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Suicide Squad Isekai Review (Episode #1-#3): Stir Crazy

If you ever want to see a bunch of DC Comics criminals run wild in a brand-new-yet-familiar fantasy world inspired by the likes of Rising of the Shield Hero or That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, Suicide Squad Isekai might sate your jollies. In fact, this may be this year’s most entertaining DC Comics offering in a while, even if it feels like an idea that should have been executed a few years back when the notorious group that is Task Force X were a bit of a hot commodity.

Frenetic Fantasy

Suicide Squad Isekai is what happens when you put crazy clown princess of crime Harley Quinn, vain metahuman shapeshifter-slash-terrible actor Clayface, stone-faced justice-at-all-cost killer Peacemaker, Deadshot, and obligatory OP muscle Killer Shark in a fantasy world. After getting captured by ARGUS and forced by CADMUS leader Amanda Waller into doing a dangerous mission (lest their heads explode via a bomb implanted at the back of their necks), the group ended up on said fantasy land, with a “radio tower” they need to find so that the bombs don’t trigger. There’s also a kingdom ruled by Queen Aldora with her own set of nefarious purposes in tasking the group to do her dirty work. You can tell she’s no good because the kingdom she’s ruling is in shambles, and her daughter Princess Fione is desperate for help from the chaotic group.

Oh, and the Suicide Squad ends up getting powers in this new world, which means going hog-wild with the killing and mayhem. Harley Quinn glows pink and has super-strength batting skills, and Clayface can manipulate all forms of clay like an earthbender from Nickelodeon’s Avatar series. If you are familiar with this iteration of Task Force X, the group opt to take the “easy” path out of the jams they’re in. They get mixed up in a war between orcs and humans? They kill off the orcs with prejudice and in style. They get trapped in a dungeon that’s within a heavily-guarded fort? They stage a prison breakout like they would back in their home dimension. Only instead of their shenanigans being gritty and violent, it’s incredibly colourful and violent, much like the Harley Quinn fight sequence in The Suicide Squad (2021) movie.

For all of the lovely animation work with some choice fight sequences spliced in, and the dynamic between the group steadily growing on me, it does feel a tad familiar and “safe”. I’m left wanting more depth and suspense out of this. Then again, there are only three episodes out and it’s clear as day that its zany anime take and comedic vibes mean we are getting a “clean” version of the group and their hijinxes. The show does a good job of setting the pace and expectations of what you should expect from an anime version of the Suicide Squad: lots of in-fighting bickering between the group, the group using their smarts to get out of a jam but ending up getting into a worse predicament, and them causing destruction and mayhem with no consequence to their well-being.

It’s definitely missing the dark vibes from past Suicide Squad animated shows (and the good live-action film) where you know one of the team members is going to die at any moment out of shock value. Or who ends up betraying the group. Or whether one of them will end up killing the other out of spite. On the other, we get to see the usually cold-blooded Task Force X leader Amanda Waller get down on it in the show’s ending video, playing to a pop song made by VTuber Mori Calliope.

It’s the saccharine-filled version of DC Comics’ most notorious serial killer and criminal wombo combo group, and it does have its funny moments & nice action setpieces. Noteworthy comedic scenes include Clayface relishing in the isekai concept (and his otaku knowledge) while also getting punched in the face by an orc in a failed attempt at diplomacy, squad leader Rick Flagg also fumbling up his talks with the natives, Deadshot’s definition of friendship in the second half of the third episode involving Suicide Squad alumni Ratcatcher, and anytime Killer Shark is on-screen.

At the very least, the diverse and colourful-yet-psychopathic personalities of each of the crooks are just as entertaining to watch in both Japanese and English.

All in all, I can’t wait to see more of this version of Suicide Squad, but probably because I do wonder if the series will take a more dramatic turn later, or keep on with the no-consequence wanton destruction comedy.

Subs or Dub?

Suicide Squad Isekai has both Japanese voice-overs with English subtitles and English dub. I’ve watched all three episodes in both versions, and after careful analysis, both versions are great to watch and there’s a lot of work put into both of them. If I had to pick one language however, I feel that the Japanese VO version edges out because motherf***ing Takehito “Dio Brando” Koyasu is voicing Peacemaker. Also, hearing JP Harley say “Pudding-chan” is rather fresh and unique.

Suicide Squad Isekai’s first three episodes are now out on HBO Go Asia. In the meantime, go check out these clipshows of the Suicide Squad at their best(?).

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