Three robots, one red, one blue, one green, fight over a balloon for their creator’s experiments.
Rooster Teeth’s anthology of short creator driven animations is back for 2021, though instead of a neat way to celebrate the company’s anniversary over the course of a week and debut a new logo like last year, it’s mainly to fill time before RWBY Volume 8 comes back in February. So, for the remaining three Saturdays in January, we’ll be seeing new animated shorts from up and coming creators within the company. That’s fewer shorts than last time, but given that this first one seems to be longer than the previous five from last season, we may end up getting more on average anyway. And then when it’s all done, perhaps we’ll rank the four shorts like we did last time. I will say that this does feel similar to the previous batch in that it also seems like it’s trying to fill a blank period of content, though this time it’s without the broader existential dread than was felt in April 2020. That said, we haven’t heard much regarding any of the shorts from last year in terms of becoming a new series of their own, and considering that Recorded by Arizal seems to still be in development hell, I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything introduced here.
Anyway, up first is a short from Torrian Crawford, who I just finished discussing with his debut solo season of Red vs Blue Zero. With how much I slowly but surely began to dislike that season due to its story and characters (or lack thereof), I was actually eager to see something of his that was a completely new project separated from any existing franchise so that I could simply observe his own style of directing and creation. And Action Bots is…definitely reflective of his style, though mostly in the way that directs a fight scene and makes the focus about that first and foremost. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it does clearly prioritize spectacle over anything else, including showing character in the fight, which shouldn’t be that much of an ask. Red, Blue, and Green all seem to kind of have differing personalities, but end up blending together after a certain point as they battle over the balloons in play, when I feel they could have definitely used that as chance to, for example, show how each of them may view the balloon differently and want to use it for different things. When all is said and done, however, a full series of this would probably be more for really younger audiences instead of Rooster Teeth’s usual demographic.