Genndy Tartakosky has been at the helm for some of the most memorable animated series in Cartoon Network and Adult Swim's history, and that's what made Unicorn: Warriors Eternal so compelling when it was officially announced. Not only did the second season of Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal wrap up recently, but Unicorn: Warriors Eternal has survived all of the recent changes Warner Bros. Discovery and their efforts have gone through in the past year. Much like Primal before it, Unicorn: Warriors Eternal is such a starkly original project that fans really had no idea what to expect from it.
When Unicorn: Warriors Eternal began revealing its promotional materials in full, series creator Genndy Tartakovsky mentioned that it's a project he had first conceived of during his early days with Cartoon Network Studios over 20 years ago. After seeing Unicorn: Warriors Eternal in action, it's very clear that this is the case. Unicorn: Warriors Eternal is filled to the brim with care and love from the team behind it, and it results in a perfect blend of action, magic, comedy, and just top-tier cool.
Unicorn: Warriors Eternal follows a team of three mystical warriors that have been battling against an ancient, evil magic for centuries. Melinda, Seng, and Edred have their souls tethered to a robot named Copernicus as they are summoned into new bodies every few generations when the evil they have been fighting rises again. The hiccup that kicks off Unicorn: Warriors Eternal's story, however, is that the possessions don't quite work out this time around.
Taking place in London during the industrial revolution period, the story then centers on a new trio that Melinda, Seng, and Edred possess, but each of them has mixed up their reincarnations in a different way. Leading to all kinds of memory mix-ups, fractured relationships, and more, it's a fertile and solid ground that Unicorn: Warriors Eternal then builds on top of with unexpected layers. Not only is it a wonderful blend of distinct fantasy genre elements (such as a witches and wizards-based magic system set in a steampunk world), but it uses those disparate elements to enrich the central conflict.
At the center of these three characters is the fact that their lives are essentially stolen from them as they are thrust into a twisted hero's journey. There's a constant clash of emotions surrounding Melinda, especially as her inability to immediately fuse with her present-day host forms the core of the series overall. The connection between past and present is the highlight at the center of Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, and it only gets better from there.
With a strong heart in its characters and compelling story, Unicorn: Warriors Eternal then takes this to the next level with the detail-oriented action animation that fans have come to expect from Genndy Tartakovsky's helmed series. That high attention to detail is in everything from the biggest sequences (which use both the steampunk setting and the core trio's magical abilities to great effect) to the smaller character beats. Everything is laid out in terms of being clean and easy to follow, but features imaginative sequences.
For example, those hoping to see some of the Primal spice in here are rewarded as Unicorn: Warriors Eternal has some creatures that are grounded in our reality in terms of design, but have added bits of flare to make them a bit more fantastical. You want to see an elephant? How about a monster one! Pirates? How about skeleton, ghost pirates! Everything feels weighted and real despite the fantastical setting, and there are legitimate consequences for the grander action sequences. It never once feels detached from the reality of everything.
Even with these heavier burdens of character development, Unicorn: Warriors Eternal feels appropriate for a wide audience. The characters are all designed to be hugely expressive with big round eyes, and more rounded features overall. Harder-edged designs are usually reserved for the more terrifying, and even then, everything in Unicorn: Warriors Eternal feels bouncy in nature. There are close-up scenes where characters are just sitting in their emotions and speaking, and those turn into some of the most gorgeous shots of the series overall. It's just something you want to see over and over again.
Every single frame of Unicorn: Warriors Eternal is just cool to watch, and each episode makes the story all the more compelling as it fleshes out a much wider saga than fans might have expected when jumping in at first. It seems like it's become a cliche at this point with each of Tartakovsky's helmed successes thus far, but Unicorn: Warriors Eternal somehow tops everything that has come before. It's just a top-tier experience for animation fans.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Unicorn: Warriors Eternal premieres on Adult Swim on Thursday, May 4th at midnight and streams with HBO Max the next day.0comments