Amazon’s ‘Legend of Vox Machina’: Not Just for ‘Critical Role’ Fans
The Legend of Vox Machina is available to stream now on Amazon Prime. Do the first three episodes hold up to the Critical Role legacy?
For years, Critical Role has been streaming weekly D&D sessions for you to enjoy from home. Staring not only good friends but professional performers and voice actors, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, and DM Matthew Mercer, Critical Role has become one of the most popular actual plays in the genre.
So when a Kickstarter campaign was kicked off to turn one of their adventures, The Legend of Vox Machina, into an animated series? It was no surprise when the campaign was backed and then some.
The Chaotic Good
Only the first three episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina have some out so far, and they’re off to a promising start. I was worried that it would be hard to follow for those of us with little to no Critical Role knowledge.
After all, any anime fan knows how hard it can be to fit a hundred hours of content into twenty minutes and have a product that makes sense. But I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.
If this show is your first introduction to the Vox Machina, you won’t be lost. They introduce the characters in a way that make sense and feels like D&D, and the same can be said for the world.
Nothing is confusing or too “inside baseball”. This is a show made to be approachable by new and old fans alike.
It was also easy to worry that this project could feel amateurish. After all, this is effetely the dream project for a bunch of folks who wanted to share their D&D campaign. But any of those concerns would be unfounded as well.
The animation is fine, but between Amazon and Titmouse, Inc., that’s far from surprising. And of course the voice acting was top notch.
The show’s creators are voice actors and they managed to get some of the biggest talent in the industry to play with them in the space. Of course the voice acting is good. There’s a lot to like about The Legend of Vox Machina.
The Chaotic Evil
Unfortunately, the first episode can be a little difficult to get through if you’re not an already established fan of the series. The same things that make The Legend of Vox Machina feel like an actual D&D campaign in a good way, make it feel like an actual D&D campaign in a bad way.
The gratuitously violence, sheer number of seconds spent watching a character throw up, and number of “fucks” per minute in the first episode felt like they were trying to scare off people who weren’t their audience. And if that was the goal, well done.
But it felt more like sitting at a table with my unwinding buds than watching a polished show. In a similar vein, they lean into D&D tropes that the community has been backing away from recently.
The bard who wants to sleep with everything is a little played out, y’know? Of course, I know they’re pulling directly from their own game. I don’t want to ding Vox Machina for making their show true to the source material. But if this is your first introduction to Critical Role, a few scenes may be eye-role educing.
Episodes two and three were miles better, though. First episodes are always a little messy. You need to meet the cast, learn the world, and start to get the plot? It’s a lot.
Let’s be honest, if you were a Critical Role fan before you probably loved The Legend of Vox Machina. This review isn’t for you– although I appreciate you reading. But for the rest of us coming in cold, are the Vox Machina worth getting to know?
Yes! Overall, I liked The Legend of Vox Machina premiere, and I’ll be tuning in every week. I’m excited to see where the plot goes and learn more of the characters’ backstories. At times it felt like a bit much, but the quality and potential are more than enough to keep me coming back for the next few weeks.
Have you seen The Legend of Vox Machina premiere yet? Are you a new fan or have you been into Critical Role since the beginning? Who is your favorite character? Let us know in the comments!