Megas XLR (short for Extra Large Robot) is an American animated television series that aired on the Toonami block on Cartoon Network and was produced by Cartoon Network Studios. It was created by Jody Schaeffer and George Krstic. Its opening song is "Megas XLR Theme (Chicks Dig Giant Robots)" by Ragtime Revolutionaries (now Deathwish IX).
Originally entitled Lowbrow, the pilot episode was shown during Cartoon Network's 2002 Summerfest, wherein eight original Cartoon Cartoon pilots were shown. It was chosen as the most popular among viewers, and Lowbrow was greenlit and retitled Megas XLR. Originally to debut in December 2003, Megas XLR was delayed and finally debuted on Toonami on May 1, 2004. It ran for two seasons before being canceled on April 26, 2005.
Before and since the show being canceled, characters have appeared in Cartoon Network's branding in both 2D and 3D CGI form, most recently being the FusionFall Online MMORPG. Both seasons are now available for download from Microsoft's Xbox Live service and the iTunes Store.
The 2009 Dragon Con hosted co-creator George Krstic at the first-ever Megas panel since the series cancellation in 2005.
In the distant future of 3037, humanity is fighting a doomed war against an alien race known as the Glorft. In order to save the Earth and their species from total annihilation, the human resistance steals a prototype giant robot from the Glorft and modifies it, renaming it "Megas" (Mechanized Earth Guard Attack System). The plan was to send Megas back in time to the Battle of the Last Stand in 3035, which was the last major offensive fought by humanity against the Glorft. Humanity lost that battle, and the war moved more and more in the Glorfts' favor ever since, but the members of the resistance believe that Megas can tip the scales and hand the Glorft a decisive defeat.
Before the plan can be executed, an attack by the Glorft forces the human resistance to send Megas back in time ahead of schedule. Kiva, one of the main architects of the plan, decides to pilot it and attempts to transfer into it from her own mech. During the attempt, Megas' head is blown off by enemy fire, destabilizing its timedrive and sending the robot to 1936. Megas languishes in a junkyard in Jersey City, New Jersey until it ends up in the hands of Coop (who bought it for two dollars, and never bothered to actually pay for it), around the year 2004. Coop turns Megas into a hot rod project and names it XLR, for Xtra Large Robot.
Kiva and the Glorft also go back in time in the hopes of retrieving Megas, arriving in Coop's time. When Kiva finds it she discovers that she is unable to pilot it because of Coop's modifications; because the Glorft attack destroyed Megas' head, Coop had to jerry-rig together a new set of controls using a car and various videogame controls. Coop's constant video game playing has made him the perfect pilot for the remodeled Megas, so Kiva grudgingly decides to train Coop in Megas' proper use until she can repair the timedrive.
The series follows a fairly consistent villain of the week format. Few villains ever recur, and those that do serve much the same capacity.
Each episode begins with some mundane or seemingly unimportant task Coop is trying to perform. In doing so, Coop will often awaken, irritate, or otherwise incur the wrath of some alien force, usually possessing a mecha or some other threat beyond the scope of normal weaponry. This threat will inevitably interrupt whatever task Coop is trying to perform, leading him to fight the threat with Megas.
During the battle, Coop or the enemy will wreck a fair portion of the battleground, Coop usually doing more damage than the villain. In one instance, a Glorft-controlled clone of Megas (with a gray paint scheme) is assumed to be Coop because of the destruction it causes. When on Earth, they often wreck comically implausible buildings like a "Conveniently Placed Oil Refinery" or an "Entirely Abandoned Factory". In almost every episode, an advertisement for PopTV is destroyed, in reference to MTV canceling Downtown, a show made by the creators of Megas XLR.
Eventually a standoff results. At this point, Coop will reel off a list of unforgivable things his enemy has done, although more often than not they are actually Coop's fault. The third one is invariably the most "heinous" of all the crimes, but is almost always the most trivial one of the three, i.e. "You destroyed my city, wrecked my robot, and you interrupted a wrestling match!". Once this is finished, he proceeds to defeat the enemy. For the final showdown, Coop often uses a new ability surprisingly fitting the situation, at one point activating it via a button literally labeled "5 Minutes Until the End of the Episode"; essentially a deus ex machina presented in a humorous fashion.
After the threat is defeated, Coop will return to the task he was performing, usually to discover that his battle has rendered doing so impossible. At this point, he sometimes accidentally destroys whatever was spared during the battle, and learns that he's caused more damage than he prevented, such as "freeing" an alien prison colony from the "oppressive" warden and guards.
The show parodies or references many cartoon/anime/giant robot tropes and cliches. For example, when teaming up with a Super Sentai/Power Rangers/Voltron parody team, Coop transfers data on Megas to the team's robots, and attempts to combine with them. As opposed to Sentai shows, where this would traditionally result in an elaborate transformation sequence and greatly increased power, Coop merely jams Megas' limbs into the foreign robots, mangling them and giving Megas a barely-noticeable power-up.
Harold "Coop" Cooplowski (David DeLuise)
Coop is an overweight, always-hungry video-game obsessed car enthusiast, who, against all odds, has come into possession of Megas. He usually wears a shirt with the number 12 on it. His best friend is Jamie. Due to years of playing video games, he is an excellent, if unconventional, pilot. He's not exactly the brightest person around, often lacking awareness of how serious the situation he and his robot are in—his amazing heroics are mainly just accidents, and he usually ends up destroying more than he protects. However, he has the capacity to display a strong sense of justice and compassion, as seen in the finale when he fights Gorrath in a completely destroyed Jersey City (which was actually an alternate reality).
In spite of his apparent lack of intelligence, Coop possesses exceptional skill in mechanics, artistry, and electronics. He frequently "upgrades" Megas, though more often than not his upgrades malfunction, and despite his apparently great knowledge of robotics and engineering, he still destroys his garage every time he brings Megas into battle. Coop has an insatiable appetite, which is a running gag throughout the series; the trick (according to him) is pacing. Coop is quite proud of his size, once correcting someone who called him "chubby" by saying he's "fat." Despite his physique, Coop is quite strong, capable of punching through a television barehanded.
Coop is known to sometimes go into a long rant before fighting a villian for the last time. During which he trashes the villian with insults and, burns them for all the bad stuff they did, while the sound of Megas' engine revs in the background to show how mad he's getting. The last thing he usually burns the villian for is for destroying Jersey city, which he usually says only he himself is allowed to do.
In an alternate timeline, Coop destroyed the Glorft, but his lust for challenge and battle gradually turned him into an evil warlord, which may provide insight into his character and motivations. This Coop got into shape and abandoned Megas for a more war-oriented robot; he also became less reckless in combat, retreating from the Glorft army and Megas while the old Coop would have just barreled into combat (and probably win). However, this Coop may be fundamentally different from the Coop from the known timeline.
Commander Kiva Andru (Wendee Lee)
Born September 15, 3012, 25 years old Kiva is a military pilot and engineer who traveled back in time from over a thousand years in the future. Kiva is intelligent, tough, and fearless. She has a no-nonsense personality, but adopts a small sense of humor as the series progresses such as developing a fondness for slurpees, and seems to grow more comfortable in the present time but still annoyed with Coop and Jamie's antics. However, her presence in Coop's time does not seem to alter the timeline.
Kiva is highly skilled in both robotic and hand-to-hand combat. Originally meant to be the pilot of Megas, she can no longer pilot it due to Coop's extensive modifications, and finds herself stuck in the present. Instead of piloting Megas herself, she tries to train Coop, who would usually rather eat, play video games, or tinker with Megas.
Kiva has some cybernetic enhancements including a brain-computer interface socket at the back of her head (which was used to control her mech in the future) and a hologram communicator on her right wrist.
In the series finale, the Kiva of an alternate dimension had started a relationship with Jamie, but decided to follow Coop as she was unwilling to abandon her attempts to get home. Abandoning efforts to return to the future, she continued to follow Coop (now evil), eventually becoming an uncaring cyborg ruling the alternate world with Coop.
Jamie (Steve Blum)
Coop's best friend and slacker comic sidekick, Jamie spends much of his time pondering schemes to use Megas to get rich and hitting on cute girls (usually failing). He is a stark contrast to Coop, whose only thoughts tend to center around food. He appears to offer nothing of use during Megas combat other than criticism, but is almost always the first one to spot potential dangers, and his advice (usually ignored by fight-minded Coop) is generally prudent. Physically slight of build, Jamie would rather run away than fight; despite this cowardly nature, he always remains loyal to his friends and saves them in a few episodes. Even so, Coop has a gear marked Save Jamie.
In the second season's series finale, "Rearview Mirror, Mirror", an alternate dimension Jamie had a romantic relationship with Kiva, but it fell apart after Coop and Kiva became evil. This Jamie became the heroic, muscular, and deadly serious leader of the resistance against the evil Coop.
Goat (Scot Rienecker)
The owner of the junkyard in which Coop found Megas, Goat unwittingly sold the destructive machine to Coop after Coop's pestering about a pile of junk prompted the response "anything in that pile - two bucks"—Megas, of course, happened to be in that very pile. Goat dreams of finding a robot of his own. Like Jamie, he often tries to hit on girls (usually Kiva), though he has shown a small amount of success compared to Jamie. Goat also appeared in the MTV series Downtown and another Cartoon Network series, Metalocalypse. In the first episode Coop mentioned that he's never seen Goat leave the junkyard, he has left the junkyard on occasion. In "Junk In The Trunk" he left the junkyard with Coop, Kiva and Jamie to a Junk-planet and lived his dream of having a giant robot. His giant robot "Darlene" was made completely out of junk and wasn't built or held together right, when he tried to move it forward it completely fell apart.
Gorrath (Clancy Brown, voiced by Mick Foley in Lowbrow)
The leader of the Glorft, Gorrath followed Kiva and led a significant fraction of his military forces back in time to try and retrieve Megas; he not only failed, but found that he and his soldiers, like Kiva and Megas, were trapped in the present. Gorrath is a straightforward strategist, fond of overwhelming force or spectacularly destructive weapons, ramming Earth's moon into the planet being one example. He dislikes failure with a passion, which he usually takes out on his second in command. Gorrath is fond of threatening to remove the "jhorbloks" of others. Despite his passion to destroy the Earth, he helps Coop fend of an alternate universe Coop from enslaving Earth, claiming "If anyone is going to enslave this planet, it's going to be me!"
Gorrath, completely unwilling to accept that the "primitive monkeys" that are humans could defeat him, hates Coop and often launches attacks to try to kill him and reclaim Megas. He always fails in some way or other, usually because of sheer dumb luck on Coop's part. Despite this he has grudgingly admitted that Coop is a skilled if a bit strange fighter. In the series finale, Gorrath almost decides to make peace with Coop. In the process of shaking hands, Coop trips on a piece of debris and accidentally destroys Gorrath's army, thus ending any possible friendship, with Gorrath putting it off to "the spur of the moment".
Gorrath appears to be more muscular than most of the other Glorft seen and also walks on two legs (these characteristics are also seen with a special group of Glorft guards in the episode The Driver's Seat). Unlike other Glorft, his facial tentacles are moved to the side, exposing his mouth and jaw to full view. He also wears a full body mech suit that resembles the one he pilots.
Magnanimous (Bruce Campbell)
Magnanimous is the head of the Intergalactic Robot Fighting Tournament. He uses Coop to make money in his battle arena, but when Coop refuses to lose for him they have a big fight resulting in Magnanimous being thrown into a quantum singularity. In a later episode, Magnanimous comes to earth to challenge Coop for his title and to get revenge. When asked how he escaped, he simply replies "It wasn't easy."
Magnanimous' appearance is a combination of MODOK from Marvel Comics and Bruce Campbell, consisting of an enormous, large-chinned head with tiny limbs. He often quotes Ash's lines from the Evil Dead films. The mechs he creates are Elvis parodies, in reference to Campbell playing Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep, and in The Return he fights Coop with a mech that has a chainsaw on its right arm and a gun in the left hand, another reference to Ash. Coop has trouble pronouncing his name.
A group of superheroes from another galaxy, the S-Force is modeled after various Sentai groups (taking elements from Gatchaman's Battle of the Planets dub, Super Sentai, Silverhawks, Power Rangers and Voltron). Their name is a reference to the G-Force from Battle of the Planets, who they also resemble. They first suspected Coop to be a bad guy because of his senseless destruction, but they later deem him to be unintelligent, rather than evil. They pilot Zorps which resemble animals (a direct parody of Zords - Red Falcon, Gray Rhinoceros, Green Gorilla, Purple Kangaroo and Pink Panther). The pilots are Mac (the gray one, voiced by Frank Welker), Argo (the red one, voiced by Scott Innes), Jax (the purple one, voiced by Alan Young), Sloan (the green one, voiced by Ronnie Schell), and Duchess (the pink one, voiced by Jennifer Hale). Their adviser is Targon (also voiced by Frank Welker), a floating holographic head (a reference to Zordon). Due to their interaction with Coop, the S-Force have picked up his habits, becoming fast-food loving, less than serious, video game junkies. However, in S-Force SOS, they appear to have reverted back to their serious selves, though they still have some of Coop's more harmless tendencies.
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