TV Reviews

Netflix’s Skull Island Anime Adds To Kong’s MonsterVerse Mythos In A Cool New Way

Netflix’s latest animated series Skull Island is a continuation of the Kong dynasty with a brand new approach. The anime-styled new show is an incredible new story that finally does justice to the human characters within the Kong storyline. Instead of them just as set-dressing in a movie about monster fights. Something the live-action movies have constantly attempted and failed. But as I’ll point out in this Skull Island anime review, the humans are actually the main focus and heart of this new show.

Spoiler-Free Skull Island Anime Review

Skull Island anime review Mike.

Skull Island (L to R) Nicolas Cantu as Charlie and Darren Barnet as Mike in Skull Island. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

The Skull Island anime is the first official other media content, as in not a direct sequel to the live-action movies, that is firmly rooted in within the MonsterVerse. Seemingly canon, the series is taking place after the events of the live-action Kong: Skull Island from 2017 with Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson. The events of the movie are seemingly referenced throughout the show as easter eggs. But time around, a new group of modern-day characters are shipwrecked on Skull Island, trying to find their way off. Along the way, they discover new threats, friends and larger agendas at play as they find out the true depths of this monster-filled island. Throughout the journey, they meet new monsters, try to survive and witness the Island’s larger-than-life protector, King Kong himself.

Skull Island Anime Is Engaging As Hell!

Skull Island anime review Annie..

Skull Island. Mae Whitman as Annie in Skull Island. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

Netflix’s new Skull Island anime comes from the awesome animation studio, Powerhouse Animation. The same studio is responsible for amazing Netflix hits like Castlevania, Seis Manos, Blood of Zeus and Kevin Smith’s Masters Of The Universe: Revelation. And similar to all those projects, Skull Island is just as visually stunning, and brutal in its action sequences and monster-fights.

Skull Island also does something the live-action movies have thus far, failed to do; make us give a crap about the human characters. The story starts with Charlie (Nicolas Cantu) arguing with his sea captain father, Cap (Benjamin Bratt) about not wanting to spend any more of his free time on ships at sea searching for new creatures, but rather going to college instead. We also meet his friend Mike (Darren Barnet) whose father is just as obsessed with discovering new sea life as Charlie’s. But when Charlie rescues a girl named Annie (Mae Whitman) from the sea, everything changes.

How The Human Characters Are The Main Focus Of Skull Island

Skull Island anime review

Skull Island (L to R) Betty Gilpin as Irene, Phil LaMarr as Sam and Benjamin Bratt as Cap in Skull Island. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

After the shipwreck, Mike and Charlie quickly discover they are on the titular Skull Island, the same one from the live-action movie that is home to various monsters and creatures. Not to mention, King Kong himself. The two, out of their depth young men team up with Annie, who seems to live on the Island too, and her bear-lion animal friend named, Dog. Together they try to find Charlie’s father and a way off the island.

Cap, by the way, is with a covert team of mercenaries and scientists who are also on the island, to capture Annie, for reasons unknown. With all these subplots working independently, they collide into a much bigger story full of adventure, intrigue and awesome monster fights. And the story of these characters, relationships and dynamics are actually as interesting, if not more so, than the cool monster weirdness.

Skull Island Connects To The Live-Action MonsterVerse

Skull Island anime review Kong.

Skull Island. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2023

On top of being a typical Powerhouse Animation series that is full of amazing visuals, an amazingly well-written story and great character dynamics, it’s also full of easter eggs to the live-action universe. There is mention of the Hollow Earth theory which is what the Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021 movie focused on. My review of the Skull Island anime wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how these references are just casually littered throughout the series, clearly setting up a larger plot or connection.

The voice cast is excellent, and the series really does a great job of creating new characters and a new plot to move the Kong mythos forward. Betty Gilpin as Irene, the head of the mercenaries is really intriguing and her involvement is a larger mystery that I can’t wait to see pay off. The iconic Phil LaMaar is also in this as Irene’s general or confidant, or maybe even more. It’s interesting to see what the Skull Island anime will do to the future of the MonsterVerse, especially given Godzilla vs. Kong 2 is in development as well. We’ll have to wait and see how well the anime does on Netflix to find that out.

Skull Island is now streaming on Netflix.

What did you think of the Skull Island anime? Did you catch all the MonsterVerse connections? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @theshahshahid.

Skull Island Anime Review: Adds To Kong's Mythos In A New Way
  • Acting - 9/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 10/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 8.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 9/10
  • Watchability - 10/10
  • Rewatchability - 10/10
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