Obsolete

TV review by
Amanda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Obsolete TV Poster Image
Animated military drama has violence, sci-fi elements.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Themes of military operations, use of child soldiers are discussed. Ethical use of exoskeletons during combat is a running theme.

Positive Role Models

Although many characters express disgust for loss of innocent lives during missions, few take any action to prevent it. Those who do often end up sacrificing their own lives. In one episode, the corrupt major of a troop of African child soldiers is killed. The new major offers the child soldiers freedom but implies that they have nowhere else to go in their poor, crime-ridden country, and their only savior is combat.

Violence

Each episode features a battle between warring countries, mostly using bulky alien exoskeleton technology. Death is implied when the machines stop moving. Dead bodies do appear on-screen, but their faces and fatal wounds are all obstructed. Some episodes include the use of child soldiers, who are threatened with guns -- but no child is killed on-screen.

Sex
Language

Occasional cursing includes "s--t" and "f--k." Also name-calling, such as "idiot."

Consumerism

The series was created by toy company BANDAI, and toy models of the exoskeletons in the series are available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult soldiers are occasionally seen drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Obsolete is an animated military science fiction series that features intense battles between soldiers operating futuristic alien battle armor. It has lots of combat sequences (including some with child soldiers) and frequent loss of life, although no blood or fatal wounds are shown on-screen. Expect some strong language ("s--t," "f--k," etc.) and occasional smoking and drinking. The series highlights themes of military tactics and international relations.

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What's the story?

OBSOLETE is set in an alternate reality in which an alien ship has begun exchanging exoskeleton technology with humans for cheap minerals. An anthology of experiences, each episode of the series is set in a new country in the midst of war sometime during the years 2014 to 2030. As the years go by, the world's militaries learn new things about the mysterious suits of armor and the implications of their use in battle. Weaponry is added to the suits, and countries begin forming treaties regarding the ethical use of exoskeletons during combat.

Is it any good?

This series combines the beloved Japanese anime staple of advanced battle armor with real-life military strategy for a thought-provoking yet dialogue-heavy fantasy. The first half of each episode of Obsolete is dedicated to expository conversations between characters about the international use of exoskeletons in battle. Although informative, these scenes tend to be stagnant, and younger viewers may struggle to focus or understand the subject matter.

The second half of each episode normally features a battle of some kind that highlights the exoskeletons' increasing versatility. Teens may be fascinated by some of the intense fight scenes and explosions. Although there's no apparent gore in the series, parents may find some of the loss of innocent life and questionable military ethics disturbing, especially in regard to the use of child soldiers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about military operations across the world. What effects do cheap but powerful weapons have on developing countries? Do you think the actions taken by the countries in Obsolete are plausible based on those countries' actions in reality?

  • Obsolete has an arc that follows the use of child soldiers in Africa. Why do you think this happens? How are these children affected by being forced into combat?

  • What stereotypes does this series potentially reinforce about African countries? What potential impact do these stereotypes have on viewers?

TV details

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