We don’t know much about the animated series Skull Island that ties into the MonsterVerse – which makes us like most fans and commentators out there. It’s strange since the show drops on Netflix this week, but not unexpected when there has been nary any promotion by the streaming giant or Legendary Entertainment apart from the teaser image of Kong’s footprint.
That image was released several months ago, well before our first glimpse of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. After all that, with a few weeks of more breathing room for good measure, a trailer hit the web at the beginning of June. The clip is all there is piquing interest, but it offers telling revelations.
For one thing, we can tell Skull Island will be teeming with all the gigantic creepy crawlies Kong is used to fighting or hunting and devouring. Accounted for are a giant octopus, a giant crablike monster, a giant alligator Kong eats, a never-before-seen lion species that works with humans and sort of resembles a bulldog, and those pesky yet fearsome Skullcrawlers.
The trailer also shows us that we might not be in for the type of anime that was advertised. Skull Island’s animation style looks somewhat similar to the Godzilla anime trilogy that too takes up residence at Netflix, but the resemblance is only slight and doesn’t capture the same sense of primal dread or otherworldly dystopia Kong’s home should have.
Camp Cretaceous might be a better basis for comparison as there is an akin sense of rompishness. Also in alignment with the Jurassic World-inspired cartoon, Skull Island has a cast of characters in way over their heads, and who seem to be following in the footsteps of Hank Marlow – John C. Reilly’s character in the MonsterVerse.
Well, every character except one, it seems. Among the teenagers stranded on Skull Island is a girl – the daughter of a mercenary, we’re guessing, who befriends the lion dog and manages to survive on her own. It also appears that her father leads an extraction team scouring the hellish island to find her, which could be one of the main subplots.
She might not require any rescuing, however, as the trailer makes a point to illustrate this girl is more than capable of handling herself. Halfway through, we see her meet the dimwitted male leads and ask rhetorically, “Are all boys as useless as you?” Defeated, they answer in the affirmative – “Yeah…pretty much.” Before that, the girl thwarts two insurgents without help.
This brief but highlighted exchange could be a bad sign that Skull Island is woke – a prospect done zero favors by the lack of marketing for the series. It’s almost as if Netflix pulled back because they know how bad or cliche their “anime” is when by and large, real anime and manga have carefully avoided this trap.
So has the MonsterVerse, thus far, while other Warner Bros. franchises and IPs across the board at Disney sink deeper and deeper into newer lows. Either things are about to change for Legendary or they have a single misfire on their hands. Or it could be this is one isolated moment in the whole show and it turns out to be a lot of fun.
From the studio that brought us the Castlevania anime, Skull Island premieres on Netflix on June 22, and from what we’ve heard, it consists of eight episodes that are each 20 minutes or so long. That would have been enough material for a feature or two, but they chose to stretch it out. Let us know if you’ll binge it in the comments below.