12 April 2014

DVD Set Review: "Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu": Season One

Rated: TV-Y7 for fantasy violence
Starring: Vincent Tong, Jillian Michaels, and Brent Miller
Released: December 2, 2011 - March 28, 2012 (Cartoon Network premieres) / June 26, 2012 (DVD)
Kai, Cole, Jay, and Zane are four ninjas-in-training, studying under the wise Sensei Wu.  When Lloyd Garmadon, the son of the evil Lord Garmadon, unleashes the Serpentine, an evil race of snakes that were banished underground eons ago, it's up to the four ninjas, their Sensei, and Kai's sister Nya to stop them once and for all! This action-packed series is full of surprising twists and turns!
As seen on Cartoon Network.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 5/5
This may be a kids' show, but, with all these plot twists, it's likely to keep many older viewers interested.  After finishing this first season, I felt like I was coming to the end of a long journey...made more enjoyable by the characters of this show as my companions!

Animation: 5/5
This may be a TV show made by an unheard of animation studio, but the graphics in this series are outstanding! Of particular note are the textures and lighting effects; they're quite detailed and amazingly done.  Also, the characters' facial expressions are wonderfully emotive.  The studio responsible for this could easily give Pixar, Blue Sky, or DreamWorks Animation a run for their money.

Voice Work: 4/5
Most of the characters are well-voiced; however, a voice here and there verges on over the top and/or annoying.  Sensei Wu's voice was grating at first, but I eventually got used to it.

Soundtrack: 4/5
The theme song is a rockin' tune; the rest of the music is standard soundtrack fare, but still of good quality.

Moral Content

Sex: 4.5/5
One innocent kiss is as close to sex as it gets.

Nudity: 5/5

Language: 4/5
Some name-calling and usage of terms such as "butt".  Euphemisms such as "gosh" and "golly" are heard a scant few times.

Violence: 2.5/5
The "fantasy violence" mentioned in the content advisory is quite present here.  The four ninjas, their allies, and their enemies hit, kick, punch, throw, and use fantasy elemental weapons against each other left and right.  The Serpentine even use gun-like weaponry against the Ninjas.  Still, it's not only not graphic, it has the look and feel of an E-rated video game.  (Spoiler: The only character who dies is the big, scary villain at the end.)

Drugs: 5/5

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 3/5
(Spoilers!) The main villain in the final two episodes is a big, scary snake that devours everything in its path; it is eventually defeated.  Sensei Wu appears to be killed by it, but he is later seen to be okay. (End Spoilers!) Some of the other villains could be too scary for some kids.

Other: 4/5
A hint of Eastern spirituality is present.

Final Score: 5/5
What an experience! I'd never heard of this series prior to seeing it available at the library, but I sure am glad I checked it out! The animation, the story, the action...all superb! Don't let the kiddie label fool you; adults can enjoy this series just as well as children can!

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