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Entry updated 27 July 2020. Tagged: TV.

Canadian-American animated tv series (2017-2018). Nelvana, Corus Entertainment, The Topps Company. Created by Sean Jara. Directed by Matt Ferguson. Writers include Sean Jara, Stephanie Kaliner and Grant Sauve. Voice cast includes Valerie Buhagiar, Nicki Burke, Alyson Court, Stacey DePass, Joshua Graham, Katie Griffin, Evany Rosen and Ana Sani. 40 23-minute episodes. Colour.

Planet Gemina's Drake City blends Science and Sorcery, having Technology such as flying vehicles, futuristic buildings, manned subterrenes, advanced Computers, even a Spaceship – but also Supernatural Creatures and mages (called Astromancers). Goth orphan Zarya Moonwolf (Burke) and hyper-active elf child (she's 109) Piper Willowbrook (Sani) steal to feed Drake City's poor. When Zarya's pet Choko is held hostage, they are blackmailed into stealing the Dragon Disc from the Royal Palace Tower. Fleeing another faction's robbery attempt they collide with Princess Arkana Goodfey (Court) and her dwarf friend Emerald Zirconia Goldenbraid (Rosen). Simultaneously touching the Disc, the four transform into the Mysticons: girls selected every thousand years by the Disc to defend Gemina from evil. They acquire Superpowers, though Emerald also uses her engineering skills to build gadgets (see Inventions), including a Mecha.

The series' three story arcs each centre on a different Villain: the first two are standard evil bombasts, though Necrafa (Buhagiar) has a nice design, but the third is more interesting. Princess Arkana is told that astromancer Proxima Starfall (DePass) is her twin, but she is actually a decoy. Later she learns Zarya is the true twin: Arkana is delighted, and orphan Proxima finds she has lost the family she has always wanted. The sentient mask of the recently defeated Necrafa takes advantage of her vulnerability: Proxima wants revenge, the mask wants the End of the World. Proxima creates the Vexicons, amusingly evil counterparts to the Mysticons, and tries to treat them as family – but is frustrated by their lack of filial sentiment. The mask is destroyed, Proxima is redeemed, dragons return, and all ends happily.

Despite the futuristic City setting the noir tendencies of urban fantasy are avoided. Earth being in a different Dimension has not hindered its cultural influence: at one point Piper does an Elmer Fudd impression (see Warner Bros. Cartoons). Videogames and board-based Role Playing Games are frequently referenced. The Mysticons are enthusiastic players and "by the Star of Gygax!" a common exclamation; at one point they get trapped in a game, and later in a book. There is Dream Hacking, altered timelines (see Alternate History), dimensions' time running at different speeds (see Time Distortion) and sky-pirates, the latter led by sister and brother Kitty (Griffin) and Kacey Boon (Graham), who double as love interests for Zarya and Emerald.

Originally planned with male leads, Mysticons is more action-orientated than most shows targeting young girls: the attempts to appeal to this age group might occasionally grate (at least with older viewers). The animation budget clearly wasn't large, but is used imaginatively. Though the plot's fantasy tropes are often over-familiar (see Clichés) they are enthusiastically delivered. The Humour is often funny (Piper wants a pet. Zarya: "Remember Floaty the goldfish?" "Yeah." "Remember why he was called Floaty the goldfish?"), whilst the story is fast-moving and strengthens as the show gains self-confidence – resulting in a fun, exciting series. [SP]


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