Season 1 of the Critical Role animated series, Legend of Vox Machina, has finished airing on Amazon Prime, and I have seen all of it. So, I’d like to give my thoughts – in the interest of full disclosure, I did back the series on Kickstarter.
Season 1 focuses on the Briarwood Arc of the tabletop campaign, with a couple of episodes setting up the character relationships, and dropping some teasers for the following arc – the Chroma Conclave arc. Some of this is getting across from pre-stream sessions, along with adjusting to reflect the absence of a certain Dragonborn sorcerer from Draconia.
The execution of all of this is generally alright. On one hand, Vox Machina completely fits the (to quote the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer) “What a bunch of a-holes” vibe that characters in the tabletop campaign had – caustic and somewhat obnoxious but while still being endearing. Garbage people, but functional garbage people (as opposed to, say, the cast of Konosuba). The series even finds a solid way to handle in this series as to why Pike is absent, and turning it into a character arc, outside of the IRL context of “Ashley Johnson has a recurring role on Blindspot, and she’s trying to Skype in, but her connection isn’t great.”
On the other hand, this is a show with the blood, gore, and sex of a Yoshiaki Kawajiri anime OVA from the mid-90s, but with the general level of stylized character designs that you’d expect from something like Avatar: The Last Airbender. All of that makes for a slight cognitive break for me. Nothing too major, but it was still a little jarring.
In all, I really enjoyed this season, and I’m definitely looking forward to Season 2.
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