Rejoice; finally! Adult genre animation has finally, indeed arrived in the form of Love, Death And Robots The new animated genre anthology series and all the evidence indicates that’s a good thing. The show is an anthology of short stories told through a variety of animation techniques, all well done and visually engaging stuff that reminded me of looking at an old issue of Heavy Metal magazine, and that’s a relevant coincidence. The promise of genuinely adult science fiction stories as promised all those years ago by the movie Heavy Metal has finally been realized here in this new series first season. Other details of the series like the soundtrack and graphics for the credits also add to the show’s appeal.
Season 1 is composed of 18 shorts, each with a different signature animation, storytelling style, and varying levels of mature (or immature, depending on your point of view) content. That means there are regular occurrences of graphically portrayed nudity, violence and occasionally even things of a sexual nature. The anthology’s episodes attempt to cover the full spectrum of storytelling from the nightmarish to the sublime, and all things considered, it mostly achieves that goal. The nightmarish stuff, being less challenging to make up, clearly dominates this collection of short stories. Because of time limitations, a lot of the narratives are more like a chapter from a longer story we get to sample, but that, in no way, detracts from their enjoyment.
Love, Death & Robots is an anthological series of short episodes mostly between 10 and 20 minutes each, each using a different animation style to tell stories within the realms of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comedy. Despite a lot of fun, wacky premises in these episodes like one of my favorites, the Hitler one, Alternate History, the overall tone of the collection as a whole is strongly reminiscent of The Animatrix, the anthological collection of animated shorts connected to the Matrix universe, with the same sorts of 21st-century cyberpunk zeitgeist as recent genre films.
The anthology’s stories are original tales that are all dedicated to science fiction, some of them classically purist. These various genre stories are not so incredible and mind-blowing they give you multiple epiphanies upon viewing, but there is some engaging stuff here, some of it bordering on excellent, a couple are even delightful. These narratives can be categorized mostly into three intended effects; humor, horror, and thought-provoking. Some of them are cute, and a couple are even intelligently clever. What these stories are is serviceable one-off genre stories probably given with short notice like a writing exercise. Some of these primarily simple narratives are designed to make you laugh, ponder, feel something or maybe get a brief thrill the way that stories do, and they mostly achieve their goals; some better than others.
Although the stories are all relatively new and did not seem as if they had borrowed ideas I had seen before, every episode still had a sort of familiarity, something about it that reminded my old sci-fi nerds brain of something I had seen or read before somewhere, which seems natural. One obvious influence on at least three stories was Starship Troopers and the idea of being targeted for elimination by another species that attacks with overwhelming forces on their side. Each story gets told from a slightly different point of view and differing outcomes.
The animation is also impressive with memorable examples of not just excellent computer-generated images, but several newer cutting edge animation techniques plus what looked like some actual analog animation which is getting rare these days
As a life-long fan of animation, I mostly enjoyed my deep binge into the slick magazine-like experience of this series, and I figure any shortcomings in story-telling are forgivable at this point with the assumption there’s some excellent genre material; in the pipeline worth getting excited about sight unseen. Love, Death And Robots would seem to have a bright future while depicting visions of ours. Love, Death And Robots is a series worth a watch or three.