Video games are one of our most beloved and popular forms of entertainment.
Whether we’re talking about educational games designed for preschoolers, kids obsessively filling out their Pokédexes, or employees spending their lunch break playing Candy Crush, video games have captivated the collective minds of society. Once viewed as nothing but a distraction for kids, they are seen today as something for everyone to enjoy.
Gaming is now a billion dollar industry and is appreciated across generations, cultures and platforms.
It’s the unifying power of video games that is at the core of Netflix’s new series Glitch Techs. Its use of dynamic characters, colorful animation, and lessons imparted through humor and action, make it a series that every gamer will love.
Glitch Techs follows the adventures of two gamers, Hector “Five” Nieves and Miko Kubota, in their new gig battling video game monsters who have found their way into the real world.
Highly competitive and hyperactive, 14 year-old Japanese-American Miko is a tried and true gamer girl. While often getting in trouble for her rash behavior, she’s also great at improvising and relishes her new job. Additionally, Miko might just be “the Chosen One” often hinted at in video game titles.
On the other hand, Five (voiced by Ricardo Hurtado from Nickelodeon’s School of Rock) is Miko’s more focused counterpart. The 13 year-old Mexican-American is a kind and caring gamer with great leadership skills. Though he sometimes lets self doubt hold him back, his relationship with Miko (voiced by Monica Ray of Disney’s Big City Greens) really boosts his confidence.
It’s this partnership — cultivated after a gaming contest goes wrong — that drives the series forward. Through it, Miko and Five not only grow as people but as Hinobi Techs in a world full of potentially dangerous glitches.
The series was created for Nickelodeon Studios and Netflix by Eric Robles and Dan Milano. You might recognize Robles as the brain behind another Nicktoon, Fanboy & Chum Chum, while Milano is the creator of FOX sitcom Greg the Bunny. As expected from these creative minds, lots of attention went into world building and character design for Glitch Techs. The result is an animated adventure that makes you want to explore and uncover more of the series’ secrets.
The first episode, for example, begins with an air of mystery. It opens with a white maintenance van driving slowly down a neighborhood street. The tech driving the van gets an alert, identifying that what he is looking for is close by.
The scene then changes to the interior of a normal-looking home. As a father snoozes on his recliner and a mother scrolls through her smartphone, two kids play on their Hinobi video game console. Suddenly, the TV screen begins to glitch and out pours several glowing bricks that arrange themselves into the robot character from their video game!
While the mom and kids look on stunned and panic-striken, a crash through the front door announces the arrival of Mitch — the tech we saw earlier in the van. “I’m with Tech Support,” he suavely explains as he sizes up his opponent. Utilizing energy beams and some pretty dope skills, the glitch is contained by Mitch. He also resets the family in order to erase both their memories and the damage made by the glitch. By the time Mitch drives away, I was hooked and ready for more.
This is our first introduction to Hinobi’s secret Glitch Tech services and the job that Miko and Five are hired to perform.
Not only do the two work to protect their community while leveling up personally, they do so along with a staff of Hinobi Technicians that reflects the true diversity of our world. In an entertainment field full of white protagonists and rainbow colored-characters, Glitch Techs portrays actual Black and Brown characters. Besides Five, Miko, and their respective families being people of color, many of the main and supporting cast of characters are as well. Mitch is a Black Brit, Hinobi tech, Zahra, is a hijab-wearing Muslim, and Hinobi tech, Haneesh, is Indian-American.
The series’ animation is bright and dynamic with episodes full of pop culture references and kid-friendly humor, but Glitch Techs has more to offer as far as entertainment. Besides enduring a messy tutorial mode, working towards cool power-ups, and using their skills to show up the egotistical Mitch, the duo’s video game experiences teach them real life lessons in a way that doesn’t feel forced or hokey.
In episode 7, “Collection Quest,” Miko is forced to spend quality sibling time with her older sister, Nica. Facing the threat of grounding, the girls are required by their mom to spend the day “fake bonding.” The two don’t seem to share anything in common and Nica is burdened by teenage social pressures. It looks like the day will be a bust for both of them; however, it turns out that Nica does know a thing or two about Miko’s favorite pastime. Thanks to her help, Miko’s team completes an important XP quest. The experience helps Nica loosen up while teaching Miko that there’s more to her sister than she first thought.
Miko isn’t the only one to grow from her time as a Hinobi tech. Episode 6, “Alpha Leader,” has Five experiencing his own learning opportunity when his leadership skills get put to the test. The situation finds Five spending too much time in his own head as he second guesses his every instinct. Taking on a more gruff personality inspired by the smug Mitch, Five changes his personal style and refuses help or support from the team he’s meant to lead. It isn’t until he ditches the Mitch act and leads from a place of sincerity and teamwork that he learns his lesson and completes his mission.
The action-packed series released the first 10 episodes of Season 1 on February 21st of this year but 10 additional episodes have been produced. Hopefully, Netflix will release these episodes soon — and renew it for a second season.
Maybe then we’ll get some answers to questions raised in the first 10 episodes. Namely, what’s Miko’s status as “the Chosen One” is and what exactly the Hinobi Corporate Office up to.
Written by Samantha Chavarria
Samantha Chavarria is a Latina freelance writer who lives and works in Houston. The life-long Texan writes about identity, wellness and disability advocacy, social justice, and pop culture, contributing words to HelloGiggles, Bustle, Mitú, and Houstonia Magazine. When she isn’t writing, she’s busy being a wife, mother of three, and spending too much time on Twitter. You can follow her @ teoami.
Edited by Abeer Khan