*****SPOILERS FOR THE LEGENDS OF VOX MACHINA AND CRITICAL ROLE CAMPAIGN ONE*****
I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. I know it has been quite awhile since I last wrote a Weekly Blog. A month to be exact. But I knew that I couldn’t keep putting off this Weekly Blog all about The Legend of Vox Machina, Critical Role’s Animated Series on Amazon Prime. I watched the series when it first came out but just didn’t get around to telling you all my thoughts on the series. But no longer. I will tell you everything I think about this series and how excited I am for future seasons.
But first I want to quickly talk about all the things I’ve published in the last month. I’ll quickly run through them. On February 20th, 2022 I published a Weekly Blog all about Pokemon Legends Arceus. I’m a huge fan of Pokemon and I’ve played at least one game from every generation of Pokemon. I encourage you to read my Weekly Blog to get the full review of the game, but it should be no surprise that I loved Pokemon Legends Arceus and I hope that they make more Pokemon games in this style. Since publishing that blog I’ve enjoyed playing Pokemon Legends Arceus even more. I’ve caught every Unown, filled out my entire Pokedex, and even fought and captured literal Pokemon god. It’s been a blast. In this past month I’ve also published several Poems titled “Love And Mythos”, “Overwhelmed”, and “Never Understood.” I’m not going to dive too deep into each of them individually but I encourage you to read them and just spend some time in the Poetry section on the website. I wouldn’t consider myself a great writer at poetry but every now and then I surprise myself with some decent stuff. Check them out if you haven’t already. Last Friday I published a Creative Writing piece titled “The Princess Ward”. This is a short piece that I might end up continuing in the future because I had a ton of fun writing it. Basically it follows Princess Margaret as she slips away from a huge party that is being thrown in her honor. Her ward and protector, Kora, follows her and they have a conversation about the celebration as well as Princess Margartet’s potential role in the kingdom. I really enjoyed the dynamic I created between these two characters and I’d love to revisit in a future piece. Let me know if that’s something you’d enjoy. Finally, this past Friday I published the latest chapter in my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, “The Copper Pot (D&D).” Our group of adventurers have left Xylon and have started to head north back toward Frost Haven. They know they need to move quickly, but also with a bit of stealth in order to keep Riffen safe. Their first stop is the town of Augendale where they first met a woman named Chistine who works at the general store named The Copper Pot. I know that was a lot but I hope that you all enjoyed that rundown of the pieces I published in the last month. If you haven’t read any or all of those, I highly recommend them. Now onto the actual topic of this week’s Weekly Blog.
Many of you already know that not only am I a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons and an even bigger fan of Critical Role. For those who are somehow unaware of this juggernaut in the D&D Space, Critical Role is a streamed show on Twitch where a bunch of prominent voice actors play Dungeons and Dragons together. What started out as just some friends playing Dungeons and Dragons together has turned into the biggest, most popular D&D Twitch stream. Riding that wave of success the people over at Critical Role launched a kickstarter hoping to raise money to make an animated special that would cover a story involving their Campaign One group Vox Machina. This kickstarter was absolutely massive and it became one of the most successful kickstarters of all time. Due to this animated special ballooned into a whole season starting with the original story planned and then a segway into the first major arc of campaign one, The Briarwood Arc. This got even bigger when Amazon announced they would be putting the show on Amazon Prime and funding a second season.
So this show titled “Legends of Vox Machina” just released on Amazon Prime about a month and a half ago and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. It’s not very surprising that I’d love this show but this show just does so many things right. Critical Role is a show that originally played out over several hours split up into episodes. The first campaign was 115 episodes that averaged about four hours per episode. That is a lot of content which intimates viewers who want to watch but don’t think they have the time for it. That’s also a lot of content for the show to pull from. Many fans, including myself, wondered what would be included in the show and what would be cut out. Would this animated show be able to keep the spirit of the original stream or would the medium of live Dungeons and Dragons be hard to translate to this show? Well when the show came out, we got our answer. In my opinion, this animated show really takes the things that made the original streamed show great and really adds to them. We have some classic bits like Vox Machina struggling to open doors on several occasions. We get to see Vex’s ranger sense in a way that’s reminiscent of Spider-man’s Spidersense. We get to see Grog and Scanlan hanging out and joking around. We get to see awkward Keyleth really try to step up into this group. Of course I should mention that every line that comes out of Percy’s mouth is just so good and most of them were actual lines that Talesin just came up with while playing this character live at the table.
This show also does a great job of retexturizing stuff or showing us a bigger perspective that we didn’t get with the live show. For one the first two episodes of the animated show is a story that we heard about but never got to see because it happened pre-stream. Vox Machina has to go track down a monster that’s terrorizing the countryside only to find that it’s a massive, Blue Dragon named Brimscythe. Then through some investigations Vox Machina finds out that this Brimscythe and General Kreig, high ranking military official who sits on the Tal’Dorei council, is one in the same. It was awesome seeing this fight we had only heard about. Then there’s the backstory of Percy and Whitestone which is another thing we got to hear about, but the show gives us the flashback. We get to see what Percy and his sister Cassandra were like before The Briarwoods showed up to murder everyone. Speaking of The Briarwoods, we get to see the moment where Delilah almost loses Silas and turns to the dark powers of necromancy given to her by Vecna/The Whispered One. It’s all so good. Plus I haven’t even talked about everything with Pike. Pike Trickfoot is played by Ashley who wasn’t a consistent player at the table due to the fact that she was busy filing another show in New York while Critical Role was streaming from Los Angeles. This led to Pike/Ashely missing many sessions of Critical Role. But with this animated show we got to see what Pike was doing during her moments away. The visuals when she is deep in meditation talking to the goddess Sarenrae/The Everlight! Oh! It is so good. Honestly the animation for the entire show is so good. I love it.
Not only do we get these moments we didn’t get to see on stream, but we also get to see streamed moments restructured and repackaged for the show. The team making the show knew they needed to have a gag of Vox Machina struggling with doors but then took that and added to another part of the story and strengthened the entire thing. It was like everyone involved knew that this would be a more streamlined, better version of the thing they already made. Don’t get me wrong. I love Vox Machina and that stream and I’d happily go back and watch it all again. But this show is also really good in its own way. It’s almost like we have a multiverse where the same characters did a thing in a very similar way and both ways are great for their own reasons.
I do have one gripe with the show and that is actually part of the animation. And I know I just said that I loved the animation of the show, and I do. There are some spectacular moments where I was blown away by the animation. But one thing that bothers me is how the dragons look. I don’t know all the technical terms and I’m not an animator so I’m probably wrong about some things but the dragons in this series are animated like they are a three dimensional model in a two dimensional space. I know that’s not exactly right but what I mean is that it’s a different animation style. It’s not even something that’s unique in this show because I’ve seen similar things in the anime “Gate” and Neflix’s animated show “The Dragon Prince.” It’s like the large monsters are animated differently. This is probably done for budget reasons or maybe just to show the importance of these giant monsters, but personally I would have preferred if everything was just animated the same way. Again I don’t know much or really anything about animation so I could totally be talking nonsense here but I can tell that the dragons are different from everything and I think it makes it stick out in a not so great way. The rest of the animation was spectacular and I think the team over at Titmouse did a great job.
Overall I’m really happy with how The Legend of Vox Machina’s first season came out and it will definitely be a show I revisit from time to time. Honestly, writing this Weekly Blog makes me want to go watch it again. And I think it’s a show that non-Critical Role fans would really enjoy as well. It obviously speaks to me as a fan of Critical Role but I could see people who just love fantasy stories enjoying this show as well. So if you read all of this and you haven’t seen the show or watched any Critical Role content, I recommend you boot up your Amazon Prime Account and you watch this show. As for me I’m going to be counting down the days until we get season two of the show. I liked the Briarwood Arc but The Chroma Conclave Arc is some of my favorite content period. I hope we get two, three, even four seasons of the Chroma Conclave Arc. Pump it into my veins already!!
Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog all about The Legend of Vox Machina and my love for all things Critical Role. I really hoped you liked that Weekly Blog or at least that you are a fan of Critical Role and enjoyed reading my thoughts on the show. If you did like this Weekly Blog, I hope that you would hit the Like button. This lets me know what sort of stuff you enjoy reading and what stuff I should focus on when writing. You can also leave a comment down below with your thoughts on The Legend of Vox Machina. DId you like it? Love it? Hate it? I’d love to discuss this show with anyone and everyone down in the comments. If you really liked this Weekly Blog and want to see more of the stuff I write, you should Follow Me here on WordPress. This way you will see the stuff I write on your readers feed the minute I publish it. I’m trying to build a positive and creative space on the internet and you Following helps me build that community. I’m trying to reach 1,000 Followers by the end of the year and with your help we can do it. I really do appreciate all the love and support I get from my readers, new and old, Follower and lurker. All of it means so much to me and I’m blown away by how nice people are when it comes to reading my stuff. Things can be so tough sometimes, but I’m uplifted by the people around the world who read the stuff I write and like it. So thank you!
Thank you again for all the love and support and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to The Legend of Vox Machina’s IMDb page.