|Created by||Genndy Tartakovsky
|Directed by||Genndy Tartakovsky|
|Voices of||Kevin Thoms
Dieter Hartmann (additional music)
Tim Williams (additional music)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||20 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Genndy Tartakovsky
For Cartoon Network Studios: Brian A. Miller and Jennifer Pelphrey
For Cartoon Network: Tramm Wigzell, Rob Swartz, and Rob Sorcher
|Running time||22 minutes approx.|
|Production company(s)||Orphanage Animation Studios
Cartoon Network Studios
|Original channel||Cartoon Network|
|Original run||September 17, 2010– April 9, 2011|
Sym-Bionic Titan is an American animated action science fiction television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky, Bryan Andrews, and Paul Rudish for Cartoon Network. The series focuses on a trio made up of the alien princess Ilana, the rebellious soldier Lance, and the robot Octus; the three are able to combine to create the titular Sym-Bionic Titan. A preview of the series was first shown at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International, and further details were revealed at Cartoon Network's 2010 Upfront. The series premiered on September 17, 2010, and ended on April 9, 2011. The series is rated TV-PG-V.
Cartoon Network initially ordered 20 episodes; Tartakovsky had hoped to expand on that, but the series was not renewed for another season, as the show "did not have any toys connected to it." Although Sym-Bionic Titan has never been released on DVD, all 20 episodes are available on iTunes.
Billed as "an exciting hybrid of high school drama and giant robot battles", Sym-Bionic Titan features "the adventures of three beings from the planet Galaluna who crash-land on Earth while attempting to escape their war-torn world." The series follows the lives of Ilana, Lance, and Octus, two alien teens and a robot in the form of humanoids who arrive on Earth, an "identical" planet to Galaluna, while fleeing an evil general who has taken over their home planet with the help of monstrous creatures called Mutraddi.
The three main characters include Ilana, princess of the royal family; Lance, a rebellious but capable soldier; and Octus, a bio-cybernetic robot, all of whom must now blend into everyday life in Sherman, Illinois. Posing as high school students, Lance and Octus work to conceal Princess Ilana from General Modula and his hideous space mutants sent to kill the sole heir of Galaluna. When called into battle, the Galalunans are outfitted with individual armor that provides more than ample protection. It is when the gravest of danger appears that Octus activates the sym-bionic defense program and he, Ilana, and Lance unite "Heart, Body and Mind" and come together to form the spectacular cyber-giant Sym-Bionic Titan.
- Corporal Lance (voiced by Kevin Thoms) - On Galaluna, Lance was the most talented soldier in his military unit, but also the most rambunctious. With an inherent disregard for authority, Lance is often lost in his own angst and turmoil. However, on the battlefield he is a quick and capable warrior. Lance's father was a top scientist who disappeared in a mysterious accident when Lance was very young. After this, Lance had a troubled life in school before proving himself as a warrior and joining the military. The King of Galaluna chose Lance as his daughter's protector on Earth, and during this mission the two become close friends. The rebellious attitude that caused him so much trouble back home becomes the reason of his popularity at Sherman High. Lance uses the "Manus" armor, capable of materializing short-range weapons such as swords, with built-in guns and missiles. Lance is the "body" of Titan.
- Princess Ilana (voiced by Tara Strong) - Ilana is the daughter of the King and sole heir to the throne of the planet Galaluna. She has always been a symbol of hope and happiness for the citizens of Galaluna, and it is for this reason that evil forces hunt her on Earth; her very existence is enough to rally a rebellion against her people's oppressors and for that she must be destroyed. Ironically, the outspokenness and earnestness that made her a hero to her people has made her unpopular at school on Earth. Despite this, Ilana is determined to make the best of her new life and to discover all she can about her adopted home. Ilana uses the "Corus" armor system, which can project lasers and force fields. She is the "heart" of the Sym-Bionic Titan.
- Octus (voiced by Brian Posehn) - Octus is the latest android model developed by a group of Galaluna's top scientists. A thinking organic machine capable of changing his shape, Octus is able to adapt to any situation. He is an analytical observer, defining and recording data for further research and categorization. When Princess Ilana is threatened, Octus can utilize a number of defensive tactics including energy bolts and piercing sonic disruptions. He can develop new abilities, such as super speed, if the situation calls for it. When a threat exceeds Octus' individual abilities he is able to unite with Ilana and Lance's armors to form the Sym-Bionic Titan, becoming the "mind" of the giant robot. In an effort to assimilate on Earth, Octus can cloak himself with a variety of holograms. In school, he adopts the persona of a stereotypical "nerd" named Newton, (after Sir Isaac Newton). At home, Octus uses a "Dad" hologram. While this is initially intended to function as a ruse for parent-teacher conferences and other events necessitating parental participation, Octus begins acting more like a real father as the three spend time on Earth, often mediating fights between Lance and Ilana and helping them to see things from a different perspective. As Newton, he also undergoes changes, discovering his emotions and developing a liking for the cheerleader Kimmy that he himself cannot explain.
The Sym-Bionic Titan (referred to as just "Titan" by humans) is the combined form of Lance's Manus armor, Ilana's Corus armor, and Octus's robotic body, the result of the Sym-Bionic defense program that Octus possesses. Its interior structure is the combined Manus and Corus armors and its transparent exterior armor is Octus's outer shell. It is capable of flight and can create various weapons, tools and defenses in exact response to the pilots' mere thoughts. The Titan rarely shows outward signs of damage, but will deactivate if attacked enough. In "A New Beginning", the Sym-Bionic Titan was made even stronger and more powerful when Octus was brought back to life, with more abilities and powers (which are much stronger and much more powerful) than it had before, like projecting huge, incredibly powerful energy beams from its hands and feet. When it came to the only time when Sym-Bionic Titan spoke, its voice was provided by Richard McGonagle.
- General Modula (voiced by Don Leslie) - Once a great hero, General Modula commanded the armies of Galaluna through some of their fiercest battles and always emerged victorious. Modula was assumed to have perished while on a mission with the king, but he survived. After that, Modula became ravenous for power and developed an obsession with taking revenge against the King and ruling the planet. Modula gathered an army of beasts and monsters and attacked the capital and Royal Palace, conquered them, and began working to complete his reign over Galaluna. General Modula is a paranoid warmonger and dictator who is set on destroying Ilana.
- Electric Entity - This monster appeared in the episode "A Family Crisis". It is a blue-white mass of electricity that was first found by the Galactic Guardian Group on a space station near Saturn, where it attacked them, leaving Solomon as the only survivor. This forced him to call Ilana, Lance and Octus for help. The creature has the power to drain any form of energy from anything. The creature is destroyed when Lance blew up the space station with the creature in it, but not before Octus is killed by it. The only noise the creature makes is a loud shriek. It is unlikely that this monster is a Muttradi, as it did not open the rift gate the other monsters use.
The Mutraddi are alien monsters used by General Modula in his plot to conquer Galaluna and kill the princess. Some are human-sized, while others are gigantic mega-beasts. Their homeworld is a damaged planet called Mutradd, though many of them apparently were not born there. Even so, they are still referred to as Muttraddi. It is possible that "Muttraddi" is the Galalunian word for "alien". So far, only a few Muttradi are known to be able to speak. Among the featured Mutraddis are:
- Fire Monster - The Fire Monster is the first Mutraddi that General Modula sent to Earth to destroy the princess. It is really a rock monster, but is capable of using fire as a weapon and flying. When it came to Earth, it landed outside the city of Sherman, and the military was unable to stop it as it entered downtown. It was then attacked by Ilana, Lance and Octus, and for the first time, the three formed the Sym-Bionic Titan. During the battle, the monster devastated a large section of the city with its fiery power, but eventually the Titan pushed it into a nearby lake, dousing its flames, but it then burst out of the lake in its rock form and tried to crush the Titan. At this point, Solomon and G3 had arrived on the scene and paralyzed the monster with a motion wave cannon, allowing the Titan to cut the monster into pieces.
- Xeexi (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) - Xeexi is an intelligent squid/cockroach-like Mutraddi creature, the third Mutraddi that General Modula sent to Earth to destroy the princess and one of Modula's high-ranked troopers. He can enter humanoid bodies (and possibly more) to cause massive stress, pain, and is even able to make said humanoid spill information. His only appearance (so far) was in "Phantom Ninja", where he gained information from the King that Ilana was "not alone," and then invaded Earth for Modula's bidding to find out why the monsters Modula was sending to earth were failing to destroy Ilana. He attempted to track Ilana, caught a signal of Lance's armor and successfully captured him and forced him to reveal Ilana's location, which also succeeded. Lance, however, eventually escaped and regrouped with Ilana and Octus to form Sym-Bionic Titan. When the Titan was formed, Xeexi was surprised to see the Galalunan secret weapon. As Xeexi was retreating (as his mechanical vehicle was a small bug compared to the Titan), he initially recorded the Titan and successfully sent a probe back to Galaluna, only for his vehicle to be crushed by the Titan. Despite his possible death, he succeeded in his mission. It is unknown whether Xeexi died or not. Being an invertebrate, he could have survived being smashed by the Titan. For a spilt-second, he can be seen inside his vehicle when the Titan smashed it.
- Duraak (voiced by John DiMaggio) - A Mutraddi scientist. Modula came to the Mutraddi homeworld in hopes to find a "special" creature since the ones given to him were failures. Duraak presented a giant creature who had scales that could withstand unmeasurable force and had poisonous spikes that shot out like missiles, but did not catch Modula's interest. He then presented a giant frog-like creature that could emit lightning and fire, but he told Modula it was not the most special. Finally, he presented Tashy 497, who could perform an explosion powerful enough to destroy an entire planet. However, when Tashy 497's vital signs boosted but it did not explode, Durrak was killed by General Modula due to his failure.
- Tashy 497/Mushy/Tarax/497 - The seventh Mutraddi sent to Earth. It has the physical appearance of a cute, harmless alien, but in fact, has unstable power from within. If it dies, it creates a massive explosion that is powerful enough to destroy an entire planet. Modula had interest of this creature and had dispatched it to Earth in a large rocket so it can explode when it crash-landed, but Sym-Bionic Titan managed to stop the rocket. Lance, Octus and Ilana then found Tashy inside the rocket's "warhead". Ilana adored the creature and took it with her since Octus stated they could not leave any alien life form for the army to discover. Ilana named it Mushy, Lance named it Tarax, and Octus called it 497. When Octus analyzed a piece of its skin, he discovered the creature's intent and the atmosphere of Earth caused it to deteriorate. It was then agreed that they would send it out to space so it would explode harmlessly. It was later discovered that the creature had created a cosmic formation, and was named Tashy 497. It was the only Mutraddi monster that didn't intentionally want to destroy the trio.
- Muculox (voiced by John DiMaggio) - Muculox is the tenth Mutraddi sent to earth. He is slightly larger than a human, and the only Mutraddi beast not to engage Titan in combat. He is light green, with four eyes located along his bottom jaw, and has six limbs; two smaller upper arms, two larger lower arms connected by light webbing and two legs and has transparent skin on his chest and head. He is also capable of reviving after being defeated and he can even speak. Proportionally, he is very strong, capable of kicking the Manus armor a significant distance. When he came to Earth, his ship landed in a swamp, and he engaged Lance, Ilana and Octus when they came to investigate. After being electrocuted by Octus under water he is apparently killed and thrown on shore. While discussing what to do with the beast, Muculox revives and wraps his projectile tongue, around Ilana's ankle, giving her a topical venom burn before fleeing into the swamp. This venom burn slowly infects her and begins to replace her DNA with that of Muculox's, making her stronger and more nimble, as well as altering her appearance. Midway through her transformation, Ilana encounters a dead alligator that shows some of the same transformation signs as she has: webbed hands, and light greenish skin, and two eyes on its bottom jaw in addition to its own eyes (clearly another victim of Muculox). The mutant alligator also revives from its deceased state and attacks Ilana. She manages to survive being bitten by the giant creature with little to no injury, and the beast is killed when Ilana snaps the mutant gator's jaw. By this point, Ilana is fully transformed and Muculox approaches her and emits a call from his vocal sac, gaining control over her mind. This call was also used to summon his ship from where it rested at the bottom of the swamp, so he could take Ilana back to Mutradd and gain an even greater reward for bringing her in alive, but before they could leave, Lance kills Muculox by using the Manus armor to leap up to the escaping ship and stab a trident through Muculox's chest, piercing its heart. When Muculox dies, the ship crashes and the psychic link between Ilana and Muculox is severed. Ilana goes into cardiac arrest for a period of time, but then her mutated heart restarts, and since the link is severed, she reverts to her humanoid form.
Other strange Mutraddi exist, including the standard Mutraddi which are grey and strong. Modula has these in Hordes. Another is a drill creature that is impervious to most attacks. Also, there are other intelligent Mutraddi besides Xeexi, such as a humanoid frog that seems to serve as a courier for Modula.
- Solomon (voiced by Tim Russ) - Solomon is the leader of the Galactic Guardian Group (more commonly known as G3), an independent group dedicated to handling alien threats, which he initially sees in both Titan and the monsters it fights. He knows the identities of Ilana, Lance, and Octus since he saw surveillance videos of Lance wielding his Manus armor and had them confiscated. He appears to have an understanding of "Titan's" good intentions as shown when he allowed Titan to flee when it defeated the fire monster and smiling when Octus played the friendship song. Solomon stated that he is tracking General Steel's actions and warns him not to mess with foreign species, which Steel ignores. However, his true motives are currently unknown. In "The Fortress of Deception", he captures Lance and Ilana and outruns Octus. He later assumes a false identity "Kane" (a reference to pulp witch-hunter Solomon Kane), who is a prisoner and ex-member of G3. Kane later guides the group to their armor, and later, Octus comes and they form Titan. Solomon then secures Titan in a giant trap, reveals his identity, and demands answers, but Titan manages to escape. He also has a fighting style similar to Lance's, but even though G3 uses Galalunian-like technology, he still appears to have no knowledge of the Galalunians and their purpose. He also secretly works for a currently unknown individual with a metal hand (which looks exactly like a Manus armor hand implying this man may somehow be Lance's father who had gone through the rift gate many years earlier) who might be the true leader of G3. G3 also cleans up the remains of the giant Mutraddi monsters that Titan has already destroyed. After being rescued from the Electric Entity by the group, he offers to help them. They eventually agreed and stayed with G3 while they tried to restore Octus.
- General Julius Steel (voiced by John DiMaggio) - General Julius Steel is in charge of many of the armed forces, and is portrayed as the stereotypical "shoot first, ask questions later" soldier. He too sees Titan and the monsters it fights as a threat, but he also hates Solomon due to their competition of dealing with alien threats. He stated in an interview that Titan was the one who brought the monsters to Earth, and intends to destroy it so that more monsters would not appear (which is true in some way, given the fact that Modula is sending them to Earth to destroy the princess). His desire to destroy Titan may be an obsession, demonstrated when he completely ignored safety protocols to cut open a mysterious rock, which resulted in a cloud of destructive power. Even after Titan stopped it, Steel still seems to be obsessive over the destruction of Titan. Steel is very stubborn and dimwitted, even to fire his pistol directly at a mutraddi creature.
- H.M.E.R. (a.k.a. "The Hammer") - The H.M.E.R. (Homeland Mobile Emergency Robot) is a giant robot that General Steel built from the remains of the massive rocket that brought Tashy 497 to Earth. It has powerful military weapons, a giant laser gun, thick armor, is capable of flight, and is manned by a crew of hundreds of soldiers. It was revealed to the public when it engaged the horned monster in downtown Sherman and defeated it. Later, it fought Ilana and Lance when they broke into Steel's military base to repower Octus by using H.M.E.R.'s power source. It almost killed them, but they were saved at the last minute by Solomon and G3, prompting Steel to mark G3 as traitors. Steel takes great pride in this machine, shown as he patted its surface after it fought Lance and Ilana. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the last episode by a Mutraddi monster in San Francisco. The nickname of the robot is obviously a pun on the 1990s rapper M.C. Hammer, and General Steel made frequent references to his song U Can't Touch This during the robot's use.
- Kimberly "Kimmy" Meisner (voiced by Cassie Scerbo in the first appearance, Kari Wahlgren in all subsequent appearances) - Kimmy is a student at Sherman High and the Cheerleading Squad's Captain. She first appeared in "Showdown at Sherman High", where Ilana tried out for cheerleading but had sabotaged her, causing her to fail her attempt at doing "the Pyramid". Throughout the episode, Kimmy insults and mocks Ilana regardless of her trying to assist them and lead them to safety. Not wanting to tolerate any more of her insults, Ilana said that Kimmy was a horrible person, and that she feels sorry for her. Kimmy realizes her actions and agrees to help Ilana through the remainder of the episode. In the episode "Lessons in Love", Kimmy went to the Lunis' house to study under Newton's aid, as she had received an F on a math test but was given a chance to make up her grade, otherwise she would be kicked off the cheerleading squad. Throughout the episode, Kimmy finds studying under Newton difficult and tries to simply have him do her test for her (including an unsuccessful attempt to seduce Octus), which Newton ultimately denied even after her provocative dance routine. Saying that everyone has a role to play in the social life, Kimmy tried to convince herself and Newton that she was the stupid type, but Newton explained that all she had to do was dedicate herself to her work like she does with cheerleading, and it would all become clear. Eventually Kimmy began to develop strong feelings for Newton, and ended up sharing a kiss with him. At the end of the episode, Kimmy receives an A, and thanks Newton for his help, claiming that she couldn't have done it without him. Kimmy kindly greeted the confused Lance and Ilana, and asked Newton to walk her to class. In "The Ballad of Scary Mary" Kimmy invites Newton, Lance and Ilana to the annual "Scary Mary" party. While there, she convinces two of her cheerleader friends to support her relationship with Newton and confronts her ex-boyfriend Brandon over it. When a Mutraddi creature attacks at the party, Newton upsets Kimmy by making her escape with Brandon. She gives him the silent treatment for it at school, but then gives him the chance to explain himself. In "Under the Three Moons" she became upset when Newton left her during the homecoming dance and she broke up with him. She also appeared in "The Steel Foe," in which she noted the absence of the "Lunis" family from school. In "A New Beginning," Kimmy and her friends went to check the "Lunis" house, worried about them. In the end of the episode, when she receives a text from Newton saying he will be back soon, tears come from her eyes and she smiles, showing that she still has feelings for Newton.
- Jason (voiced by Will Friedle) - Jason is a sweet yet geeky and clumsy boy who Ilana meets at the "Scary Mary" party. He later goes to the homecoming dance with Ilana, who had a large hand in organizing the event. When Ilana, Lance, and Octus depart to fight a Mutraddi, Jason decides to dance with Mirabel, a girl on the homecoming committee.
- Edwin "Meat" Kapinski (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) - Edwin, often called Meat, is a lovable yet dimwitted jock who idolizes Newton. His real name was revealed in "The Steel Foe".
- Barb (voiced by Audrey Wasilewski) - Barb is the neighbor of the Lunis family. She has a crush on Octus's "dad" program and her actions are considered strange to the team. The suggestive humor associated with this character contributed to the TV-PG rating of the program. She also has a pet Rottweiler named Hercules.
- Detective Blutosky (voiced by John DiMaggio) - A detective that has been after a street racer named Mike Chan for a long time. He is even willing to ignore some of the rules to find him, as he is caught by Ilana keeping Lance in custody for over two hours. He eventually succeeds in catching Mike Chan. Detective Blutosky later appears investigating a car crash following Octus' pursuance of the Galactic Guardian Group when they captured Lance and Ilana.
- Kristin (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) - Kristin is a Goth girl who Lance meets at the "Scary Mary" party. Her conversation with him reveals that they have similar personalities, even jokingly suggesting they are "soul mates" (like Lance, she also practices martial arts). Lance might be attracted to her, as she is the only few girls at school who he's paid any attention to, and he even asked her to the school dance, though she turned him down as it "wasn't her thing".
- Brandon Chase (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) - Kimmy's ex-boyfriend, he appeared in "Ballad of Scary Mary". He is also seen in "Under The Three Moons" throwing snow balls at "Newton" and Kimmy; later when he and Kimmy were crowned prom king and queen, he thought this was his chance to have her again but she angrily refused.
- Tiffany (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) - A friend of Kimmy, who she often hugs. These hugs are the source of a running gag.
- Monica (voiced by Kari Wahlgren) - Another of Kimmy's friends who is also a cheerleader. She is African American and wears large red hoop earrings. She has shown interest in Lance: For example, in "Disenfranchised" after overhearing Ilana and Lance talking about the upcoming concert she asked Ilana if it was true immediately after Lance left the table.
- Bryan (voiced by Will Friedle) - The school mascot. When Lance was fighting the blob monsters in the episode "Showdown at Sherman High" the other students thought it was Bryan since Lance was wearing the Mascot outfit which he wore so the monsters wouldn't recognize him. He was also in the episode "Disenfranchised".
- The King (voiced by John DiMaggio) - The unnamed King of Galaluna is Ilana's father. He sent Ilana, Lance and Octus to Earth using a type of hyperspace called a Rift Gate. When Lance's father was presumed deceased upon testing the prototype Rift Gate as seen in a flashback episode, the King had agreed to watch over Lance as if he was his own. He is currently kept in custody by General Modula, who tortures him for information about Titan, Ilana, and the "two others" who are with her. Meanwhile, his soldiers plot rebellions that are continually thwarted by Modula and his forces.
- Edward (voiced by Richard McGonagle) - Lance's father and Galaluna's greatest scientist, who was also friends with the King and General Modula. He disappeared through a prototype rift gate to an unknown location when Lance was just a boy. This moment is Lance's worst memory. Lance loved his father very much, and keeps a broken picture of him by his bed on Earth. His father's last words to Lance were that everything would be all right. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Series co-creator Genndy Tartakovsky drew inspiration from many sources. He grew up with mecha anime series from the 1970s and 1980s like Speed Racer, Macross and Voltron and states: "For whatever reason, I have always loved the idea of kids driving giant robots." His biggest influence were John Hughes movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, but the relationship between the two teenage leads was also inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky.
An episode of Samurai Jack with a similar plot, "Jack and the Prince and Princess" (having two aliens and a robot fleeing to seek help for their planet), may have also provided inspiration. Tara Strong voiced the princess in said episode as well.
He came up with Octus and the high-school setting first and then later together with co-creators Paul Rudish and Bryan Andrews added Ilana and Lance as protagonists. The creators of the show took a long time to develop the female lead, Princess Ilana. "A positive strong female character is something I've always wanted to create", Tartakovsky said.
Tartakovsky called Sym-Bionic Titan "the most challenging project I have ever done."
Sym-Bionic Titan received two nominations at the 38th Annie Awards in 2011: Stephen DeStefano for Best Character Design in a Television Production and Scott Wills for Best Production Design in an Animated Television Production.
- Sym-Bionic Titan - Metacritic
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