When I first saw the preview for Centaurworld, my first thought was: Who is this show for? After watching the entire first season in two days, I’m still not totally sure who the target audience is supposed to be. But one thing I can say is that Centaurworld is probably one of the most creative shows I’ve ever seen.
The humor is mostly PG, with a lot of jokes about childish things like butts – but then you have Horse, who has been carrying her Rider into battles, and is obviously not a good fit for the magical, musical land of Centaurworld. And the show doesn’t really shy away from that.
The absolute tonal whiplash of this series is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s impressive. Even though I knew there would be whiplash due to the trailer – I still wasn’t prepared for it in the show.
The series follows Horse, a warhorse, who finds herself transported to Centaurworld during a battle with Minotaurs. In order to find her way back home and to her Rider, her human -she must team up with a herd of centaurs led by the pink, fluffy alpaca-taur Wammawink to collect the pieces of magic key.
While she’s there, Horse not only discovers there’s more to Centaurworld than meets the eye, and that it and the human world may have more in common than she thought.
Two things stand out to me most about the show: the first is the animation/art style. The human world and Centaurworld are stark – the human world is drawn in an anime-style reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender while Centaurworld is more cartoony, exaggerated with thin-line animation that’s more reminiscent of Adventure Time. Horse retains her style for most of the season.
But part-way through she begins to change so that she “fits in ” with Centaurworld, complete with a talking tail…which is terrifying.
The second thing that stands out are the musical numbers. While Centaurworld is clearly a Musical World, the human world is not. But that’s beside the point. The musical numbers are wonderfully put together, thematically coherent, and carry over from episode to episode and most importantly they’re memorable.
They don’t necessarily cover a wide range of genres – but that’s fine. It’s very cohesive and interesting. There’s rarely a tonal dissonance in the music – which was something I expected of the show. Instead, the music is tonally consistent – but there are times when it will shift from cheerful and happy, to dark
Centaurworld is a masterful way of showing how to change from one tone to another. There’s no lying: the show may take place in a cartoon wonderland, but there’s plenty of horrors there and things get dark fast.
I never knew what the tone of an episode would be – and often it changed several times within an episode. Some episodes were definitely darker than others: like the one that has Horse basically attempting suicide…but then there was an episode that was basically a beauty contest that highlighted just how gay-coded the character Zulius is.
Look me in the eye and tell me he and Splendit – the tigertaur aren’t exes. I dare you. (Sure, that episode had that creepy lullaby but other than that the episode was totally child friendly)
All of the characters have rather…um unique designs and very big personalities. I thought I would find them annoying – and to be fair, some of them are downright frustrating: Durpleton doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together and I’m not a fan of Glendale’s voice – but the show still manages to make all the characters likable.
But what keeps the show interesting is the lore and mystery that this season sets up – we learn a bit about Wammawink’s dark past, a hint at the connection between the two worlds, and there’s a setup for the series’ overarching villain…
There is a lot set up – and I’m excited to see where it leads.
The series is only 10 episodes long, which is its weakest point by far. According to Wikipedia, the season was slated to be 20 episodes, but it got cut. I think having those extra episodes would have helped a lot with the pacing, tension, and crafting of Centaurworld. Hopefully, Season 2 gets all the episodes it needs.
Even though the show was kind of formulaic, I feel like Season 2 has a lot of surprises in store. And even if it doesn’t I know it’s going to be a good time.
While I’m waiting – I’m going to figure out who the intended audience for this show is – because when you have one of your characters drawing sexy mermen laying eggs like a fujoshi your show isn’t for kids. The nightmare-inducing tornado, the villain, and even the suicide episode ….all stuff I’ve seen before in kids’ shows.
You can get away with a lot so long as isn’t imitatible but they were really seeing how far they could push it with this show.
And I love it for that – even if I’ll never get the merman fetish art of my brain.
If you haven’t watched it, go ahead and do it now.
I promise when the trailer for the second season comes out – I’ll have some theories for you.
And that’s the scoop.
Year of release: 2021
Length: 10 episodes (25 -27 min)
Creator/Director: Megan Nicole Dong
Writers: Megan Nicole Dong, Jen Bardekoff, Jessie Wong, Minty Lewis, Todd Casey, Ryan Harer, Amalia Levari, Aminder Dhaliwal