"It was an accident!"
These are the opening words uttered in Crunchyroll's first, original animated short, Children of Ether, created by LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, Cannon Busters).
And it is literally the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic.
If the character designs look familiar to you, then you're probably familiar with the work of Hiroshi Shimizu, who is known for his work on the groundbreaking Michiko & Hatchin. With storyboard director Shingo Natsume (One Punch Man), animation director Yûichi Takahashi (Gatchaman Crowds Insight) and animator Mitsuo Iso (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Children of Ether takes us on a dark, gritty journey following the protagonist, Rhonda Vega (voiced by Camille Winbush, whom is best known for her role on The Bernie Mac Show as Vanessa), a beautiful young woman with superb combat skills...and a power resting within her body that she can neither control nor comprehend.
From the opening frame, we, the viewers, are graphically introduced to a merciless world wherein the strong dominates the weak before gaining our first glimpse at the carnage left behind by Rhonda as she engages a mysteriously cloaked figure (and their blades) on a cargo train en route to it's destination:
Just as Rhonda finds herself literally staring death the eye, she is abruptly saved by a mysterious power resonating from from behind her very own:
Rhonda's power not only over takes both her and her assailant, but completely derail and flips the cargo train, inadvertently saving her life. She doesn't walk away unscathed, however, and later wakes up in the presence of Pint, and Pint's thirteen-year-old "street brother", Copper, who also happens to be a doctor.
After patching her up, Rhoda proceeds onward to her destination of the Vandal Shepherd's Temple, where she is subsequently captured and brought before it's leader, Gio (voiced by Josh Keaton)...
...Who's pants sit of obscenely low on his hips:
After attempting to kill her, he quickly recognizes the power within Rhonda and tells her to leave, which she smartly does. Children of Ether comes to close with Rhonda coming to find that the person she was was initially searching for is nowhere to be found, and thus her search for the strange being called The Goat within a dystopian New York continues.
For an episode that only lasts no longer than fifteen minutes, it was the most engaging, action-packed introduction to what is easily going to be one of the greatest animated series of 2017 and beyond.
We at NSZR give Children of Ether: 5 out of 5 Noir Stars, and look forward to seeing just where Rhonda's journey takes her.