When the original Pacific Rim movie came out in 2013, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. And I still do. What’s not to love about giant robots fighting giant monsters that rose out of the sea? It was an homage to Kaiju (which means a Japanese genre of film that has giant monsters), mecha and anime media. But what if that homage to anime was actually turned into an anime? That’s exactly what Pacific Rim: The Black is.
MINOR SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT
The story takes place in Australia, which is being ravaged by Kaiju. Two siblings, Taylor and Hayley, are saved from a war-torn city by their parents who pilot a Jaeger (a giant mecha) and relocated to a safer place. Their parents leave to find help but five years pass and they still haven’t returned. Hayley stumbles upon a decommissioned Jaeger under their community’s sanctuary and accidentally activates it which only attracts the attention of a nearby Kaiju. The Kaiju destroys the community, forcing the siblings to leave to search for parents. Thus their journey begins.
The series is kind of slow starting off at first. The characters are slightly annoying because they seemingly argue all the time, but once the pace picks up, I mean it picks up. It’s like that slow incline up the rollercoaster and then that sudden drop that starts the whole experience. Ignoring the fact that it does have a somewhat slow start, the action absolutely keeps you on your toes. The battle animation between the Jaegers and the Kaiju are amazing (not to mention that some scenes between humans gets a little gory). It has that animation style very similar to The Dragon Prince, which is sort of 3D I guess you’d call it, and it just works. The style fits the genre of the series and if it were in plain 2D, I don’t think the fight scenes would’ve had as much of an impact as it did in 3D. It looked phenomenal.
I want to talk about the monster design for a moment. As a huge fan of creature design, I was blown away by how good the Kaiju looked. Aside from the familiar kind from the movies, they also introduced several new ones. There was one species in particular that I fell in love with and it was a Doberman-like Kaiju. It looked very much like a dog except not as cuddly or loving. Which was fine by me. I still wanted ten of them regardless if they ate me or not. But their design was just so COOL. The idea of them looking like normal, everyday animals that we’re used to seeing makes me think that this type was created in a lab rather than coming through what’s known as a “breach”. Weaponized Kaiju isn’t a new idea (see Pacific Rim: Uprising for a better understanding) but it never turns out well. But it’ll be interesting to see where that idea goes in a future season.
The references. I love when a series based on movies makes subtle references to said movie. There were a few instances in a couple of episodes and every time it happened, I legit gasped. Being familiar with the films, it felt nice to see them mention past events (I say past because the timeline that the series takes place in is after the second movie, Uprising). So hearing character names or basically anything from the movies made my little fan heart soar.
You definitely have to check out this series. Even if you haven’t seen the movies, this might even get you interested in them. The plot is amazing. Animation is amazing. Dialogue is amazing. I couldn’t stop until I finished all 7 episodes so you could easily finish this in a few hours. Everything is just *chef’s kiss*
You can stream Pacific Rim: The Black on Netflix now.