OK KO Review

OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is a Cartoon Network series about  K.O., a kid who aspires to be a hero while he works at a famous hero’s supply store. The series is created by Ian Jones-Quartey the co-developer of Steven Universe, and a storyboard supervisor for Adventure Time.  OK K.O.! originally aired on cartoon network as the pilot Lakewood Plaza Turbo which it still is references in the current show’s location, the Lakewood Plaza strip mall. It was later retooled into a mobile video game for Cartoon Network before airing it’s official first episode on August 4th, 2017. The show has great character design, good writing, and a lot of promise.

The first episode begins with an energetic opening title sequence that hints at future action sequences to come. The music for the opening is reminiscent to the upbeat instrumental opening seen in Voltus 5 and is definitely taking inspiration from 80s action cartoon intros.  It’s lyrics are simple and bring about a sense of idealism and heroism, similar to the lyrics of the original PokemonOpening song. “You fight ’til the end. You are my best friend. Let’s be heroes!” Honestly, that’s the kind of almost cheesy, never gonna give up, stick to my guns attitude I love in these type of shows. My only gripe with the opening is that’s fairly short. However, this is also a strength because the show doesn’t waste any of its short run time with lengthy credits.

In the episode, our young protagonist sits in the backseat of his mom’s car talking about his collection of hero trading cards. His mom, Carol, is bringing him along to work at the Dojo she runs on the strip mall because his usual babysitter is fighting the flu. And of course, K.O. has the trading cards for his babysitter and the flu as we see the babysitter, Judy, fighting the Flu just outside of their car. The overarching plot is K.O. buying equipment at the hero store, encountering his first villain, and slaying him. Too bad his fight was just a vision he had after getting himself knocked out during the first few moments of his real fight.

The strength of this episode really relies on the main character in two major ways. He’s pretty likeable. His character design is retro, really sending out Ryu Street Fighter vibes, that match perfectly for the character’s name and goals. Although we might not want to be heroes, or dream to do anything action-y, we’ve all aspired for more and understand where his motivations come from. He’s also a really nice kid, and is kinda dumb but in a likeable, naive kind of way.  Secondly, this episode works because K.O. doesn’t magically win his first battle and there’s room for him to grow. Nothing worse than that main character in any series that’s overly powerful or special just because she or he is the main character and the plot needs them to be that badass. We see in the vision what K.O. can be, and since we’ve seen that action already, it’ll be even more impactful when we see his character grow and he earns that victory.

I give OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes a 4 out of 5 stars.

Or, alternatively, winning a fighting game by button mashing.

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