5 years after its release Xbox One And pc of the brothers video game Chad And Jared Moldenhauer from StudioMDHR, Cupheads disembarks on Netflix with the highly anticipated animated series The Cuphead Series! (The Cuphead Show). The series, produced by the Moldenhauer brothers themselves in collaboration with King Features Syndicate and Netflix, is made up of 12 episodes lasting about 15 minutes inspired, like the video game of the same name, by the style of American cartoons from the 1930s, in particular of brothers Max and Dave Fleischer and some of Walt Disney And Ub Iwerks, of which they also partly take up the narrative structure. But will the long wait for Cuphead fans have paid off? Let’s find out together.
Based on the award-winning video game that won over audiences and critics alike with its irresistible retro animation style, The Cuphead Series! follows the comical misadventures of the impulsive troublemaker Cupheads and his brother Mugman, more cautious but easily influenced. In search of adventure and fun, the two inhabitants of the surreal Calamaio Island always end up in trouble, but they are ready to help each other in any situation. One day, you enter the amusement park of Satanasso Pigliatuttothe Bad, Cuphead and Mugman are chased by the owner after Cuphead loses his soul in a game. The two manage to escape, but Satanasso intends to take Cuphead’s soul, whatever the cost.
From a narrative point of view we must immediately make a clarification. Although the series is inspired by the magnificent run ‘n gun by StudioMDHR, for obvious reasons the story is not closely linked to the one in the video game, but has been reworked so as to be more captivating for a wider audience. In fact, the series is dedicated to a wider target, essentially a show for the whole family, in which however Studio MDHR has inserted humor and gags appreciable by an adult audience. Contrary to what the plot that we have reported previously may make you think, the episodes of The Cuphead series! focus mainly on a vertical narrative, presenting us in each episode a different adventure which, in addition to the two protagonists, involves many characters seen in the Moldenhauer brothers’ video game, such as Grandpa Bricco, King Nut, Porkrind, The Vegetables And Ms Chalicesome with a recurring presence throughout the series, others limited to a single episode or a simple, but often brilliant, cameo.
Although verticality is predominant, most of the episodes of this first season of the series are connected by the common thread that unites the protagonist, Cupheadsand the bad guy, Satanasso Pigliatutto. It is in fact the storyline that sees Satanasso intending to recover the soul of the young cup to act as the horizontal plot of the series. Given the structure presented by the series and, above all, the ending of the last episode, it is easy to understand how that of The Cuphead series! is a long-term project, designed to have at least two more blocks of episodes. In fact, the series does not have a real ending, on the contrary, the last episode ends with the classic “To be continued…”, only partially closing the narration of the episode.
As previously mentioned, the series takes up the style of American cartoons from the 1930s, in particular that of the brothers’ works Max and Dave Fleischer and some products of Walt Disney And Ub Iwerks, taking up not only the graphic style as the original video game did, but also the narrative structure, the rhythm and the type of comedy. The episodes of the animated series in fact present a narrow plot which, however, thanks to a truly stunning visual rendering, a short duration and an overwhelming rhythm, manage to keep the viewer glued from start to finish, causing him to bingewatch. All this allows the show to expand the audience, creating a product dedicated to the whole family, which indeed loses some of the verbal “violence” present in the game to give way to jokes and comic moments that can be enjoyed by a lower audience target , without however depriving itself of humor and more subtle gags appreciable by an adult audience.
Leaving the narrative sector, we must undoubtedly focus on the other fundamental aspect of The Cuphead series!, perhaps the most important, or the visual sector. This is the aspect that made Studio MDHR’s video game iconic from its very first trailer, that hand-crafted 1930s 2D graphic style that was the predominant feature of the game. The series does a similar operation, however, mixing past and present, presenting us with a 30s-style series drawn by hand but not on paper, but digitally, also converting a large part of the animated elements from the 2D seen in the game to 3D. In this way, the Netflix series creates an excellent combination of old and new, keeping the characteristic features of the characters unchanged and creating a product with animations that are perfectly in step with the times, but dressed in a retro look. This choice is successful, as it creates a more attractive product for a younger audience without sacrificing the aspect that undoubtedly made the video game recognizable. The music of the soundtrack is also perfectly blended with the graphic style, which takes up the jazz sounds already present in the soundtrack of the video game.
Before moving towards the conclusion, it is necessary to talk about a very important element when it comes to comic products which, very often, rely on puns to create their own humorous plot, that is adaptation and dubbing. The work done by the Italian team that oversaw the adaptation and dubbing of the series for Netflix is truly excellent. It is never easy to locate such a product since it is not possible to make a one-by-one translation of every single joke, because most of the time it would be meaningless and not very funny, but in this case the mission is accomplished. The jokes in 90% of the cases work perfectly and the chosen voice cast is respectable. Although we greatly appreciated the work of adaptation and dubbing in long Italian, we would like to recommend the vision in the original subtitled language, so that you can enjoy the series and its jokes as they were originally conceived.
In conclusion, The Cuphead Series! is a surprising product to say the least that can brighten up fun and carefree evenings for the whole family, whether or not you are a player of the video game born from the brilliant mind of Moldenhauer brothers. But not only that, the series is also a product with a strong artistic taste, which manages to bring an animated series in the 30s style into 2022, however splitting it perfectly in step with the times. The narration, mainly vertical, makes each episode unique and enjoyable in its own right, allowing the spectator maximum freedom of vision (basically with the exception of 2 episodes) and, above all, ensuring that it is not burdensome to see the episodes several times, also thanks to the short term. However, the series does not disdain a horizontal narrative which, under the track, links some events and which will continue in the coming seasons. StudioMDHR, King Features Syndicate And Netflix they have done everything to adapt a product that, although known, remains a niche, to the widest possible audience, creating what in all respects could quickly become a must watch of the streaming platform.
The Cuphead Series! is now available on Netflix. Below is the official trailer of the animated series:
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The Cuphead Series! – The surprising new animated series from Netflix | Review
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