A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cartoon series for grade-schoolers does a good job of weaving positive messages into its action-packed storylines, so young viewers will be hard pressed to miss out on lessons like cooperation, teamwork, and respect for others. Despite the protagonists' unconventional nature (they're animated sushi), the cast is a likable crew, and kids will easily relate to their different personalities and relationships. The series revolves around the cast's crime-fighting efforts, so fights are common. But on the whole, the violence -- which is of the unrealistic fantasy type to begin with -- is kept to a minimum.
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What's the story?
SUSHI PACK chronicles the crime-fighting efforts of a quintet of do-gooders who join forces to combat the nefarious schemes of villains in their hometown. The show's small stars are individual, color-coded pieces of sushi who were brought to life by a freak lightning storm and now make their home in a nearby doughnut shop. Each 11-minute cartoon follows a similar pattern: Somewhere within the Wharf City limits a minor crime ensues, and the fast-acting Sushi Pack quickly pieces together clues to unearth the commonly dimwitted villain. The physical confrontations typically involve some kind of battle, but the fishy friends mostly use their skills in conjuring force fields and fighting fire with hurled handfuls of mustard to ward off their adversaries.
Is it any good?
For parents, the good news is that, as action cartoons go, Sushi Pack is light on violence (and devoid of anything realistic) and strives to push strong lessons in each episode. Kids who tune in will see the characters (who, despite their oceanic heritage, look more like Pokemon or PowerPuff Girls characters than fillets of fish) using good communication skills to resolve conflicts among friends, learn to acknowledge and better respect the feelings of others, and cooperate to become a more effective team.
All in all, it's a fun, fantasy-based series that may leave parents wondering about the source of the writers' character inspiration (a bad lunch at Nobu?) but is still likely to entertain kids. Plus, it boasts some solid behind-the-scenes credits; Emmy-winning writers Tom Ruegger and Nicholas Hollander were also behind hits like Animaniacs and Tiny Toons.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about resolving conflict. Kids: How do the Sushi Pack friends resolve their differences? Is it ever a difficult process? How do they make sure their friends' feelings are respected?
Have you ever had to smooth things over with a friend? How did you do it? Were things the same afterward?
What different methods do the team members have when it comes to dealing with their enemies? What role does violence play in their actions? Do you think it's ever possible to talk things out with someone who doesn't see eye to eye with you?
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