Hazbin Hotel Review: The Surprise Indie Animated Hit Of 2019

Welcome to hell. Enjoy your stay!

Hazbin Hotel
Vivziepop

Premiering its pilot episode on Youtube on October 28, 2019, the independent animated series Hazbin Hotel was a surprise hit with over 2 million hits in two days, with viewership only increasing.

Created, directed, and produced by animator Vivienne Medrano and debuted on her channel Vivziepop, this first episode of a planned series follows a bubbly princess of Hell who wants to help redeem sinners and send them to heaven. This is in direct response to Hell undergoing a "cleanse" every year, in which a large number of hell's denizens are massacred in order to avoid over-population.

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What's most surprising about this series, apart from its dark yet entertaining concept and stylish art, is the level of quality put into it. It has musical numbers that sound like they belong in a multi-million dollar Disney film and animation to match, with stellar voice acting besides.

The fluid, hand-drawn 2D animation style is reminiscent of more classic cartoons, with more recent stylistic parallels seen in the quick, slick animation of kids shows such as Disney's Wander Over Yonder. The content, however, is firmly adult, with creative cussing and hellish depravity, and more sex jokes than you could shake a stick at. It's also populated with more queer characters in one episode than any Disney animated feature has had in nearly a century, counting among the show's main cast.

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With a relatively small, independent team doing work that looks like it could've been done by a studio of hundreds, Hazbin Hotel doesn't just mark the debut of a fun, funny, stylish new (and mature) animated feature - it also shows the high quality work even a small team of animators can create without need for the executive interference of a bigger company getting in the way of independent creative freedom.

This show is definitely worth the watch, and with the direct support of patrons and fans (such as on Medrano's Patreon), definitely deserves to get the backing to produce subsequent episodes.

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Writer, artist, professional animator. Indie comics and podcast creator, primarily LGBTQ+ and Filipino content || @MotzieD on Twitter || Originally from Quezon City, The Philippines. Currently based in Toronto, Canada || motziedapul.wixsite.com/work