The Legend of Vox Machina (Spoilers)

As of this Friday, the second season of the Legend of Vox Machina has wrapped up. For those unfamiliar, it’s an animated show based on the Dungeons & Dragons campaign that Critical Role became famous with. It jumpstarted D&D’s popularity into the mainstream and it’s been a constant in my life for about eight years now. I listened to it during work for years and now I watch their third campaign as it’s airing. They made a kickstarter to animate their first story arc and this kickstarter reached every goal they had and more, allowing them to adapt much more of the story than they initially planned. It’s being animated by studio Titmouse and voiced by the cast of Critical Role as well as many well known (voice) actors such as Troy Baker, Billy Boyd, Stephanie Beatriz and David Tenant. Today I’m going to share my opinion on this animated adventure from the perspective of someone who has watched and listened to the original weekly D&D show twice.

The main seven in all their glory. The character designs in this show are really well done, probably their strongest point.

Let’s start with everything good. They say if you don’t have anything good to say, you shouldn’t say anything so I figure you start with the good then.
The animation looks solid. The artstyle fits the setting really well and their choice to accurately portray how brutal of a world this is has paid off. I wouldn’t show this to little kids. The entire story fits neatly into the package it’s put into and each season ends on a very solid cliffhanger that I obviously won’t spoil. The characters feel similar to how they felt in the original story which I think is a good thing. The character interactions and their rich stories is what sold the original campaign, after all.

Then let’s switch to what I think was less good. I want to preface this by saying that no part of this animated series is bad in my opinion. I’m coming into this review with a lot of preconceived opinions. As someone who fell in love with the longform storytelling that Matthew Mercer and the others at the table have created, I felt like there were things missing. That’s obviously something that would happen. The first campaign is several hundred hours long and the animated series – so far – is under ten hours of content. You simply can’t cover everything and every week when I hear the explanations from the people involved on why they made these decisions, they all sound very sensible. But whenever I’m watching the series I feel like I’m missing something. Garmelie wanting to steal something from Syngorn, The squad properly planning their attack on Kevdak, The painting in Scanlan’s mansion and most importantly Kerrek. I figured we wouldn’t get to see Patrick Rothfuss’ guest character in the animated series since he was never vital to the story as a whole and the role he took in guiding Keyleth could easily be given to someone else in the much shorter story. But as a big fan of the show, it feels like it’s a less solid version of the story I love.

All in all, I give the Legend of Vox Machina a passing grade. I enjoyed the story in a different form enough to keep watching every week. At the end of the day I did find myself preferring the original telling of this story. But if you don’t have several hundred hours I can imagine this to be a preferable version. If you have access to Amazon Prime I recommend you check it out. I know this isn’t quite considered anime, but I wanted to talk about it a little bit either way. I apologize for the lower quality in posts lately, my mental health has been pretty bad lately and what I wrote during the last two weeks hasn’t been very good, so I’m running out of good posts. I’ve got a break coming up soon where I hope to recover a bit. Thanks for reading.

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