Danger lies behind every turn in the unique world of Scavengers Reign. The series sees a group of individuals aboard a transport vessel stranded on an unexplored planet with an unpredictable environment. It is a creative paradise, drawing fresh inspiration using a new planet full of new creatures, really tapping into some of the most inventive imaginations. This playground provided for one of my favorite series of the year full of unexpected twists, deep emotional digging and stunning world building.
Creatures, the land, and all of nature are used by the main characters to survive. There is a creative resourcefulness in each of them. In their short time on the planet, they’ve been able to adapt and make the most of what they have. Creatures function as everyday human gadgets and problem solving items. Need a flashlight? There’s a way. Need to get to a higher location out of a bad situation? There’s a creature for that. The new fixes to their problems are always captivating and creative.
There are so many ways to die in this world. Hope itself can be dangerous, driving some to make questionable decisions which have dire consequences. It is often dark and twisted, but the beautiful planet provides contrast. Scenes can be quite haunting and it doesn’t hold back with depictions of the harsh and often violent nature of this environment, and how each person reacts to it. There are “loud” moments that feel quiet while the most “quiet” moments can also seem the loudest. Each visual cue somehow is able to bring out emotions, a deeper connection to the world and make the wildness of this universe feel real.
The musical cues help create a fuller moment tied in with the emotional voice work and beautiful animation. It brings out the delicateness of scenes or the terror and uneasiness of moments. Each of the voice actors put their whole hearts into their characters, bringing them to life. Wunmi Mosaku gives a standout performance as Azi, with some truly impressive work from Alia Shawkat, who portrays one of the most fascinating characters, Levi, along with Sunita Mani and Bob Stephenson, who end up on one of the craziest journeys. Ted Travelstead’s performance as Kamen is one full of unintentional chaos, ranging in emotions.
Each marooned character draws from their past and leads to big implications for the moments and situations they find themselves in on this surreal planet. There is a cleverness to the way character’s stories begin to intersect through flashbacks and information provided to fill in the blanks leading up to them becoming stranded. The impact this new environment has on the humans and non humans alike is fascinating. I wish there was a way to linger in these moments longer because they’re so compelling.
The narrative shifting between character’s stories at first feels a bit jarring at times. After a few episodes, it felt like the series own way of heightening the fact that as some of these characters are separated, and their stories are jarring as well. We jump into these moments unexpectedly, creating an even more heightened sense of enjoyable uneasiness.
There are so many layers to this series. With each episode, the stakes continually rise, leading to moments where you are fully engaged, horrified, and emotional all at once. Episodes are packed with such subtle intensity, sometimes leaving me unexpectedly emotionally drained by the end. At times it left me wanting to jump right to the next episode, while other times I needed the time to pause and comprehend what just happened, letting it all sink in. Let me tell you, my dreams have been wild and intense these past nights after watching. A show like this absolutely deserves to get a second run airing on adult swim’s Toonami for those who do not have immediate access to Max. It is a full story, though maybe not what one would expect, with still so much more to explore in (hopefully) another season.
In a short period of time, the world of Scavengers Reign feels entirely lived in. Entire lives of the planet’s creatures have existed and will continue to exist. It is rich, full of heart and suspense, while at times also anxiety inducing. Do not miss this powerful, beautiful, thrilling, and often times, scary series. It will leave you wanting more every week. Characters come to life in this unique world with so much creativity. Truly something special was created with much passion.
Scavengers Reign premieres October 19 on Max with three episodes weekly.
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