The Cuphead Show Review

If there was a show that was meant to be animated, it is definitely Cuphead. Being based on the difficult video game, it pulls from the characters. This show, in no way, retreads the game. It draws inspiration from it, taking what the game offered and expanding it out more fully. It makes a fun show to watch in small doses or you can just sit back with a pack of soda and enjoy it all.

There are plenty of shenanigans to witness. Cuphead and Mugman are mostly just going about the Inkwell Isle living life, doing their chores of Elder Kettle. The brothers get in plenty of trouble all on their own. Cuphead, in the first episode, has his soul “stolen”/”marked” by the Devil. They bring this up in a few episodes. It becomes a plot point in a later episode and something pretty funny. Cuphead and the Devil do start to actually get a long a bit. While still a moderately antagonistic relationship, it is something that develops as the Devil tries to claim his soul. When a stickler of a demon calls on the Devil to collect Cuphead's soul, the Devil puts a massive hole in the soul accounting book. The demon now needs to revisit everything to ensure all the souls are accounted for.

The pair of brothers are what they should be, each different. One is braver while the other is a bit timider. Together though, they do make a formidable pair. They work well together and can usually help the other get out of a jam. They can and will fight a lot. But they also watch out for each other. When Cuphead is suffering from Nightmares because his soul is marked by the Devil, it's Mugman that gets him the needed help to find a way around it. When the pair need to complete an errand for Porkrind, a local (Blackmarket) merchant, Cuphead gives Mugman his Dirk Dangerous goggles to bolster his brother's confidence. This works a little too well but to some great results though. But through it all, they carry the show very well. They grow (a little), getting up to plenty of antics.

The cast has been flushed out from the games. For example, Ribby and Croaks, the fighting frog brothers get their own self-titled episode, “Ribby and Croaks.” The brothers manage a river boat that they host evening entertainment. Just like in the game, they're always wearing their boxing gloves. We see this pair fight plenty, but always acknowledge their Ma for bringing them together. They go almost extreme lengths to make sure the portrait of their mother remains unharmed. They would take almost any provocation from the other to start fighting. This would get grounded by them always acknowledging the Mayor (and Mrs. Mayor) for a moment, giving a quick laugh to the situation. The stage Botanic Panic, became the inspiration for the episode “Root Packed.” Elder Kettle had been growing a small garden and hurt his back tending to it. He tells Cuphead and Mugman to watch over it while he recovers. They just want to go to the movies and enjoy the city. The Root Pack, (Sal Spudder, Ollie Bulb, and Chauncey Chantenay) comes along and says they’ll watch over vegetables so the boys could have some fun since they’re just wandering vegetables. The Root Pack has a big party going when the boys get back and they need to find a way to drive them away before Elder Kettle’s vegetables are destroyed for good. While this doesn't work out for the boys, they go through a lot to try and sway the Root Pack to leave. They have to trick their way into the party, then work to interrupt the party,

The series ends on a cliffhanger, keeping up its charm through to the last episode. This one was especially fun since it was the musical episode. Ms Chalice does a lot of charming to get whatever she's after. The boys wind up in jail having gone with Ms Chalice, breaking into a cookie factory. Ms Chalice reveals a hidden ability toward the end of the episode as well. So there were plenty of questions left to be answered here. This last episode introduced Ms Chalice. She’d been in the intro sequence since the start of the series. It was just the last episode she was in. She has charm for days, charisma to spare, and is as cute as a button. She's a solo act, but tries to help the boys learn how to use their charm.

The music is also worth noting. It takes heavy influence from the 1920's and 1930's. It usually has a great swing sound to it. All the horns that are just carrying the lead of it all. This is perfect for the show and the inspiration game, since its very much that animation style. This does mean the show will borrow the music from the game. If you didn't know, you'd never know short of listening to the game's OST (which I do recommend, it is a great big band sound). Ego Plum did the music, and very much listened to the work of Kristofer Maddigan. Plus there is a lot of music to help inspire him from that era. Take some time and treat yourself to the soundtrack from either for sure.

All the episodes were short. At 15 minutes, it’s easy to watch the whole series in just an afternoon. It can be a very fun way to spend some time, just watching them alone or binging the whole series. It can be enjoyed by a variety of age groups for sure. More than anything, the show can be enjoyed without any knowledge of the video game itself. I never played the Cuphead game but am a bit more curious. It can be demanding in execution, but it can be a lot of fun as well to simply watch. Don't just dive into the game. Instead, consider just starting “The Cuphead Show!” all over again... and check out speedruns of Cuphead through Youtube.

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