Adult animation series are experiencing an exceptional moment, with wonders like “BoJack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty”. But a new revolution is coming with other lesser-known titles that explore issues and feelings that would have been considered unthinkable just a few years ago. Today, we’d like to suggest six such shows that might surprise you.
1. The Shivering Truth (HBO; 7 episodes)
Once you’ve seen some of the images from “The Shivering Truth”, you’ll never be able to get them out of your mind and I’m telling you this as a warning. Because this disturbing, terrifying, disgusting, deeply nihilistic and strangely poetic anthology of animation leaves an indelible mark. The show’s creator, Vernon Chatman (known for other madness titled “Wonder Showzen”) has created a stop-motion journey to the darkest corners of the mind through a series of stories linked by the thread of a dream that has no beginning or end and is easy to get lost in.
2. Primal (HBO; 5 episodes)
The relationship between a Neanderthal and a dinosaur is the focus of this wonderful series by Genndy Tartakovsky which has no dialogue. And believe me, words are not required. Simply based on the expressions of the characters, the grunts and the silences, the series is capable of transmitting deep emotions and speaks of loss, mourning and compassion. Subjects that contrast with the brutal and savage violence of this prehistoric world in which out leading characters, joined by a tacit agreement, will unite to survive, as it brings the viewer along on what can best be described as a unique visual journey.
3. Undone (Amazon; 8 episodes)
A car accident leaves Alma with one foot in reality and the other inside her own conscience. An approach that works seamlessly with the technique of rotoscoping, creating an effect that blurs the lines separating human actors and animation. The result is a mysterious tale in which the psychological introspection of our lead character prevails. The way it deals with her emotional baggage is certainly the highlight of this fascinating title from the creator of “Bojack Horseman”, Raphael Bob-Wasberg, along with his regular collaborator, Kate Purdy.
4. The Midnight Gospel (Netflix; 8 episodes)
The new Pendleton Ward series targets a much more adult audience than “Adventure Time.”, and not only because it’s more violent, but above all because of the issues it deals with: the legalization of drug and accepting death are just some of the issues the series’ protagonist, a podcaster who travels through universes, discusses with his interviewees (adapting the actual podcast “The Duncan Trussell Fun Family Hour”). The hallucinogenic style of his universe runs like clockwork with a series that invites viewers to open their minds to new ideas and just go with the flow.
5. Beastars (Netflix; 12 episodes)
This anime series, based on Paru Ikatagi’s manga, invites us into a universe populated by anthropomorphic animals where the tension between carnivores and herbivores is ever-present. In this context, the shy wolf Legoshi is attracted to the rabbit Haru, known for being promiscuous. But Legoshi is unsure of his own intentions, afraid that perhaps what he is seeking is not driven by love, but rather by his stomach. Thus, the series explores the idea of masculinity and its relationship with sexual assault, as well as the vulnerability of the female character in a world in which only the law of the strongest is valid, which leaves us with some pretty unsavory food for thought.
6. Love, Death + Robots (Netflix; 18 episodes)
This anthology of animated shorts features some true wonders and serves as a showcase for a wide range of animation techniques and the possibilities these inspire among several groups of artists from different countries. Heir to the spirit of the movie “Heavy Metal” (in fact, the project was initially intended as a rebooted version of the film od the same name), the surprising stories are mind-blowing for viewers, imaginary worlds and alternative realities populated by characters of all kinds. A psychotropic buffet that is a veritable pleasure for the senses.