Need an escape from the horrors of 2021? Well, Netflix’s new animated series Centaurworld is here to help. Created by Megan Nicole Dong, the stunning and surreal cartoon is a total delight. And every time you think you’ve got a handle on where it’s headed it’ll surprise you. So hop on your horse and get ready to ride.
So what’s Centaurworld about? Well, we begin in a war torn world where Horse (Kimiko Glenn) and Rider (Jessie Mueller) are running from murderous hordes. Stunning animation immediately brings to mind some of our favorite animated shows, The Legend of Korra in particular. It’s epic in scope and filled with emotion, which peaks as Rider sings Horse a song. This is the first of many catchy and emotive songs you’ll hear in Centuarworld. Taking cues from Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Craig of the Creek, this feels like a worthy peer to our favorite magical musical shows, but when Horse falls over a cliff things look dire. But it turns out that the adventure is only just beginning.
Gone are the stormy skies and furious soldiers and instead Horse wakes in a pastel hued dreamworld. It’s there that she meets Wammawink (Megan Hilty), Zulius (Parvesh Cheena), Ched (Chris Diamantopoulos), Glendale (Megan Nicole Dong), and Durpleton (Josh Radnor). The overly cheery crew of Centaurs inhabit the titular world with much glee and many songs. But what seems like a simple fish out of water set up hides something much more moving, dark, and complex. See the shiny, sing-song land of Centaurworld isn’t all it seems. Horse’s arrival shakes up the colorful crew leading to found family adventure of epic proportions.
It’s not hyperbole to say that everything about Centaurworld is great. The dueling animation styles are constantly impressive and engaging. It’s filled with writing that’s both witty and kind. The voice talent brings charm and humor to its wild cast. And the songs are honestly some of the best we’ve heard in the contemporary wave of animated musicals. Taking its cues from cartoons as eclectic as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Spongebob, this is an animated series made by people who love animated series. And if the emotional songs, dramatic character arcs, and vibrant stories of sisterhood don’t get you, the hilarious gag faces will. Yep, this is a show which lavishes in ridiculous and meme-able character expressions. From the first trailer the strangeness of the Centaurs was obvious and it’s always embraced in the most fun and occasionally unsettling (in the best) way.
Without getting too far into spoiler territory there’s something darker lurking under the surface of Centaurworld. That reveal won’t surprise fans of the many cartoons we’ve already mentioned. Just like those shows there’s a sweet colorful facade that hides something deeper and stranger. So if the technicolor sing-a-long doesn’t seem like its for you… stick around and you might find that scarier series that you’ve been waiting for hidden within. It’s a shift that might shock some viewers but it works.
Centaurworld is another impressive addition to Netflix’s animated offerings. It’ll likely hit with audiences of all ages. Adults will enjoy the humor and emotional depth while younger viewers will fall in love with the outrageous character designs and immersive world. There’s something truly special here. This feels like the kind of show which people will still be talking about in 20 years. So aren’t you lucky that you can just switch on your TV and watch it right now? We’re living in a golden age of inventive animation and Centaurworld is a peak example of it. Ingenuity, comedy, surprisingly dark depth, brilliant animation, it’s all here. Bring on season two because we cannot wait!
Centaurworld is streaming on Netflix.