Romance meets the Reaper & Artificial Intelligence
By Sonise Lumbaca
What does the Grim Reaper, romance and artificial intelligence have in common? Nothing really unless you happen to be the Netflix’s animated hit Love, Death & Robots! The adult animated anthology, produced by Joshua Donen, David Fincher, Jennifer Miller, and Tim Miller, made its debut on March 15, 2019. We’re always searching for amazing animations to watch and this series had us dropping everything for an evening of binge watching.
What’s magical about this series is that it is reminiscent and somewhat of a reboot of the 1981 Canadian animated classic Heavy Metal, directed by Gerald Potterton and produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel, who also was the publisher of Heavy Metal Magazine. In the same spirit of the movie Heavy Metal, the Netflix series Love, Death & Robots highlights a variety of science fiction and fantasy stories but without the stories having any connections (in Heavy Metal, while each story has its own twists, turns and unexpected ending, the one thing that links them together is an orb known as the Loc-Nar; a magical orb that tends to wreak mayhem on those in possession of it). Additionally, in Love, Death & Robots, each episode’s theme correlated to the love, death and robot title. Some cover only one theme, while others cover all three.
Despite each story being animated by an international community of artists, they manage to have a couple of things in common: great animations, under twenty minutes and the twist, turns and unexpected ending we love so much! While the lot of this first series blew us away, in our humble opinion, some were more amazing than others. Below we ranked the order of which episodes we enjoyed watching the most from “best” to just “okay.” We also provided a quick rundown of the plot, but we didn’t want to give too much away. To learn more and to be dazzled by the specifics of the amazing plots, we highly recommend that you grab a big bowl of kettle corn and watch it for yourself.
1) Sonnie’s Edge: Two beasts enter a cage match, only one leaves. Each beast seems to be controlled by the telekinetic power of its host… or not. The 3D animation and movement of its characters is pretty amazing. While there is a bit of lust and not much love (unless it’s the love of life), there is plenty of death and robots in this animation. The action and unexpected ending puts this animation at the top of our list.
2) Suits: When you live in a small rural community of farmers, banding together with a team of homemade man-powered mechanical suits is pretty much the only thing that can be done to ward off an alien invasion. There’s plenty of love, death and robots in this animation; plus a lot of action. The amazing sense of community and how seamless it runs along the backdrop of this story is what puts this animation at #2 on our list.
3) Shape Shifters: What happens when a US military force fighting in Afghanistan comes up against a ravenous supernatural enemy that’s able to take out a platoon in one swift move? They get their own couple of supernatural Marine to counter the offense. With definitely no “love” shown from team members despite needing these two supernatural Marines (who show unconditional love for each other) and no robots, there is plenty of death and gore in this animation. The storyline, which is great at face value and symbolic of real wars fought in the past at a time when the U.S. was dealing with its own internal equality struggles, puts this animation at #3 on our list.
4) Beyond the Aquila Rift: A captain and his crew who have been asleep in their cryogenic chamber wake up after a long journey. What they discover begs the question of taking the red or blue pill. With plenty of love, death and robots, this 3D animation and unexpected ending lands this tale at #4 on our list.
5) Good Hunting: It’s the hunter versus the hunted in this Chinese Steampunk themed tale. Sometimes when it comes to the supernatural, there’s more than meets the eyes. With a variety of twist and turns, this amazing 2D animation lands at a respectable #5 on our list.
6) The Witness: A women becomes an eyewitness to a murder. And thus begins the pursuit through the backstreets of a shady city, into a seedy but eccentric stripper club, only for the chase to return to the back alleys of the street. With not much love nor robots, there is plenty of death in this amazing suspense thriller 3D animation. For the blown away and “didn’t see that coming” ending, this animation is #6 on our list.
7) The Secret War: Siberia. An elite Red Army. And, what seems to be a swarm of unstoppable creatures. There’s tough, and then there’s tough. This tale is full of “on the edge of your seat” suspense! For its amazing 3D animation and thrilling storyline, this tale full of death, but no love or robots, lands at lucky #7 on our list.
8) Blindspot: Looking for action that involves a high speed chase, a ton of fire power and some great 2D animation? Well you have come to the right place. Enter a team of cyborgs on a vehicular heist adventure. Not much love, lest it be that of the thrill seeker, but plenty of deaths and robots. For this reason, we place this animation smack dab in the middle of the pack.
9) Suckers of Souls: Some archeologist on a dig accompanied by a team of mercenary guards encounter a blood thirsty creature. Once trapped, they learn about the one thing that is key to their survival. Who says that dogs are only man’s best friend? Full of plenty of action and lots of humor, this loveless and robot-less 2D animation has plenty death and gore to make it #9 on our list.
10) Zima Blue: A mysterious artist who uses the color blue throughout his artistic body of work mesmerizes the public. With each work, he continues to challenge himself, making a greater statement as his momentum builds. It’s a tale of a rise to fame while remembering where one comes from. With plenty of symbolic love of art, death and robots, we place this animation also at the middle of the pack.
11) The Dump: A dump owner who calls the dump his home discovers that everything around him is alive. But what happens when the city sends its minion to repossess the dump? With plenty of love for him home, no robots and plenty of gory deaths, this 3D animations lands at #11 on our list.
12) Three Robots: Three robots tour post-apocalyptic earth long after humans have become extinct. As they visit various locations attempting to understand the “artifacts” they come into contact with, they discover a lifeform and unwittingly are controlled by it. For the hilarious storyline and its 3D animation, this tale of life after humans ends up at #12 on our list.
13) Lucky 13: Lucky 13 is a dated ship that after two missions in a row, lost its entire crews. No one wants to fly her, but rookie leaders don’t get a choice despite having to confront carnivorous aliens. It’s a tale of making choices between taking chances with luck or exercising caution. For its wonderful storyline, highlighting the love of a ship, with some robots and plenty of death, we place this tale on our list at conicidentally #13.
14) Fish Night: Two stranded traveling salesmen discover that something fishy is going on in the middle of miles and miles of empty desert. What they discover isn’t only enchanting, but also becomes dangerous. With not much love nor robots, this colorful 2D animation checks the block on the death theme and lands at #14 on our list.
15) Helping Hand: What would you do if you were stranded in orbit, you were running out of oxygen and the decision between life or limb depended on it? Find out when you watch this amazing 3D science fiction animation that’s full of plenty of love for life, some robots, but we won’t spoil the ending by admitting whether or not there is death involved. For its suspense filled tale, this animation is #15 on our list.
16) Alternate Histories: How many ways can Hitler die? Find out when you watch this comical 3D animation that highlights a variety of deaths and an alternate history. No love, only some robots, but plenty of death in this tale. This animation lands at #16 on our list for its Groundhog Day with a twist scenario.
17) Ice Age: A couple finds an ever evolving civilization living in their retro refrigerator in their new apartment. While this animation is limited to the refrigerator, it is still entertaining. With plenty of lovey-dovey affection, equal amounts of death, but barely any robots (unless you use a microscope), this cute animation ends up second to last on our list.
18) When the Yogurt took over: A scientific experiment gone wrong! In this animation, yogurt (of all things), is accidentally transformed into a super intelligent being that seeks world domination over humans. We know… Seems farfetched, but you will have to see it to believe it. Plenty of love for yogurt, but not much death and robots in this animation. While the storyline places this animation last on our list, the animation is quite adorable.
As you may have probably surmised, some of these animations are not for the faint of heart; certainly not for kids. One thing is for sure, if you are looking for some amazing animations, awesome storylines, action and adventure, you definitely should consider setting up a binge-watch experience for Love, Death & Robots! We are definitely looking forward to Season 2.