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The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

A junior girls group (L to R: Ava Nauman, Elsie MacCleery, Caroline Grist, Lucy Vigilante, Ella Pinto, Emily See, Gigi Hathaway, Jean-Nika VDW, Mackenzie Kinnan)  sings Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars for their singing valentine.
Singing Valentines Gallery
Cooper Shelton, Staff Writer • February 20, 2024

“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” Delivers the Ultimate Scott Pilgrim Experience

This is what the Scott Pilgrim story was always meant to be
An+iconic+clash+revisited%2C+just+before+things+go+south+for+Scott.
Credit: Credit: Netflix
An iconic clash revisited, just before things go south for Scott.

Following up on Brian Lee O’Malley’s cult-classic comics and Edgar Wright’s hit film adaptation, “Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” reimagines the Scott Pilgrim story.

Instantly, fans of the original series or O’Malley’s intervening work will feel right at home. With O’Malley as a collaborator, acclaimed animation studio Science SARU combines clean, fluid motion with the instantly recognizable art style of the Scott Pilgrim comics and O’Malley’s other early works. The result is a stylish new look backed up by a rock-solid understanding of what made the original art stand out.

The story starts off adhering tightly to the comics, but – mild spoilers ahead! – things instantly feel just a little off. The story still begins with the strange, lonely dream that inspires twenty-something dirtbag Scott Pilgrim to pursue his (literal) dream girl and maybe, just maybe, grow as a person; but the dialogue is ever so slightly different. At the party where he discovers that the girl from his dream is real and named Ramona Flowers, he still awkwardly opens a conversation with obscure video game trivia, but this time it’s about Sonic. An acquaintance tells him Ramona delivers DVDs for Netflix, but that doesn’t set up Scott’s iconic “What’s the address for amazon.ca?” line. The pieces finally fall into place when Scott’s indie-rock trio competes in a battle of the bands and is interrupted by the first of Ramona’s seven evil exes, Matthew Patel. In the comics and the film, they fight a spectacular battle complete with mystical powers and a dance number from some hipster demons. But in “Takes Off,” Matthew wins. Instantly. Scott is the one who gets turned, old-school RPG style, into a pile of loose change. They weren’t lying – that Scott Pilgrim sure can take off.

From there, the series follows Ramona on a whirlwind tour of O’Malley’s up-to-eleven vision of ambiguously twenty-first century Toronto. Each episode gives SARU plentiful chances to show off some impressively dynamic setpieces, and the studio never disappoints. North of two hundred minutes of runtime afford O’Malley and new collaborator BenDavid Grabinski some much-needed breathing room to explore that world and the zany cast that inhabits it. Despite a (mostly) linear focus on Ramona’s quest, the expanded cast is the real star of the show. Extras from Clash at Demonhead, an alt-rock phenomenon with a history with Scott; to the lovably dense Young Neil, apparent screenwriting genius; to “cool gay roommate” and born heckler Wallace Wells get expanded spotlights that fans of the movie (and even the comics) missed out on.

As they hash things out with Ramona and clear their names one by one, plenty of new tidbits drop about the evil exes as well. Vegan menace Todd Ingram has a new boyfriend! Blasé film star Lucas Lee gets a coffee-shop job! The mysterious Katayanagi twins start a band and create an omnipotent robot… time machine… narrator… thing! The new characterization is still somewhat limited – there are a lot of side characters due for this treatment – but now the POV character is journeying through a fleshed-out world and interacting with real people instead of the cardboard props that the side characters, especially the evil exes, were originally constrained to. The show plays up character-building side adventures and talking things out over instant action, which goes a long way to humanize Scott and company in viewers’ eyes. More importantly, though, it follows the various exes even after they’re “defeated.” The seven evil exes are the story’s main gimmick, so following their new attitudes and relationships – with Ramona, with each other, with themselves – after they’re exonerated keeps the story on-brand but also gives it a lot more emotional mileage than its predecessors.

“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” combines the whip-smart writing and stylish art of an older and wiser O’Malley with SARU’s tried-and-true animation sensibilities. It pulls readers in with an intriguing whodunit that seamlessly ropes in a quirky but lovable cast. It finally makes enough room for a bighearted plot that viewers can truly fall in love with. It is, without a doubt, the Scott Pilgrim story as it was always meant to be.

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About the Contributor
Gray Tracey, Assistant Editor
Gray is still adjusting to the fact that they're a sophomore and Opinion Editor for the Hemisphere. Outside of WAHS, they study game design at Center I; and outside of that, they enjoy reading, gaming, and seeking gainful employment (with varying degrees of success).
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