A young man whose parents became casualties of war. He is taken in by his uncle Zack, and it is there that Levius begins to immerse himself in the world of metal boxing as if led by fate itself, and his innate ability for the martial art blossoms.
Levius is a gorgeously animated series with intense action and even a few heartfelt character moments, but does it do enough in its first season to keep you invested in the stakes of a sci-fi steampunk martial arts sporting event?
While it may not be perfect, the answer to that question is an easy YES.
At just 12 episodes, Levius moves at a brisk pace in both introducing the cast of characters and kicking off the bouts that Levius Cromwell himself must persevere. Coming from Polygon Studios, the first thing many will notice is the superb 3D animation quality in everything from the actual fighting to the world that made it a reality. It’s easy to get lost in just how stunning everything looks, and in all honesty, I was worried that the series would rely on this for a concept-driven flashy series. But by the end of season 1, I was cheering for Levius not because of the animation, but because I cared about the character. The story might have lost out on some moments just from how short the season is, but there really is a lot to love.
Amidst all of the mecha enhancements, bursting steam and bloody faces, Levius finds its footing with a familial perspective in competition and the struggle to rise to the top. Levius is a likable enough character, almost entirely defined by his determination, but it isn’t until we see the impacts of childhood trauma that he really becomes a well rounded character. As we move through the season and characters like his uncle Zack, Bill Weinberg and Natalia Garnet establish a family presence, the series finds the heart it really needed. This helps to substantiate the world building as well. Of course there are plenty of fun boxing terms like spin hook and sidewinder and even a great arena that helps to ground the series in just a bit of reality, but it’s ultimately the characters that pull you into the world.
There is an interesting progression which happens as Levius fights through each opponent, and it starts to feel like a pattern by the time we reach the end. Levius not only learns and grows immensely with each new fight, he also finds a way to bring them into his life and build a support system, which becomes crucial in the final episode. The sometimes over the top character introductions like that of Hugo Stratus are but a diversion from the heartfelt narratives that unfold. The result is a series that is constantly bringing in new characters to the group dynamics in ways that you actually care about.
Arguably the weakest point of the first season is the villain, Dr. Clown. While I’ll refrain from spoiling the final twist of the character, it’s not something that comes as a shocker. His pupil (if you can call her that, more like slave), A.J. Langdon is the catalyst for the main plot in the first season and she eventually just steals the spotlight from Dr. Clown. This makes him feel a bit lackluster as a big bad for the first season, but it’s not enough to do to much harm to the story.
While you may be hard pressed to find a more aesthetically pleasing anime, Levius also surprises with its simple but effective character work to tell an emotionally charged story of self discovery in its first season. In the ever growing selection of sports-themed anime, this sci-fi steampunk series manages to stand out and do plenty to hook me back in for a second season if Netflix and Polygon do bring it back.
Bring on the G2 bouts!
While you may be hard pressed to find a more aesthetically pleasing anime, Levius also surprises with its simple but effective character work to tell an emotionally charged story of self discovery in its first season.
Levius Season 1 Review: And Now For Your Main Event of the Evening
Writing - 8/108/10
Plot - 8/108/10
Character Development - 9/109/10
Production - 10/1010/10
Music - 9/109/10
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