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Cannon Busters is a show I’ve been following the progress of for quite some time. It originally flashed up on Netflix’s Coming Soon tab way back last year and it’s original slated released – March 1st – was pushed back until today. With advancements in both CGI and animation standards, Cannon Busters is a suitably rustic anime, one that stubbornly sticks to the same old-school animation found in shows like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In A Shell. With an injection of charismatic, memorable characters and an interesting and diverse world, Cannon Busters is a reminder that Netflix can deliver the goods when it comes to this genre.
Without spoiling too much, the story here is split across 12 episodes and breathlessly begins right in the thick of action. Two robots, S.A.M. and Casey, stumble upon the immortal Philly The Kid in the midst of a bar brawl. Helping him out of a tight spot, he reluctantly agrees to help them track down S.A.M’S best friend, the Prince of Botican, with his own agenda for helping them. With mercenaries and assassins chasing them every step of the way, the 12 episodes swing between stand-alone character pieces designed to flesh out the history of our motley crew and a more direct, narrative-charged plunge to the main objective.
To complicate matters, Kelby himself manages to escape from his Kingdom, laid to siege by a mysterious behemoth calling himself the Mystic Emperor. Having captured the King and determined to track down the Prince, all of these stories converge upon a place called Gara’s Keep where a showdown ensues and the door is left wide open for a second season.
For the most part the story develops well, and there’s a clever mix of humour and action to keep things moving at a consistent pace. The sarcastic wit of Philly The Kid is constantly interpreted as straight talking by the two robots and this form of humour leads to some really clever bouts of comedy. As the series progresses, the dynamic between the group changes and grows, much to the benefit of the series, whilst the constant pockets of fighting and mecha-action help to flesh out the world.
The world building itself is consistently impressive too, seemingly taking nods from Cowboy Bebop in its style and tone. There’s enough here for it to avoid feeling too similar of course, and the smooth jazz score adds an undercurrent of calmness to the series as the characters stumble their way through hazardous situations. Believe it or not, the dubbing actually isn’t too bad here either. Although I watched the entire series in Japanese with subs, I did go back and watch a few memorable episodes with the dubbing on and it really wasn’t too bad. As usual, the subtitled lines are emphasized and changed but much like Aggretsuko, the changes don’t really hurt the flow or pacing of the series.
Visually, the anime looks great. I love this old-school feel of hand-drawn animation and although there are a few bursts of CGI, it’s subtle enough to avoid it spoiling the illusion of a fully hand-drawn series. To me, this style will always feel the strongest and reminds me of the old school feel of animes in the 80’s and 90’s. The colours are well worked, the costume design is cleverly implemented and overall the world itself is detailed enough to feel like Gearbolt is a living, breathing land.
Cannon Busters has certainly been worth the wait. It may not be the best anime out there, but what it does, it does really well. The hand-drawn animation is beautifully done, the characters all have their own quirks and well written arcs and the 12 episodes have enough bite to them to make this worth checking out. While the cliffhanger ending may disappoint those looking for something a bit more conclusive, there’s enough here to make Cannon Busters one of the better animes released this year.
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Verdict - 8/10
6 thoughts on “Cannon Busters – Netflix Season 1 Review”
Althought there is some sentiment that this show is a carbon copy of other shows. That is not the case , it’s an original show with original characters outside of the character troupes they may be similar too. This show is not like cowboy bebop or trigun with the exception of a protagonist crew on a journey and the misadventures that find them, that’s it. But think cowboy films, they are all different even though most have the same premise a badass cowboy or crew.
Anyways everything is done well in the show, it’s one of those shows where the over arching story is revealed to you over time. Which I prefer rather than knowing everything right from the start , knowing exactly what the protagonist needs to do and then watching how they do it. No episode is filler each has a point to tell a part of the story and each of the characters motivations, or to introduce more characters, the specific situation per episode is used to give you more pieces so nothing is filler. The pacing is definitely not rushed but pretty good and the mix of comedy, action is pretty balanced. Nothing feels awkward or like something you just want to skip through. Overall the entertainment value is very high.
The character designs are great, the music is well done, the animation is decent to great 80% of the time. The show definitely is worth a bigger budget but is quality enough to enjoy.
I’m looking forward to more in the future.
Way too much exposition. I feel like nothing really happened in the show even though “stuff” happened. I feel like Lesean tried to do too much with too few episodes. Prince Kelby’s travel and SAM’s travels alone could be separate seasons. By the end of it, I felt like a story wasn’t told, just set-up for a later episode. It had a filler-esque feel as TrEb noted.
Also, man what happened to those sakuga moments? There was one in the beginning of the season where the bad robot punched one of the bounty hunters (which was like 3 seconds of animation), then a couple here and there on the final two episodes (people running, explosions) but nothing important or worthwhile. Wasn’t bahi jd working on this? Give him an entire fight for Pete’s sake. I understand it’s expensive/time consuming but there was literally cheap animation the entire season.
Watched it and not gonna lie it looks good sure but thats about it. To me it felt like 12 Episodes of Filler with not one interesting fight because we literally have an Immortal and a Death star which trys to protect him. The plot if you can call it that gets thrown at you in episode one and in each episode there is one sentence about them going to find the prince…. Pokemon had better Dialogue to tell you whats the plan of the charachters. Oh yea the prince… not sure what happened but the enemy soldier just starts to sacrifice himselve becaus ehe travvel with his sworn enemy for 2 weeks like yeah man eternal Bond. Best part about the show Maintanance bot. also the jokes about one of the main charachters smelling awfull got old by the second episode, they are the equivalant of fart jokes for adults.
the SAM bot character was to much for me… the dumb humor of her being oblivious to the world and naive as fuck kills the mood, especially sice philly and casey have a very well rounded personality, it just doesn’t fit right that shes this head in the clouds girl then all of a sudden loses control and changes charater into this death. I could be crazy but i feel it would of been better to have her charater grow and she creates more of her own personality and not “i’m a robot searching for my friend the prince, be my friend.
actually the creator stated in the kickstarter video some 5 years ago that Cannon Busters was a road show on the fashion of The Wizard of Oz. So if Cowboy Bebop or Trigun are based on the Wiz of Oz then are those shows original? Next time you think about if a show is original or not, do some research… NOTHING is completely new under the sun killia. Not in America or anywhere else.
jesus shit its like a rip off of Cowboy Bebop and trigun all in one. Americans cant have a single original idea in their life.