Shots From The Studio #14

Greetings! Welcome to this weeks Shots from the Studio and now that X-Men 97 has wrapped up its first season I’d like to talk a little bit about some recent animated shows that I love. In fact I believe the following four shows are as good or better than some of the most popular live action shows on TV. These programs are not just great cartoons they are also great stories with complicated character arcs, inventive plots and emotional highs and lows. They range from kid friendly family viewing to strictly adult material  but they are all definitely worth watching.

   First up is Hilda. A fun kid friendly show that never believes that it’s just for kids. Hilda and her mom move from their home in the woods  to the city of Trollsberg after their house is accidentally destroyed by a passing giant. And that’s where adventure begins. Hilda, along with her new friends and her faithful deerfox, Twig, must deal with trolls, mad scientists, witches and over zealous troll hunters in order to keep friends, family and the city safe.

   Next up is the aforementioned X-Men ’97. A direct sequel to the X-Men animated series from the 90s. But in this latest incarceration the writing, animation and stakes have been cranked up to the next level. The X-Men comics have always spotlighted great super hero stories with dynamic, complicated heroes and villains and this show is no exception. It’s so well written they even managed to make Scott “Cyclops” Summers an interesting, relatable character.

   The third entry to this list is Blue Eye Samurai. I’ve talked about this here before but it is worth mentioning again. Created by the writer of Blade Runner 2049 and Logan, this very adult and very violent show is definitely geared towards a mature audience. But behind the sex and violence is a great story, wonderful animation, intriguing characters and more than a few emotional wallops. In fact episode 5 is probably one of my favorite episodes of television ever. The episode is told in three parts with each tale intertwining all coming together in a devastating conclusion.

   Now on to one of my favorite animated shows…well just one of my favorite shows period, Arcane. The show starts out following two young, orphaned sisters Vi and Powder who run with small group of low level thieves in the dystopian city of Zaun. Tired of scraping by with small scores they hatch a plan to commit a robbery in wealthy, magically infused utopian city of Piltover. Things go wrong, however, with disastrous and fatal consequences not just for the gang but for the two cities that are already on the verge of war. What follows next is a gripping story of love, betrayal and twisting allegiances set against the backdrop of a society tearing itself apart due to social and political upheaval. The two main characters are flawed and tremendously relatable and it has great supporting cast on both sides of the conflict. I can’t recommend Arcane enough and I haven’t even mentioned the amazing design work, world building and animation. Season 2 premieres this year so now is a great time to get caught up on this perfect season of television.