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Super Crooks
Episodes 11-13

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Super Crooks (ONA) ?
Community score: 4.0

How would you rate episode 12 of
Super Crooks (ONA) ?
Community score: 3.9

How would you rate episode 13 of
Super Crooks (ONA) ?
Community score: 4.0

In its final three episodes, Super Crooks has done a very surprising and welcome thing: It has become the fun, endearing, and occasionally even thrilling heist story that it never quite managed to be in the nine episodes leading up to this climax. Now that we've arrived at the material that is actually adapting its comic miniseries namesake, it's clearer than ever that the story's false starts were at least partially intentional. Everything leading up to “Casino Grand Granite”, “The Bastard”, and “Super Crooks” was—by virtue of it all serving as an extended prologue to the “real” Super Crooks—nothing but setup.

I have a lot of good things to say about this final batch of episodes, which feels especially good after being so underwhelmed by everything that came before them, but I can't help but be a little annoyed over how Super Crooks shaped out as a whole. Every character and plot beat that gets reintroduced and re-explained in this finale stand more-or-less perfectly on their own, which makes sense, since the original comic certainly didn't need nine episodes worth of meandering backstory fill-ins to get to the point. None of the Super Crooks Crew, or even the villains of the story, benefitted from being introduced in the three-ish previous heists that the series covered in the preceding episodes. Everything we needed to learn about Johnny and Kasey's backstory was covered in these last episodes, and every other character works just as well during this final job as in any of the previous ones.

I can imagine a version of Super Crooks that is maybe half as long and twice as good, provided it tweaked its pacing a little and did the work to genuinely earn Johnny's transformation from hapless idiot to the hypercompetent criminal mastermind we see here at the end of the series. The Bastard, I think, would be even more compelling here if we hadn't been seeing him explode heads left and right for a dozen episodes prior to his downfall, and the stakes of the heist might have actually felt more urgent if it weren't for all of the wasted time that killed so much of my investment this season.

All of that said, I'll be the first to admit that this final run of episodes kind of rules. It doesn't do anything to subvert or improve upon the classic “action-comedy heist movie” formula, but for once the show is able to execute on that premise with all of the required zeal and creative energy that you expect from a superpowered crime caper. The Bastard's private Japanese island resort is the perfect location for a job to end all jobs, and the magic 4D briefcase filled with billions of dollars' worth of gold makes for a much more exciting target than a silly helmet. I still don't quite get how Johnny suddenly became such a competent and even somewhat charming person—that last stint in Supermax must have come with a hell of a personal improvement package—but I'll take it.

What really did the trick for me, though, is how every character's powers and personalities are finally used to their fullest. The Diesel Bros. get several laugh-out-loud funny moments in which they mangle their bodies in increasingly horrific ways; Ghost, TK, and Forecast are all reasonably involved in the many phases of the heist's planning and execution; and the story even manages to find an interesting use for Gladiator, who is saved as a secret weapon until the very last minute so he can beat the ever-loving shit out of The Praetorian.

My favorite payoff, though, is definitely Kasey's showdown with The Bastard. I was initially worried that the show was going to commit to the lame damsel-in-distress routine that it put her in during the final episode, and I almost fell for the big twist when The Bastard blew Kasey's skull into smithereens. Outside of some needlessly leering ass shots, though, Super Crooks has always been good about giving Kasey the respect she deserves as the smartest and most talented person in the entire cast, and her final mind-game was an awesome way to close out the heist and lead the crew to their happily-ever-afters.

Because of its many pacing issues, and not to mention that nine of its thirteen episodes essentially feel like filler, I can't imagine that the Super Crooks anime is the best version of this story. Not only does the original comic exist, but there's going to be a live-action series (also on Netflix) that will hopefully take a more direct approach to adapting the source material. Still, for me, the final third of Super Crooks went a long way towards redeeming the show. It's still not great, but it's worth checking out for anyone who needs a dumb, fun way to kill a couple of hours. Just don't feel bad if you end up fast-forwarding through a bunch of the middle episodes; I promise, you're not missing much.


Super Crooks is currently streaming on Netflix.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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