Anime Reviews

Cannon Busters [2019]: An Instant Classic? – REVIEW

Cannon Busters

Cannon Busters has just released on Netflix and it’s totally great. Still unsure if it’s worth a watch? Here’s my take before you jump into this crazy sci-fi western.

What Even Is A Netflix Original Anymore?

Despite Netflix advertising the series as being original to their platform, the history of Cannon Busters goes all the way back to the early 2000s.

Cannon Busters was originally conceived as a comic book, only later becoming a graphic novel. However, due to setbacks, series creator LeSean Thomas put the comic book on an on-and-off hiatus, eventually deciding to revive the project as an animated series.

The Kickstarter launched in 2014 and raised just over $156,000 during its run. Rewards for backers ranged from concept art of the show to physical rewards such as replica props and statues. Patrons could even access a private screening of the first episode if they had the $10,000 to spend on the highest tier.

What Is Cannon Busters?

LeSean Thomas has been a frontrunner when it comes to representing people of color in animation, having worked on titles such as Boondock Saints, Legend of Korra, and Black Dynamite. In fact, another one of his works, Yasuke – an anime based on real-life events – is set to make its release soon.

Cannon Busters is set in a world where magic and science collide. The main protagonist, Philly The Kid, is an outlaw whose body refuses to die. Each time he revives from the dead, a new tattoo appears on his body, signifying the number of times he has regenerated.

Philly finds himself entangled with Samberry, a young android looking for her owner, Kelby (the prince of the kingdom of Botica). He also attempts to find the abandoned repair droid, Casey Turnbuckle.

During their travels, they encounter a number of threats. Among these is the Cattle Clan, a notorious group of bounty hunters after the price on Philly’s head.

Is It Worth Watching?

If you’re a fan of old-school classics, such as Trigun or Cowboy Bebop, you’ll probably find Cannon Busters to your liking. In addition to having a unique setting, the series has a killer soundtrack and a great storyline. The lead character, Philly, also gives off the impressions of the classic anime protagonist, coming off as a cross between Spike Spiegal and Vash the Stampede.

The first episode throws us straight into the world of Gearbolt as Samberry and Casey Turnbuckle rock up to a rough-looking tavern which is currently in the midst of a bar fight. Undeterred, Sam heads into the bar in search of the outlaw, Philly, with Casey not far behind.

Inside, the Cattle Clan holds a man they believe to be Philly hostage. That is until they’re interrupted by our two heroines. A case of mistaken identity ensues, with the real Philly the Kid making a timely entrance from the bathroom. A fight ensues with Philly and company on the losing side.

That is until Philly calls on his ride, Bessie.

It soon transforms into a raging bull mech, all for the low, low price of 25 cents. The fight ends with our heroes emerging victorious. Philly accidentally agrees to take Sam and Casey to their destination – a place known as The Keep – thus setting the premise for the series and establishing Philly as our reluctant protagonist.

Overall, the first episode does a lot to establish the world of Cannon Busters. Being a TV-MA show, it probably isn’t a show you want to watch with the whole family around. That said, the show’s classic anime vibes and off-kilter humor make it incredibly entertaining. If enough people watch the series, Netflix may even pick it up for a second season.

Are you excited for Cannon Busters? What do you think of the show so far? Let us know in the comments below!

Cannon Busters

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