Hit-Monkey
Hit-Monkey Logo.png
GenreSuperhero
Created byWill Speck
Josh Gordon
Based on
Directed byNeil Holman
Starring
ComposerDaniel Rojas
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Duffy Boudreau
  • Molly Brock
  • Marcus Rosentater
Running time22–27 minutes
Production companies
DistributorHulu
Release
Original networkHulu
Original releaseNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsM.O.D.O.K.

Marvel's Hit-Monkey, or simply Hit-Monkey, is an American adult animated streaming television series created by Will Speck and Josh Gordon for the streaming service Hulu, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The series is produced by Marvel Television, with Gordon and Speck serving as showrunners.

The series stars Ally Maki, Olivia Munn, Nobi Nakanishi, Fred Tatasciore, George Takei, and Jason Sudeikis. Hit-Monkey was announced and ordered at Hulu in February 2019, as part of a group of series based on Marvel characters that were intended to lead to a crossover special titled The Offenders, with it being produced by Marvel Television. Oversight of the series was moved to Marvel Studios in December 2019 when Marvel Television was folded into that company.

Hit-Monkey was released on Hulu on November 17, 2021. The series was met with generally positive reviews from critics for its animation, voice acting, action scenes, plot, and faithfulness to the source material of the comics.

Plot

Hit-Monkey is a wronged Japanese macaque who is mentored by the ghost of an American assassin named Bryce Fowler as he damages Tokyo's crime underworld.[1]

Cast

Main

Guest

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Pilot"Neal HolmanJosh Gordon & Will SpeckNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Bryce Fowler, an upbeat assassin, is hired by a third party to kill a progressive politician Ken Takahara in Japan. He succeeds and also ends up killing the partner of police officer Ito. As he begins to feel remorse for his actions, Bryce is betrayed by his employer and attacked by his goons. Although severely wounded, Bryce manages to escape, fleeing to the snowy mountains. A tribe of intelligent snow monkeys rescue Bryce and begin nursing him back to health. Bryce takes an interest in a particularly aggressive monkey who distrusts him and witnesses his training. The aggressive monkey is banished from the tribe for harming another monkey, but as he leaves witnessing the assassins coming, who mortally wound Bryce before killing the other monkeys for amusement. Taking Bryce's firearms, the monkey slaughters the assassins in rage. With his dying words, Bryce declares that the monkey must pursue the assassins' employer. The monkey heads to a train station with Bryce's weapons and is suddenly joined by his ghost.
2"Bright Lights, Big City"Neal HolmanJosh Gordon & Will SpeckNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
The monkey, later dubbed Hit-Monkey, finds himself unable to lose Bryce's ghost as he arrives in Tokyo. Bryce leads the monkey to a fish warehouse where he received his mission to kill Takahara. They encounter the deranged old woman who supplied Bryce's guns and accidentally kill her, although steal her money to afford a hotel. Meanwhile, Takahara's running mate Shinji Yokohama is convinced by his niece and speech writer Akiko to run in his stead. Lieutenant Ito is given a new partner, the young upstart Haruka, who is aware of his flaws. Hit-Monkey spots a General whom Bryce deduces to be involved, and tracks him to Takahara's funeral where Yokohama announces his intent to run. Bryce witnesses the General talking to his unseen employer while Hit-Monkey steals a suit and kills a group of Yakuza thugs, triggering a shoot-out between Yakuza members. Hit-Monkey kills the Yakuza, rescues Akiko, and attacks the General, who is killed by a bus, leaving his wallet behind. Akiko and Yokohama return home safely as Hit-Monkey and Bryce watch. Ito and Haruka see security footage of Hit-Monkey in action.
3"Legend of the Drunken Monkey"Neal HolmanKeith FoglesongNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
While arguing about having to kill, Hit-Monkey and Bryce encounter Stick, a blind monk who can communicate with them, declaring that they are bound and must work together. Haruka informs the police department about Hit-Monkey's involvement, only to be laughed off; while Yokohama and Akiko are confronted by Takahara's opponent, Ozu. Bryce and Hit-Monkey find the General's home and ignite a deadly shoot-out between two military soldiers and two Yakuza members. Deducing that the General had gambling debts to pay, they sneak into a casino owned by the twins Kappei and Teppei. Hit-Monkey is discovered and forced by Bryce to pretend to be entertainment. To advance to the top floor and meet the twins, they begin gambling, although Hit-Monkey develops a drinking problem to get over his pain and dislike of killing. After Hit-Monkey is captured by the twins, revealed to be the sons of the old woman, Bryce finally admits that being a killer isn't easy. Hit-Monkey then kills his captors and picks up a finance book, discovering the address of a man named The Accountant, who paid for Takahara's assassination.
4"The Code"Neal HolmanDuffy BoudreauNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
The address leads Bryce and Hit-Monkey to a prison, which they infiltrate while arguing about Hit-Monkey's code. Hit-Monkey is captured by the warden, but escapes and learns that the Accountant is located in a closed-off area of the prison called "The Pit". Meanwhile, Akiko is run off the road by Ozu's promotional team, although Yokohama tells her not to call the press to avoid an incident. Within the Pit, Hit-Monkey and Bryce meet the Accountant, who forces them to battle Fat Cobra. Hit-Monkey wins, but refuses to kill Cobra, instead teaming up with him to defeat the Accountant. Hit-Monkey chases the Accountant to a hidden luxury room, where he reveals that he was hired by The Rooster to fund Takahara's assassination before being killed by his own men. The Warden starts a raid, but Hit-Monkey and Bryce are able to escape thanks to a rat Hit-Monkey saved earlier. Afterwards, Hit-Monkey visits Akiko who thanks him for saving her. News of Hit-Monkey's actions spread, validating Ito and Haruka's claims.
5"Run Monkey Run"Neal HolmanMatteo Borghese & Rob TurbovskyNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
The Yakuza's leaders, including the Rooster, join together to place a bounty on Hit-Monkey. After being tailored for a new suit, Hit-Monkey is attacked by various assassins, making Bryce jealous of his success. Akiko discloses Ozu's supposed attack on her to the press, earning Yokohama's ire, while Ito expresses sympathy to Hit-Monkey's cause after he kills a corrupt officer. Yuki, a ghostly assassin, attacks Hit-Monkey and Bryce to prevent them from killing. While fighting Yuki and a street racer named Eiko, Hit-Monkey saves Ito from being run over, separately convincing both him and Yuki that he is good. Hit-Monkey is then captured by The Poacher, and Bryce admits that he is jealous. Together, they kill the Poacher and slaughter the Yakuza leaders, while Rooster is arrested by the police. With their apartment destroyed by Yuki, Hit-Monkey decides to stay with Akiko, which she allows.
6"The Long Goodbye"Neal HolmanAlbertina RizzoNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Akiko is visited by Ito and Haruka who inform her that the Rooster has been arrested, but due to his connections is being let go. Hit-Monkey and Bryce take the opportunity to assassinate him, with Bryce believing that this will let his spirit finally rest. They kill a man they believe to be the Rooster, only to find that he has numerous doubles, none of which releases Bryce. Hit-Monkey spares a portly double, and kills the supposedly real Rooster as another assassin tries to do the same. Ito reveals to Haraka that he took the fall for his former partner during a corruption investigation in the past, earning her trust. Hit-Monkey forces the portly double to take him to the bank and unlock a box using a key left by Rooster; however, the double turns out to be the real Rooster in disguise, and he attacks Hit-Monkey. Believing that he will soon ascend, Bryce reveals that he has a daughter and wants Hit-Monkey to look after her. Hit-Monkey kills Rooster, but Bryce is still bound to him, forcing them to return to Akiko with the box. In response to his minions' failure, the Yakuza's mysterious benefactor hires the assassin Lady Bullseye.
7"Sayonara Monkey"Neal HolmanKen KobayashiNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Bryce and Hit-Monkey visit the monk, who uses salt to deter Bryce and states that Hit-Monkey must lead them to salvation. Yokohama fires Akiko when Ozu turns her claims against them. The zoo's snow monkeys are killed, which Bryce realizes to be the work of Lady Bullseye, while Haruka deduces that Hit-Monkey is staying with Akiko. As Hit-Monkey and Bryce prepare for Lady Bullseye, Akiko, Ito and Haruka arrive. Lady Bullseye blows up Akiko's house, fatally wounds Ito, and gives chase to Hit-Monkey throughout Tokyo. Hit-Monkey escapes and visits a recovering Akiko in the hospital, becoming overwhelmed with grief. Ito dies, and Haruka leaves the police in disgust. Believing that Bryce has ruined his life, Hit-Monkey traps him in a salt circle and returns to the mountains, where he spots a new tribe of snow monkeys.
8"Home Sweet Home"Neal HolmanPaul LevittNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Abandoning his old life, Hit-Monkey rescues a young snow monkey named Koji from a violent tribe called the Red Stripes and is indoctrinated into the new tribe. Hit-Monkey bonds with Koji, and decides to train the tribe to fight back when the Red Stripes plot to steal their spring. During the fight, Koji is killed, driving Hit-Monkey to don his suit and kill the Red Stripe's leader, scaring his new family away. The ghost of his tribe's Alpha appears, declaring that he must protect both humans and monkeys as a "killer of killers". Affected by the salt, Bryce relives his past as Bryce McHenry, where he met his girlfriend Hayley and sired a daughter named Iris. Bryce learns that his mom's latest boyfriend, Eli, has terrible connections which come back to haunt his family. Bryce accidentally kills Eli during a confrontation and goes on the run, leaving his family with Eli's stolen money. Recalling the Alpha spirit's words, Hit-Monkey finds Bryce's frozen corpse in the snow. He mournfully buries both Koji and his partner side-by-side, in twin cairns, before departing the mountains for good. He then reunites with Bryce, strengthening their bond. However, they soon realize that there is only a day left for the election.
9"The End: Part One"Neal HolmanDuffy Boudreau & Keith FoglesongNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Hit-Monkey and Bryce return to Akiko's house where the latter begins to fade in and out of existence. They reunite with Haruka and Akiko, who reveal that Rooster's pen is a recording device; the recording states that Ichiro Hazaki, the Bonsai Master, is the Yakuza's benefactor. While Hakura and Akiko, alongside Yuki and the Silver Samurai, protect Yokohama at his election viewing party, Bryce and Hit-Monkey head to Bonsai Master's compound to kill him and Ozu. Lady Bullseye kills the tailor and the monk, deducing Hit-Monkey's connection to Bryce and the latter's continued existence as a ghost. Hit-Monkey and Bryce fight their way to Bonsai Master, who declares his intentions to restore Japan to its feudal era. Yokohama is declared the new prime minister, and Akiko is approached by Lady Bullseye. Hit-Monkey defeats Bonsai Master, who commits seppuku, and approaches Ozu. However, Ozu declares that he wasn't involved Takahara's death as he had nothing to gain, leading Hit-Monkey and Bryce to realize that Yokohama is responsible.
10"The End: Part Two"Neal HolmanJosh Gordon & Will SpeckNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)
Hit-Monkey and Bryce recruit Haruka and Yuki to infiltrate the party and confront Yokohama. However, Hit-Monkey is discovered, igniting a riot between Hit-Monkey's supporters and the police. With help from Yuki and Fat Cobra, Hit-Monkey escapes Silver Samurai and fights Lady Bullseye, Yokohama's bodyguard, who overpowers him and tortures Bryce with salt. Using the salt, Bryce manages to make himself partially tangible, distracting Lady Bullseye long enough for Haruka to kill her. Yokohama escapes to the roof with Akiko, and regretfully declares his involvement in Takahara's death, having become tired of him losing elections and being offered support from Bonsai Master. Hit-Monkey arrives to kill Yokohama, but Bryce decides to talk him down, which allows him to finally ascend. As Haruka goes to arrest Yokohama, he grabs her gun, forcing Hit-Monkey to shoot him; devastating Akiko. Haruka sneaks Hit-Monkey out of Japan while promising to clear his name. Not wanting to leave Hit-Monkey alone, Bryce returns from Hell, now possessing the ability to interact with objects after making a deal with Mephisto. In the morgue, Akiko vows revenge on Hit-Monkey, and takes Lady Bullseye's mask.

Production

Development

In February 2019, it was announced that Marvel Television was developing an adult animated television series based on Hit-Monkey, with a series order at Hulu, along with M.O.D.O.K. and ones based on Tigra and Dazzler together, as well as Howard the Duck, that were intended to lead up to a crossover special titled The Offenders. The series was created by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, both of whom were expected to write for the series and executive produce alongside Jeph Loeb.[1][5][6] In December 2019, Marvel Television was folded into Marvel Studios, which carried subsequent oversight of the series.[7] The following month, Marvel decided not to move forward with Howard the Duck, Tigra & Dazzler, and The Offenders, with M.O.D.O.K. and Hit-Monkey continuing as planned.[8] In May 2021, M.O.D.O.K. co-creator Jordan Blum revealed that the series would have a different animation style from M.O.D.O.K..[9] In January 2022, Hulu's head of content Craig Erwich stated that additional seasons of Hit Monkey would be determined solely by the Marvel Studios team.[10] With the cancelation of M.O.D.O.K. in May 2022, Variety reported Hit-Monkey was also not expected to be renewed.[11]

Casting

In September 2021, it was revealed that Jason Sudeikis would voice Bryce,[3] along with Fred Tatasciore as Hit-Monkey, with George Takei, Olivia Munn, Ally Maki, and Nobi Nakanishi also starring.[2]

Release

Hit Monkey was released on November 17, 2021 on Hulu in the United States.[3] Internationally, the series was released on January 26, 2022 on Disney+ (via Star), Disney+ Hotstar and Star+ in Latin America.

Reception

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 81% approval rating with an average rating of 6.8/10 based on 16 critic reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "If Marvel's Hit-Monkey is never as thrillingly original as its title might suggest, vibrant animation and a solid voice cast keep things consistently watchable."[12] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 57 out of 100 based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[13]

Kristen Reid of Paste stated that the animation of Hit-Money is remarkable with its inspiration of Japanese animation, and claimed that the level of violence and lack of morality is refreshing compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while finding the sense of humor of the series entertaining despite its lack of originality.[14] Brenton Stewart of CBR.com found Hit-Monkey unique and refreshing through its animation compared to other high-quality Marvel productions, stating that the company should continue to provide more adult animated projects that take risks.[15] Stephen Robinson of The A.V. Club gave the series a A− rating, stating that Hit-Monkey manages to be one of the best recent Marvel tv shows created, while the animation and the development of the villains, and complimenting the performance and chemistry of the cast.[16] Siddhant Adlakha of IGN rated the series 7 out of 10 and found the animation of the series impressive, complimented how the plot and the visual elements manage to balance between humor and gore, despite saying that the characters feel more American than Japanese through their dialogues and mannerism.[17] John Townsend of Starburst rated the series 3 out of 5 stars, saying that Marvel Television successfully provides a show with an inventive and clever humor, making less-know Marvel characters likable.[18]

References

  1. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (February 11, 2019). "'Howard the Duck' Among Four Marvel Animated Shows Ordered at Hulu". Variety. Archived from the original on February 11, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Marvel (September 20, 2021). "'Hit-Monkey' Premieres November 17 On Hulu". Marvel.com. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Coogan, Devan (September 17, 2021). "An exclusive look at 47 of fall 2021's new and returning shows – Hit Monkey (Nov. 17, Hulu)". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Palmer, Roger (October 18, 2021). "New Marvel's Hit-Monkey Trailer ReleasedWhat's On Disne". What's On Disney Plus?. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Patten, Dominic (February 11, 2019). "Marvel & Hulu Ink Pact For 'Howard The Duck' Animated Series + More – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 11, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 11, 2019). "Marvel, Hulu Set Four-Show Animated Slate". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 11, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 8, 2019). "Marvel TV Division Folded Into Studio Unit, Layoffs Expected". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 24, 2020). "Marvel's 'Howard the Duck,' 'Tigra & Dazzler' Dead at Hulu". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (May 21, 2021). "'Marvel's M.O.D.O.K' Showrunner on Season 2 Plans and What That 'Offenders' Crossover Might Have Looked Like". Collider. Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  10. ^ Barnhardt, Aaron (January 11, 2022). "Hulu Casts Doubt on Marvel's Future, Including MODOK and Hit-Monkey Season 2". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  11. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 13, 2022). "'M.O.D.O.K' Canceled at Hulu After One Season". Variety. Archived from the original on May 13, 2022. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  12. ^ "Marvel's Hit-Monkey: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  13. ^ "Marvel's Hit-Monkey: Season 1". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  14. ^ "Hit Monkey Mayhem Takes Over in Hulu's Darkly Funny Series". pastemagazine.com. November 16, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "Hit-Monkey is the Most Stylish Marvel Production Ever". CBR. November 19, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  16. ^ "Marvel's Hit-Monkey is a rip-roaring, comedic thrill ride". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  17. ^ Adlakha, Siddhant (November 12, 2021). "Marvel's Hit-Monkey: Season 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  18. ^ "HIT-MONKEY - SEASON ONE". STARBURST Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2022.