Pacific Rim: The Black: These Jaegers Didn’t Bomb – Netflix Review

The movie clearly inspired by anime about mechs fighting monsters comes full circle.

SUMMARY

In the future, monsters known as Kaiju emerge from a portal in the Pacific Rim (oh, THAT’S why they call it that). These monsters, controlled by aliens known as “precursors,” quickly start to decimate mankind until we develop the Jaeger system, a giant robot suit piloted by two psychically-linked people. First, humanity thought they beat them in 2020 when we nuked the portal. Then, ten years later, Jaeger parts were infected by Kaiju brain cells, leading to the “Uprising War.” Some time after that, the Kaiju overran Australia. Five years after that, our story begins, with orphaned siblings Taylor and Hayley Travis (Calum Worthy and Gideon Anlon) trying to survive in the ruins of the continent along with other settlers. The pair find an old training Jaeger run by an AI called Loa (Erica Lindbeck), but using it attracts a kaiju which destroys their home. Together they set out across Australia, finding a young boy called Boy (Ben Diskin) and a whole lot of trouble along the way, some of it from monsters, some of it from a group of survivors led by the ruthless Shane (Andy McPhee) and his lieutenant, Mei (Victoria Grace). 

Yeah, they panic a lot. They’re teenagers with a giant robot, so that’s probably normal.

END SUMMARY

If you have seen the film Pacific Rim, then you have seen the closest thing we currently have to a live-action Voltron movie (aside from the short film starring Timothy Omundson). It’s a film that pretty much exists just to allow scenes of giant robots fighting monsters and, let’s be honest, that’s awesome. Given how much of that particular genre has populated anime in the past, doing an anime adaptation of Pacific Rim seems like it’s just throwing it into a pool of other shows with similar premises to be forgotten. However, this show actually surprised me by focusing more on character development than action, particularly compared to the source material. It also explores “the drift,” the psychic connection between Jaeger pilots, in new and inventive ways.

And with “Boy,” there’s some exploration of science ethics and such.

That’s not to say that the action sequences aren’t good. Since it’s revealed early on that the Jaeger that the Travis siblings find is a training Jaeger with no weapons, the pair are forced to defend themselves with just the giant robot. The new Kaiju designs are excellent, particularly the main one from the season, Copperhead. The show kind of embraces the idea that they are biological weapons by showing that some of them have been designed specifically to counter Jaegers. 

Copperhead is hard to target due to speed and body shape. Nice design.

However, the absolute best part of the series is Loa. I was literally told to watch this show because of the “snarky AI” and I was not disappointed. Loa is, in some ways, one of the portrayals of AI that I most believe. Loa seems like she is constantly “over this sh*t.” Since it’s clear that, as a training AI, she has dealt with a lot of students, she clearly tries to use her acerbic wit to keep herself distanced from the people in her charge. It’s what happens when a human brain programs a being that is going to constantly outlive and outthink all of the people it deals with. Also, her delivery is just perfect.

One of the funniest glow balls on television.

Overall, pretty solid series if you like watching monsters get punched by robots. And you should.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Helluva Boss (Episodes 0-3): This is Damned Funny – YouTube Review

I take a look at a YouTube series about a group of demonic assassins.

SUMMARY

Blitzo (the o is silent)(Brandon Rogers) is the head of I.M.P., the Immediate Murder Professionals. They’re a group of assassins that operate out of Hell through a portal to the human realm. Essentially, if you are in Hell and have the money, you can take revenge upon the living. Blitzo is accompanied by married couple Moxxie and Millie (Richard Steven Horowitz and Erica Lindbeck/Vivian Nixon) and his adopted hellhound daughter Loona (Lindbeck). Despite the fact that they are generally dysfunctional and incompetent, they still manage to do a decent job of murdering the living in hilariously over-the-top ways. 

The character design is just damned fun.

END SUMMARY

If you missed it back in 2019, artist Vivienne “VivziePop” Medrano posted the unique pilot for a show called “Hazbin Hotel” on her YouTube channel. It was an incredible work of twisted art and disturbed humor that has since been picked up for production but not debuted yet. However, shortly after that, she posted a second, shorter, pilot for a show set in the same universe. That one was called, you guessed it, Helluva Boss. That one was also picked up and has started airing on Medrano’s YouTube channel and we are all the better for it. 

A lot of the humor in this show comes from the fact that this group of killers are basically a massively dysfunctional family. Blitzo is way too involved in Moxxie and Millie’s lives, constantly berates Moxxie, and treats Loona like she’s his precious baby despite the fact that she does almost no work and often abuses her co-workers. Moxxie is massively insecure while Millie is mostly aloof. However, all of these traits are taken to the point of absurdity and it’s more naturally believable because they’re not human. The supporting characters are likewise over-the-top because, well, they’re almost all in Hell and thus had exaggerated qualities. 

And sometimes they’re just an odd office group.

The other big source of humor in the show is the ridiculous ultraviolence that regularly ensues and the dark jokes that come from it, like being paid to murder a child and questioning the morality only to find out that the kid’s an asshole and seemingly has it coming. The show has a ton of dirty jokes and sexual humor as well as some solid references (including being the second animated show to use Dan Harmon’s horrifying phrase “cum gutters”). I find it consistently hilarious. 

And sometimes it’s just playing out the idea that there is a hell that can come to Earth.

Overall, I love this show. There are only three episodes and a pilot so far, but they’re all free on YouTube. Check them out and Hazbin Hotel as well.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.