Despite three successful seasons and plenty of merchandising, there’s a chance you may not remember “Xiaolin Showdown.” This high-flying action series from Kids’ WB fused Eastern culture with Western animation to create something entirely its own, making it long overdue for a pop culture reappraisal. The show centers around the Xiaolin Dragons, four elemental martial artists who are tasked with protecting a collection of ancient superpowered artifacts, the Shen Gong Wu, from villains like the dastardly Jack Spicer and the ghostly spirit Wuya. Tom Kenny lent his voice to Raimundo, Dragon of the Wind, across all three seasons, making it one of his more substantial, yet forgotten, voice roles.
Originally a self-absorbed surfer dude from Brazil, Raimundo’s disrespect for authority makes him a powerful warrior, but a difficult student. This arrogance often puts his fellow warriors, and the safety of the Shen Gong Wu, in jeopardy. This comes to a head in the Season 1 finale when Master Fung’s refusal to graduate Raimundo to Xiaolin Apprentice drives him to join forces with Wuya and resurrect her into human form. Ultimately, Raimundo recognizes the value of his friends and undoes the damage, eager to start over and rightfully earn his apprenticeship, which he does later in Season 2. It’s a surprisingly subversive arc for a humble children’s show, which makes it stand out amongst Kenny’s catalog. Kenny’s voice for Raimundo may be a more straightforward performance, but that effectively grounds the character so that his humanity shines through. Thankfully, this doesn’t stop Kenny, in combination with the show’s animators, from still providing his wonderful brand of comic relief.