A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Onyx Equinox is an adult-oriented anime series set in ancient Mesoamerican history, and features some of the mythology and cultural practices of the time. There is lots of fantasy violence, including gory scenes of people covered in blood, missing limbs, committing suicide, and having necks slashed as part of ritualistic human sacrifices. Physical fights, the use of weapons, and the mythical powers of gods are also shown. Some characters own slaves. There’s some nudity (bare breasts and bottoms) as part of human sacrifices and other rituals.
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What's the story?
ONYX EQUINOX is a Crunchyroll original anime series set in the ancient times of Mesoamerica. Mictlantecuhtli (Cástulo Guerra), the Aztec god of the lowest part of the underworld, has begun a war by stealing the blood sacrifices from the other gods. After a battle levels a city in Zapotec, the feathered serpent god known as Quetzalcoatl (Zeus Mendoza) decides that the five gates of the underworld must be closed to keep Mictlantecuhtli at bay. But gods are unable to touch the obdsidian-made gates, and his brother Tezcatlipoca (Arin Hanson), the Aztec god of night and black magic, wants to kill all humanity. Quetzalcoatl makes a bet with his brother, and chooses a lowly Mexica (Aztec) servant boy named Izel (Olivia J. Brown) to be his champion and find a way to close the gates before the equinox, when Tezcatlipoca will destroy all human life. But Izel is coping with a terrible loss, and must confront his own darkness if he has any chance of succeeding at this near-impossible quest.
Is it any good?
This mythical anime series offers an entertaining story that is steeped in Mesoamerican history, culture, and and its complex mythology. Those familiar with it will have an easier time of understanding the cultural nuances being presented here, especially when gods like Tezcatlipoca appear as their naguales (animal disguises). But the overall premise, which is, in essence, an adaptation of the hero's journey, can be universally understood.
The fantasy world Onyx Equinox presents is decidedly rooted in Western culture. There are some generic components of the traditional adult-oriented anime series, including violence, nudity, and insect-like creatures and beings. But the visual effects are a little rough around the edges, and English dubbing is clunky. Nonetheless, it’s a captivating story, and if you can move past the fact that it’s a little ragged in places, you'll likely find it's worthy of your time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Izel’s journey to close the gates of the underworld. What kind of challenges must he face to succeed?
How do the creators of Onyx Equinox combine the Aztec cultural and mythical heritage and the generic elements of Japanese anime? Do you think the combination is successful? Is there anything you would change?
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