Cannon Busters is Netflix’s newest original anime that was released last week. The series is an adaptation from a comic book series, also created by the anime’s creator Lesean Thomas of the same name. This adaptation of the comic series is done by Satelight and Yumeta Company. In November 2014, Thomas successfully crowd-funded the series, raising over $156,000 nearly a month later. Cannon Busters was originally released to limited audiences on July 8th, 2016.
A year later, Netflix announced that it was picking up the series which would come out during March 2019. However, the series was held back since it was not included in Netflix’s slate for March 2019 releases. At Anime Expo 2019, it was officially announced that the series would be released on August 15th.
The series follows SAM (Kamali Minter), a friendship robot, as she searches for her best friend Kelby (Zeno Robinson), the prince of Botica. Botica has just been invaded by a mysterious force. which leads to SAM and Kelby being separated. She heads to Gara’s Keep after overhearing that Kelby is being taken there. Along the way, SAM meets Cassey (Stephanie Sheh), an abandoned junk mechanic. Cassey tells her about Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael), a mysterious outlaw who would be able to take them both to Gara’s Keep. Once they find Philly, he reluctantly agrees to help but has hidden intentions.
SAM is by far one of the most innocent characters in any anime that I’ve ever seen. Her innocence comes to light in any conversation that she has with the people she meets along the way to Gara’s Keep. Given that she’s a robot, she lacks any real social queues, which make for various comedic moments.
There’s a scene where she tries potato chips for the first time and goes into full detail on how they taste like. However, this innocence serves to her advantage as people don’t know how lethal she can be. Without going into full spoilers, the show goes to extreme lengths to display just how powerful she can be. These powers are used to protect her friends, which shows just how important friendships are to SAM.
After watching the entire first season of Cannon Busters, I can confidently say that Philly the Kid’s character is the highlight of the series. He’s the complete opposite of SAM, as he chooses to live a more wild lifestyle all on his own. He reluctantly decides to help the two droids reach Gara’s Keep, which goes against everything that he believes in. His character goes through quite an interesting arc, which escalates in the second half of the season. It humanizes this larger than life figure that’s gained famed from being an outlaw. It changes his character from comic relief to a much more grounded character. I wasn’t expecting that twist but it paid off throughout the rest of the season.
One of the more interesting characters introduced later in the season was 9ine (Greg Chun). He’s a ronin, a man who abandoned his order to become a wanderer, gaining notoriety after becoming a hired assassin and feared throughout several cities. He becomes friends with SAM and decides to help her reach Gara’s Keep.
Even though he’s much older and always seems to be drinking, his fighting skills are phenomenal. However, the show does a great job in terms of humanizing his character through a series of flashbacks. Rather than just being another character that joins the group, viewers may connect with his character and realize that he’s more than just a ronin.
The amount of world-building that’s done within the first season of Cannon Busters is amazing. Given the title, the show does an incredible job with explaining what cannon busters are and the mythology behind them. The show also goes into specific detail as to why magic has been banned and the consequences that came from this decision. Secret organizations and clans are introduced throughout the series which I hope the writers expand more on if it gets a second season.
The actions sequences throughout the season completely blew me away. Philly uses a more traditional fighting style by using his pistol and using his secret power when he needs to. His fights give off this old-Western feeling that fits well within the series. The animation whenever SAM uses her powers is well done. It points out the seriousness of the situation while also showing SAM’s desire to save her friends. 9ine’s fighting style shows that he’s not someone that people should mess with. His samurai-style elevate the stakes of the show while also showing why he’s going fame from being a hired assassin.
One of the defining elements of any anime show is the opening and closing themes. Several shows switch their opening and closing themes depending on the arc of that season. Not only does the music of Cannon Busters‘ first season stay consistent, but it’s incredible. The opening theme perfectly encapsulates that feeling of adventure that the show gives off while showing things to look forward to. The closing theme reflects on the connections and relationships between the different characters while the lyrics center around the feeling of never letting someone go.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching Cannon Busters. It quickly became one of the shows I was most looking forward to seeing after the trailer was released. I wasn’t able to read the original comic when it came out, but I’m glad this adaptation exists. The amount of world-building that was done in just twelve episodes is incredible. All of the central characters are unique in their own way and all have moments to shine. With the way the season ended, I’m hoping that Netflix will give this show another season. This is only the beginning of their adventure and there’s so much more that can be done with these characters.
Cannon Busters season one is now streaming on Netflix.
Cannon Busters quickly became one of the shows I was most looking forward to seeing after the trailer was released. I wasn’t able to read the original comic when it came out, but I’m glad this adaptation exists. The amount of world-building that was done in just twelve episodes is incredible. All of the central characters are unique in their own way and all have moments to shine. With the way the season ended, I’m hoping that Netflix will give this show another season.