exception season 1 review – anime series raises important questions

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 13, 2022 (Last updated: October 20, 2022)
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exception mixes moral ambiguity with a sense of mission, with each character heralding their purpose.

Our review of the Netflix anime series exception season 1 contains no spoilers or significant plot points.

Space travel is often visualized as humanity’s greatest soon-to-be adventure. However, in fictional form, it challenges people to consider the ethical and moral threshold that would behold such a transformative mission. We are often shown potentially habitable planets by space organizations, but little is stated about how embracing a new home would even happen. The anime series exception brings a strong flavor of questions for the future.

Beautifully animated, with a strong emotional chord in the soundtrack (thank you, Ryuichi Sakamoto), exception follows a group of specialists on a mission to terraform a new planet. The specialists are reprints of their original selves. They will carry out the mission to make the planet habitable while the original humans remain in cyro chambers, enduring a long space journey. The concept relies on the reprints (done by biological 3D printers) to finish their mission, and then their original selves will wake up and enjoy their new world.

The anime series raises ethical questions and essentially becomes the cornerstone of the story of exception. When a reprint of one of their crewmates, Lewis (voiced by Kobayashi, Chikahiro), goes horribly wrong (caused by a severe solar flare), the crew has to decide whether to destroy the reprint and print Lewis again. The question of the “beauty of life” is raised, especially by crew mate Patty (voiced by Tanezaki, Atsumi), who firmly believes “life is life.” But the story’s irony is that the reprints of these human beings have to question their life while serving their originals.

The story increases in darkness when the faulty reprint of Lewis refuses to be destroyed, becoming a hybrid of a monster/human, causing chaos and confusion on the ship. The series exception suddenly thrusts an Alien-like story to the audience, a salivating concept in the form of anime.

And that’s when the real story starts — exception mixes moral ambiguity with a sense of mission, with each character heralding their purpose and secrets revealed. The sense of claustrophobic terror of being holed up in a spaceship and querying who to trust takes center stage in a compelling horror sci-fi space story.

But we once again have to throw praise on the animation itself. It’s beautiful, and it’s uncompromising. The famed creator Otsuichi has outdone himself, complexing a magnitude of colors that completes the series.

What did you think of the Netflix anime series exception season 1? Comment below.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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