Genndy Tartakovsky Talks Sym-Bionic Titan
Have you been watching Sym-Bionic Titan? The Cartoon Network show, which ends its first season Friday night, follows the adventures Lance, Ilana and Octus-- a soldier, princess and robot, respectively-- who flee from their home planet of Galaluna and must now adjust to ordinary high school life while battling villains on Earth.
Sym-Bionic Titan is an amalgamation of famed animator Genndy Tartakovsky's many influences-- he mentioned Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer and John Hughes' 1980s teen movies during our interview-- wrapped into one unconventional cartoon.
"For us, we never really make it for a demographic," said Tartakovsky. "As soon as I say, 'I think teenagers like this,' that makes it not sincere, so everything we do comes from what we want to see."
There's a scene in the episode "Lessons in Love," which first aired on November 19, that sums up exactly why you should be watching the show. Kimmy, a popular cheerleader, walks home after kissing Octus. She turns up her iPod and "Space Age Love Song," an electronic, romantic number from '80s band A Flock of Seagulls, plays as she swoons down the street. In the background, Titan, the giant robot, fights a monster. Kimmy is oblivious to this and instead spins around a street lamp as big, neon bolts appear in the sky like fireworks. It's like the unforgettable final scenes from 16 Candles and The Breakfast Club collided with the best action anime.
"We're still kids in a way so we try to tap into the John Hughes type of feeling as well as the robot fights and action," said Tartakovsky.
For the man behind such beloved series as Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, Sym-Bionic Titan is a particularly "ambitious" project.
"Every new show that we do, we try to push ourselves to the limit," he said.
"This one has lighting, the characters are much more volumetrically drawn, we're using part CG elements of course, so the combination of that is quite complicated and just the scale of the show is quite monstrous," Tartakovsky continued. "For Dexter, Dee Dee learns a new dance and wants to show it to Dexter and he doesn't want her to bug him and there's the fifteen jokes from that storyline. Here we have three or four storylines. We have multiple characters. Because we're dealing with high school there are always crowd shots. The action is always in cities, so the scale is epic and that's what makes it fun to watch, it's like, I can't believe we did that. "