Adult animation is quite a liberating playground in the realm of movies and TV. There are literally no bounds to the magnitude of your imagination. So when HULU and Marvel TV (now integrated into Marvel Studios) announced they were tackling a group of four shows, I was massively surprised yet very excited to see Hit-Monkey on that list. But, unfortunately, only two shows could make it the distance of the four HULU originals, with the second being M.O.D.O.K. So without a second to waste, let’s get into Hit-Monkey Season 1.
The series is directed by Neal Holman and stars Fred Tatasciore (Hit-Monkey), Jason Sudeikis (Bryce), Olivia Munn (Akiko), Ally Maki (Haruka), and George Takei (Shinji Yokohama). Hit-Monkey presents the intertwined stories of a lifelong contract killer and a Japanese macaque. They get caught in the middle of a bloody power struggle amidst a particularly impactful election cycle in Japan. Now Bryce and Monkey begin down a path of vengeance and justice as they leave a trail of gore and bullets behind them.
This show is not what I was expecting, and for fans of Jason Sudeikis and his lovable role of Ted Lasso, revisit those expectations quickly because this character does not inspire you to want to be better. No, Hit-Monkey Season 1 is a pure dose of violence, vengeance, with a sizeable dash of comic book goodness to round it all out.
I love comics, but admittedly this is a series I’d not come across before. With that said, however, the show does a brilliant job of laying the foundation of everything you need to know to get the gist of what’s happening. As the series continues, though, there are some noticeable character introductions that fans of Marvel will utterly love as they work in some deep-cut nods to the comic book inspiration.
The show is particularly graphic and naturally very violent. I mean, at its core, this is a series about a monkey on a quest for revenge after his whole troop is murdered by the people who are after Bryce. But, beyond that foundation, the show essentially says screw it—let’s lean in on this and make this entire plot wacky and see how far we can push this. And they bloody well succeeded. It has ghosts, gangsters, assassins, mutants, and a whole lot of murder.
Given the show is anchored to a monkey led by a ghost intent on revenge, the overarching plot culminates into unadulterated chaos. There are many parallels to other revenge stories. Still, this show differs by letting it all descend into mayhem as people react to a blood-thirsty monkey dressed in a suit running around the streets of Japan to avenge his fallen family. It is so unbelievable at times, but I couldn’t stop watching it. At one point, Monkey is drinking and playing poker to gain access to a high roller room. Later on, he breaks into prison to get information from an inmate. I mean, it’s just out of control.
The series is built upon the performance of the vocal work of Sudeikis, and he adds a depth of spiteful humor that few actors could bring. His interactions with Tatasciore are what keep you engaged, with his use of pop culture references and humorous quips. Sudeikis definitely adds color to the fast-paced, witty dialogue. Having said that, there are certain points where it all becomes a bit too much, and the dynamic of a screeching monkey and Bryce’s devil-may-care attitude runs thin.
My other sizable complaint is directed towards the animation of the property. The quality is very see-saw with some moments of visual brilliance, contrasting with moments that were passed over to save a buck. It took some getting used to, and I can definitely see some viewers either adapting and being ok with it or just being turned off by the style. It’s not terrible by any means, but it is jarring during those moments.
Overall, Hit-Monkey Season 1 is a no-holds-barred graphic shoot ’em up that delivers a copious amount of blood and violence. Helmed by the vocal talents of Jason Sudeikis, it indeed boasts some fantastic voice work. However, both the plot and dialogue become quite repetitive, and the animation fails to live up to the hype consistently. I enjoyed it, but it certainly feels very a niche watch.
Hit-Monkey Season 1 is available now exclusively on HULU.
Hit-Monkey Season 1
- Rating - 7/107/10
Hit-Monkey Season 1 is a no-holds-barred graphic shoot ’em up that delivers a copious amount of blood and violence. Helmed by the vocal talents of Jason Sudeikis, it indeed boasts some fantastic voice work. However, both the plot and dialogue become quite repetitive, and the animation fails to live up to the hype consistently. I enjoyed it, but it certainly feels very a niche watch.