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Xiaolin Showdown is an American animated television series that aired on Kids WB and was created by Christy Hui. Set in a world where martial arts battles and Eastern magic are commonplace, the series follows four young warriors in training that battle the forces of evil. They do this by protecting Shen Gong Wu (ancient artifacts that possess great magical powers) from villains (witches, mad scientists, evil warlords) that would use them to conquer the world.

Originally airing on the Kids WB! block of programming on WB Network in 2003, the series ran for 3 seasons and 52 episodes. Typical episodes revolve around a specific Shen Gong Wu being revealed which results in both sides racing to find it. Episodes usually reach a head when one good and one evil character must challenge each other to a magical duel called a Xiaolin Showdown for possession of the artifact.

Development

Xiaolin Showdown was created by Christy Hui and co-produced by executive producer Sander Schwartz, supervising producer Eric Radomski and producers Bill Motz and Bob Roth and was developed by Warner Bros. Animation. The first episode of Xiaolin Showdown was developed over three years following its conception and premiered November 1, 2003.

Series creator Christy Hui has stated that despite the growing popularity of anime in the United States, she preferred to create a show that was a "fusion of Eastern and Western culture", and this is evident in her work. Xiaolin Showdown shows subtle influences of Eastern art, action, and philosophy but also includes very Western characters and humor.

Following the success of its first season a second twenty four episode season was ordered and a third after that resulting in 3 seasons and 52 episodes. Despite heavy promotion in other media, including Postopia, a trading card game, and a video game, Warner Bros have not shown any signs of broadcasting a fourth season.

Plot

Premise

Four young Xiaolin monks, Chinese orphan monk by birth Omi, Japanese technophile Kimiko, flashy street smart Brazilian Raimundo, and the kung-fu cowboy Texan Clay have been chosen by the temple's head monk, Master Fung, to become the Xiaolin Dragons of legend. Their task is to find and protect the sacred Shen Gong Wu from being taken by the forces of evil and put to ill use. The Shen Gong Wu give the user unique supernatural powers, that can be used for good or evil.

Story

Fifteen hundred years in the past, evil almost overtook the world. The master Xiaolin Monk Grand Master Dashi was able to suppress each of these threats with the use of his magical tools, the Shen Gong Wu. Ultimately he was able to trap the evil Heylin witch Wuya in a small wooden puzzle box which led to 1500 years of peace, during which he hid all of his Shen Gong Wu around the world.

In the present day, four young people from across the globe are brought together at the modern Xiaolin temple to prepare for their destined lives as the legendary Xiaolin Dragons. The would be world-conqueror Jack Spicer releases Wuya from her prison, and the Shen Gong Wu begin to reveal themselves to both parties.

The story follows the monks as they train and hone their skills, while countering ever greater evil threats. Eventually new enemies surface in the form of Chase Young and Hannibal Bean, who may not be looking for Shen Gong Wu but do have agendas of world domination.

Characters

Xiaolin Showdown features a large cast, many of whom only appear in one episode and occasionally return for cameos or for single episodes later in the series. While supporting characters are often one dimensional and serve an immediate purpose in the episode in which they appear, main characters are often well developed with strengths and flaws that become present as the series progresses.

Main Characters

Omi (Tara Strong): The Xiaolin Dragon of Water, Omi is the main protagonist of the series and was the first dragon-in-training to train with Master Fung. At times Omi can be selfish and boastful, and often learns lessons of humility. Like Raimundo, Omi once joined the Heylin. Having been raised in the monastery, he is naïve about the outside world. As a running gag Omi routinely confuses idiomatic phrases, from simple changes to lacking any resemblance to the original phrase whatsoever. In one situation, Raimundo used Omi's inability to recite idioms as an analogy as to how they would defeat Jack Spicer, "What Omi did to that sentence is what we're going to do to you!". Omi's Wudai Weapon is the Shimo Staff, and his elemental Shen Gong Wu is the Kaijin Charm. His preferred Shen Gong Wu is the Orb of Tornami.

Kimiko Tohomiko (Grey DeLisle): The Xiaolin Dragon of Fire, Kimiko Tohomiko is the only female member of the team. Kimiko is the most techno-savy member of the team and comes from Japan. Kimiko also changes hairstyles and outfits almost every episode. Her preferred Shen Gong Wu is the Star Hanabi, her Wudai Weapon is the Arrow Sparrow, and her elemental Shen Gong Wu is the Cat's Eye Draco. She has the hottest temper, generally at even the slightest provocation.

Raimundo Pedrosa(Tom Kenny): The Xiaolin Dragon of Wind, Raimundo may be stubborn but he will do anything to protect his friends. Raimundo is street-smart and the group's self proclaimed rebel, he comes from Brazil. He has joined the Heylin side twice (once out of envy of the success of his friends, and a second time as a ploy to take Shen Gong Wu and the Treasure of the Blind Swordsman from Hannibal Bean). His Wudai Weapon is the Blade of the Nebula (serving as a replacement for the Sword of the Storm), and his elemental Shen Gong Wu is the Crest of the Condor. He was named team leader in the episode Time After Time (Part 2), the last Xiaolin Showdown episode.

Clay Bailey (Jeff Bennett): The Xiaolin Dragon of Earth, Clay Bailey is the team muscle and a homegrown Texas cowboy. Clay sometimes speaks in "cowboy slang," and uses metaphors. Because of his good gentleman manners, he never fights girls, something that makes him quite helpless in episode 4 " Katnappe!". He also has a bad case of stage fright. His large size and sensible demeanor belie his good-humored and gentle nature. The only time he gets really mad is if someone takes or destroys his beloved cowboy hat. Clay has a sister named Jessie who is an outlaw and leader of the Black Vipers. His preferred Shen Gong Wu are the Fist of Tebigong and the Third-Arm Sash. His Wudai Weapon is the Big Bang Meteorang, and his elemental Shen Gong Wu is the Longhorn Taurus.

Dojo Kanojo Cho (Wayne Knight): A shapeshifting dragon. The Xiaolin warriors' main mode of transportation and wise-cracking advisor, Dojo can sense Shen Gong Wu. He has no hind legs and is normally about 1.5 feet long, but when the situation requires it, he can shift into a full-sized 40-foot dragon. He has served Grand Master Dashi, as Omi sees him when Jack sent him back in time to find another puzzle box to trap Wuya. Dojo is often seen around Clay in the show; hanging around his arm, siting on his shoulder or inside his cowboy hat. When Dojo is out of commission, the Xiaolin Warriors use an aircraft Shen Gong Wu called the Silver Manta Ray, or the other transport Shen Gong Wu such as the Crouching Cougar, the Shen-Ga-Roo, or the Tunnel Armadillo.

Jack Spicer (Danny Cooksey): The Xiaolin Warriors' first and most annoying nemesis. Jack Spicer is notable for his robotic engineering, long rants, overuse of the word "evil" and his repetitive self-proclamation of "evil boy genius". He was responsible for releasing Wuya from the puzzle box that Grand Master Dashi locked her in, and aids her in finding Shen Gong Wu to conquer the world. Jack has aided the Xiaolin Warriors on occasion, and does show occasional leanings toward good. However, he always winds up back on the evil side. As a reflection of his character, his preferred Shen Gong Wu is the Monkey Staff, which was the only Shen Gong Wu he is left with at the end of the series. He has shown to have a hard past that explains his cowardly nature and worst fear (which is shown as a 5-year-old Jack Spicer being flushed down the toilet). Metaphorically, he is afraid of rejection. Jack Spicer has shown to be a big fan of Chase Young.

Wuya (Susan Silo): A 1500-year-old Heylin witch who inspired Jack to partake in the Shen Gong Wu hunt. After being imprisoned in a puzzle box by Grand Master Dashi for 1,500 years, Wuya's physical form was destroyed. Her goal is to use the Shen Gong Wu to regain a tangible body and along with it her magical powers. She, like Dojo, has the ability to sense a Shen Gong Wu's appearance, but does not need the Scroll of the Shen Gong Wu to determine what it does. At one point she leaves Jack to take on Raimundo as partner but after much debate he returns to the path of good.

Chase Young (Jason Marsden): Introduced in the second season as an even bigger threat than both Wuya and Jack. Chase Young controls an army of therianthropic warriors, trapped in the form of jungle cats, and has the ability to turn into a reptilian creature. Chase rarely uses Shen Gong Wu to battle since he claims it distracts him from honing his martial arts skills. During the second season of the show Chase plots to turn Omi to the Heylin side as part of a plot to rule the world. He succeeds but releases Omi as a matter of honor. He himself was turned to evil when Hannibal Bean convinced him to drink the Lao Mang Long Soup.

Hannibal Roy Bean (Tom Kenny): Hannibal is a demon that spends his time plotting evil and world domination. He was once imprisoned in the Ying-Yang world, but took the form of Clay and was able to convince the Xiaolin warriors to release him. He possesses the Moby Morpher which he uses to shape-shift into more threatening forms and travels on the Ying-Ying Bird. About 1,500 years ago, Hannibal succeeded in corrupting Chase Young by playing on his insecurities and convincing him to drink the Lao Mange Long Soup to gain power.

Supporting Characters

Master Fung (Rene Auberjonois in season 1, Maurice LaMarche onwards): The Xiaolin Warrior's Master, trainer, and guide, Master Fung can get mortified by his charges' behavior at times. He also is nearly always calm, despite the Warriors' behavior and mistakes, though he can be firm at some times around the males.

Master Monk Guan (Jeff Bennett): A legendary Tai Chi master who has traveled the world a dozen times, and has defeated numerous opponents using only his famous Spear of Guan which was later given to Omi and a favorite copy of the Spear of Guan to Raimundo. He also aids the young monks in combat training. He has his own temple on a cliffside near the ocean, where the young monks stay and store Shen Gong Wu while he trains them. It's also where he keeps his hundreds of Spear of Guan copies.

Grand Master Dashi (Tom Kenny): The grand master Xiaolin monk, who imprisoned Wuya in a puzzle box 1500 years ago. He appeared alongside Dojo when Omi traveled to the past, seeking a second puzzle box. He was friends with Master Monk Guan and Chase Young, and met Omi when he assisted the three in the battle against Wuya.

Mystical elements

Shen Gong Wu

The focus of the series is on collecting the fictional Shen Gong Wu, mystical artifacts that have magical powers, activated by an action of will combined with saying the artifact's name aloud. Wuya's activation caused Shen Gong Wu to reveal themselves. A magic scroll identifies each Shen Gong Wu.

Xiaolin Showdowns

In Xiaolin Showdown, when more than one person grabs a Shen Gong Wu at the same time, a Xiaolin Showdown occurs. In this namesake competition, each side wagers a Shen Gong Wu he/she already owns. In some cases, the competitors invoke a Shen Yi Bu Dare, where multiple (usually two) Shen Gong Wu are wagered. The winner obtains all of the Shen Gong Wu fought for, totaling five Shen Gong Wu. In some cases, when more than two people touch a Shen Gong Wu at once, a different kind of Xiaolin Showdown occurs: the Showdown Trio is a two-on-one or three person free-for-all, a Xiaolin Showdown Tsunami is either a two-on-two or a four person free-for-all Showdown, and an Eight-Way Xiaolin Showdown is a four-on-four Showdown. One can also call for a Cosmic Clash Showdown, allowing the caller to bring more people into the Showdown who did not touch the Shen Gong Wu (however, in this type of showdown, one of the competitors must be over one-half Shen Gong Wu and look kinda freakish). Generally, the competitors in a Xiaolin Showdown of any type use the Shen Gong Wu that they wagered to compete with. However, there have been instances where a Shen Gong Wu not wagered was used in the Xiaolin Showdown, as in "The Last Temptation of Raimundo" when Wuya used the Shroud of Shadows against the Xiaolin Warriors while she was possessing Raimundo. Another showdown was in "Enter The Dragon" when Omi uses the Reversing Mirror and Shroud of Shadows on Dojo.

The challenge in a Xiaolin Showdown can be anything, but most commonly is some sort of race to the Shen Gong Wu. When the Showdown is called, the world warps around the competitors and by-standers, and the terrain they are on becomes an extreme extent, such as a mountainside becoming a field of rock pillars, or a snowfield becoming a large snowboarding course. Some Showdowns have also affected those involved, such as gaining weight for a sumo wrestling showdown. Other contests have been games of tag, basketball, or combat. The challenge officially begins after the change, and when both (or all) combatants yell "Gong Yi Tanpai!" Then the decided contest starts. When one is victorious, the terrain returns to normal, and the winner gains possession of all of the wagered Shen Gong Wu.

"Gong Yi Tanpai!" is a pseudo-Chinese way of saying "Ready, Set, Go!". Tanpai means "showdown" in Chinese, Gong is Chinese for "begin" as to attack, and Yi means "the" in Chinese, so it literally means "Begin the showdown!"

Influences

Cultural references

Taijitu

Stylized taijitu (more commonly known as the yin-yang) can be seen in nearly every episode, as yin and yang are important beliefs in Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The taijitu can be seen as part of the special animation of martial arts techniques, and when a Shen Gong Wu is used.

Forehead dots

In Buddhist culture, dots or markings are made on a monks forehead or brow chakra to indicate the mystical third eye, and symbolizes spiritual wisdom. This marking helps serve as a reminder to the monk to focus their energies toward achieving higher understanding of the world around them. In the series, the dots that appear on the aforementioned characters have never been explained.

Several characters are seen with such dots on their forehead. Omi has nine white dots, in three rows of three. Master Monk Guan has six yellow dots, two rows of three standing on the width. One of the elder monks in the Xiaolin Temple had the same pattern as Master Monk Guan, as seen in the episode with the Sapphire Dragon. When Master Monk Guan showed Omi the scroll that showed a large shadow along with a goat-demon enslaving Chase Young to evil, the shadow had four dots as a square in his debut. Four is an unlucky number in Chinese culture because the Mandarin and Cantonese word for four sounds like the word for death.

When he left behind his good chi in the Ying-Yang and world was turned to evil, Omi's forehead dots turned into red dots balancing on a corner. When Omi turned into a cat, the essence of Omi made Chase Young stronger, which is how he got his dots. However, when the Xiaolin Warriors defeated him in the showdown, Omi got his dots back and Chase Young lost them.

Asian culture

Fashion

The monks in Xiaolin Showdown dress in standard Gi at the temple and various martial arts outfits when using their powers, they also wear street clothes when on the road. In each episode, Kimiko stands out in this area wearing a new colorful outfit in the style of Japanese Street fashion worn by teenagers that gather in shopping areas like the Harajuku district of Tokyo. This clothing style is displayed in Japanese magazines published under the title FRUiTS, and two collections of this photography have been released in the US by Phaidon Press titled FRUiTS (2001) and FRESH FRUiTS (2005).

Awards

Daytime Emmy Awards

Year Category Season Result
2004 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation 1st (Episodes 1-6)
2005 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation 1st (Ep. 7-13) & 2nd (Ep. 1-11)
2006 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation 2nd (Ep. 12-26) & 3rd (Ep. 1-8)
2007 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation 3rd (Episodes 9-13)

Annie Awards

Year Category Season Result
2004 Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Television Production 1st (Episodes 1-6)

Other

Xiaolin Showdown was also nominated for two Golden Reel Awards.

In other media

Games

The 2-disc DVD set
Konami developed a Xiaolin Showdown video game, that was released on November 10, 2006 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, and Nintendo DS.

DVD release

A Season One DVD has been released. It is a 2-disc set, and has special features on disc 2, but the only features are trailers for other shows and movies.

See also



References



External links




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