Image from: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10106108/
Today I’m reviewing the recently released Netflix anime Seis Manos. A gritty tale of three orphans, grown at the time of the anime, who were trained by an kung fu master in Mexico. The story takes place in the 1970’s and features a supernatural element that serves as the subplot in the dynamic of the characters.
As it happens the master of the three orphans, Isabela, Jesus and Silencio, is killed early on and they are sent on a fateful journey to discover the truth behind their master Chiu’s past, the connection to their own past and the sleepy little town that they call home. No one is quite as they seem. Enter the DEA agent, Brister, sent to cover the mystery of an unknown drug-lord that is the rival to main antagonist El Balde. Brister teams up with Mexican police officer Garcia to uncover the deeper root of evil within the town. As the series progress we discover that Chiu held a forbidden secret, El Balde wasn’t a great son and magic and immortality played integral parts to the plot.
So onto the review. First off the animation was a great draw for me in that it reminded me of some of the shows from the late 90’s to early 2000’s that focused on the Japanese style anime but tried to draw enough differences in order to make it something unique yet familiar. It wasn’t as clean as other shows are but that was part of the appeal for me as I watched the show. As the magic was introduced the visuals looked slightly different. The supernatural aspect of the show felt familiar. I grew up with stories of the American southwest and Mexican folklore and this series included many of the basic elements of those old stories. Witches and other worldly scenes showcase the later episodes while the natural healers give a great depth to the earlier scenes.
Speaking of the other worldly scenes; those are done with such beauty and reverence that you feel like you are taken to another realm. The animators’ use of color and filters really shine through and present stunning visuals that left me wanting more. The flashbacks, while tragic for the most part, hold a story of their own and help to move the story along and even give you deeper meanings behind some characters that could be further explored in future seasons. The voice cast, mostly animated show veterans and featuring Danny Trejo, did an admirable job in telling a story and giving life to the characters.
As the basis for the story was kung fu mastery and Daoist teachings this show really did an excellent job in bringing the eastern philosophy out to the forefront without being overbearing. I’d have liked to see more of the kung fu teaching of the orphans from their youth, perhaps in flashbacks, but maybe that will come in future seasons. The quotes in the opening card at the beginning of each season were awesome to see and something that led me to research more. Still I’d have like to see more of the eastern supernatural influences mingle with the Mexican supernatural folklore. The brief glimpses that we got were done well but very brief. Having something tie in the two cultures more would have made for something unique and special. There was a flashback with a Kung Fu (TV Series) character Kwai Chang Caine feel and that was appreciated but in some ways that made for more questions into the linear storyline. Not a bad thing but something that did make me ponder the character backgrounds more.
All that said the show is one definitely worth checking out and at a 30 minute episode run time you don’t have much to lose. With such a deep story and amazing visuals I’m sure we will see at least a season 2 very soon!
My vote is 4.5 out of 5 Stars!!