Netflix Animation has been able to bring to the platform some of the most interesting and powerful animated shows of the last decade. Shows like Castlevania, BoJack Horseman, Blood of Zeus, and Arcane have shown that animation can be as exciting, well-written, and well-acted as many live-action productions. Actually, these shows are proof that you can basically do so much more with animation than you could do with live-action.
Every once in a while, Netflix arrives with a sort of project that is both equal parts fascinating and high quality at the same time. Super Giant Robot Brothers is one of those projects. This is the exceptional quality series that we are always looking for, but don’t often get. A show that expels creativity, energy, and love for a genre that hasn’t frequently been successful in the west. Kaijus and Mecha have had a hard time on this side of the world, but Super Giant Robot Brothers might be able to break through and get to the audience’s heart.
Super Giant Robot Brothers is an animated TV series for Netflix, created by Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres. The series is being directed by Mark Andrews, famous for being the writer and director of Brave, the Pixar animated film that got him an Oscar win for Best Animated Feature. The team also includes a number of veterans in the animation departments, as well as newcomers to the medium, which brings a good dose of new blood into the project.
Super Giant Robot Brothers’ premise is quite simple. Actually, the show doesn’t shy away from the fact that this exact premise has been used several times in Kaiju fiction for decades. From Giant Robo, to Mazinger, and most recently, with Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Super Giant Robot Brothers tells the story of an alien invasion of Earth. The aliens used giant monsters known as kaiju to prepare the Earth for their arrival, but they don’t count on humans creating a new type of weapon, Giant Robots, that serve as the ultimate defense of the planet.
Alien invaders, giant monsters, giant robots, it is all very familiar. However, Super Giant Robot Brothers adds its own spin into the mix. The result is a show that has amazing energy, impressive visuals, and a cast of characters that are easy to love and root for. This is more than a show about aliens and giant robots. It is a show about a strange family and how they manage to deal with each other’s peculiarities and live with each other in the best possible way.
You see, our two main characters, Shiny and Thunder, are more than giant robots, they are characters with specific personality traits. They don’t have pilots like in many shows in the genre, but they go back to the basics, when the robots just were their own entities. The pair is voiced by Chris Diamantopoulos, and Eric Lopez. They create this powerful sibling rivalry that is just fun to watch. They get angry and jealous of each other, but at the end of the day, they are family, and that pushes them forward throughout the season.
Marisa Davila and Delbert Hunt also do a fantastic job in the roles of Alex Rose and Colonel Creed. A teenage genius that has served as the protector of Earth since she was three years old, and an uptight but fun military man that has been by Alex’s side throughout this entire Kaiju ordeal. The four of them create this incredible and strange family dynamic that is very fun to watch. Each episode also introduces a number of unique characters that make the cast feel more alive.
The show was made using a digital pipeline using Unreal Engine. This allowed the show to basically be shot as a live-action movie inside a digital landscape. This way of shooting is similar to the way Spielberg shot Tintin, and it allows for an unbelievable amount of freedom for both the actors on stage, the editors, and 3D artists. It makes their points of reference way more tangible than if they had to animate everything from scratch.
This method of shooting makes the show feel more real than real. It is as if there was a real camera inside the show, shooting at the characters. It is really impressive to see, and it is a feeling that it would be very hard to recreate otherwise. Furthermore, it is a fantastic tool, and if Super Giant Robot Brothers is any indication of the quality of the shows that can be produced by using it, then the future looks very bright for this kind of technology.
The only thing that does feel a bit on the cheap side are the secondary characters, who have not received the same level of attention as the main characters. Also, sometimes, parts of the animations can feel a bit stiff and incomplete, but these moments come very far and between. In general, the Into the Spider-Verse type of presentation works very well.
Alex Mandel also needs to be mentioned. The composer has created a kick-ass soundtrack for the show, and it just elevates every single part of the story to a new level. Fighting sequences feel more energetic, and the serious moments get more gravitas thanks to Mandel and his music. A man of many talents indeed.
Super Giant Robot Brothers is a fantastic show and one of the best Netflix original productions of the year. The show can be seen by both kids and adults, and it would feel just as magical for both types of audiences. The action has momentum, the characters are remarkable, and the humor always feels on point. This is a true win for Netflix and everyone involved in the project.