Quick Review: The Cuphead Show!

The Cuphead Show was one of those projects that I kept an eye on out of pure interest for where the series would go. When it was announced the extremely difficult game would be getting an animated show, and on Netflix of all places, I was impressed.

The show has a simple premise for each episode, which only lasts around 15 minutes. At first, I thought each episode was self-contained, however, there is an overarching plotline, but it isn’t as deep as shows like Gravity Falls or Ducktales 2017.

The characters themselves are quite basic, the standouts obviously being Cuphead and Mugman. The two have great chemistry and it’s really fun to watch on screen. Their voices are perfect, and I didn’t have much problem with them.

I love the little details that improve their characters and sets them further apart from the more background stars. Little things like instead of grabbing their neck or collar to pull each other somewhere, they’ll use their handles.

Another great character brought from the games was the main villain, The Devil. Yes, the Devil is in this show. His voice is fantastic, and the character is super witty and fun to watch, you can’t help but laugh when things go wrong for him or watching him interact with our main stars.

The character I had the most problems with was Elder Kettle, his voice irritated me and he seemed too jokey compared to his game counterpart. Obviously, this is a cartoon and characters can be jokey, but when your main characters are already jokey adding another is too much. You need someone to be the straight man and that someone should’ve been Elder Kettle.

The animation was amazing and is definitely my favourite aspect of the show, they combine 2D and 3D as well as physical sets. The art is clearly inspired by the early 30s/50s era of cartoons and has deep roots in the Looney Tune culture as well as some early Mickey Mouse. However, intentional or not, I do see some references to more modern cartoons.

In terms of character relationships, they give me some SpongeBob vibes. Cuphead and Mugman, although brothers, act very similar to SpongeBob and Patrick, especially in the first episode, Carnevil.

As stated before, the use of physical background models and 2D animation works so well; it’s clear this is why the wait for the show was so long. It looks almost effortless the way everything blends so well together. The characters are extremely expressive and have such fluid motion that it truly feels like I’m watching a Looney Tunes skit.

They also add this grain filter, it’s not easy to notice but it’s there. My only guess is they wanted to make this seem like it’s found footage and it’s been in the archives since its creation.

The show’s music is hit or miss for me, the theme song is amazing both animation and music wise. It really gives you the vibe of the show before a character is on screen. My favourite song has to come from the ghost episode, Ghosts Ain’t Real; sometimes a song just didn't hit right, maybe it was too clustered or the lyrics didn’t fit well.

One major complaint I have about the show is Chalice, the female character added on later in the game. She’s presented in the trailer as possibly being a big part, even getting her own tv spot. However, she doesn’t appear in the season until the very last episode, In Charm’s Way. It just feels a little misleading to have her seem like a main character or at the very least more involved within the show.

The Cuphead Show is a great watch if you have the time, it’s only 12 episodes long and it’s easy to binge within an hour or two. The animation and character dynamics is where the show shines, some humour is hit or miss, and some voices all feel like they’re from Brookyln.

The Cuphead Show gets 4 out of 5 mugs from me.

The Cuphead Show is now streaming on Netflix.

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