Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: The tale of a wronged Japanese snow monkey, mentored by the ghost of an American assassin, as he cuts a wide swath through the Tokyo underworld.
Hit-Monkey came out in 2021 on Hulu and was Marvel’s latest foray into not just the world of animation but more specifically into the art style known as Anime.
Review: Somehow this one flew under my radar and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who missed it the first time around, so I decided to scratch it off my list of shows to catch up on (seriously, I have a list and I’m not even halfway through) and boy am I glad I did as Hit-Monkey was all kinds of fun!
Starring a slew of well-known screen and animation voice actors, the story introduces us to Bryce (Jason Sudeikis – SNL, Horrible Bosses, Ted Lasso, We’re the Millers) a hitman for hire who travels to Japan for his latest job. Sudeikis is always a delight to me as his quick wit and sharp one-liners never fail to make me laugh and I loved the fact creators Josh Gordon and Will Speck along with their animation team design a lot of these characters, including Bryce, to look like their real life counterparts. Bryce is hired to kill a politician who’s running for Prime Minister. When Bryce is inevitably betrayed by the person(s) who hired him and left for dead in the snowy forest, he’s found by a troop of Japanese macaques who take him to their hot pools to heal him. One of the monkeys ain’t having it though as he thinks Bryce is evil. The young macaque spies on Bryce and studies his actions as the hitman practices with guns and plans his revenge. But when a team is sent to kill Bryce and the troop of macaques try to defend him they are brutally murdered along with the cheeky assassin, leaving Hit-Monkey alone, sad and very very pissed off.
Hit (which is what I call him as he isn’t given a name in the series) takes Bryce’s weapons and travels to the city to seek revenge for his slain family. But it turns out a monkey with the ability to shoot guns and do martial arts isn’t the weirdest thing to be seen here as Bryce’s spirit is now attached to Hit and the unlikely duo are forced to work together to achieve their goals.
While DC might be well known for the animated movies, Marvel also has a solid history with the art form. The iconic X-Men series, Iron Man and more recently the very successful What If…? I give Marvel major points for how diverse their different animation series have been visually and Hit-Monkey is another fine example of this. While this isn’t their first foray into Japanese animation (Wolverine) I think the result is much better here, especially how well the visuals play with the story. It’s an old school vengeance tale with loads of brutal kills and action sequences a la early John Woo films like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. Add to that the stellar voice cast with actors like Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse, Tales of the Walking Dead, The Predator) George Takei (Star Trek) and one of the giants of the voice acting world, Fred Tatasciore as Hit–Monkey himself, who has a long list of series under his belt (Teen Titans Go!, Primal, American Dad and Star Trek: Lower Decks, just to name a few) all came together to make a series that hit all the right emotional notes.
Funny and heartfelt, action-packed and chock full of memorable moments, I have no idea if we’re getting a second season , but after such a stellar outing one can only hope the assassin from the astral plane and his simian sidekick (or is it the other way around?) will be back with more over the top action, very soon.
Score: 8 out of 10
So have you seen Hit-Monkey? What did you think of it? And you can check out more awesome animation content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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