The Cuphead Show! Review (Possible Spoilers)

Christopher Oliver, Staff Writer

*Spoilers below will attempt to be as brief and gray as possible, as not to ruin the series for anyone who would like to watch it*


The Cuphead Show! Is a recently added TV Series on Netflix based on the critically acclaimed video game Cuphead. The game came out in 2017 by Indie Studio MDHR and has been praised for its charm and unique 1930s animation theme, which the show also takes inspiration from.


Cuphead acts and moves like any classic cartoon character would

 At its roots, The Cuphead Show can be closely compared to shows around the Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry era. The slapstick humor and comedy closely resemble that of shows like Bugs Bunny, being very witty and unique to modern types of kids’ shows. However, this can possibly be seen as a bad thing, as a few episodes have extremely cliche tropes, most of which are its weakest episodes. This would have been a minor blow to the show’s overall enjoyment if there had been more than just 12 episodes aired. Episodes 2 and 6 specifically, seem to be the most uncreative and generic of the bunch. The tropes shown in these episodes, like the chaotic baby or a multitude of haunting ghosts in a cemetery, seem to be very uncreative, and just a copy-paste of a bunch of other shows that have done this already, but just with Cuphead characters.


Cuphead and Mugman are hilarious characters on their own

 Admittedly, the characters (Specifically Mugman) do carry these episodes that are still decent, but definitely, the worst of the 12 episodes aired.  The episodes that shine, however, are the ones that focus more on the video game’s own characters. Such characters include Elder Kettle, whose personality in the series is much more built upon than in the video game. Unlike many older fictional characters, Elder Kettle is not a wise old man who gives the best advice, but a person with a large number of flaws that make him quirky, and hilarious. Cuphead and Mugman themselves (Voiced by Tru Valentino and Frank Todaro) are a delight to watch onscreen, and their chemistry really carries what could have been a really bad episode, and make it enjoyable from start to finish. Tru and Frank absolutely nailed the voice acting, and it shows! The first time I saw their faces I was blown away by how those men were voicing such young high pitched boys. Another excellent character, The Devil, is absolutely one of the best characters in the show. Not a single bad episode was made when The Devil appeared on-screen, as his flamboyance and overall hilariousness were very entertaining.

Various character designs in the show were made to fit the Golden Age of Animation, such as characters that appear like animals, food, telephones, and of course, cups; which is a perfect attribute the show carried from the video game. While the show does take its inspiration from the game, it is not a carbon copy of the video game’s plot. While Cuphead still owes The Devil his soul, there is no quest to fetch any contracts or potions that let you snap bullets at enemies. Some minor appearance changes were made to some of the bosses that do show up, mainly Ribby and Croaks’ more sophisticated outfits, but they don’t drastically change the characters to the point of being unrecognizable and are still just as charming (if not better) than they were in the games. Though it is disappointing that a lot of the iconic bosses don’t show up in the game, such as Hilda Burg, Dr. Khal, and Cagney Carnation. There are even some bosses like Cala Maria and Captain Briney Beard who make a quick cameo in the intro, but they never fully appear or have any relevance to the plot of an episode, which could be fixed in later seasons. King Dice semi averts this issue, and his character is quite charming in the one episode he’s in, but after that The Devil reprimands him and he never returns, which seems like a huge missed potential. While sad, it’s also quite nice that they produced and animated the show more like a traditional Disney or Warner Bros animation (Like Silly Symphonies or Animaniacs). 

The Cuphead Video Game

The plot itself varies from episode to episode, with only 2 episodes intertwining with each other (that being episodes 8-9), but since the writers did not adapt the game’s plot into the show, there is an endless amount of content that can be added in the future. Each episode adds personality to the bosses and characters found in the games, and makes them entertaining, even if they are only in one episode. In the season finale, we are introduced to Mrs. Chalice, a character who hasn’t even been released in the Cuphead game, as she will be DLC in the future. although only appearing in one episode, she is already an adoring character, and the episode perfectly sets up for more content in the future. Hopefully, with more seasons released, viewers will be able to fully experience the wackiness and hilariousness of Cuphead and Mugman.

Score: While not the most original or creative show, it takes tropes and past ideas from 20th-century animation and blends them with modern animation, letting younger viewers get a taste of what their parents used to watch as a kid. Overall, not the perfect show, but it does its job as a funny and entertaining show, and many issues could be fixed by simply having more seasons and content, thus giving it a 7/10.