Back when the game Cuphead was first announced Dre and I were blown away, not so much because it was reinventing the side scrolling platformer, it was was more of the way it looked. The Classic look of the early Merrie Melodies cartoon was a new art style that hadn’t been explored in any game that we had played. They even went to through trouble of adding the lint and dust marks in the animation as well as the rough voice recording of that time. I can’t remember if we had any conversations on camera, but we had spoken a few times about properties that should be cartoons and Cuphead was always mentioned. We figured that the animation style and story were already there and it would just be a matter of creating either a long animated movie or a series, Five years after the game was released Netflix has provided us twelve episodes that pull directly from the world of Cuphead.
Following the unique misadventures of loveable, impulsive scamp Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman. As the two scour their surreal homeworld of the Inkwell Isles in search of fun and adventure, they always have each other’s back. Unless there’s only one cookie left, in which case it’s every cup for himself.(source)
The first season of The Cuphead Show! was released on February 12, 2022 on Netflix. The show is made up of 12 episodes with eaching hving a run time of about15 minutes, so you can knock the whole thing out in under 3 hours if you skip the intro song. I would say don’t skip the song until you’ve heard it once, it’s really good and the intro shows all of the characters you’ll meet.
The animation of this show not only pulls from the world of Cuphead, based on the game, but tries to keep the same art filter. You can’t see if from afar, but if you get closer to your monitor or TV, you can see the dust and lint marks on the animation. If you don’t look for that and just watch it sitting on your couch, you’ll see that this is a HD animated series that you can follow without having to play the game. The show has a Y7 rating so the plot can’t be pulled from the game, because showing people playing craps may not be the best visual for a child. The first episode does slightly pull from the game as you find Cuphead and Mugman at a carnival where Cuphead plays a skeeball game and loses his soul to the devil. This story doesn’t get brought back up until episode 5, then continues in episode 8 and 9. After episode 9, the story involving, Cuphead, Mugman and the Devil never gets brought up. The other episodes are stand along cartoons, that have Cuphead and Mugman interacting with members that you would recognize from the game. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t keep the voice style for Porkrind, which runs the store in the game and in the show. Also, I was ready for some kind of reference to the types of attacks they did in the game, like different bullet type or even slapping to parry an attack. If you were to ignore the game and look at this like a stand alone cartoon, it was enjoyable. Something you can put on, but not have to exactly pay direct attention to. There are a few songs spread out in the episodes, but no other characters to get attached to besides Cuphead and Mugman.
Depending on who’s watching it The Cuphead Show! could be a second screen show, meaning you can watching it while playing a game. I say it depends on who’s watching, becase if you’re a small child your attention will be focused on the show and not a second monitor playing. That’s the good thing about the show, it’s enjoyable for everyone for different reasons. You either go into it as a fan of the game or you do into it as a new cartoon that was recently released.
It was announced in mid January 2022, that The Cuphead Show! was renewed for a 2nd and 3rd season. I hope they continue the plot of the devil and Cuphead‘s soul in those, because I really want to see what happens,