18 tales of animated insanity – for adults only!
Shortly after this year’s Cape Town International Animation Festival, Netflix launched one of the edgiest animated series the world has ever seen. It’s not for sensitive or young viewers, but those who watch this new anthology are in for a few treats… and a lot of shocks!
Love, Death & Robots is an anthology series produced by controversial filmmaker David Fincher and Deadpool director Tim Miller, filled with violence, nudity and a whole bunch of weirdness. Each episode is unique and unrelated to any of the others, except for a general science-fiction theme. They even vary in length, one being little longer than five minutes and others coming close to half an hour.
The first episode, Sonnie’s Edge, is the weakest of the collection but still sets the perfect tone for this series. It is gorgeously animated, incredibly violent and not afraid of showing some skin. By the time you’ve completed the season, you’ll have seen plenty of naked people (men and women alike), crushed skulls, torn limbs and Hitler’s death by Viennese orgy.
By the time you’ve completed the season, you’ll have seen plenty of naked people (men and women alike), crushed skulls, torn limbs and Hitler’s death by Viennese orgy.
You’ll have visited strange worlds, psychedelic cities, the past, the future and the apocalypse. All episodes are very different: some are deathly serious, others bizarre, funny or crazy. The second episode, Three Robots, is a comedy about robot tourists visiting a destroyed Earth, while The Witness is a strange tale about a murderer chasing a witness through a neon-mad city with a surreal twist.
One episode, Ice Age, uses live actors alongside animation, while some episodes are so well-made you’d swear they were real footage, like the jarring Helping Hand. Others, such as Sucker of Souls, are in 2D or a blend of animation styles.
If you’re old enough, you may recall the 1981 movie Heavy Metal or its pseudo-sequel Heavy Metal 2000, released 19 years ago (when Kenny got high on cat urine in South Park his trips were an homage to these movies).
Love, Death & Robots is the spiritual revival of those movies: hardcore, no-holds-barred stories told with quirky and mind-blowing animation. It’s not for everyone and definitely not for children. But if you enjoy out-there tales that may vary from the ghosts of fish to mech-riding farmers to sentient yoghurt (yes, yoghurt), don’t miss this unique new series.
Love, Death & Robots: spoiler-free episode reviews
Visually stunning and action-packed, unfortunately a weak script and on-the-nose moralising makes this tale about a futuristic brawler the weakest episode in the series.
Three robots tour a post-apocalyptic world in this very funny and awesomely done episode, with a hint on what really will destroy humanity.
Stunningly animated and incredibly graphic, this episode pushes the envelope in more ways than one – and then it gets even stranger…
Looking after the pests of their land is a full-time job for these farmers and their mechs in one of the funner episodes in the season.
Sucker of Souls
The villain in this episode isn’t much of a surprise, but we can be forgiving thanks to the other cool characters and a fresh animated style.
When the Yogurt Took Over
Quirky and funny, the shortest episode of the season is also one of its best – and is exactly what the title says.
Beyond the Aquila Rift
CG animation rarely looks as realistic and compelling as in this very raunchy and highly disturbing story about a space journey gone wrong.
A captivating tale about a forest spirit and the boy who saves her life, and then saves her again in a very special way – you’ll wish this was the start of a series.
Not the grandest in the collection, but this episode about an old dump dweller and his, uh, “dog” does help relieve the seriousness of the other segments.
There isn’t much mystery in this yarn about US Marines with special abilities, but it’s incredibly well animated and has great action sequences.
Combine the movies Gravity and 127 Hours to get a sense of this stunning yet brutal episode about an astronaut who makes a huge sacrifice to save herself.
Two salesmen break down on a remote stretch of road and have to spend the night there, leading to one of the most visually stunning episodes in the season.
A reluctant pilot is put in charge of what many see as a cursed dropship – a real treat for any military sci-fi fans.
Taking full advantage of the series’ short durations and strange themes, this tale about a reclusive artist’s ultimate work is as weird as it is compelling.
No strangeness here: just four cyborg thieves taking on a highly protected convoy with a lot of firepower in this high-octane heist tale.
A couple discovers a small, rapidly-evolving society living in their fridge – good fun and featuring the only live-action footage in the season.
Possibly the funniest episode of the season – which is no small feat considering it’s largely about killing Hitler…
The Secret War
During WWII, a squad of Russian soldiers hunt down strange monsters that devour humans in an explosive finale.