“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” retells the classic story with more loyalty to the source material than the abridged film, and the entire movie cast reprising their roles, O’Malley and co-writer BenDavid Grabinski pull a “Connor’s Wedding,” drastically changing the variables to service a bolder new take with all its familiar players.
The series starts similarly to each iteration’s opening: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is alone in his dreams, whining about being alone. As he plummets into a forsaken pit of despair, Pilgrim sees Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a mysterious rainbow-haired woman, roller-skating through his mind. Instantly, he becomes smitten, describing her as “the girl of his dreams” to his roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin). By day, the unemployed Pilgrim jams as a bass player in an indie rock band, Sex Bomb-omb, alongside anxiety-ridden Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) and his misanthrope high school ex-girlfriend Kim (Alison Pill) while his obsessive 17-year-old high-school girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), watches him rehearse with Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), Stephen’s dimwitted roommate.
At Stephen’s ex-girlfriend Julie’s (Aubrey Plaza) party, Scott meets Ramona in real life and eventually asks her out. After an enchanting first date, Scott invites her to see his band play. Scott and Ramona’s newfound joy becomes the dismay of Ramona’s most recent ex, billionaire Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), establishing the League of Evil Exes, a group of powerful individuals Ramona dated in her past—musical theater wannabe Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), skater-boy hot-shot actor Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), disloyal vegan Todd (Brandon Routh), ninja Roxie (Mae Whitman), and the Katayanagi twins (Julian Cihi), in response. As Sex Bomb-omb is about to perform, Patel blasts into the venue and challenges Scott to battle.
Without giving anything away, a significant change to the inciting incident alters everything and shatters any expectations anyone would’ve speculated. The following seven episodes ride on a continuously unpredictable wavelength that points the show in a new direction, assisted by its remarkable animation from Japanese-based studio Science Saru. The skilled overseas animators bring Lee O’Malley’s illustrations to life with incredible hand-drawn detail for each frame that seems crafted with passion and love. Longtime in-house director Abel Góngora (“Star Wars: Visions – T0-B1”) perfects the mix between expressional humor and top-notch action, similar to his brief work on the underrated Cartoon Network 8-bit styled action comedy “O.K: KO Let’s Be Heroes.”