This Lazor Wulf review contains no spoilers.
“That’s because Lazor Wulf brings the party with him!”
It’d be safe to think that a cartoon called Lazor Wulf would be a show about powerful wolf protectors or some sort of lupine galactic warriors. In reality, however, the name is just an excuse for a few weird creatures to relax and stay chill. It’s the kind of show rappers’ dogs would probably enjoy. One scene in the series features a sign in the background that says, “Anyone know the premise of the show?” and there’s a corresponding sign that says, “A wolf with a laser.” That’s about it and Lazor Wulf would rather you just enjoy yourself.
The official description for Lazor Wulf says that it’s a show about “finding the inner strength to buy your own cereal, not dying, and the art of the scam.” That doesn’t make cracking this nut any easier, but it lets you know that this series isn’t interested in its crazy artifice and is instead more about the affable emotions that are beneath the strangeness. Lazor Wulf won’t be for everyone, but it’s a weird little show that deserves a shot.
Lazor Wulf is created by Henry Bonsu and executive produced by the supergroup of Bonsu, Daniel Weidenfeld, rapper Vince Staples, and The Boondocks‘ Carl Jones (“Gawd” is black in this show, if there was any doubt over Jones’ thumbprint on this project). The seriesfeels like a pastel-dipped cross between The Jellies and China, Il, in terms of tone, but to be honest it’s a lot closer in spirit to Nick Weidenfeld’s work for FOX’s short-lived ADHD animation block, like Stone Quackers or Lucas Bros. Moving Co. There’s a gentle, patient quality to the show’s comedy where you cozy up with its characters.
Lazor Wulf is set in Strongburg, a community where ghosts, cryptids, anthropomorphic animals, and deities co-mingle and debate over the best breakfast cereal. I also genuinely don’t understand who or what some of these characters are or how the rules of this show operate, but the fact that Lazor Wulf is not at all interested in explaining any of that to the audience is commendable. It just wants to have fun and not waste time on the details. There’s also a rather infectious quality to the show’s Dadaist energy.
The series operates within a bizarre, elastic universe where Lazor Wulf isn’t even the most extreme of these ridiculous, yet lovable, characters. Around him are friends like Stupid Horse, Dr. King Yeti, and Black Kelsey Grammer, and basically these slacker creatures just get up to no good together and try to get the most out of life.
This is very much a “hang out comedy” where Lazor Wulf and company just chill and rib each other while the plots revolve around fairly low stakes situations, like needing a new restaurant for mozzarella sticks, a holiday devoted to bicycles, or improving your basketball skills. All the while, Gawd watches and looms over Strongburg’s activities as he tries to rein in any chaos and act as the perpetual buzzkill.
This minimal impact storytelling may not be enough for some viewers, but the chemistry between these peculiar My Little Pony rejects is palpable. On top of that, the unique, stylized setting and art style also makes things visually interesting while these characters banter. It’s a technique that definitely wouldn’t be as forgiving if Lazor Wulf was a 22-minute show, but at a breezy eleven minutes these characters can make getting lost in conversation part of the experience.
Lazor Wulf features a polished, yet very unassuming animation style courtesy of Bento Box, but once you get comfortable with it you can find the depth to this look. The show will still fill frames with action and movement in a way that creates a busy, complex environment, even if the animation itself is simple. Everything about this show grows with you over time and the more that you see of this world the more it clicks in. There’s a very stream of consciousness quality to both the show’s dialogue and editing that keeps you on your toes and compliments the already absurd ingredients of this program.
There are also hints that the show can get progressively weirder with its comedy, like one instance where a character is shown to be reading their lines from the episode off of their script. Hopefully there will be more occasions like this where the show can really take risks and refine its voice even further.
Lazor Wulf feels like a lesser impact series and while it’s perfectly pleasurable and serves its purpose, I wish there was maybe more of a twist to it. That’s not to say that the show doesn’t—and can’t—get more complex over time, but as it stands it’s a fun romp that may not stand out amongst Adult Swim’s lengthy and varied library. It’s certainly a calmer alternative to some of Adult Swim’s more aggressive recent programs like Tropical Cop Tales or Krft Punk’s Political Party. Give Lazor Wulf and his entourage a chance and you may find yourself surprised at how soothing some existential hang time with fantastical beasts can be.
Lazor Wulf premieres on Adult Swim on April 7 at midnight with back-to-back episodes
This review is based on three quarter-hour episodes from Lazor Wulf’s ten-episode first season
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.