Reviewed by Tempest
No alternate review available
Computer-generated animation isn't just for androids and mainframes anymore. That right, I recently found a new computer animated series in a Camelot-style world of knights and sorcery.
The series is a co-production between Montreal-based production company TVA International Inc. and France's Ellipanime. I guess the odd thing is that TVA never put the show on air while TQC and YTV did. Now you probably wonder what the heck are TVA and TQC. TVA is the largest TV station in Canada (Quebec) and you probably even heard of this station if you live outside of Canada while TQC is a government owned station that rarely broadcast something interesting.
Xcalibur is produced using Maya and FilmBox software, and combines motion-capture technology of humans and horses with key-frame animation that allows for camera moves that are physically impossible.
Xcalibur is obviously based on the King Arthur legends. It all began like this: the King has been assassinated by his brother, the queen has disappeared and the young prince Artus is too young to rule and wield Xcalibur. The king brother is trying to rule the place in the meantime.
However, this would be a rather simplistic story if the forces of darkness didn't enter the equation. An evil character called Kwodahn want Xcalibur but he cannot touch the sword (probably because he is an naughty evildoer) so he made a pact with the King's brother in order to have a human to bring him back the sword. What he wants to do with it is a complete mystery at the time I am writing this but I think it is part of a greater plot that will be revealed near the end of the series.
Also, in the series there are several places where technology (magic?) plays a role that contrast with the period of the story. Clarke's Third Law states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, so I guess it become hard to tell if it is magic of just technology. Personally, I got the impression that it was technology (much like in Final Fantasy 3, where you got medial soldier using Mech) but that does not necessarily reflect the authors views on the subject.
But where are the dragon in all this? There is a characters called Wip, he play a secondary role in the serie but you will see him on a regular basis. Up to what I have seen, he seem quite be quite an interesting character... This is about all I can say about the story line for now since I only saw two episodes. Check back later this week for more updates on this series.
Probably the major point that will distinguish this series from any other "cartoon" I have seen so far. The characters are not realistics in the sense that they didn't try to look like a photo of real human but they enter a style that have much in common with Reboot and Final Fantasy movie (there is many artists around that are specialized in this kind of art). The textures used are truly amazing, something that clearly tell that the series was made rather recently. While the humans and dragons movements are convincing, the horses fail to give the same level of realism. Horses when running look bulky and slow but that just one bad point in a very well done series.
Sound & Music
I had to pay attention to the subtlety of the music since the graphic was getting most of my attention. In general, the music is always appropriate, and carries the right feeling for the right situation, it can vary quickly to follow every change in the story. The voice are nice and convincing; you will have no trouble believing the emotions of the guards when they are wounded or when one is falling from the fortress' walls (note that the rating says "for everyone" mainly because the battle are not gory at all, but without being unconvincing or Hercules style).
Note: the overall is not an average, but more a general appreciation of the episodes as a whole.
R a t i n g
|Images:||(9.0/10) - Excellent|
|Sound & Music:||(7.5/10) - Good|
|Story line:||(6.0/10) - Average|
|Innovation:||(7.5/10) - Good|
|Educational Value or|
Level of Wisdom:
|(5.0/10) - Fair|
|Overall:||(8.0/10) - Very Good
A rating of 5/10 should be considered as something not good but not bad either (# bad points = # good points).