Sonnie’s Edge – | Review Score = 4/5
Three Robots – | Review Score = 4.5/5
The Witness – | Review Score = 3.5/5
Suits – | Review Score = 3.5/5
Sucker of Souls – | Review Score = 2.5/5
When The Yogurt Took Over – | Review Score = 3/5
Beyond the Aquila Rift – | Review Score = 5/5
Good Hunting – | Review Score = 4/5
The Dump – | Review Score = 2.5/5
Shape-Shifters – | Review Score = 4/5
Helping Hand – | Review Score = 3/5
Fish Night – | Review Score = 3.5/5
Lucky 13 – | Review Score = 4.5/5
Zima Blue – | Review Score = 5/5
Blind Spot – | Review Score = 3/5
Ice Age – | Review Score = 4/5
Alternate Histories – | Review Score = 3.5/5
Secret War – | Review Score = 5/5
Love, Death & Robots is as artistic as it is well written. Showing off a wide range of animated influences across its 18 episodes, this profound anthology series is one of the more surprising offerings from Netflix. Despite an abundance of cursing and nudity, there’s something really special here, all wrapped up in one of the best animations I’ve seen in quite some time. Seamlessly blending numerous different art styles with tonally different bite-size episodes, Love, Death & Robots is one of the most unusual and unmissable shows of the year.
In many ways, Love, Death & Robots reminds me of a sci-fi short story anthology. Having read a fair few of these in my lifetime, there are distinct similarities between the literature and media formats. Each episode has a unique twist, theme, writing style and aesthetic making every episode original and unpredictable. More often than not, these stories have a neat little twist at the end or leave things hanging on a thought-provoking note. Whether it be Sonnie’s Edge and its ensuing double twist or the chilling end to Beyond The Aquila Rift, some of the hooks here are very good indeed.
Personally, I found the more realistic animation and grounded stories were the most endearing but again, your favourite episodes will differ depending on your taste, which is partly why this anthology works as well as it does. The Witness uses the same stylistic ticks seen in Into The Spiderverse, blending comic book influences with realistic animation. When The Yogurt Took Over uses the absurdity of its own plot to show its characters with sharp, square edges akin to that seen in Up. At the other end of the spectrum, adrenaline-soaked Blindspot uses a more conventional Anime style while the surprisingly well written Three Robots shows off a nice twist at the end of an amusing 15 minute episode.
There are recurring themes that crop up here too that keep things cohesively tied together. Ideas around humanity’s future, our own demise and the relationship we have with space and other species is explored time and again here. It’s a nice idea and something that never feels preachy or over the top throughout the series. The length of each episode helps with this too, with the longest reaching the 16 minute mark and the Alternate Histories episode clocking in at around 5 minutes. While the short length helps to keep things moving at a consistent pace, some of the more endearing, longer episodes could arguably be turned into blockbusters of their own, such is the quality on offer here.
Despite doing a lot right, Love, Death & Robots does feature an awful lot of swearing and nudity. While the swearing makes sense for some stories, in others it feels a little out-of-place. The nudity is another issue too, with some episodes needlessly showing off breasts or other areas unnecessarily. When The Yogurt Took Over and Alternate Histories are the most obvious examples of this, especially given the specific art styles of these episodes
Love, Death & Robots is a profound mix of artistic influences and well written short stories, all wrapped up in a compelling and cohesively aligned 18 episodes. There are some incredibly talented animators and writers out there and this series does an excellent job showcasing some of them together. While a few episodes do fall flat, the beauty with an anthology like this is that there’s going to be something for everyone. One of the biggest surprises of the year for sure, Love, Death & Robots is a beautiful, haunting and eclectic anthology well worth checking out.