Pacific Rim: The Black Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pacific Rim: The Black

Genre fantasy, anime
Creators Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle
Voiced by Gideon Adlon (Haley Travis), Calum Worthy (Taylor Travis), Erica Lindbeck (Loa), Ben Diskin (Boy), Victoria Grace (May), Andy McPhee (Shane) and others.
Netflix channel
Release year 2021
Series 7
Site IMDb

The Pacific Rim movie franchise is Transformers vs. Godzilla, but without any gimmick about a race of intelligent machines and materialized forces of nature, without historical parallels and all that. The most simple, sometimes even primitive, but very bright show in which huge robots beat the faces of huge monsters that crawled out of a rift under the Pacific Ocean. Confessing love for Pacific Rim in a decent society is not accepted, but both films in the series, even the rather mediocre Pacific Rim Uprising, seemed to be watched by all science fiction lovers. And if the third part ever comes out (there are rumors about a crossover with MonsterVerse and the return of Guillermo Del Toro), they will surely go to watch it.

Talk about an animated series based on the Pacific Rim universe, and in addition to the actual two films in it, of course, there are already several books, a pack of comics and even a video game, have been going on for a long time. Interest in continuing the story in the form of a cartoon series was expressed by Guillermo Del Toro in 2014, immediately after the release of the first film. Then it didn’t work out, a little later, when Netflix realized that anime was good for their audience, everything worked out.

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The main events of Pacific Rim: The Black take place at least five years after the events of Pacific Rim Uprising, at least the remnants of the drone rangers that brought so much trouble in the second film have long been rotting in the cemetery here. Despite the fact that Pentecoste Jr. and his company of half-trained cadets managed to destroy the mega-kaiju on the slope of Mount Fuji, rifts around the Pacific Ocean continue to appear. Because of this, people had to leave Australia, giving the entire continent under the rule of kaiju. Australia has become the very Dark Zone / The Black, a post-apocalyptic world where monsters rule, but there are also rare people who survive among the ruins and pursue their own goals. Something between Mad Max and The Last of Us. Pacific Rim: The Black is another journey through a near-desert world that has survived the collapse, only instead of zombies, there are kaiju, which now come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. But, of course, the main danger comes primarily from other people. Who would doubt that.

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This story begins with the fact that a group of children who did not have time to evacuate are stuck in the Australian outback for five long years. And then two of them, siblings Taylor and Hayley Travis (18 and 14), find an abandoned Atlas Destroyer training ranger… Naturally, it doesn’t end well. The children are forced to leave the settlement and go to Sydney, where they hope to find help from their parents.

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It is very difficult to talk about The Black without spoilers, especially since the series introduces many new concepts into the Pacific Rim universe. New types of rangers; new groups of people surviving on an abandoned continent; new data on drifting and solo piloting of the huntsman; new, and sometimes very, very unusual types of kaiju; new ways to use kaiju, yes, even so. By the way, about solo piloting… In the series there is a small cameo by Max Martini in the role of the same Hercules “Herk” Hansen from the first film.

Due to the fact that the functionality of Atlas Destroyer is limited for certain reasons, the fights between rangers and kaiju are not as spectacular as in the same Pacific Rim Uprising. Again, there is only one huntsman on the entire continent, moreover, managed by children with a minimum level of training. In addition, Taylor and Hayley are often forced to move around on their own two feet, which allows them to concentrate not only on fights, but also work out the characters’ characters a little better than in films. However, don’t expect anything super-genius, The Black’s characters are fairly standard for a series of this kind. Although they suffer from their own mistakes and blame themselves for all the bad things that happen around, when you need to act, they act.

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Pacific Rim: The Black was produced by Tokyo-based Polygon Pictures, which has long worked with Netflix and other Western companies. Their “pen” belongs to the lion’s share of Netflix anime, the same alternative series of films about Godzilla, Knights of Sidonia (by the way, a new part is released in 2021, the film Knights of Sidonia: Ai Tsumugu Hoshi), BLAME!, Ajin: Demi- Human, as well as Disney’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Resistance, Tron: Uprising, Hasbro’s Transformers: Prime, and many other films and series. So Polygon Pictures knows how to make anime about huge monsters and robots. Another thing is that not everyone likes the style of cel-shading 3D, in which all Polygon Pictures films are made. On the other hand, the authors do not abuse 3D, for the entire first season of Pacific Rim: The Black, the completely three-dimensional picture becomes literally a couple of times, the rest of the time quite successfully pretending to be 2D.

Back in 2019, Netflix announced that Pacific Rim: The Black would come in two seasons, but somehow forgot to warn viewers that they would be so short. In the first season of The Black, there are only seven episodes, each lasting 20-30 minutes. Moreover, the story ends at the end of the seventh episode literally in mid-sentence. Although the teenagers found important information, they did not reach their original goal. Plus, new details about their companions, revealed at the end of the season, completely turn our understanding of the Pacific Rim universe, and when you want to hear the continuation of the story, the authors cut it off. This is not very fair, especially since the release date for the second season (let’s not be surprised that this is seven more short episodes), traditionally for Netflix, has not yet been announced.

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To watch or not to watch Pacific Rim: The Black? Despite the fact that the series develops the Pacific Rim universe well and, by and large, even surpasses both films in terms of character development, I’m afraid it’s more logical to wait for the second season to see the story in its entirety, too many questions remain after an overly harsh, it seems even somewhat artificial final. In the meantime, you can bookmark the series. Although, I repeat, The Black is not bad at all, and a full-fledged triquel, after the rather modest financial results of Pacific Rim Uprising and in the current quarantine situation, we still will not see in the next couple of years.

Pros: Post-apocalyptic setting; expanding the lore of the Pacific Rim universe; new types of kaiju and rangers; pleasant protagonists Cons: Typical for Polygon Pictures style of drawing, which not everyone likes; the first season ends unexpectedly and somewhat artificially. Conclusion:

Pacific Rim: The Black lacks stars from heaven, but it is no worse than the same Pacific Rim Uprising, although the battles here, for some reason, are not as bright and dynamic as in the movies

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