Pacific Rim: The Black (Spoiler Free Review)

Feb 27, 2021

Pacific Rim: The Black
Netflix

Season 1, Episodes 1-3

The PACIFIC rim Franchise goes back to basics with a netflix animated series that has heart but is fairly uninspired

The Pacific Rim franchise has had quite a turbulent history. The 2013 Pacific Rim film directed by Guillermo del Toro got the franchise rolling with good worldwide box office and mostly positive reactions from critics. The franchise had a lot of potential but was arguably knocked off course too soon with the follow up film, Pacific Rim: Uprising, disappointing critically and financially. This halted any development on the film side but what has now come to the rescue of the franchise is an Netflix animated series. Pacific Rim: The Black is a Netflix anime show which takes the franchise back to basics in both a good and bad way with less reliance on big action set pieces as in the films and a bigger focus on character driven storytelling.

a big focus on the Characters

Pacific Rim: The Black is firmly set in the Pacific Rim world but it puts a different spin on things compared to what we have seen before. The show’s main focus is on its human characters: a brother and a sister. As these characters try to survive in this world, it is their relationship which anchors the show and should keep viewers engaged. Whilst there is a fair share of action involving Kaijus, that is not the reason to watch Pacific Rim: The Black. One should instead watch Pacific Rim: The Black for its character driven story told in concise episodes. The show feels cinematic yet grounded and it is perhaps best viewed as a film based on the first three episodes which follow directly on from one another. Furthermore, Pacific Rim: The Black should be very approachable even for those who are not fans of the films. This may not be everything fans of the films wanted but the show cleverly balances between catering to those fans and the general audience. However, whilst the series does differ from what we have seen before from the franchise, those looking for something truly unique might be disappointed.

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The grounded nature of the show is both a good and a bad thing

The Netflix series takes the Pacific Rim franchise back to basics with a self-contained, grounded story. This is most likely being done to earn back a good reputation for the franchise. Based on the first three episodes, the show is thus fairly uninspired. There is a lack of ambition in the first three episodes and a lot of the show feels too safe, even mediocre. The animation for example does its job but no more. It puts the characters front and centre and showcases the action well enough but there is not much creativity behind the style.

The show also adopts a very dramatic tone and does not let up on that front. The positives are that the show is very character driven and that there are no unnecessary jokes. However, the dramatic moments surely need to be balanced out at times and there needs to be some variety. The writers wisely chose to have a clear focus for the story but in future episodes, they need to be more ambitious and also build up the world around the siblings more without taking away from their story. These first three episodes were understandably meant to give the audience grounding but a balance needs to be achieved going forward.

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Conclusion

Overall, Pacific Rim: The Black may not be anything special but it is a good return for the franchise. This animated action show importantly has a clear focus and a lot of heart in its mostly enjoyable first three episodes. Whilst the show is currently completely open to criticism, taking the franchise back to basics was surely the best move and one that should get the general audience on board as well as big Pacific Rim fans.

Score: 6.0 (good)

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