Crossing Swords

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Crossing Swords TV Poster Image
Nonstop crass humor, language in animated medieval fantasy.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There is no nobility in this series, which makes a mockery of all of its characters and generally of any moral lessons. Messages tend to be cynical, like "You can't beat a rigged system by playing fair." Conflicts are solved with violence and deceit. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patrick at least wants to help people and do good deeds, but he's generally overwhelmed by those around him who have darker aims. Ironic messages are meant to be funny, but it's hard to swallow lines like one uttered by a teen lothario: "To score with the ladies you have to be a lying dickhole." On the other hand, some characters rise above, such as Norah, a wise and brave female character who helps Patrick with an important goal. 

Violence

Violence is played for laughs, i.e. a dragon chases a mean man, exhaling what looks like a cloud of red steel wool; the man is reduced to a peg figure painted like a skeleton. Some moments of violence may be upsetting: a cart on fire veers into a kitten orphanage with cute kitties mewing outside; we hear the impact and then wooden kitty heads with x's for eyes roll away. Violence is frequent; characters are blown up, stabbed, strangled, dismembered, and worse, with pools of red jelly standing in for blood. Many jokes have a vulgar/sexual aspect, like a squire contest in which contestants battle by kicking each other in the testicles.

Sex

Characters are animated peg people, but we see them nude, with pubic hair, breasts, and genitals. In a scene in line with other sexual content, a randy queen entertains young men in her bedroom one after another; when Patrick walks in, she's dangling nude from the ceiling and asks him (in vulgar terms) to have sex while dangling from a chandelier. She pushes through his objections (he's a virgin, he's a women, he's pregnant, he has diarrhea), writing them all off as "hot" and notes that if he's under 18, their tryst will be "even hotter." Yet she pulls back when he says he "just doesn't want to," saying "This needs to be consensual, I'm not a monster." In another scene, we see the silhouettes of Patrick's mom and dad having sex on a pool table. Expect lots of vulgar talk, like references to masturbation, casual sex, body parts, and much more. 

Language

Cursing is frequent; expect "motherf--ker," "f--k," "p---y," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "a--hole," "bastards," There are also plenty of vulgar words: "nutsack," "dildo," "crack," "turds." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character is called an "alcoholic" and seems sloppy, slurring his words. Characters drink beer, and scenes are set at taverns. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crossing Swords is an animated series with lots of mature content set in a historical fantasy kingdom in the Middle Ages. Violence is cartoonish but frequent and gruesome: characters are strangled, pushed off cliffs, stabbed, burnt alive, and more. Blood is rendered as pools of red jelly-like material so it downplays the violence a bit, and death is generally played for laughs, with characters making jokes after deaths and dismemberment. Many jokes have a vulgar aspect, like when characters kick each other in the testicles to win a contest. Otherwise, sexual content is also strong, with many jokes about sex, such as a queen who asks a parade of young men to service her one by one. Language is frequent: "f--k," "f--king," "p---y," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "a--hole," "bastards," as well as words like "nutsack," "dildo," "crack," (meaning a body part) and "turds." One character is called "alcoholic" and frequently seems drunk; other scenes take place in taverns with characters drinking beer. Moral lessons are few and far between and tend to be cynical. Characters generally run the gamut from unpleasant to evil, but some are more grounded and occasionally have flashes of humanity. 

Wondering if Crossing Swords is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChrisd3033 June 25, 2020

Way too much

Okay look I'm no prude but this is ridiculous seeing the king and queen just walking around naked I've watched south park with barley a flench but thi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach June 22, 2020

Its a good show

Its a good show. Its not that inappropriate

What's the story?

Created by some of the comic minds behind Robot Chicken, CROSSING SWORDS is an animated fantasy set in a kingdom of armless peg people in the Middle Ages. Ever since a terrible childhood incident involving dragon eggs, Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) has hoped to grow up and serve King Merriman (Luke Evans) and Queen Tulip (Alanna Ubach) as a noble squire. But when he's finally old enough to shoot his shot, Patrick discovers that not only are the royals corrupt, practically the entire kingdom is vicious and greedy. It'll take every one of Patrick's good intentions for him not to follow suit. 

Is it any good?

This series with lots of sex jokes and not as many pop-culture references as other adult animation shows comes off as a relic from another time. Crossing Swords feels crass instead of refreshingly uninhibited, with a cynical meanness that renders every character unlikeable. Patrick is supposed to be the central heroic touchstone who leads us into a world where medieval foibles make ironic points about our modern lives, but he's so completely surrounded by agents of chaos that any spark of humanity the character has is utterly overwhelmed. Patrick's three siblings are evil, his parents are blithely unconcerned with their son's welfare, the queen and king he works for are corrupt, and every other character we meet can be located on a scale from unappealing to positively vile. 

This was a gambit that worked when South Park was the hottest show on TV, but times have changed, and most viewers prefer a streak of sweetness in their comedy, or, failing that, jokes so hilarious that they can overlook mean-spiritedness. But even when a joke lands in Crossing Swords, it's buried by other fallen soldiers. In one episode, Princess Blossom (Maya Erskine) gets her first period and realizes she'll soon be forced to wear a royal chastity belt locked with a "patriar-key." Clever, right? It sure would seem a lot more clever if there weren't also dozens and dozens of jokes in the episode about how gross periods are. It's a shame, because there's an incredible, powerhouse cast voicing these subpar jokes, and the look of the show is fun, with its handmade look and visual puns (watch for plenty of material about how the people-peg characters function with no arms). Crossing Swords raises the occasional chuckle, but considering the amount of talent on board, it feels like a swing and a miss. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes Crossing Swords (and cartoons in general) funny. Why is it funny to see old toys put into incongruous situations? What is the inherent humor of seeing children's toys in adult situations? 

  • Why does cartoon violence make us laugh, when the same thing happening in real life would be terrifying? How does Crossing Swords dampen its violent scenes so they're comic instead of horrific? 

  • Why are cartoons, as a whole, so entertaining for kids? Do they enjoy the dialogue or the animation more? How can you tell when a particular cartoon isn't meant for younger viewers?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate