Steam Punk China
Set in the heart of feudal China, Good Hunting brings a decidedly Chinese flavour to Love, Death & Robots. With an interesting take on technology and strong themes around oppression, Good Hunting is a steam-punk inspired tale of love, desire and regret.
The story begins with a young boy, Liang, out hunting with his father. As they pursue an elusive shape shifter, an opening skirmish between the father and vixen paves the way for a change in pace with the story. As Liang comes face to face with the daughter of the shape shifter, he changes his initial impressions to one of shock and dismay as his father cuts the head off the creature, spraying him in blood.
At this point, the story then shifts forward in time as technology grips the country and a steam punk era begins, rising up from the feudal remains of Ancient China. Struggling to remain potent as a hunter, the young shape shifter called Yan finds herself at the mercy of oppressive men whom she’s forced to bed.
Now all grown up, Liang finds he’s able to mechanically engineer creatures. His real test of talent comes as Yan returns, revealing metallic limbs. After explaining what happened in a pretty graphic flashback, we leave the episode with Liang engineering Yan to transform into her natural form in order to hunt again.
There’s a lot of historical nods here too, painting an eerily similar picture of the oppressive regimes ruling over China at the time. The jarring differences between the lush, bright fields in the past and the grimy, dimly lit present streets really help echo this sentiment. The final establishing shot of the episode is probably the most striking too. This sees the camera panning up to the sky to reveal a thick cloud of fog clinging to the sky, choking the beautiful starry landscape beneath.
Good Hunting is certainly one of the most symbolic episodes but it’s let down by an incessant need to over-indulge in its nudity. Early scenes of the shape shifter in her true form feel like a natural fit but late on this is taken to extremes during a forceful exchange between Yan and a lustful businessman, with both characters exposing everything for all to see.
It’s a shame too as Good Hunting is a really important and symbolic episode. If you can look past the nudity, this is one of the most important episodes of the series.