You'll love this love letter to the Heavy Metal series.
LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS is a series of animated shorts that range from a gamut of genres. Eighteen tales of a world that is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time; you'll be regaled by shorts like "Sucker of Souls", where an archaeological excavation goes wrong or "Shape-Shifters", where the US army is assisted by werewolves.
Here be spoilers…
What we like
Like what we've seen with Spider–Man: Into the Spider–Verse, LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS pushes the boundaries with what is possible with animation. It's like watching a magician perform feats of legerdemain. Photo-realism abounds with "Helping Hand" and "The Secret War"; at first glance, "The Witness" looks rotoscoped but, according to the director, it's all animated.
And each short is brief. It's a boon for the ADHD-generation. Find yourself with some time to kill for a 15-minute short, go right ahead (just don't watch it on your job; it's NSFW)—I, myself, binge-watched the entire season in a span of an evening.
What we didn't like
What started out as an idea to reboot Heavy Metal turned into a whole different kind of beast. Now, it's clearly for a millennial generation but for an anthology about the future, it seems limited in imagination when it comes to the plight of women.
I mean, sure there are scenes of male peen (yaay representation?) too but when you're buoyed by gorgeous artwork and story, your attention is dashed by the frivolous appearance of a woman's bare breasts.
Oh, my. Is this a review written by your mom?
Not really. I'm cool with nudity but it has to make sense to the story. Story takes precedence and anything other than that is just titillation. Take one of my favourite short from, "The Witness" as an example: you have a woman witnessing a murder from across her building and now she must evade capture by the murderer. The chase is a visual treat—the city feels alive as colours pop and onomatopoeia words appear with each CRASH and SPLASH that our protagonist makes. But in escaping the attacker, the woman reluctantly continues her job as an exotic dancer at a club, while her attacker is near-pleasured by leather-clad women just a few feet from where she's performing?
Sexuality is part of the package of LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS but I'm sure there are better ways of using it instead of it being fodder for the male gaze.
What to look out for
If you have to adapt a John Scalzi story, "When the Yogurt Took Over" is a good start. Irreverent and funny, you'll wonder if bacterial fermentation is humanity's last resort. "The Witness" remains a stunning piece of animation that I'm still floored by how it was put together.
LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS is available on Netflix.