X-Ray and Vav Season 2 review: Long live the King
Long ago, Saturday morning cartoons were a ritual that most might remember fondly; waking up at hours that would normally be reserved for school days to watch your favorite shows, parents, sleep, and breakfast be damned. With the return of Rooster Teeth’s X-Ray and Vav series, that ritual makes a comeback, albeit with an older audience in mind. Unless you’re not a Sponsor, at which point it would be a Sunday morning cartoon that your friends probably spoiled for you already.
In any case, the latest season in the duo’s adventure improves upon what was already established in the first season. The main villain gets more screen time, all the characters (main or otherwise) get their 15 minutes of fame, and the storytelling is done in such a way that each episode leaves you wondering about what happens next. As can be expected from a Rooster Teeth production, there are also plenty of jokes so there is no need to worry about this season pulling a RvB Chorus Trilogy and becoming much more serious.
(Spoilers train ahead, obligatory no brakes comment)
(Last chance, skip to the end for an abridged, spoiler free opinion)
That being said, the best parts of this season can arguably be attributed to the return of the Mad King, played by none other than Ryan Haywood. While the Mad King was once a secondary antagonist in the first season, he is now a major driving force behind many of the events in the new season, almost to the point that X-Ray and Vav may as well be renamed the Mad King’s Reign. Through his manipulation, we learn more about X-Ray and Vav in a couple of episodes than we do in most of the first season. Thanks to excellent writing and voice acting, the Mad King becomes a character that doesn’t need guns or evil powers to tear you apart when he can simply shatter your mind and make you fight yourself.
Unfortunately this does mean that the end of the series comes with a rather cheesy and rushed final fight. After breaking X-Ray and Vav apart as a team, the Mad King attempts to enact his master plan. But through the power of friendship, the oafish duo learn to forgive each other and reunite to defeat the Mad King, after an obligatory speech and flashback about the power of love of course. While such a conclusion may be necessary due to the nature of the show, it does feel groan inducing when X-Ray talks about how those who believe in you make you who you are.
(Spoilers train ends here, obligatory train does have brakes comment)
Final Verdict: While all the new characters do make a nice touch, from Mogar to Flynt Coal, at the end of the day the most memorable character has to be the Mad King. Everything he does simply makes you like him more as a character, almost to the point that you begin cheering for him. Clever writing and acting throughout, though the finale may be a bit disappointing to some.