“Super Crooks” defies Anime’s typically criminal conventions

TV Show Review



“Super Crooks” defies what comics typically do.

Maximillian McCullum, Staff Writer

As you know, the comic book world has been expanding for a long time into movies, TV shows, toys, and video games. Now, comic book media is moving over to more indie-inspired projects such as the Amazon animated series “Invincible,” and “Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Michone.” Today, the new indie comic book show is “Super Crooks,” adapted from the comic book written by Mark Millar and art by Leinil Francis Yu.

Mark Millar’s writing is known for its explosive amounts of cynicism in series such as “Civil War” and  “Ultimates,” but “Super Crooks” changes that by being much more of a fun romp through super villain mania in this series headed by Netflix and Studio bones.

The series writing takes the usual Anime conventions and throws them off the top of the Empire State Building by subverting the viewers’ expectations and displaying characters with a multi-layered personalities. Anime as a whole has been seeing an overall decline in quality due to a lot of shows being rushed to meet the seasonal releases, so you seldom see characters who you can see as a person with needs and wants.

 “Super” Crooks gives the viewer a breath of fresh air with the relationship between its main characters Johnny and Kasey. This relationship exhibits life as it is, with problems and all, instead of ignoring the reality of love and pushing the comedy to the front. This relationship is innovative in the way it goes against the grain of the marvel formula of relationships where it is always 2 people that were made for each other, while this couple is not perfect in any manner. 

In the second episode, there is a moment where Kasey wants Johnny to live the simple life of a free man, but Johnny leaves to rob a bank after he got out of jail the day before. This scene is fantastic because in most movies our protagonist leaves the love interest to save the lives of the innocent, but this time the entire moment is set against Johnny ignoring the goodwill of Kasey and deciding to endanger the lives of others for his own profit, which changes the sympathy from the protagonist towards the love interest.

However, in all of this shows greatness, there are still problems. One of the worst aspects of this show is its pacing. The show has 4 episodes of setup for the story to start moving somewhere. This may seem fine at first but then you realize the show is 13 episodes and has an 8-character cast. That means most of the characters are just humanoids with names. An example of this would be the character Ghost. His backstory and explantation are around 50 seconds long and it never goes further than that in his arc.

Fortunately, The music in this show is marvelous in the way it mirrors the characters’ feelings even if hidden in the writing. Johnny’s musical theme features these little crackles that reflect his electrical powers. Kasey, Johnny’s girlfriend, has 2 themes: one is chaotic with loud drums like a bustling city of people, representing her initial Femme Fatale persona, whereas the other imitates a relaxing 1950s jazz club aesthetic and that shows her goal to live a simple life. Like Kasey herself,  Jazz music seems simple on the surface, but once you pay closer attention, you can see the complexities.  

The show is filled with auditory and visual spectacle from the emotional voice acting to the stellar speed lines. The animation by studio bones is mind-blowing in how it pays homage to the art style of many famous comic artists. Artists such as Ryan Ottley and Mike Mignola with their angular character designs or the remarkable implied motion. The fight scenes show how destructive each character’s power is. The voice acting tremendously reinforces the quality of the show An example of this would be the character transmit. He only says 1 word throughout his appearances yet this one word can display so much emotion in a character. This is all thanks to the wonderful voice actors for this show.

“Super Crooks” is one of the best shows I have seen in a while due to many factors such as animation, and writing. I would have to recommend this series to someone who likes heist shows, superheroes, comic books, and subtleties in writing. All 13 episodes are available on Netflix today.