Has it really been 13 years since Scott Pilgrim vied for the hand of Ramona Flowers and took on her Seven Evil Exes? 13 long years during which time many of the film's cast have since become movie megastars. But now it's back on Netflix in anime form with Scott Pilgrim Takes Off - can he defeat the Exes once more?
For those who haven't seen a decade-old movie or the comic it was based on, Scott Pilgrim is a good-for-nothing in his twenties. He mooches around with no job or career, lives in a friends apartment (and bed) and mostly just kills time until he's playing with his band, "Sex Ba-Bomb". His life takes a turn when the beautiful and mysterious Ramona Flowers roller skates her way from his dreams into real life and Scott sets out to woo her, little realising that she has seven dirty secrets hidden in her closet he'll have to deal with first.
To say more about the plot would do the series a disservice so suffice it to say that although this might all sound very familiar to pre-existing fans, there's a huge twist at the end of the first episode which sends the series hurtling off course into a bizarre new plotline which makes for a whole, fresh new spin on the story. Suffice it to say that you'll be spending a lot more time with these characters and the crazy world they inhabit full of videogame logic, sci-fi references and err, the power of veganism. Don't expect the series to address any of the more problematic aspects of the original story though - Scott still receives no comeuppance for his two-timing ways and the idea that so many people see Ramona as a prize to be won is never really addressed.
The animation by Science Saru is really well done throughout the series and it's consistently smooth and vibrant, really popping during the action scenes. The voice cast really do an amazing job too, although what else would you expect from what is probably the most star-studded cast for an animation ever with the entire cast of the original film, including the likes of Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Brandon Ruth and Anna Kendrick, returning to reprise their roles. Evans in particular is a highlight here as Lucas Lee who is just gloriously laid back no matter what happens to him. The music is brilliant throughout with the title theme (which seems to reference Nyancat of all things) proving to be super catchy and a special shoutout has to go to whichever incredible fanboy decided to put a cover of the English version of Konya Wa Hurricane from Bubblegum Crisis on the soundtrack!
Less good are the character designs. Whilst they do animate really well and faithfully replicate the designs from the original comic, they could really have done with a bit of updating and it would have been really nice to see them be a bit more detailed, perhaps even being tweaked to look a little more like the actors behind them given that the original film is still canon. The series doesn't quite stick the landing either and the last two episodes never reach the heights of those that precede them.
Netflix has produced a lot of anime content over the years and it has to be said that it never quite seemed to get it right - more a pale imitation of what they think people want than truly great shows. In Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, they've finally gotten it right and produced a series that, bar a couple of minor quibbles, really fires on all cylinders. Fans of the original will adore it and new fans will find it to be an easy jumping-on point to engage with the shows potty cast of characters. Definitely Press Start on this one!