Toni Oisin H.C. (QSO)
9 Things We Want To See In Netflix and Science Saru’s Scott Pilgrim Anime
The anime is due to come out sometime in 2023.
Sometime over the next year or so, we’re going to be blessed with a new Scott Pilgrim adaptation. This time, the series is coming back as an episodic animated affair.
It’s been 12 whole years since the Edgar Wright live-action movie made for it - I know, I feel old too - and just as long since Bryan Lee O'Malley's original comic series finished. It seems like it’s about time to breathe fresh life into the franchise, particularly after the roaring hype that came about with the re-release of the long-lost Scott Pilgrim VS. The World beat ‘em up video game.
Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (2010) made a great attempt at compressing an entire series of comics - an unfinished one, at that - into a single feature length movie. While it’s an extremely fun, camp watch, it obviously inevitably ends up missing out some important moments (and even entire characters) from the comics. The animated collaboration between Netflix and Science Saru is set to be a full series, meaning we can hopefully get a little more of what the live action movie had to cut in the first place.
I can only hope that the series will cover basically everything missed, but just in case some things still need to be cut, we’ve put together a list of the bits we most want to see in the new release. Let’s jump in.
Scott and Kim in High School
In the books, we actually get a whole lot of Scott and Kim’s history. It’s really nice to see them fleshed out a little more beyond Scott “I’m a dick” Pilgrim and Kim “I’m justifiably pissed off” Pine. Personally, I’m a sucker for seeing where it all started when exploring more of a character's backstory by going back to their teenage years. I think we were all kind of arseholes when we were young, making it a perfect - easy - way of charting a little character development.
Admittedly though, in classic Pilgrim form, Scott was basically just as bad as a teenager as he is as a twenty-something. It’s still fun to see how he and Kim came together, though. It also provides an insight into why lanky, scrawny Scott can actually fight, too, which is a bit of exposition I think is deeply needed to explain… Basically everything else about the franchise.
To continue with the shared history that was forgotten in some adaptations of the comic is Lisa Miller. I’d argue that Lisa is probably the most important part of the comics that was cut from the film. Lisa, in case you can’t remember, is an old high school friend of Scott and Kim’s. We first see the character in flashbacks to St. Joel's Catholic High School, trying desperately hard - for whatever reason - to befriend teen Scott.
She re-enters Scott’s life briefly circa book four, hanging around just long enough for Scott Pilgrim to royally fuck things up over his unresolved feelings for her. And, y’know, his generally insatiable need for attention. So much so, that it seems the character (or at least, how Scott acts towards her) almost causes a major rift between him and Ramona.
Seems pretty wild that this was left out of the film, right? The only reference to Lisa in the movie is made at the house party near the start, when Julie is berating Scott for being a dick to women. In all fairness, the movie doesn’t deal with the vast majority of the flashback sequences from the comics, save for the exposition given to explain the backstory for each of Ramona’s evil exes. It would’ve taken a lot of screen time to fill in the gaps for Lisa’s history with Scott and Kim. However, with an entire animated series, there should definitely be time to unpack her story arc. I hope.
Literally Any of Kim’s Plot
This is a Kim Pine fanclub. In any scene with Kim in it, she’s always the centrepiece. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little more of her in the new series?
We get so much more Kim in the comics than we do in the movie. Again, not a slight on the movie - it already runs at nearly two hours, and it manages to focus a little more closely on Scott and Ramona as the central characters than the comic does, which definitely takes on a more ensemble-feeling. However, if there’s going to be extra time to play with in the series, there’s no reason why some of that time can’t be dedicated to fleshing out Kim a little more.
In the comics, Kim is dealing with a lot. I mean, she already has to deal with Scott and Sex Bob-Omb in the movie, which is frankly fucking enough to deal with - but there’s more. We get to see Kim reckon with her past, her horrible roommates, and although it isn’t named as such, her bisexuality. This, paired with the subplot about her time in high school, means that she ends up being about as 3D as a cute little cartoon character can be.
As well as Kim getting to date arsehole Jason Lee, which comes to a terrible end, she also seems to be dealing with some latent feelings for both Ramona and Knives. Some of this is even reaffirmed in the video game, too. Kim’s magical “Knives Call” special move depicts her being kissed by Knives, giving her a little more HP. Let’s let Kim fall in lesbians in the series, please.
Mobile is another character who was cut from the movie completely. Mobile is Wallace’s serious boyfriend, whom he eventually moves in with near the end of the series.
We don’t get a whole lot of Mobile even in the comics. All we know is that he’s a mysterious, psychic, magical gay who seems to be wildly in love with Wallace. But, I want to see Wallace being happy, and personally I don’t think we can ever have enough gays on screen. Put Mobile in the anime. Please.
Stephen Stills Coming Out
Speaking of gays…
Although the film was plenty gay, there was a lot more queer shit in the Scott Pilgrim comics than in the movie. Included in Toronto’s pride parade is Sex Bob-Omb’s guitarist and vocalist, Stephen Stills.
Infamously, Stephen and Julie had an incredibly on-and-off relationship. Turns out the reason why is pretty straight-forward, excuse the phrase: he’s gay. He comes out to Scott in the final book, essentially pointing out that he already came out to everyone earlier, but Scott was so wrapped up in his own shit that he didn’t really notice. The last major moment we spend with Stephen involves him kissing his new boyfriend, who also happens to be Sex- Bob-Omb’s producer, Joseph. Awww.
In the comics, it kind of feels like Scott is the only character who isn't gay. And even then, he does essentially cohabitate with Wallace. Token Straight(ish) Scott Pilgrim?
Roxie and Ramona’s Friendship
Movie Roxie is pretty different from Comic Roxie.
Although the core idea - a cute little gay ninja - is the same, her relationship with Ramona is much more developed. The two appear to have stayed friends, with some complex romantic feelings shared between them. Roxie, despite joining the League of Evil Exes, essentially seems to be attempting to come to Ramona’s rescue in the comics, to “protect” her from Scott.
Sure, her execution is WAY off, and it seems a little overbearing, but I honestly don’t really blame her. I wasn’t exactly rooting for Scott to get together with Ramona at the end, either. It would be cool if we could see this more complicated friendship playing out fully in the animated series.
The Katayanagi Twins Actually Speaking
We can’t talk about Ramona’s exes being different without acknowledging the yeti in the room: in the movie, neither of the Katayanagi twins ever actually speak.
Their storyline was hugely condensed and changed. One rumour is that the casting call for their actors forgot to specify they must have a good proficiency in speaking English, but no source besides the Wiki could be found for this. Another, alternative explanation, is that the characters were highly verbose, meaning to keep the length of the movie down, their lines had to be cut. This means that the Katayanagis we see in the comics are a totally different kettle of fish to the ones we see in Wright’s version. It seems a shame to condense down two entire characters into literally no dialogue just to keep things short and snappy.
As cool as the amp-to-amp battle of the bands sequence is, giant dragon and yeti magic included, I hope the next depiction of them stays a little more faithful to the comic.
Mr. Chau, as you might expect, is Knive’s dad. In both the game and the comic, he’s out to get Scott Pilgrim. Understandably. Honestly, Mr. Chau is a pretty sympathetic character. I just want to see Scott get beaten up a few more times in the series.
Envy’s Redemption Arc
Envy is a fascinating character. One of Scott’s evil-ish exes, who was originally also going to be an ex of Ramona’s, has definitely taken a darker path in life. But, wouldn’t dating Scott kind of do that to you?
Envy does get a sentimental, tender moment in the movie, right after Scott “headbutts [her] boyfriend so hard he explodes”. But in the comics, she has to face up her own demons, ultimately helping Ramona and Scott in their fight against Gideon.
It’s really interesting seeing Envy develop into a whole character, beyond the ideals that other people have for her. Instead of being a hero, a villain, or an untouchable superstar, Envy is allowed to have a complex past. She’s allowed to have been sweet, and awful, and a total mess. I think that’s something so important to be able to have, to make her into an interesting, whole character, instead of just seeing her through Scott-o-vision. We know he’s not a particularly reliable narrator, after all.
In the end, Envy partially saves the day, freeing all of the other ex-girlfriends that Gideon abused, reconciles with what she did - and how she’s been mistreated - and has some kind of closure with Scott. It’s probably the most satisfying part of the series, in my opinion. It would seem like a shame to not touch on that in the anime at all.
Toni Oisin H.C. is the Head of Audio at QSO Media. Read more of his writing here.
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