When it comes to science fiction, some of the best works are summed up as a what-if question. What if you were trapped with a monster in space? Then you get Alien. What if you were stranded in orbit? Then you get Gravity. What if you were brought back to the same moment after you died? Then you get Edge of Tomorrow and Groundhogs Day. So what if you mix Rocky with steampunk? Then you get Netflix’s new original anime series Levius.
Based on the manga of the same name, Levius is an action series were traditional boxing has become overthrown by boxers who have prosthetic limbs. These limbs are powered by steam created by a rare mineral. A mineral with enough power that wars have been over. This is Levius Cornwall’s(voiced by Zach Aguilar) origin. As a child he was injured when a battle ravished his town, taking his right arm and sending his mother into a comatose state. This sends him to live with his grandmother and uncle. After being traumatized by the battle and gaining a new prosthetic arm, Levius discovers metal boxing.
Metal boxing is a sport where fighters with augmented limbs box for fame and fortune. Levius has three people in his corner. His coach is also his uncle Zack (voiced by Sean Burgos), Zack used to be an underground boxer before metal boxing became accepted by society. This is where he met Bill (voiced by Todd Haberkorn) who acts as Levius’s cybernetic engineer or cutman. And lastly is a former opponent turned teammate Natalia (voiced by Julia McIlvaine). Together they are all working to progress Levius higher in the boxing rankings.
The series is set in a fictional world around the time frame of the early 20th century, so typical Steampunk rules. While the story does revolve around Levius’s progression as a boxer, there are more layers to it. From Levius overcoming his traumatic past to themes of corporate meddling in the war. It feels like a lighter version of Fullmetal Alchemist.
The animation style is similar to Netflix’s other anime Kengan Ashura and Knights of Sidonia. That’s not to say that the purely 3d style is bad. In fact, I think it helps sells the fight sequences. The fights feel more authentic to how traditional boxing works. All the blows feel as though there is power in each strike. The editing also helps sell the fights. Mixing between close up detail shots and extended wide shots allow for the flow to seem more natural.
With series like Levius and Kengan Ashura in the library will help keep Netflix as a top streaming contender. While Disney+ does have nearly a century’s worth of nostalgia at their disposal, they are lacking in a few areas. For one Disney seems more focused on its brand that it might not take a chance on an anime series. The second, and biggest, factor is that Disney+ is focused on family content. Meaning shows with deep mature themes or has a more adult atmosphere aren’t going to be seen on Disney+ anytime soon. It’s these two factors that will help Netflix stay at the top. Between their original anime, docuseries, and even dramas, Netflix offers a mature diversity that will sustain it for the next few years.
With a unique story, detailed aesthetics, and interesting fights; Levius is a series to add to your queue. I give this series a solid 4 out of 5 and look forward to the next season.