Simplistically but beautifully animated, playing with action, humor and an irreverent tone, Scissor Seven is a surprisingly engaging Chinese anime with much more to offer than first impressions suggest.
This review of Scissor Seven (Netflix) is spoiler-free.
While I’m still not sure who, exactly, Scissor Seven (Netflix) is for, I’m certain whoever it is will get an awful lot out of it. A Chinese anime originally titled Killer Seven — like that massively underrated Suda51 game from before he got lazy — and chronicling the exploits of an unlikely amnesiac assassin who charges a fair price for his services, this is a very well-made and surprisingly deft show, all fourteen ten-ish-minute episodes of which debuted globally on Netflix today.
Mostly frame-by-frame and hand-drawn, the simplistic art and animation is nonetheless a pleasure to gawp at, and is an obvious labor of love. That kind of craftsmanship belongs in a show so deceptively simple in concept but refreshingly exact in execution. Scissor Seven is largely a comedy series that lends an equal degree of precision to its jokes, with a fine balance of tone and the ability to keep you looking at the left hand while the right busies itself setting up the next gag. Telekinetic scissor-wielding hairdresser Wu Liuqi is a funny enough creation on a conceptual level, but the humor runs through every aspect of the show, including the action.
The episodes — which mostly work as both standalone shorts and pieces of a larger puzzle — breeze by, messing around with tone and genre to varied effect, while solid English-language voice acting and a great soundtrack keep Scissor Seven compelling on an auditory level. While ultimately a bit too slight and perhaps unoriginal in its broad strokes to qualify as great, this is nonetheless very good indeed, and an undeniable win for Chinese animation.