NOTE: All of the images belong to NARR8, and do not belong to me. Got it?
It’s almost Christmas, and finals week is coming up, so I’m sad to say I’m not reviewing a book this week. However, I will say I have a book review planned before the end of the year (literally).
For now, let’s talk about NARR8 again.
If you’ve been with me since earlier this March, you may recall a certain review I’d done on two of the company’s forgotten gems. They are Prodigal Angel and Subject #9, two furry-themed motion comics with engaging characters and beautiful animation. And if you’ve read my review of it, you may remember me mentioning my favorite episode of Prodigal Angel being a Christmas episode. That’s right, a Christmas episode. So I figured, “Why not do a mini-review of it?” So that’s what I’m going to do!
This is Episode 26 of Prodigal Angel, “The Kingpin’s Yuletide”.
In the world of Middletown, Max Williams is an amnesiac cat who’s spent the last decade comatose in the hospital. In his adventures of having the ability to control other people’s bodies, he spends Christmas Eve jumping from host to host. However, after discovering the daughter of a poor family standing in the middle of the street, about to send Santa a card. And on it, she is wishing for her older brother to believe in the holiday again, Max becomes sympathetic. Just then, chaos is about to ensue when the family is about to be forced from their home by Mafia boss Dave. Not wanting to see them lose their home, Max decides to intervene and use his ability to concoct a miracle.
Believe it or not, both Prodigal Angel and Subject #9 had Christmas edition episodes, with PA’s episode called…honestly I don’t know…and Subject #9’s episode called ‘Charity Trickster’. Unfortunately, both episodes have permanently vanished from the bankrupt company forever, with many people trying to find English translations as we speak. However, I’m not here to talk about them. The focus of this mini-review is on “The Kingpin’s Yuletide”. And honestly, watch it as soon as you can.
As always, Miles-DF’s animation is a lively, beautiful style for being a motion comic. From the elegant lines and smooth, animalistic designs for the characters, the episode does a wonderful job of creating atmosphere. I especially adore how Miles-DF draws the backgrounds, ranging from bright, wintry wonder to the cold and grimy urban sidewalks of a city. The colors, the designs, the soot and the snow; it’s like walking through New York in a December snowstorm, or being snuggled in a blanket by a cabin fireplace.
Max Williams is still his playful, altruistic self, but he isn’t the entire focus. The focus is more on the sister trying to make her older brother believe in the Christmas spirit again. Although our favorite cat (aside from Rick) isn’t as heavily focused on as he is in a regular Prodigal Angel episode, the family is still pretty interesting. I love the hardworking father searching for a job, the mother, the cute and innocent younger cub, the pessimistic older brother and the optimistic daughter.
Probably the most depressing moment is when the mother and father are walking through the doorway inside. They’ve just come back from looking for a job and failing to buy food for their children, and they have nothing for them this Christmas. This is the first scene we ever see them in, but from the music and the quiet snowfall, you can feel the saddening hardship in their bleak expressions.
Dave’s still a jerk and selfish person (not surprised he’d kick a family out of their home, to be honest), and I also chuckle at the quips his girlfriend makes here and there. In fact, it’s pretty strange to see Noire relaxed and enjoying herself in an elegant dress as opposed to being her usual assassin/interrogator/hitwoman self. Makes me wonder more about her.
Unfortunately, for some fans of Prodigal Angel, it may be a bit unnerving that some of the characters don’t appear in the episode. It’s strange, and makes me wonder where Martha, Dr. Albert, Maine, etc. are. Good Lord, imagine us seeing a Prodigal Angel Christmas special with Raymond and Lucy?
What “The Kingpin’s Yuletide” makes up for it all though is the ending. Without giving too much away, what Max does in stopping Dave and saving the family is truly a Christmas miracle. Like I said in my review, it’s funny and such a magical moment. It’s a moment that’s in-character, something you don’t see coming, and actually makes you wonder if Dave could ever be redeemed in Prodigal Angel.
Granted, there’s not much action in the episode compared to other NARR8 works, and it isn’t as grande or complex of a story, but it’s still a gorgeous 11-minute clip to look at during Christmas. It’s a decent story with snowy animation, characters you grow to like and an ending that gives you the holiday spirts. Even without reading the previous 25 episodes of the motion comic series, “The Kingpin’s Yuletide” stands on its own as a short Christmas special for anyone to enjoy.
On December 31st, don’t forget to check out my last review of 2016, Evan Michael Martin’s latest installment of the Clio Boru series, “Sorceress Resurrected”. Have a happy holidays!
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