A magnificent anime short that packs a punch; featuring complex themes and storytelling without losing its heart. Stop whatever you are doing and spend the next 17 minutes watching “Good Hunting”.
Love, Death + Robots is a Netflix Anthology series created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Here is the review for Episode 8, “Good Hunting”, which will contain spoilers. You can read the spoiler-free review of the entire series by clicking these words. You can check out our archive for reviews of each episode by clicking these words.
A young boy sits with his father, the Spirit Hunter. They are there to capture a creature who ensnares men’s hearts with her beauty and then transforms into a vicious creature. However, perhaps it is not that simple. The boy encounters the daughter of the spirit whom he lets go. Later, we catch up with the boy 5 years on and after his father’s death. He has stayed in touch with the young spirit; however, as China has modernised there is increasingly less magic in the world and she is finding it harder to transform from one form to another. The boy moves to Hong Kong where he discovers a flair for mechanics and starts building automatons. One day, his friend finds him and explains that she is now trapped in human form and has been brutally mutilated and raped by the Governor of Hong Kong. He has amputated her limbs and replaced them with machinery. She brutally killed him in an act of revenge. Together the boy and the young spirit work on the mechanics and she becomes a more efficient warrior, capable once again of transforming into her to true form. She stalks the streets of Hong Kong and preys on the British Industrialists who rape and abuse the young girls of China.
As you might have gathered from the above that is a lot of plot to pack into 17 minutes of anime. The whole thing rattles by at breakneck pace but it never seems to sell its characters short. You get a real sense of the two characters at the center of the drama and there is wonderful friendship at the heart of this.
There is absolutely loads to unpack thematically. “Good Hunting” creates a mystical world, tells an outlandish story and touches on multiple complex themes including misogyny and parent-child relationships, as well as exploring how technology both empowers us and takes away from us. This is an incredible bit of work and it might take multiple viewings to really unpack everything. Fortunately, that should be no hardship; this is a mini-masterpiece.
Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.