Hazbin Hotel (Season 1) Review

Four years ago, “Viziepop” casually dropped the YouTube video “Hazbin Hotel (Pilot)” and immediately it gained humongous attraction for its animations, characters, style and writing as an adult-themed cartoon. But people were only left with a half-hour video and unless you religiously followed Viziepop, there wasn’t much information regarding the Hazbin Hotel universe. But then Amazon Prime announced that it had picked up the series, and on January 19th, 4 years after the pilot release, it finally released, with the last two episodes of season 1 airing February 2nd. But has the wait been worth it, and for those that haven’t followed this phenomenon, is it worth your time?

The story follows the princess of Hell, Charlie Morningstar (Erika Henningsen) as she and her girlfriend, Vaggie (Stephanie Beatriz), attempts to redeem the sinners of Hell to save them from the extermination that the angels execute once a year. Together with their band of misfits at the Hazbin Hotel, they try to figure out what the road to redemption is. But there is the mystery of where Lucifer and Lillith are, what the Radio Demon’s ulterior motives are for helping Charlie, and why exactly Heaven is dead set on killing the inhabitants of Hell. I will note, the show expects you to have watched the pilot on YouTube before watching the first episode, it picks up right after it. You can most likely catch up without having watched it, but it will be a whiplash in the beginning with the lack of explanation of certain aspects and characters presence.

 

Season 1 does a lot of groundwork in terms of worldbuilding but never feels like a season dedicated to simply that, it has intrigues and fun in of its own.

The story and concept of Hazbin Hotel seems simple on the surface, but it’s clear that there’s a deep lore here that is ready to be explored, and although this season doesn’t have the time to dig into every cavity of it, there’s enough presented to keep you interested and intrigued for where it will go. The season is only 8 episodes, each lasting approximately 23 minutes, so the show sometimes suffers from a rapid pacing, where some conflicts get resolved hurriedly to jump unto the next plot point. It’s not off-putting, but definitely something noticeable. But as I watched the final episode, I felt myself already being excited for season 2. Season 1 does a lot of groundwork in terms of worldbuilding but never feels like a season dedicated to simply that, it has intrigues and fun in of its own.

It may be an adult cartoon, however, one thing to note before throwing yourself headfirst into this show, it’s technically a musical. There are two musical numbers in every episode, and despite my hesitance when I initially heard this, they have completely won me over. I have already listened to multiple on repeats, and most of them are delightful and different enough that there is most likely something for everyone here. And the voice cast absolutely nails every single performance!

Erika Henningsen captures the hopeful glee of Charlie, and Amir Talai plays the sadistic yet charismatic Alastor to perfection and the rest of the cast follow suite

Speaking of the voice cast, most of the original voice cast of the pilot have been replaced by Broadway names or people affiliated with musicals. After the first trailer dropped, the internet was buzzing with discourse, some enjoyed the new voice cast, while others missed the old. But after watching the whole season, there is not a single miscast here, and everyone does a fantastic job in their respective roles. Erika Henningsen captures the hopeful glee of Charlie, and Amir Talai plays the sadistic yet charismatic Alastor to perfection and the rest of the cast follow suite.

The animation is just as excellent as it always was, with vibrant colors and vivid character expressions. A big shoutout to the immaculate character designs of everyone, some designs have been updated from the pilot and they all look great. They’re all visually interesting to look at and brimming with style, much reflective the rest of the show. Even during the big musical numbers, they throw in some creative imagery, giving the vibe of an adult-themed Disney musical, further heightening the enjoyment of these musical features.

 

Verdict

Hazbin Hotel (Season 1) is an absolute blast in every aspect, from the fun end engaging story and the brilliant musical numbers to the excellent voice cast and fabulous animations. The story may be slightly fast paced for some, with character development and stories that doesn’t get time to breathe before heading onwards to the next. But this doesn’t overshadow the terrific basis the show has established, and it’s worth dedicating your time to. And for fans of the pilot, rejoice, it has been worth the wait. Hopefully it won’t be four years until season 2 (which has been confirmed to be in development).

Season 1 of Hazbin Hotel has been a blast of a performance, and I cannot wait for an encore.

Forfatter

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