The anime series attempts to be aggressively otherworldly and soft as possible, but it does not work.
This review of the Netflix anime series Super Crooks season 1 does not contain spoilers.
At Netflix’s Tudum event in September 2021, the anime series Super Crooks were among the whispers accompanied by revelations of a voice cast. Excitement grew. Another animated series based on a super-villain comic book, and one connected to Jupiter’s Legacy universe, was on the cards. Anime has a tendency to be naturally outrageous, meaning this announcement provided a certain measure of imagination – Super Crooks could be a wild ride.
The opening episode of Super Crooks has all the makings of a tragic supervillain origin story. A young Johnny Bolt (voiced by Jonah Scott) realizes he has the power of generating electricity (similar to what you’d expect from Palpatine), but the bullied teen finds himself in a state of anger, electrocuting many students to death in a pool after a bully taunts him. The anime series sells the alternative superhero angle and one that is derived from a traumatic event.
The rest of the series sees a bullish, energetic, and casual Johnny Bolt gathering a group of super crooks to carry out an audacious heist. After leaving a prison that contains criminals with superpowers, and returning to his hopeful girlfriend Kasey, Johnny finds himself back on the crime path (pizza, beers, and sex was evidently not enough).
What arrives is an anime series filled with conspiracies, crime, and an abundance of introduced characters that Johnny has to welcome or overcome. The 13-episode anime series puts Johnny and his crew on a roundabout journey for a common goal. There’s plenty of ironies presented in a world of super villains and superheroes, and often, the line between good and evil merge.
But, I did wonder if Super Crooks came out at an unfortunate time. This year we were greeted with Invincible on Amazon Prime, which gripped social media in all quarters, likening itself to the live-action series The Boys. At times, Super Crook feels underwhelming due to its relatability factor. The writing doesn’t appear confident in itself to land on specific plot points. I was waiting for the story to drive a moment to the audience hard. In all seriousness, the anime series attempts to be aggressively otherworldly and soft as possible, but it does not work. The story is not brave enough to be effective.
By the time you reach the pivotal chapters, you are left wondering how we got to that stage of the plot in a convoluted storyline. The origin of Johnny Bolt in the first chapter feels like an empty jar of information. Unfortunately, there’s an air of disappointment, and not even the grandstanding finale can save that feeling.
But like all anime series, not all hope is lost. Super Crooks can save its face. There’s plenty of tidbits in each episode that has potential. If there’s a continuation, then there’s certainly hope that the characters bed in, and improve.
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