Sometimes you come across something that’s not on television yet but should be. Avi Melman, CEO of Cybergraphix Animation, sent ToonZone a screener copy of their new series, Guardians of Luna. Nothing of the current animated offerings available on television has captured my attention for an entire episode, so this was an unexpected and welcome change of pace.
The first episode of Guardians of Luna introduces us to Carson Stone (Rino Romano of The Batman), Alan Jedda (Phil LaMarr of Justice League), Maria Gonzalez (Yeni Alvarez of Static Shock) and Jake Segerstrom (Adam Wylie of Midnight Club II). We meet our four heroes as they discover their lineage as part of an ancient race of shapeshifters, the Gurnn.
The main focus early on is Carson Stone, a botanist who has recently moved to Steelhenge. While roaming the city around dusk, he finds an 8 pm curfew is in place. It’s only known to its citizens and exists to protect them from monsters.
Carson is unable to make his way home in time and quickly discovers the penalty for breaking curfew, being pursued giant robots (HILAs) with treads and stun lasers. As one would expect, Carson runs to seek shelter from the big things shooting at him. He finds himself in Doppler park, which is currently experiencing an odd phenomenon that takes place only during a full moon; it is replaced by the ancient grounds which once existed there known as Shaman’s Helm.
It’s here where the show introduces us to the tribe of the Gurnn. We learn that Carson was drawn to Steelhenge to answer the call of his lineage and where he is given the weapons of Luna. Upon his return to the here and now, he experiences his first transformation and instinctively uses the weapons as they’re intended. He gives our other heroes the weapons they’re destined to use as he meets them, one by one, for the first time.
Interestingly, none of the heroes want to be together, one of them going so far as to leave a couple of times. They’re not a team. They’re a group of people who have a similar condition. They were drawn together because of their ancestry, odd circumstances and their reliance on the weapons of Luna to maintain their humanity. Their cohesiveness as a team is not a switch that’s flipped on by the end of episode one. We’ll get to figure out their chemistry as they do.
The enforcer of the curfew mentioned above is Constantine Voira, who is less than altruistic in offering protection to its citizens. The Voiras built Steelhenge, and Constantine carries out the family traditions as kingpin while seeking the power contained within Shaman’s Helm. He looks to play a big part in the series.
Story-wise, there were a couple of things I would have loved to have learned from this first episode that I didn’t. I found the mention of only two of the heroes’ names to be the biggest miss. I believe that’s mostly in part due to this being part one of a two-part introduction. Also, I did find myself a little confused as to why Carson would move to a city without knowing about a curfew, monsters, and giant robots. He seemed to genuinely not know himself, and I’ve never felt drawn to a metropolis by an ancient, mysterious shape-shifting tribe, so I can’t really speak from experience. I did, however, once get my hair colored strawberry blonde for no particular, logical reason. I suppose we all follow our impulses without knowing what we’re in for on occasion.
The character designs were a bit simplistic, particularly the humans. I’ve heard the character designs are being reworked. They’re distinctive and move nicely enough, but would certainly benefit from some more detail. I have seen a couple of in-progress versions of the episode, and it should be noted that the special effects do add to the mood of the environment.
Guardians of Luna is currently being pitched to various networks, and I was somewhat surprised to hear that it hadn’t been picked up yet. It’s an intriguing premise. I’d love to find out the mythology and history behind the Gurnn tribe and Luna. It stands to reason that there is a great deal of history to the land on which Steelhenge sits. What secrets and powers does Shaman’s Helm hide, and why does it need guardians?
I’m looking forward to watching more of Guardians of Luna when it’s picked up.