The Cuphead Show Review

A Charming Blast From the Past


Jack McCarthy

The video game, Cuphead, was released in 2017 and instantly became a fan favorite, with everyone loving the game for its 1930’s cartoon visuals and style in addition to the challenging difficulty of the game. In 2019,  it was announced that a DLC was in the works:“The Delicious Last Course,” but was pushed back for development because of COVID-19, and a little something extra they were working on. That something extra? A funny and well-crafted cartoon released by Netflix last month. 

A Devilish Plot

If you’re a fan of the game, you know that Cuphead is known for its 1930’s cartoon animation and style, as well as the story about Cuphead losing a bet to the Devil at the Devil’s Casino and thus, owing his soul to the fiend. But, this is not based on the game as a whole, as the show works with its own storylines.

In the first episode, “Carnevil,” Cuphead and Mugman come across a fairly harmless carnival, filled with rides and fun games. One game however, Soul Ball, catches Cuphead’s attention and he soon goes on a full winning streak, earning the attention of the entire crowd at the carnival. Mugman later realizes that something is off about the mysterious game and soon understands that those who lose the game have their souls taken away! Mugman tries to warn Cuphead of the dangers of the game, but Cuphead ignores him and continues his winning streak.

I would continue to explain what happens next, but I don’t want to spoil the story of such an amazing cartoon with an amazing style. But what I can tell you is that each episode follows the two cups as they keep getting themselves into trouble and go on adventurous mishaps, all the while the Devil tries to collect their souls (well, this is the core of most episodes).

Netflix's official trailer

A Style of Old

The cartoons’ uses a style of animation called rubber hose animation. This style of animation was the first style of animation that defined the American animation industry in the early 1900s. The animation got its name from the rubber hose limbs the characters have, from arms and legs, that were most of the time simple, flowing curves without articulation, and no attached wrists or elbows, meaning that animated characters could bend their limbs to a somewhat impossible fashion. This style began in the 1920’s in New York City, where there were many skilled artists but a lack of talented animators. At the time, many of those skilled artists were making comic strips for newspapers. Later, people became obsessed with the idea of a moving picture, and soon that idea became a reality, with many famous animation industries such as Walt Disney Studios and Fleischer Studios rising in the ranks with their remarkable productions. While the style is outdated today, cartoons such as Adventure Time and The Cuphead Show, and video games such as Bendy and the Ink Machine all use the style of rubber hose animation. The Cuphead Show lives up to this style in every way, shape and form, with the characters all moving in this weird and creative style perfectly, capturing the aesthetic of this famous style. 

That Good Old Charm

Tru Valentino voices Cuphead in Netflix’s new series, “The Cuphead Show.”

The characters of The Cuphead Show are pretty hilarious to watch. Seeing Mugman as the cautious and careful brother while Cuphead plays the careless brother is a hilarious example of two brothers in real life. It’s simple but funny nonetheless to see these two cups together getting themselves into trouble. The other characters such as the Devil and Elder Kettle are pretty funny characters in their own rights, with the Devil having that classic bad guy charm you see in old cartoons, and the Elder Kettle playing the parental figure. The goofy effects that happen in some scenes, such as objects going through walls, quick movements of objects, and some of the other quirky and cartoonish effects the show has, are also very enjoyable. 

Virtuous Verdict:

While I haven’t watched all the episodes as of writing this, I can say that the show greatly lives up to the concept of 1930s cartoons. In my opinion, the show gets a 10/10.  I love the concept, the story, the characters, everything! But one minor downside is that each episode only spans for 10-11 minutes, which is not as long as typical series on Netflix. I feel like it’s a show everyone will enjoy, regardless of if they heard of the Cuphead video game or not.

So go grab a seat, turn on that TV, go to Netflix, and enjoy a few good minutes of this cute and fun cartoon.