Netflix Anime has been putting out bangers consistently with its slate of series and films. Now, they’ve partnered with Mark Millar to bring to life Super Crooks, an anime series based on the graphic novel of the same name which Millar created with artist Leinil Yu. Animated by studio bones, Super Crooks follows Johnny Bolt on one last heist.
Set in the Jupiter’s Legacy universe, which saw its first live-action adaptation earlier this year, Super Crooks is all about the villains and the morally gray areas that exist in a world of superpowers. Johnny is fresh off a stint at supermax prison when he’s pulled back into a series of “last jobs” with his team of supercooks. In 13 episodes, the series manages to put forward a great story that nails the current revival of adult-themed superpowered series like The Boys and Invincible. But with so much content out, I can understand waiting to pull the trigger on an entire season of a show, so I’m here to give you some of my top reasons to watch Super Crooks.
First things first, anime and animation are a medium, not a genre. That said, the way audiences have come to attach stigmas to anime and general animation often keeps them from leaping into projects that fall under that banner. Super Crooks, though, falls in line with the uptick in adult animation from Netflix with series like Castlevania—it captures what makes adult and dark superpowered stories so good, like what we see in Amazon Prime’s Invincible. In that same vein, Super Crooks is big, bad, and violent with crooks that push the envelope—including a pair who can have their bodies destroyed over and over only to be regenerated.
But it isn’t just the superpowered genre that Super Crooks nails. It’s also got the camp and charm of heists. In fact, take Invincible, throw in The Great Pretender, add in a bumping soundtrack, like your Shinichiro Watanabe faves, and boom, you have all the reason to watch Super Crooks. Ultimately, Super Crooks captures everything that makes heists and superheroes special, blending the genres into something unforgettable.
Music is Key
Super Crooks is directed by the Motonobu Hori and features a composition by the iconic Dai Sato. So, it should come as no surprise to fans of Carole & Tuesday, Cowboy Bebop, or any number of series that the two have worked on that the music in Super Crooks is definitely something to write home about. From the funkadelic score and an opening theme that brings out the biggest Prince vibes an anime can offer, music is the lifeblood of the series. And because of how vital the funk, the jazz, and the opening and closing themes are to the story itself, music is a reason to watch Super Crooks in the same way it stands out in Shinichiro Watanabe projects.
Characters that Pack a Punch
There isn’t a thinly written character in all of Super Crooks, and that’s enough reason to watch it if you ask me. You learn about their backstories and hopes for the future, and when you get the chance to peek under the hood, you learn more about each of them, especially in the series finale. What helps them shine is that the ensemble of Super Crooks isn’t really bad in the way we traditionally think of villains. They’re just kind of trying to survive and make a life. So when you balance them between the real villains that are genuinely evil and the heroes who have their secrets, the super crooks aren’t all that bad. Outside of some bad decisions and drinking habits, there isn’t even really a reason to redeem them.
That said, Johnny and Kasey are the series standouts, and rightfully so. Johnny is charismatic, conniving, and helplessly in love. Kasey is smart, intuitive, and ultimately not going to fall for Johnny’s cons. In fact, there are a couple of parts of the series where you think Kasey will fit in the proverbial comic fridge or be cast under Johnny’s spell to her demise, but she subverts that. Kasey is strong-willed and her own character, even if it takes time for her to learn and embrace it loudly.
Animation that Captures Pulp Action
While studio bones is mostly discussed in association with My Hero Academia and Bungo Stray Dogs, the studio has been living in a pulpy blend of music and action for quite some time now. Sure they’ve knocked animation out of the genre water with Godzilla Singular Point and Josee, The Tiger And The Fish earlier this year. Still, it’s their previous work on Cowboy Bebop: The Movie and Carole & Tuesday that comes out in Super Crooks. I know, I know, I shouldn’t talk about other anime to try and get you to watch a new one, but its bones’ proven track record to tack together action, music, emotion, and pulp classic flare that makes Super Crooks sing.
Another reason to watch Super Crooks is for the S-tier level violence it puts forth that is effortlessly balanced with the pulpy charm of a 70s exploitation heist film. It dances with themes and styles of some of our most-watched anime, yet it stands on its own with its own style and storytelling. It’s a series with an animation style that is clearly informed by what came before it and presents a newer look for bones to tackle as of late.
Overall, you need to watch Super Crooks. It’s a series that stands out for heist fans and superhero fans alike, speaking to both groups simultaneously and reaching out to highlight the best parts of storytelling from those mediums. Additionally, if you’re not particularly “into anime,” this is an easy entry into the medium.
Super Crooks is available now, exclusively on Netflix.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.