‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’ Review — A Netflix Anime With an Identity Crisis

The Big Picture

  • Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is an anime adaptation of the popular comic series and film, offering a new spin on the story with its own unique style and elements from the original comics.
  • The series shifts the focus to Ramona Flowers and her exes, allowing for more development of supporting characters and deeper connections to their pasts.
  • While the series captures the tone of the original comic and features beautiful animation, the final conflict and Scott’s character arc may leave viewers wanting more, with the ending feeling contrived and lacking the growth seen in the original story.

It may seem hard to fathom it now, but Bryan Lee O’Malley first created the Scott Pilgrim comic book series almost 20 years ago. Telling the story of the titular Pilgrim as he attempts to navigate love in his early twenties, we meet the awkward guy as he discovers the girl of his dreams in Ramona Flowers. To be with her, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes as they challenge him to one-on-one duels for Ramona’s heart.

This quirky coming-of-age story has resonated with readers in the years since it was first published, eventually leading to the cult classic film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The visionary director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) brought his own spin to the story with the help of an incredibly talented cast featuring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, and many others. Netflix’s Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is the culmination of the entire franchise, as the series features the whimsical art style of the original comic and the incredibly talented voice cast of the film. But does the series find a way to stand on its own, or will it be forever compared to what came before? Well, the answer is a bit complicated.


Scott Pilgrim Takes Off

Release Date
November 17, 2023

Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Mae Whitman, Alison Pill, Ellen Wong, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza

Main Genre




What Is ‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’ About?

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is an anime, and it feels like one. The series features a delightful opening title sequence with a theme song by Nercy Talkie, giving it that slice-of-life tone you’d expect from a romance anime like Kaguya-sama Love is War. The series takes full advantage of the animated medium by including more fantastical elements than the original comics. In short, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is not just a straight adaptation of the books or the film; instead, it carves a new path by making some big changes, leading to some of the best and worst moments of the series.

The new Netflix series shifts more of the focus to Ramona Flowers and her exes as opposed to being purely from Scott’s perspective. This allows for more from the supporting cast and the show as a whole uses this change to its advantage. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance as Ramona Flowers is captivating and adds a new layer of depth to the character. Seeing Ramona face the many mistakes and hardships of her past gives you a deeper connection to her character and she injects so much emotion into someone who appears to be cold but secretly has a heart of gold. The same can be said for Kieran Culkin (Succession) as Wallace Wells. The actor’s role is expanded, and he steals every scene he’s in. Wallace helps ground the series, being one of the more normal people in any given situation, but his quirks and sarcasm still play to great comedic effect.

The series uses O’Malley’s original art style, paying homage to the comic but also setting up a beautiful but simplistic world that sometimes feels quiet and introspective, allowing you to soak in the atmosphere. The score, art direction, and voice performances all make Scott Pilgrim Takes Off feel unique compared to other animated shows currently airing while capturing the tone of the original comic perfectly.

‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’ Swings and Misses

Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers stand next to each other at a party
Image via Netflix 

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a vastly different story than we see in the original comic run and the live-action film. Without spoiling the specifics, the new series offers a different experience for fans familiar with the source material, but it might not be a good introduction for new viewers. While one of the strengths of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is this story change, allowing for more characters to shine and offering surprises at every turn, it could also be considered the show’s biggest weakness. The series starts off incredibly strong, but the final conflict and Scott’s character arc leave much to be desired.

The journey we go on for the first six episodes is legitimately intriguing, and it keeps you invested in not only those characters around Scott but also Pilgrim himself. However, once we reach the final two installments of this short eight-episode season, the stakes dramatically increase, but that investment quickly fades as we’re introduced to a contrived twist that almost causes the show to lose all the goodwill it built up in the prior episodes. The series takes a massive swing, and while it might land for some, one can’t help but think about what could have been. The ending of both Scott Pilgrim and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are beloved because they showcase Scott’s growth over the course of this insane adventure he’s been on. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off attempts to do the same, but it doesn’t feel earned and comes across as a contrived mess.

There’s a lot to love about Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. The series offers a different spin on a classic story and breathes new life into this wonderful world. It boasts an A-list voice cast with fluid animation and showcases how whimsical this world is with its use of colors. Yet, it manages to underserve its titular character and leave Scott in a place where you question whether this entire journey was pointless. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is an enjoyable watch, and fans of the original will surely appreciate all the terrific nods, Easter eggs, and twists that will undoubtedly enhance their enjoyment. However, new viewers might have difficulty getting invested in a world that feels like it was built for an established fanbase. While the ending is a major flaw, the series as a whole is still worth your time, mostly due to its wonderful art and performances.

Rating: C+

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is now available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

Watch on Netflix

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