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What the hell is 'Helluva Boss'?

Edited by dronon, Sonious as of 12:40
Your rating: None Average: 4 (9 votes)

Helluva BossKeeping up with Flayrah's decades-long tradition of not reviewing (or even covering) animated shows until well after it's necessary, let's discuss Helluva Boss, a show about the misadventures of four demons from Hell who work as assassins.

I'd say most of Flayrah's audience is well aware of Helluva Boss. It would have won the 2020 Ursa Major Award for Best Dramatic Series, but then Beastars had to be translated into English, so never mind. Flayrah has a piece on Beastars currently planned for 2023. Furthermore, Helluva Boss is free on YouTube, and unlike My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, that's actually on purpose.

Granted there's only one character who is truly furry, and that's Loona the Hellhound. To be fair, she is really furry. On e621, "loona_(vivzmind)" results in over 2000 hits, so that's not too bad. To be less fair, she has the smallest role of the four main characters, to the point where her entire appearance in the second episode consists of her screaming obscenities offscreen. And in the episode that features her for any extended period of time, she's magically disguised as a human for the majority of it.

That being said, I'm still going to recommend furries at least try the series, because it features interesting non-human (if not exactly furry) character design. It has pretty good animation for a free YouTube series, and although it's got a dark, cynical sense of humor, it balances that with a strong moral center. That last one may come as a surprise, seeing as how the premise of the show is that the characters' job is to kill people.

As of this writing, there are currently five episodes available to watch out of a planned season of eight, plus an additional "Pilot" episode. My recommendation is that you skip the pilot, and watch the series from the beginning of season one. The characterizations in the pilot just don't hold true. Blitzo (the "o" is silent, but voice actor Brandon Rogers is not), the titular "boss", is a bit more professional in the main series. Moxxie (voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz) is less adversarial; Loona (voiced by Erica Lindbeck) is more reliable; and Millie (voiced by Vivian Nixon in the main series, but by Lindbeck in the pilot) isn't a little brown-noser. However, I do recommend watching the pilot eventually, in a DVD bonus sort of way. Because while it may be low on plot and loose with characterization, it's basically a string of jokes, most of which are actually pretty funny.

For a series set in Hell, the characters are quickly established as surprisingly moral. For demons, anyway. As an example, the emotional core of the first episode is built around Moxxie's character, faced with a dilemma when the client's target for assassination is the mother of an all-American family. Moxxie actually works as the moral center of the series. He may be a demonic assassin, but he actually has scruples about his work, has a strong sense of fair play and justice, and furthermore is in a monogamous relationship with someone he loves.

The show in general has the characters respect that sort of relationship. Besides Moxxie and Millie obviously caring for each other, Loona also respects the boundaries of such a relationship. Blitzo, on the other hand, doesn't. His indiscretions with the owl-like Demon Prince Stolas (voiced by Bryce Pinkham), however, are explicitly shown to have unfortunate consequences for Stolas, and, by extension, himself.

This is not to say that even Blitzo has no sense of family obligations. Loona is his adopted daughter. The odd characterization of the pilot makes this adoption seem like it might be a "dog joke", but the actual series makes it clear that Blitzo's relationship with Loona, if odd, is pure on his end. And, while we're on the subject of Loona, despite her current position as "furry sex goddess", she comes off as fairly virginal for a demon. On one hand, she makes an effective honey trap in one episode. On the other hand, in that same episode, she's awkward around the one character to whom she's actually sexually attracted.

LoonaWell, enough about morality and ethics. I'm about to make this show sound like the spiritual successor to Veggie Tales. It's not. Rest assured, there is something in each episode you can find to offend you at some point. You won't even really have to look that hard. There is graphic violence, almost explicit sex, gross humor, horrific language and liberal politics.

The show is the creation of Vivienne "Vivziepop" Medrano, who has a history of using anthropomorphic animals in her work. Another of her productions did not have to compete with Beastars, so it actually won a 2020 Ursa Major. Her style definitely reminds me of Invader Zim. (Of course, Moxxie being voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz, who was also the voice of that show's titular character, helps make that connection a bit more obvious.) To steal a line from myself, Helluva Boss is Invader Zim discovering that he is no longer on TV, so he can say the f-word now (except I mean that in a positive way this time).

Helluva Boss is the sister series of (and shares a universe with) another Vivziepop production, Hazbin Hotel, which is just a pilot at the moment. Cult movie distributor A24 has picked it up with the aim of turning it into an actual (not just for free on YouTube) series. Which isn't to say Helluva Boss is a throwaway show. The most recent episode featured the voice of fan-favorite Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, and the episode's ending strongly implied he will be a recurring character going forward. Of course, another Walking Dead alumnus, Steven Yeun, was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the Best Picture nominated Minari. I mean, I'm sure Reedus is playing a snake demon on a YouTube series because he wants to, but maybe should've got your head bashed in when you had the chance, there, Norman.

My recommendation: go watch an episode. If it's not for you, click off to a cute cat video or whatever, you won't be out anything. You don't need a review to help you make a decision!

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

It's an awesome show! I don't think there's been anything in it that came close to offending me. There are some bits that are not as good as others but the quality is extremely high almost everywhere (budget allowing). Given you touch on Loona's popularity in the fandom, I'm surprised you completely neglected to mention the little call out to... certain fans.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Apparently it was the fans of Owl Lord Stolas and his daughter, Octavia, that got the person running that promotional blog thing to just basically tell them "Please stop, you are being gross."

Reminder this was someone basically RPing as demon from Hell.

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I guess you're talking about this deleted post, referenced by this one and maybe this one?

Seems there were a lot of those accounts. Still amused that Loona's outscored FLO at the UMAs.

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What? No. I have no idea what either of you are talking about. I don't even use Instagram or Reddit. I mean this, in the actual episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFuIRp4vehk

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Oh, yeah, I knew that scene, and that was the one you were talking about.

I don't do the Instagram stuff either; truth be told, I read about it on ... TVTropes trivia pages. (Hey, during the pandemic, I was going to edit some Oscar pages, and I learned you now have to sign up; they rejected my application to join! I don't know what that says about Flayrah's standards.) Apparently the "glare at the camera" scene was written before the character blogs were a thing, meaning the people on the show were aware and expecting people to create explicit "works" with the characters. They apparently didn't tell one of the bloggers, or something, and they couldn't take it.

On one hand, it's kind of funny because what the fuck did they expect? On the other hand, it's also kind of funny because, well, my original comment's joke.

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I don't know what they're looking at me for, I'm not much into Goth girls.

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In my honest (and obviously incorrect) opinion, there are no real out-of-character moments in the pilot. It has almost no plot, and that may be why it seems like it. But I did not see any inconsistencies. That, and Vivian would not do that to her characters anyway. She cares way too much and is creatively in charge.

Well, I'll be...

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a red fox

New teeth. That's weird.