Ice shifts the animated perspective in Love, Death & Robots to a much more unique focal point. There’s an almost noir-feel to the lighting here, complete with hand-drawn and CGI animation melded together.
Our protagonist here is Sedgewick, and he listens as his little brother Fletcher and their parents mention how he’s unmodded and needing to get better. Well, that evening Sedge heads out with his brother, meeting a group of youths playing sports and smoking.
Sedge is led out into the blistering cold with this group, away from the relative safety of the metal cocoon they’re living within. Their target is a frost whale, which are known in this world to be dangerous.
The kids intend to test their skills by enticing the frost whales to hit the ice, allowing them to run back home. Each of the youths are given a stick to smoke, with Sedge’s world dissolving in the wake of taking a hit.
Suddenly, the ground begins shaking. The kids are forced to run, with the frost whales smashing into the ice. They narrowly miss Sedge but Fletcher gets hit. Sedge scoops up his brother and moves him to safety.
Suddenly, frost whales ascend out the ice and show off their majestic beauty. The kids make it back to base and breathe a sigh of relief, commenting how they’d never see anything like that back on Earth.
The Episode Review
There’s a lot going on in Ice and at the surface level, it seems like a straightforward game of death-race. However, it’s clear that the episode dives into ideas like peer pressure, drug abuse and even man’s impact on nature too.
The giant mechanical machines drilling holes in the ice from afar contrasts against the beauty of these whales, which the kids entice up with their beacons. It’s clear that humanity has colonized the stars here, but quite how far remains to be seen.
The idea of “modded” humans is another intriguing addition and the episode does a pretty good job showing this world through the lens of unmodded Sedge.
The animation is a really fascinating and bold choice, one that does bear some similarities to 2019’s Zima Blue. The shadow and lighting work in particular are outstanding. The real star here though is in the worldbuilding, with a lot left up to the imagination away from the screen.