Lost in the Reel’s video review for Scavengers Reign

 Every so often, an animated series comes along that really redefines the medium as we know it.  And when I say every so often, I mean rarely… and it is cause to celebrate when it happens.  Shows like Samurai Jack, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Arcane come to mind along with anime like Full Metal Alchemist and Attack on Titan, among others.  So, it’s time to celebrate now that Max has come along with a revolutionary new animated series that is guaranteed to blow your mind, and it’s called Scavengers Reign. 

I usually like to review shows and movies before they come out, but this series completely flew over my radar and premiered on October 19th.  It wasn’t until my co-worker John told me about it, that I took the time to search it out.  That is one of the many reasons that I wanted to make sure to do a review … because I don’t want anyone to miss out on this special slice of sci-fi brilliance.  Max will drop the third batch of episodes on November 2nd, and then the final three on November 9th, so you all have time to catch up.


Scavengers Reign follows multiple castaways on a beautiful, strange, and dangerous planet.  These people, scattered across the vast terrain, are all searching for their cargo ship, which is their only hope of escaping this inhospitable place. But this planet, which has its own unique ecosystem, has different plans for these unknowing humans… and it will take every ounce of their mind, body, and soul to stay alive. 


The first thing that immediately drew me into Scavengers Reign is the breathtaking animation.  It’s like a mix of Studio Ghibli and American graphic novels like Saga… the backdrops have that gorgeous watercolor look. In contrast, the character designs feel like they’ve been sketched by a pencil and ripped straight from the pages of a comic book.  The animation is done by Titmouse Studios, who have worked on numerous shows like Big Mouth, Pantheon, The Legend of Vox Machina, and Star Trek: Lower Decks… but, Scavengers Reign is certainly their most accomplished work so far.  There is not a moment in this series that isn’t a feast for the eyes.  

What’s even more incredible here, though, is the creativity on display and the captivating narrative at hand.  While Scavengers Reign certainly has its inspirations like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Akira, and it’s reminiscent of movies like Strange World and even John Carpenter’s The Thing… this show is still unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. 


The ingenuity and thoughtfulness put into the ecosystem of this planet that our heroes are stuck on is insane.  There are hundreds of unique creatures and plant life, and the way they interact with humans to either heal, co-adapt, or hunt is a joy to discover.  An example comes to mind of a plant that bites its prey and then slowly gives birth to a clone whose sole mission is to infiltrate its species and destroy it.  These innovative ideas come so fast and furious it truly feels like anything is possible in this world.  There is also a bevy of underlying themes here, such as the cost of greed, narcissism, selfishness, past traumas, and addiction, as well as spirituality, evolution, and re-birth, that make this a profound experience worth multiple repeat viewings.

The way the character development plays out and how the narrative flows must also be commended.  So many animated shows feel the need to keep the pace at one hundred at all times… And never take a moment to breathe.  Scavengers Reign is like a slow burn, punctuated by epic action sequences and moments of sci-fi horror.  The writers really take the time for the audience to settle down into this world and gradually connect to its characters.  I have to admit, that in the first couple of episodes… I didn’t really like a single protagonist, but by the end I had connected to them all in different ways.  It’s a show that requires patience from the viewer and I suppose some people won’t respond well to that, but to me, it was beyond refreshing.  


Speaking of things some viewers might not like, Scavengers Reign is definitely for adults only.  And adults with strong stomachs, at that.  The show is filled with f-bombs, heavy themes and gore, but it also has this body horror element that really gave me the ICK at times.  But, that’s a good thing, because it’s pulled off so well.  The mix of genres here will delight any hardcore fan of sci-fi, action, fantasy and horror… so, you’re really getting the best of so many worlds.  

I also have to bring up the voice acting, which is phenomenal.  Although its cast might not be filled with A-listers, actors like Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, His House’ and Lovecraft Country’s Wunmi Mosaku, and Lady Bird’s Bob Stephenson lend such gravitas to the characters.  And finally, the haunting and ethereal score by Nicolas Snyder is nothing short of perfection.  It’s probably some of the best and most memorable original music in TV or movies, all year.  I’ll certainly be buying the soundtrack the moment it becomes available.  


So, this is usually the time in my review where I point out some flaws… but, I’m not going to be doing that here, because I wouldn’t change a damn thing about Scavengers Reign.  As the season was coming to a close… I was waiting with bated breath to see how they would end it… because, let’s be honest, this is usually where shows mess it all up.  But, the finale filled every void that I needed.  Without giving away any spoilers… It ends in a way that is satisfying enough, if the bigwigs at Max decide for some god forsaken reason to cancel the series.  But, it also leaves just enough mystery to open up a can of worms for future seasons, if the bigwigs make the right decision to renew it.  

And my goal here is to make sure that Scavengers Reign gets renewed.  If this review makes even one person take the time to give it a watch, I’ll be overjoyed.  But, I hope you all end up giving it a shot.  I don’t normally give out a perfect score, but today is one of those days.  Scavengers Reign is a mind-bending, frightening, powerful, epic, exhilarating, disgusting, and gloriously strange visual feast.  It’s not just the best animated series of the year… it’s one of the best of all time.  I just hope and pray we get to explore this world once more, in future seasons… but, no matter what, I’m just so happy it even exists at all.   

Scavengers Reign is Streaming Now on MAX.

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