Adult Swim are famous for creating a number of over the top, weird fantasy animated comedies like Superjail, Rick and Morty, and JJ Villard’s Fairy Tales, and hey, YOLO: Crystal Fantasy is yet another one. But does it have enough going for it that it deserves to be watched and perhaps even loved, or is it another loud, garish affair that’s lacking in laughs like a good few of their other shows? If you really must know this very second, skip the next two paragraphs and you’ll find out then.
Created by Australian Michael Cusack, he’s best known for making Bushworld Adventures, a weird Australian take on Rick and Morty that Justin Roilland asked him to produce, this is based on a series of shorts he made back in 2012 called Yolo, but though it has a little in common with the shorts and features two women partying, Yolo: Crystal Fantasy is a far weirder and fantastical creation. The animation style is also a lot stranger and far more detailed, and much more likeable, with it reminding of a mixture of Superjail and China, IL, though sometimes odder than even those shows could be.
Plot wise it’s a mostly fun affair as Rachel (Cusack) and Sarah (Sarah Bishop) head off to a party that Rachel’s been invited to by school friend Maddison, though it’s being held in a gigantic tower that wouldn’t look out of place in Lord of the Rings. As Sarah is Rachel’s plus one she’s dragged off by demons and made to work in what looks like hell, though she gets an out when a demon asks her to buy some ice, though unfortunately for her while doing so she interrupts a robbery at the store and ends up having to bury the robber in a shallow grave with the aid of a very creepy guy.
This is a rare occasion where I’m really not quite sure what I make of a show, it’s brash and shouty and so even though it’s only just over eleven minutes long it feels quite exhausting, and worse is that sometimes it feels quite unoriginal, at least when compared to other similar Adult Swim fare, and the violence is tiresomely extreme and nothing that hasn’t been done far too often in the past. Rachel’s a hard character to warm to as well as she leaves her friend alone just so that she can head off to get a selfie with Maddison, which isn’t helped by the fact that Cusack voices her in an angry manner and vocally it’s extremely unappealing to listen to. Plus the creepy guy who keeps on begging Sarah for “a kissy” is fairly (if deliberately) unpleasant, and the ending suggests he’ll be an ongoing factor in it unfortunately.
Yet at other points I found myself pretty amused by the episode, with a good deal of the laughs involving Sarah’s plotline as she’s sent off to hell just because she’s a plus one, the various guards at the parties with triangles for heads are amusing in their mostly polite manner, and Sarah’s antics while out buying ice also engaged and intrigued. Sarah’s weird giant parents are a nicely odd creation too, and the way her Dad excitedly wants to show her a newspaper article but then gets arsey when she turns him down made me laugh a fair bit.
Ultimately I have a suspicion that this might not be something I ever fall madly in love with, having checked out some of Cusack’s other work online his trade in stock seems to be a mixture of the foul and the bizarre and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There’s enough going on here to make me want to watch the next episode however, and it definitely has some appealing aspects, but I hope it concentrates on the more unusual and unpredictable parts and cuts down on the bland violence in the future.