This originally began as a review of Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3, only for me to realize that I never reviewed Season 2 after talking up Season 1. Between that fact and an official confirmation of the next part, I’ve decided to just write about why Thunderbolt Fantasy is still one of the best shows ever. Every time a new season comes out, it is a must-watch.
Thunderbolt Fantasy is an Asian-fantasy puppet-theater TV show, and is a Japanese/Taiwanese co-production featuring writer Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica) and the Taiwanese company PILI International Multimedia. There has long been a debate as to whether it should be considered “anime,” but I think it qualifies in spirit, if not entirely in letter. Just the openings alone convey an energy that’s hard to match
While I’m not typically into puppets, and have no particular attachment to series like Thunderbirds or StarFleet, Thunderbolt Fantasy just succeeds on so many different levels, from the witty dialogue to the charismatic characters to the overall plot to the exciting visual presentation to the catchy music. Season 1 is overall one of the greatest viewing experiences I’ve ever had, and while there’s something magical about that first story that the sequels have never quite reached, they still get incredibly close. Even when one aspect of the series falters, though, the other factors run on all cylinders. I’m never not entertained while watching. Crucially, Thunderbolt Fantasy continues to deliver on the big moments, and it’s amazing at building up suspense and then delivering a satisfying payoff.
Thunderbolt Fantasy truly feels like a series that never fails. Even when you think there’s a moment where it jumps the shark, it ends up going so far beyond expectations that the shark jumps over the rider instead. If you haven’t watched it already, I highly recommend starting as soon as possible. It’s an unforgettable experience.