MP (militarypenguin) wrote,

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I finished watching Cybersix today, a show I'd been meaning to check out for a while ever since I heard about its ambiguously-gendered hero. It's easily one of the most beautifully-animated TV shows I've seen, if not ever; I was afraid the animation quality would fizzle out after the first one or two episodes, but it never lost its momentum. The characters are all vibrantly animated even when they don't need to be, and it's further complemented by their wonderfully stylistic designs.

It doesn't ever let down on its promise of an ambiguously-gendered hero, either. Adrian's reasons for presenting as a man in their ordinary life while donning the look of a woman when living out their superhero life are never given, and with it, one can arrive to the conclusion the character is genderfluid or non-binary (I err towards the former interpretation). The fact that this is completely incidental is a great joy to behold.

So I'm saddened to say it's a bit of a letdown outside of my aforementioned praises. While I was enormously entertained by it, I was also distracted by its rather lackluster script. It's not necessary for a show--especially an animated one--to have outstanding dialogue in order be a great series, but in the case of Cybersix, the film noir-esque designs suggest it was meant to have some wittier, meatier dialogue. It's certainly not unlistenable, but it made for a confusing execution, especially when Cybersix suddenly ponders the nature of their humanity, something that had been given no clear foreshadowing or exploration of prior. This is to say nothing of the stock-bumbling, incompetent henchman the supposed-tech genius Jose has which further clash with whatever tone the show is trying to set.

I'm not sure why the show decided to reveal its cards (Cybersix saying she's not human and her constant dependence on sustenance) at the last minute. Aside from the reveal that Jose is alive, it wraps up pretty conclusively with no hints at a need for a second season to complete its story. I understand the show was cancelled due to conflict between studios, but that doesn't answer why it couldn't have interwoven some of the crucial plot elements throughout the episodes. The lack of information is one of the show's greatest weaknesses, to the point that we, the audience, can't answer the simple question of why Cybersix fights crime to begin with, even by the end of the show (I had to read up a review by someone who had read the original comics the cartoon was based on--apparently Cybersix needs to fight Von Reichter's experiments to attain sustenance, something that's never remotely made clear ETA: I'm watching the first episode again with commentary and we do see Cybersix drinking the sustenance; I'm not sure why it wasn't a recurring thing in the show, though). It prevents it from being a truly compelling experience and causes it to fall short of being an outstanding show.

I'm glad I watched Cybersix. I loved Adrian/Cybersix and Lucas a lot--despite my complaints of the show's dire need of a stronger script, it didn't necessarily hold down those characters from having likable personalities and an endearing dynamic. Its shortcomings as a show make me more curious about checking out its original comic, which supposedly delivers more answers (and more...dubious subject matter).

ETA the second: I just listened to the liner notes on episode 4 and the aforementioned conflict between the studios had to do with the Canadian studio wanting the show to have a darker tone while the Japanese studio wanted a lighter one. That...kind of explains everything about the tonal inconsistency.
Tags: cybersix
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