Entry updated 12 November 2020. Tagged: TV.
US animated online tv series (2020). Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Creators and Executive Producers: Dan Milano and Eric Robles. Directors include Phil Allora, Chris Graham and Hyunjoo Song. Writers include Ashly Burch and Dan Milano. Voice cast includes Ricardo Hurtado, Monica Ray and Luke Youngblood. Nineteen 23-minute episodes (save for the double-length first episode). Colour.
When the Hinobi Games company discovers its Videogames occasionally glitch, expelling their Monsters into the real world where they cause havoc and destruction, they choose the only sensible option: create tech teams of expert teenaged gamers who battle and defeat these creatures, then delete the memory of the event from any witnesses (see Memory Edit). Gamers Miko (Ray) and Hector (aka High Five) (Hurtado) experience such a glitch, but Miko's memory cannot be wiped, so – because they defeated the monster – both are recruited by Hinobi.
Perhaps not unsurprisingly, being young teens doing what they love, Miko and Hector are unmindful of the human rights abuses involved (mainly memory erasure, but also casually breaking into people's homes at night and poking around for glitches). As the first season is mainly scene-setting and character-building, these concerns are not followed up, whilst the overarching plot is only occasionally glimpsed: what are Hinobi really up to; what are their plans for Hector and Miko (spoken of as an "asset to the company"), and why is Miko immune to the memory wipe? Instead, the focus is on fights involving various videogame genres, such as planetary Invasion, Robots, Vampires, quests and karate, or finding reality overwritten by videogame layouts.
Miko is confident and instinctive, whilst Hector is insecure and thoughtful, but both are resourceful: they build a Mecha from lavatory parts. As for Hinobi, despite its technological brilliance – aside from memory erasing they also have holodecks (see Virtual Reality) – they seem unable to prevent glitches, which often have trivial causes such as covered game console vents "because nobody respects the vents!"
Despite some light Satire the show generally has a very positive view of gaming and gamers: with the exception of the arrogant Mitch (Youngblood), all are friendly and supportive of each other. This is the culmination of a cultural shift over the past decade or so; until then most media tended to present gamers as socially maladjusted and the butt of jokes, and certainly not heroic lead material. There are numerous gamer references. The second season, even more impressive visually than the first, closed with Miko and Hector's boss's discovery of files hidden by his younger self, before he was mindwiped by Hinobi Games. Sadly the series seems to have been cancelled, with most of the big questions still unanswered: a great loss, as this was a fun, enjoyable series with likable protagonists and lively, vibrant animation. [SP]
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