kenny might have something to do with it.
This episode does hit the expected beats, but it’s done pretty well. There are quite a few sweet moments, and there’s a lot of heart here. There’s also some decent humor from Brad and this weird puppet guy.
When Kick does see how much Kyle deserves a decent present, I can’t help but get sucked into it. The atmosphere is decently strong in this one. You just have to appreciate the lengths Kick goes to for Kyle in the end.
They do pull some tricks to make you feel bad for Kyle, but it works since Kyle himself isn’t asking for sympathy. He just really likes spending Christmas with his Cousin Kick. They also make sure that Kyle doesn’t do anything bad ,
The whole thing is just sweet. Yes, it’s not unpredictable at all, but the heart pulls it through. It’s just a really solid episode. It might not be as crazy as some of these episodes, but it’s still really well done.
As much as I like it, I wouldn’t recommend insanely highly, because some people could easily be annoyed by Kyle, and it isn’t huge like some of the these others. But if you can tolerate him, you should check it out.
It’s a pretty solid outing. Oh, and the sister episode is snowed themed. It’s alright, but stick with this one.”
Yeah, I think that summed it up. The stories in this show seem to live and die based on the characters and how much you like them and with Kyle, this is the ultimate testament of that. I think this one works because the tricks they use to make you like them aren’t too forced.
His Mom won’t be home for Christmas, that’s pretty much it. And that matches with what we already know about his situation, so it makes perfect sense to use that here. And I said, the sweet moments work so well, and Kick isn’t even too callous early on.
His lame gift attempt at least uses something Kyle likes, and Kick didn’t just buy a bomb pie or something. It’s small but it’s a good touch. Plus,as I said Kyle is kind of likable as he just likes Kick. In this episode, he does nothing to hurt anyone and in this context, it doesn’t feel too forced.
It can be in some other episodes, but he’s usually okay and he’s at his best here. This episode showed how good the show can be at stories when it has enough heart, and it’s even a good holiday episode.
A lot of the 11 minutes ones I covered were slightly weaker due to that, but it fits this show fine since it’s not the biggest flashy thing, mostly being comedic. As a whole, this is a great story with humor, heart, and that good old Christmas feeling.
It’s a perfect choice for a favorite, all year round.
Before we uncover our last episode, I suppose there’s a few Honorable Mentions to go by quickly:
Kickin’ Genes (Dave Newman, Joe Liss): Another sweet story, this time about Kick and his Mom. And it has slightly more stunt stuff, making it an especially good one.
Wade Against the Machine (Derek Dressler: My favorite supporting character is Wade, this cool guy works at the local convince story. He’s just…cool, you know? This episode is a showcase for him to an extent, with a fun little story. Nothing amazing but it’s just fun.
Box Office Blitz (Tony Mosher): Just a fun simple story when them trying to get into the movies. Very simple but also very funny. Also ,the title card has them in the theater, with them in silhouettes. Gee, what’s that a reference to?
Rocked (Derek Dressler): The other great entry in the trilogy I mentioned, with this one being a fake Kick movie starring established superstar Rock Callaghan, Like Truth or Daredevil, it’s great just seeing people in these roles and all the fun jokes.
Bad Car-Ma (Derek Dressler, seriously this guy must be good): Another one that is fast paced, simple and funny while also being decently sweet.
And my final favorite episode is…
Writers: Guy Toubes and David Shayne
Well look, it’s two waters who are now on Littlest Pet Shop! That’s a strange coincidence, right there. Guy’s work on there has been getting good, and this showed his talents early on.
In this episode, Kick finds out he will be held back due to all the homework he hasn’t turned on. To test himself, he says he can get it all done by tomorrow and the next morning it’s a race against the clock to get to school.
Now why is this the big one I ended on? Because it pretty much represents everything I like about the show in general. First off, Kick is portrayed well. While it seems like he’ll bad what with the homework thing, it gets better as he is willingly to make up for it.
I mean he does 3 months of homework in one night. He could have just done some trick or got distracted but he buckles down. He’s able to do all this by just combing it with all the fast paced stunts he loves.
Which is a nice thing to put in there, as it’s a nice way to have him be in the right and be very likable. That’s one thing that makes this one great but here’s the other. The next morning the homework gets eaten by a dog (hardy har har) and despite this, Kick tries to just do it again while on the way to school, as he now has a ticking clock.
The rest of the episode has him going to school and using the crap he runs into to answer the questions, all in the span of the 5 minutes he has left. I said before that this show does the stunt thing well, and the main way is does that is make a mundane situation as awesome as possible.
This is the perfect example of that. Kick is just trying to finish his homework on the way to school, but the whole is incredibly fast paced, intense, and funny. The actual ticking clock in the corner is enough, but the stuff that happens makes it even more insane.
They do this kind of thing a lot, but the way it’s paced and written makes this even better than usual. There some decent creativity on display with how he solves the problems, as well as some good gags with slapstick and what the characters say.
And the pay off is good too as it’s a happy ending with nothing lame. Something amusing happens with the teacher but that works and ends the episode on a funny note. As I said, this episode has everything I like about the show and then some.
It adds more with the especially mudane concept and ticking clock gimmick. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing and when it’s used to it’s potential, it’s great. There’s a Jessie episode kind of like this, to the poitn where it has the same title.
Yes, this is another Click situation. And that one is fine…until an ending so bad, I would have reviewed it if Coffee Talk did not exist. Yeah
So skip that one and watch this instead. The writing makes Kick likable, it’s fast paced, it’s funny, it makes mundane things very enjoyable and creative, and Gunther is still an awesome friend.
This has everything and that’s why I’d pick it as my favorite. If you wanna see a perfect example of how good this show can be, this is a great place to start. Overall, it’s an incredibly enjoyable episode and a great way to end this section.
And those are some of my favorite Kick Buttowski episodes. This is a show where great episodes can be great in the same way, so it would be hard to put them in an order, so these just represent the show at large.
Although the top 2 are the ones I tend to like the most. With that out of the way, onto something mor plot driven.
RANDY CUNNINGHAM: 9TH GRADE NINJA
I went into some detail back in the list, so I’ve set the stage a bit already. But to repeat myself, this series centers around a kid who finds himself becoming “The Ninja”, a hero who must protect the Town of Norrisvile. To help him he has the Ninja guidebook called The Ninjabomicon (Because something named after the book of the dead seems like great help), and his best friend Howard.
Of course he has some obstacles, most notably a businessman named Hannibal McFist (BEST NAME EVER), who struck a deal with a being named The Sorcerer, to stop the Ninja so The Sorcerer can do evil stuff in peace.
I will say this show is deeply flawed. It has some bad slang that is odd at first, Howard can be a jerk, and its’ more than a little derrveirte of other works, and sometimes isn’t the best at handling it’s arcs.
Also, Randy gets pretty stupid when it comes to The Nomicon, with him somehow not knowing what it’s telling him, for the sake of the plot. One time it tells him point blank not to go into someone’s house…and he still finds a way to twist it and ignore it. Even Howard calls him out on that!
But in spite of all that, I do like the show. It has a certain charm to it, with decent humor, (mostly) likable characters, some great villains,and even a bit of mythology. It’s nothing that deep but the Ninja stuff is pretty cool and some episodes use it very well.
On top of that, Randy is a likable protagonist who mostly learns from his mistakes and becomes a true hero, doing good things on his own instead of being forced like in earlier episodes. While I wish the world itself evolved like Randy does, most of the show works for those reasons.
And of course, some episodes work more than others. This show has a few more weak episodes than Kick does, although only Mastermind of Disastermind is notably bad.
The best episodes tend to be more plot focused, since this show can balance that with enjoyable humor pretty well. We’ll go into 5 solid examples of that, right now. Starting with..
The Ninja Identity/The Ninja Superamcy
Writer: David Shayne
Oh hey, it’s LPS guy again. Figures he would be on two Disney XD cartoons. I think he did slightly more on this show, actually.
No, there is no Ninja Ultimatum, or Ninja Legacy. Although the latter works for the episode too. They already have the characters full name in the show title, so they have the upcoming one covered too.
While the Season 1 finale was technically the first special, this episode is one story split into 2 parts. I think just having one longer story would make more sense but whatever. Randy wants to learn something bigger to take down a robot, and in the Nomicon, he tries out The Ultimate Lesson, only to find out it erases his memory, leaving Howard to put on the suit and take on his duties.
This is actually a fitting place to start as it sums up what I was saying about Randy. When Howard takes up the mantle, he uses his Ninja-ness to just show off and take his enemies like a jerk, to the point of humiliating the Robot.
Howard thinks all there is to the Ninja is putting on a fancy suit, but through this they both there’s a bit more to it than that. It’s about acting like a real heroic figure people can look up, and not being a big jerk. This all really works, as it shows how Randy has developed so far. They even show a montage of some of the Ninja morals he has learned. It does a good job of showcasing why Randy works as the protagonist.
Even Howard works as his jerk-ness contributes to the story and is mildly amusing. He also learns his lesson in the end. This episode also some of the better action scenes involving a robot that can learn it’s enemies moves and adapt accordingly.
It even learns emotions, which is a nice spin on that. There’s also some funny moments, including a Howard version of the intro. That is amazing and would be even better …if Disney didn’t shorten the theme after only one episode, meaning most people won’t even get the joke.
We get to learn a few interesting things here, like that when a Ninja fully completes their training, they must put their memories in the Nomicon so their experience can help the next ninja. This also means every Ninja before the current one does not remember they are the Ninja, which is an interesting angle.
They don’t explore it too much in later episodes, except for one former Ninja who escaped a mind wipe. Although he got his mind properly wiped not too long after this one. We also find out that strange guy was seen putting the Nomicon in Randy’s room in the pilot was the first ninja’s assistant, putting a bit more mystery into things.
We’ll get into him later.
It’s a bit smaller in scale compared to the other 2 part stories but it works in it’s own way. It’s a nice story with Randy learning about what makes him special as the Ninja, which uses the contrast between him and Randy well.
It’s the episode that really made me appreciate some of the writing on this show when it comes to the Ninja stuff, and that’s exactly why it made it on here. Above all else, this episode explains why Randy is The Ninja and how he’s one of the best options they had. It’s a solid story that shows how far Randy has come, and it usual various elements to good effect.
Forgive me for the joke, but this is one episode I don’t want to forget. ..I said forgive me!
Randy Cunningham 13th Century Ninja
Writers: Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas
Speaking of the Season 1 finale, here it is! The other 4 I have are about equally great, so the order is really not meant to be taken seriously. Either way, this one was a fitting way to end Season 1.
For events too contrived to go into, Randy and Howard end up going back in time to 1213, where they meet the first Ninja…and accidentally prevent him from trapping The Sorcerer to begin with, causing tons of havoc that they must fix.
I’ll start with my only problems. It does take a bit to get going, since they have to find the time machine and what not. This involves some toilet humor which is not that funny. Speaking of not funny, this episode started the running gag of this random kid named Doug being a Butt Monkey.
Here, he sees Randy and Howard trying to leave the tour and tells on them…and HE gets in trouble for tattling, and they repeat this joke 2 more times. Its about as funny as the first time they did it.
It’s just a cheap gag and him being a butt monkey is beyond forced every time they go back to it. This show really doesn’t need to resort to mean jokes like this, so I’m not a fan of how this episode started that gag.
Oh, and of course there’s some minor Time Travel plot hole stuff. When they stop The Sorcerer from being trapped, Sorcerer from the present is magically freed, and he himself doesn’t know how that happened. …Shouldn’t it change it so that he was never trapped and thus took over and making the present all different? That’s how this is supposed to work. Not sure these creators get time travel.
Eh, I’m sure they’ll touch it again.
Speaking of Sorcerer, up to this point he was voiced by Tim Curry. And now you have a real invective to watch the show. But from this episode on, he was replaced by some other guy.
I don’t get it but it’s not too big since in Season 2 his role was reduced but this episode is his biggest role, and he gets to be so juicy…yet it’s not the same with some other guy. But that ones a nitpick.
Now for why this episode is great. It’s always cool to see a show’s location in the past, and they have some amusing gags with that. Speaking of gags, Howard has some fun moments when he meets with The First Ninja’s friend, Plop Plop.
Yeah. He actually appears again in an episode you could call a sort of Honorable Mention. Speaking of continuity, like a good finale should, it build on previous episodes and what they established. An important bit from one episode even takes part in the climax!
This show tends to have pretty solid continuity, as you feel that each episode is important in some way even if it’s just silly. Sure it means the worst episode is important, but ah well.
This episode is a bit of a traditional finale, with all the scale and story beats you expect. This works since it still mixes in the show’s usual pacing and such to make it feel special, and sometimes doing something typical can work out since if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
We get some “emotional” moments with the First Ninja giving up on at one point, and due to how things are done, it works even though it is more than a little predictable. Again this episode works for all the reasons it should work.
The highlight would be some of the action. This show isn’t the master of action but the fast paced nature of it does make them really cool sometimes, and this episode has a lot of that. Especially the climax where Howard must be posed by a spirit that the Ninja can Control, to fight The Sorcerer.
It’s amazing. A lot of the shows strengths when it comes to story focused episodes are here, from the continuity to the small sweet moments, to of course the action. It’s quite a bit of fun especially in the 2nd half.
The Sorcerer is pretty awesome here despite the voice actor change, with him going around in the past and present. We get even get a small Mad Max reference because why not. This came out in 2013, by the way.
The First Ninja himself is cool to meet, as he just had minor moments before. He’s voiced by Joel McHale. Strange choice but he does a good job, being comedic enough while still being serious.
The whole episode manages to be a satisfying season ender, with nice moments and using previous episodes to create a bigger story. It’s the episode where things started to get slightly bigger.
Because the McGuffin The Sorcerer wanted winds up lost and….in a post credits scene, Catfish Booray, an established villain finds The Sorcerer’s Ball, which starts the main plotline of Season 2.
That’s right, if this episode wasn’t epic enough, it has a cliffhanger! That’s awesome. While this episode isn’t exactly the most unique, but it does what it wants to do very well. It delivers all the action you come to expect, and has plenty of minor bits that make it works.
It’s just exactly what I wanted the Season 1 finale to be like and despite some minor flaws, it still works pretty well. Because it just being what it is, that’s all I have to say. You’ll have to see it for yourself to see what I’m talking about.
I’m at the point where I’m trying to pad it our because I just want to finish this and move on because I like to pretend I have a life.
As a whole, this Season finally was plenty of story, humor and action to chew on, making for a great way to end the first Season. The neat cliffhanger makes it even better as it promises even more epic-ness to come.
Sometimes what you want is exactly what you need.
Winner Takes Ball
Writer: Nick Confalone
Oh hey, MLP Season 5 Writer and LPS Season 4 writer right here! I don’t know how these writers keep popping up, but it’s cool. And I know this is going to sound crazy, but of his works I’ve seen…this might be the best.
And now I can explain what that cliffhanger led to, as we jump to near the end of Season. I’ll try to explain this quickly. In short, The Sorcerer had these McGuffin balls and they are being found and Randy must make sure evil people do not get a hold of them.
He’s been holding onto the one he originally found and in one episode it give him dreams that told him to do weird stuff. It was not explained the best and it was never mentioned again. Then the stuff I mentioned in the Mastermind of Diastermind section of the list comes into play.
To make that short, this Evil Version of Jillian from the land of shadows was now running amuck and wants the ball for evil reasons. Despite the break in story episodes, it’s more interesting than I make it sound.
In that episode, he got this robot suit thing and while he was defeated, the very ending showed he’s fine and that brings us to….this episodes sister! In “Big Trouble in Little Norrisvile”, they find another Sorcerer’s Ball which rants wishes and making wishes makes it loose it’s…ball juice. Don’t ask.
They make all the wishes so Evil Julian can’t use it which works. …But at the very end, a small bit still left falls into the sewers. And after that long explanation, we make it to this episode.
Yeah, this show can bring out the story sometimes and while it takes a bit to get going, episodes like this show it can pay off.
The Ball juice somehow infects the water in the sewers, and replaces the water in the city, making it so people drink it and becomes possessed forced to randomly dig for something. Not sure how that works but whatever.
Of course, they are looking for the other Balls, as we find out that if they are all found, bad things happen. Not sure the Nomicon wanted til long after he found a ball to explain this but whatever, still an urgent situation.
And yes, Evil Julian is behind this bit.
“I should have known you were behind this”
“Yes, you should because I said the last time we fight that I wouldn’t stop until I had the ball!”
Despite all that backstory, the episode is fairly simple with a bad guy making people find a McGuffin for him. But what makes it great is how they keep things moving. The fast pacing works to pack in a lot of jokes and action as they try to figure out what is going on and stop Evil Cyborg Julian.
It’s not them most dense plot until the end but it’s still engaging with how it’s executed. It’s one of the bigger scale 11 minute episodes, and it works because of that. There’s even some funny moments, like with Randy bumping into a possessed Theresa.
Yeah, she was this girl he kind of liked, but they only interacted a few times and not to a huge extent. Nothing ever came of them, which is too bad because honestly they were kind of cute together in those moments.
Figures the only time I’m okay with a ship is when they do nothing with it.
While most of the episode is a blast, it’s the ending that makes it great. I won’t mention it all, just the important part. In the end, Howard becomes possessed and when he gets out of it, he’s in danger and while The Nomicon reminds him that the balls must be protected, Randy saves Howard from danger.
Which causes Julian to get the remaining balls and run off with them. That’s right, Randy put the world in a bit of danger to save his friend. As foolish as that is, it’s also kind of sweet. Howard even thanks him even though he thinks it’s also strange.
Yes, they get Howard right in this one, praise the lord. This moment is what makes the episode. It gives Randy a tough choice and he picks something that has some actual consequences.
But he thinks it’s worth it to keep his friend alive. Now that just makes Randy more interesting and overall written even better. That’s the kind of stuff this show could do sometimes. Granted, it slightly rehashes another episode but it works on it’s own.
Especially due to the stakes being higher, and worse things happen due to saving him. And of course there’s the cliffhanger of Julian how having the power needed to do some serious damage. This leads into the Season 2 finale really well.
It makes it fell like things are progressing and the stakes are being raised. It’s done really well and shows the true potential of this show. Even on it’s own, it’s a fun ride with some great moments.
Somehow, I like this more than some bigger episodes, since it manages to be good despite kind of being filler. I mean the plot is a bit light and it just exists to give Julian the last balls. But given that Mastermind existed just to bring him back, filler on this show can easily be bad, so it’s great that this one works.
So as good as Party Pooped and Hearthbreakers happen to me, this his best work I’ve seen so far, even if some not exactly agree. It builds up to the finale very well, while being a fun time with big stakes and some great little emotional moments.
I guess you could say I had a…ball with it?
…Not even the crickets liked that one.
Balls’ Wall that Friends Well
Writers: Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas
Yeah, I’m piling all the important ones together, aren’t I? Now we have the Season 2 finale, which I swear is the last story episode on here, technically. This picks up where Winner Takes Ball left off, with Julian running off to come up with his big plan and Randy needing a way to stop him.
But only does that escalate, but he finds out he’s moving which means he has one last chance to stop Evil Julian once and for all.
Now, this only aired last year and if you want to watch the show, you should skip some parts because I will spoil the hell out of it, because I wouldn’t have much to say otherwise. No huge spoiler warning because I don’t think people care quite as much.
Anyway, this is roughly on par with the Season finale, and I can’t say which one I like more. Since that one had to work harder due to standing on it’s own, I appreciate it more but this has a bigger plot and such.
But on it’s own, it’s really cool. First off, it really shows off the show’s animation. It’s not the best but it is decently stylized and here we see the Shadow Realm for real and it gives us some really cool visuals, as do the action scenes.
They clearly more effort than usual into this one and it makes it very appealing. Like the other one, it starts off a bit slow but it works to build up tension, and they splice it in with some amusing jokes.
McFist is a highlight and while he’s slightly useless, he has good bits like him trying to use the slang. Yeah ,took them this long to mock it in some way. Even Howard has his moments here
When it picks up with them going to the shadow realm, it gets very interesting with Good Jillian having funny moments, and just all the things they start to build up to. It’s hard to exlain but it”s just simply enjoyable.
Of course it gets better once the action start, as Evil Cyborg Jullian gives us some cool moments, especially once the ending comes into play. The Nomicon advice says to get an unlikely ally, and since they did a McFist team up already, you can guess what other villain they will use.
But it works because it’s done so awesomely. Yeah, it’s The Sorcerer who Randy frees with this key. Wait, could have done that that whole time and just stopped him right there? Whatever, that’s not important.
This ramps things up even more, even if they predictably have him turn on Randy. Seriously dude, what did you think giving your biggest his enemy back would cause? Still, the execution makes it work.
They handle the story parts fairly well. Again, when this show focuses on the story it works due to it’s style of it all. This isn’t the most complex story but Evil Jillian was pretty cool since Julian was already cool.
And then we have the moving away bit. It may be cliché and resolved a bit weakly, but it works to create more tension. It’s also quite sweet especially at the end. Because Howard has a better reason to act out in minor moments, he’s likable enough to make their friendship endearing
It pushes this one into being even deeper, with all the sweet stuff. Could have been better integrated but it works quite well either way. This whole thing just works as a big epic finale, even if it’s not the best written compared to others.
Then there’s the ending. Oh boy, spoilers come on because there’s stuff to say…. Okay, Randy stops The Sorcerer and sucks out his power and all that good stuff, and Evil Julian goes back into normal Julian and that takes care of them.
But back in The Shadow Realm, they meet this random trapped guy who told them what to do. He appears, following Howard and Juliian and faces The Sorcerer. Because…they combined and suddenly only the guy is there, now looking slightly more Sorcer-y.
He thanks the Ninja and he leaves. That’s right, he was the mortal version of the Sorcerer the whole time, and like with Julian they are back to become normal again. This…is a bit out of nowhere, as I don’t think this was hint at too much.
But it’s likely enough for the concept to work. And it’s just insane that the main villain of the show got defeated! Really adds to the finale feel, and in concept it works. ..However, it’s …as rushed as I make it out to be.
It happens that fast and you can’t process it before he just leaves. I want to know a bit more to judge before but it just…moves on from there. The concept is cool and I love that I didnt’ see it coming but it just sort of happens.
I have a theory for why it’s like this but i’ll explain in a second. Things mostly end happily…but then we get to The Creep. See, he was that first ninja’s assistant I mentioned before, who was seen giving Randy the Nomicon in the pilot.
Since then he lurked in the background, before being establish as the bus driver. After the Season 1 finale, his presence was coming a lot more mysterious and we figured something was up.
And now he appears, saying something. Who is he voiced by? Bruce Campell. I am not kidding. It has been confirmed, you can look it up. I wanted to show proof from the credits but I have no money to legally purchase it and all the versions I found on certain places have the original airing with credit crunch.
So…yeah, this show is now 11/10!
That aside, he says The Ninja’s greatest battle is just around the corner. Oh boy, that’s huge! What is the battle? Who really is this guy? One creator said a couple things about his nature and how was never the Ninja and he has plans. What’s his deal? What’s ognna happen?! Oh man, I can’t wait to see how they resole thi-
Goddammit, Disney! I know you can be cancel happy sometimes but this is insane! It ended on a cliffhanger! You can’t do that! That’s like the biggest rule of endign a show, make sure it’s not a cliffhanger!
Ugh. At least it explains why The Sorcerer thing was rushed. They figure this could be the end, so they put that in so at least some part of the story ended. If so, I can let it slide. This cliffhanger, not so much.
At least Gravity Falls and P&F met their end properly, even if they could do more in some spots. Here, they leave us hanging! Granted, not in the biggest way, but still. Whatever, as ling as Disney doesn’t’ end any more sho-
….Ugh. If Penn Zero ends after Season 2, I am so freaking done.
I guess that’s my biggest issue with this one, the cliffhanger, knowing this show got the shaft. Granted, it wasnt’ as huge as others, but come on!
Despite that, this is a very enjoyable finale. It has it’s share of problem but makes up for it with the usual humor and action, along with some cool plot stuff and some insane twists and nice moment.
By the way, the creators are willingly to continue and were on board with fan’s petitions even though they have moved on to another show. So perhaps that show wasn’t a bit part in this one ending, perhaps they could move on due to having more power at Disney.
Either way ,this was mostly a good note to end. Not perfect, but great in it’s own way. Overall, a very enjoyable and solid way to close out the series, even if it’s still lame it ended like this.
And once again, I must mention a few other good ones before we get our last one.
Dawn of The Driscoll/Let The Wonk One In (David Shayne,Hugh Webber, Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas ) Read the Cartoon Halloween post for details. In short, these are both great Halloween episodes with a lot of creativity and even a good story in the case of the former
Aplopalypse Now (Arthur Pielli): It was cool to see Plop Plop again and the story is a nice one with cool moments to boot.
Luscious O Thunderpunch (Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas, Tom Martin, Hugh Webber, David Shayne, Jim Martin & Ryan Harris): Hey an episode with a lot of writers that is well thought out, doing the “Hero gets thunder stolen” plot well with nice dramatic moments and other nice bits. Good on them. Also, despite the L, the thing is called OTP for short. Just a case of removing a letter from the acronym for no reason, or an intentional reference? You make the call!
Escape From Scrap City (Jim Martin) A classic case of the hero and villain teaming up, done with plenty of creativity in spite of being a bit predictable. It’s pretty great.
And my final favorite episode is…
Evil Spirit Week
Writers: Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas and MA Larson
…Well, look who it is now! As if the others weren’t enough, we have Mr. Larson himself. He only did a couple eps on here AND Kick before getting more wrapped up in certain other things. Still, it’s cool to see him on the episode I picked as my favorite.
Like Morning Rush, this episode showcases the best elements of the show while passing out it’s weaknesses. Everything I praised before is here, complete with Howard being great. It’s slightly more complex so bear with me:
They find this weird glass thingy in the middle of the school and crack it by accident. Howard tries to cover it and a strange chicken-ish spirit pops up and finds it’s way inside him. Now he’s acting weirdly out of his control and Randy has to find a way to take it out.
First off, this episode has some decent humor. While the set up of them trying to photo bomb Spirit Week photos is lame, it used to give us some fun gags. But the better humro comes from Howard and how he starts to act like a chicken.
You can tell they had fun making him do all these wacky things and it’s amusing seeing people react to it as well. Also, in one part Howard tells Randy that he found something weird on his body and Randy says the Health teacher says that is supposed to happen.
Yes. And be glad I didn’t go into the episode where he ends up in Howard’s body through wacky events and Howard does not want to hear about how Randy was “inside” him.
Things escalate well until we find out what is going on: That bird thing is a Tengu spirit, a creature a previous Ninja took care of and because of stuff, the Tengu and the Ninja became forever linked.
This adds more nice mythology, as it’s a monster that has some connection to the Ninja. It’s there to give him a way to stop the hing which I’ll get into, but it’s an interesting idea for a creature.
It has a really cool design too, and leads to some especially fun action scenes. Now onto the stuff that makes this one truly special. Eventually, Randy takes the linked thing to heart and tries to stop the thing, which has now truly taken over Howard, by hurting himself.
This doesn’t work too well for obvious reason but eventually it works well enough that the Spriit leaves Howard. But the thing is still there, and Randy tries to think of something he considers something rather odd, but likely. He throws The Ninja Suit into a bonfire. This incredibly insane idea actually works in stopping the Spirit, but for a minute it looks like Randy actually gave up being the Ninja to save his best friend.
And yes, the Suit does come back and more powerful with the Spirit infused into it. Usually this kind of thing bugs me but without the suit, we kind of have no show so it works. But the important thing is how dang awesome this is.
Randy is once again faced with a tough descion and does the right thing, even if it means he won’t get what he wants 100 percent. It’s a really nice bit that this show can be good at. Adding Howard to it makes it even sweeter.
Howard does find his act strange but still thanks him. So we get out Howard joke in AND he’s fully likable! They can do that! It’s quite the sweet moment and it really brings things home. And yes, the bit is the one that is rehashed in Winner takes Ball.
Again, it works there since it feels like a callback. Speaking of which ,the Tengu does return in the finale to be even more amazing. Once again, the show proves to be good at using continuity.
This episode does have it all. It’s funny, it writers both characters correctly, and it has interesting mythology with one daring moment and cool and creative action. It makes for a great package.
Now, I’m fine with the show being more comedy based and not having these kind every time, but when it does it can work quite well. I’m just saying there still isn’t’ an excuse for some of the blander episodes they can have sometimes.
If something like this, which has plenty of jokes can be written well, then there is no excuse for Mastermind of Diastermind to happen. I can sit with weak episodes but that one was too much,
Thankfully it ended on a note that showed us what it can do. Overall, this episode is just great all around since it did all this in 11 minutes with a complete story, I have problem calling it my favorite episode.
And those were my favorite Randy Cunningham 9th Grade Ninja Episodes. It’s cliché to have plot episodes as my favorite but ah well. The show is very much a flawed one, but at it’s core it can be a lot of fun. Plus, we ar lacking in action cartoons so this was a welcome addition.
But now that it’s over, we don’t have many around. Eh, that’s a discussion for another day.
And those are my favorite episodes of these shows. Yeah, this was filler due to something I lost but it was still fun to introduce this segment like this. Don’t expect it to see it too often as I will try my best to do a list for most shows.
If it appears, it will be more like this, putting certain shows together. I want to do it for Star Vs once Season 2 happens, since we don’t quite have enough for me to discuss it yet. I have plenty of other ideas, but we’ll see how that happens.
For now, enjoy this bit of discussing these shows. I would have liked to do the proper big post but eh, things happen I suppose. I hope I explained why these shows work by looking at their biggest hits.
Check them if you can find them, it’s easy to locate them on iTunes and the like. Reruns have already stopped for Randy for the time being so that’s your only legal option at them moment. Of course, feel free to share your thoughts on all of this in the comments and such.
But we’re not quite done with Disney XD, because as I said, I wanted to do a full post for the other big show. If I had foresight, I could have put it in here, but eh whatever. Tune in sometime soon for A Look at Penn Zero: Part Time Hero!