Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 Review
The Pacific Rim franchise is in a weird spot right now. After the dismal reception of 2018’s Pacific Rim: Uprising (a film I enjoyed as a Saturday Morning-inspired romp), it almost seemed any new potential Pacific Rim media was dead in the water. But like a Jaeger mech, Legendary would repair this franchise that started with Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece with the Netflix anime series Pacific Rim: The Black!
Debuting last year, the first season of Pacific Rim: The Black follows two siblings, Taylor and Hayley, who were left behind when Australia became overrun with kaiju and the world essentially quarantined the continent in a protocol known as “The Black”.
Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 follows the siblings’ continued journey across the Australian outback in their Jaeger mech Atlas Destroyer with two new allies, the gruff former mercenary Mei and the mute kaiju/human hybrid simply named “Boy”. The danger, however, continues to follow our group of survivors with the enigmatic cult known as The Sisters of the Kaiju, who worship and control the kaiju that reign over the continent.
Show developers and co-writers Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle clearly loved Pacific Rim and after one hell of a cliffhanger in the first season, does Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 live up to the potential as this is also the last season? Well, after bingeing the seven-episode-long season, I have to say hell yes!
Go Big Or Go Extinct
First off, it’s a little disingenuous for this to be billed as a second season as both seasons of Pacific Rim: The Black is one part of one series. They show this in “episode one” of Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 as it picks up imminently after the last “season” as if it was the next episode rather than the start of the new season.
This can be very jarring for those who haven’t seen the first season since its release. I had the benefit of re-watching the previous season before release, but I feel those who haven’t seen the series in a while might get some whiplash.
A benefit of this instant pick-up of the last season, however, is that the show would continue not wasting time and the plot continues without delay. This fast-paced, straightforward approach to storytelling is Pacific Rim: The Black’s greatest strength, as the tension of this dangerous setting is borderline nonstop. We rarely get any downtime aside from brief moments of great character stuff as in a weird way Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 feels like the kaiju version of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Throughout Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2 we get some of the darkest moments for both the Pacific Rim franchise and a lot of kaiju media as this series does not hold any punches on just how much of a threat both the kaiju and the Sisters of the Kaiju who are truly the main threat of this season.
The Sisters are one of my favorite things of this season as we get teased for kaiju cultists from the first two Pacific Rim films, but are kind of played as background world-building or even somewhat of a joke. In Pacific Rim: The Black season 2, however, The Sisters are pretty damn scary. May times they corner our protagonists into trap after trap and each time things don’t come out pretty.
Another significant aspect of Pacific Rim: The Black was the animation. When it was first announced Polygon Pictures would be behind the animation for this series, I became incredibly hesitant as my last experience with Polygon was the Godzilla Anime Trilogy which I am not a fan of.
But in Pacific Rim: The Black they made some solid-looking animation, which was co-directed by Hiroyuki Hayashi and Jae-hong Kim, especially the kaiju vs. eager fights. Each fight is full of tension and with how well established just how deadly the kaiju are in this series, each fight feels like it mattered and is not padding.
The voice cast was also pretty good this season in Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2. Gideon Adlon as Hayley and Calum Worthy as Taylor worked excellently with each other as siblings, trying to make hard decisions for both their survival and to save those around them. Adlon especially captures the emotional turmoil in her performance as Hayley. The other voice cast did pretty great, such as Victoria Grace as Mei and Erica Lindbeck as Atlas Destroyer’s AI Loa.
If Pacific Rim: The Black season 2 had any issues to point out, it’s that it introduces new dynamics that almost instantly end (usually by being killed by a kaiju). Major characters both introduced in this season and returning from the last bring in enticing new dynamics to this series but it seems the series is so dead set on making its destination it uses these story beats to move along and then discards it once it’s used as needed.
The biggest example of this is the return of last season’s human antagonist Shane, leading a band of mercenaries known as Bogun, who makes a big comeback but without spoiling his role in this season, is immediately disregarded once they fulfilled his role.
Also, as a Pacific Rim fan, some explanation of what happened between Pacific Rim: Uprising and this series would be nice. Sure, I praised this series for having a smaller, more personal story instead of the massive scale seen in the last Pacific Rim films, but some more history within the series (and not in tie-in material) would’ve been nice. If you want an elaborate breakdown of the season’s finale be sure to check out this piece from Comic Book Resources.
Will Pacific Rim: The Black Have A Season 3?
No there will not be a third season of Pacific Rim: The Black. With a thoroughly wrapped story, Netflix has decided to cancel further installments of Pacific Rim: The Black.
Canceling The Apocalypse
Pacific Rim: The Black season 2 is a great conclusion to a brilliant series. While it has some rough edges, overall the series shows that there is a promise for the Pacific Rim franchise to continue in television form. The first Pacific Rim remains one of the best kaiju films of all time and the amount of cool potential this world could provide is immeasurable. Hopefully Legendary has more planned for Pacific Rim in the future.
What Did You Think Of Pacific Rim: The Black Season 2?
What did you think of Pacific Rim: The Black season 2? Do you hope to see more Pacific Rim shows in the future? Let us know on social media today!