Exception Season 1 Review – A beautiful story spoilt by ugly animation

Season 1

Episode Guide



A lot has been said about 3D anime projects and it’s hard to argue with its pitfalls. Just compare Ghibli’s latest lifeless movies to the brilliance of something like Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away; there’s no contest. I’m not going to be a snobby “back in my day” reviewer here, as some 3D animation is absolutely stunning (hello, Love, Death & Robots) but at times these projects just feel…dated.

Technology has advanced to such a degree now where videogames are fighting for near-realism in graphics. Because of this, 3D animation is lagging behind and it seriously shows in recent projects which feel dated before they’ve even hit a streaming platform.

So why am I saying all this? Well, it’s important to note because Exception is a fully 3D animated project and while the story is pretty good here, the animation and graphic quality is a mixed bag at best and is likely to turn many people away.

That’s a real shame because there’s definitely promise here, and the story has shades of 2018’s Nightflyers, mixed in with the existential questions explored in Westworld, along with a pretty enticing mystery, rolled into a pacey and palpable horror/thriller hybrid.

There’s some impressive thought provoking discussions in here too about what it means to be human, and these challenging concepts easily help Exception shine.

The story is pretty straightforward but it takes on extra layers of depth as the episodes tick by. The gist of it is that humanity has been driven from Earth and forced to repopulate somewhere else. Members of a scouting team are sent out to search for a planet suitable for terraforming, and have set their sights on Planet X-10.

The crew, copies of their original humans created through a biological 3D printer, emerge from “the Womb” to complete their mission. Unfortunately, one among them comes out misprinted and deformed, becoming animalist and threatening the whole project. Will the team manage to stop this monster? Or will they all die in the dark recesses of space?

It’s an intriguing premise and it’s helped along by a distinct and diverse range of characters. Lewis is our Misprinted creature, Mack is the steely, warrior-type onboard, Oscar is the tank, with big muscles and a level-head, while Patty and Nina make up the numbers with an equal dash of charisma and brilliance.

These characters do have a decent amount of backstory to them, and as the episodes progress, we learn a lot more about their motivations and what’s driving them to be onboard.

Episode 6 throws up a delightful little twist too which completely changes the game, and from here the rest of the series quickens the pace, topped off by an enjoyable final chapter that wraps up this story without leaving everything on a massive cliffhanger. While that may sound like a light spoiler, it’s worth noting because if you want to experience the story and aren’t sold on the animation, that may just be enough to pique your interest.

As mentioned above, the 3D animation is a massive hindrance. There are parts that actually look quite good but other times, the scenes are just not great to look at. Some scenes are super saturated and stand out like a sore thumb, while others feature character models that are weirdly lit against the backdrops. Now, I tested this across four different devices; a tablet, laptop, desktop PC and a large TV, and all four had the same result.

Animation-wise, characters look pretty janky while moving, and honestly there are better graphics in PS3 games, which is concerning, to say the least.

If you can look past that though, there’s actually a pretty decent sci-fi anime at the heart of this. The story progresses nicely, there’s some well-worked twists and the ideas are actually pretty thought provoking.

The 3D animation is still going to be a point of contention for many though, and it’ll be interesting to see the numbers for those who tap out before the season is done. If you’re willing to make an exception (pun absolutely intended) for the animation, then Netflix’s latest sci-fi thriller certainly has enough in the tank to sink your teeth into.


Read More: Exception Season 1 Ending Explained

You can check out more of our TV Show Reviews here!

  • Verdict - 6.5/10

10 thoughts on “Exception Season 1 Review – A beautiful story spoilt by ugly animation”

  1. Not enough of a connoisseur of anime to reflect on the relative quality of the animation. Enjoyed the ornate otherworldliness. Felt the dialogue could have been more sophisticated and more futuristic. That said, it made sense and held together. The names of the characters seemed too mundane. Patty? If this is the deep future, and we are going to have replicated characters in outlandish attire, crewing a colossal terraforming spacecraft that looks like a flying fish, we need to keep it edgy and different. The failure to address the inhospitable environment issues “suppressed” by Mack, and the failure to adequately examine the probable extinction of the indigenous energy/color creatures were plotting blunders that cannot be excused by the possibility of a second season. We didn’t need answers, but we did need to know that the people in charge were aware these issues mattered to us and should not be ignored. Sure, Nina makes one comment about the latter issue near the end, but I did not think it was enough.

    Still, I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit.

  2. Loved it. Animation wasn’t the usual anime which is what makes it special. A fable like story with some genuinely emotionally moving scenes. Atmospheric and different, with music by Ryuichi Sakamoto! Didn’t want it to end.

  3. i found many of the scenes (particularly in early episodes) and scenarios totally contrived. The characters were written with the maturity of pre-teens. Over and over I found myself rolling my eyes.

  4. A beautiful story? You mean the story filled with lazy plot manhole covers? The fact that the characters are empty and the dialogue is robotic? What about this story is beautiful aside from the greater idea of it? This is a cool idea ruined by shitty writing. That’s all. The animation was terrible, but it’s the least of anyone’s worry aside from those of a hapless cretin.

  5. The animation is sub par for a Japanese anime. Really bad, compared to hand drawn cartoons. The only thing that kept me interested was the storyline. Some people do not get the amount of effort put into a good anime.

  6. In my opinion this is the best animated series since Matriculated as far as the future tech and costume designs. I hear what you’re saying, but show me something better in this way. I’m interested. Granted I don’t spend a lot of time with Animae, but overall it stands out as visionary sci-fi above the rest.

  7. I honestly saw no problem with the animation. I thought there were some gorgeous shots and everything seemed smooth. The only thing that stood out for me was how Japanese everything was. This is definitely Japanese animation.
    Maybe the story distracted me from the animation problems but I thought it was fine.

  8. The animation is perfectly acceptable and nothing to complain about in my opinion. Overall I found Exception to be one of the best sci-fi offerings available on Netflix.

  9. Animation is just fine. Not every thing has to be amazing looking to get the story across. I enjoy the style choices they rook and it did it’s work in making you think and feel. Not cutting edge but did not need to be. You where even though you claimed other wise snobby.

Leave a comment