You can practically picture the pitch of the Scott Pilgrim Takes Off anime as an Archive of Our Own summary: What if Scott Pilgrim disappears before his fight with Ramona Flowers’ first Evil Ex? What if Ramona has to go Sherlock Mode for the missing Scott and unearths a grander conspiracy to sabotage her future with Scott?
But the new Netflix anime, co-written by Bryan Lee O’Malley and BenDavid Grabinski, isn’t a simple “what if?” as much as it is a reshuffling and remixing of the source material. When Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) vanishes before outpunching or outsmarting the League of Evil Exes, it leaves Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to make peace with a few of her Evil Exes. Whereas past Scott Pilgrim works focused on his battle to get the girl, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is O’Malley rethinking the confines of that happily ever after — and what it really means to deal with the baggage of your troubled romantic history.
[Ed. note: Ending spoilers ahead for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.]
Through time travel shenanigans, Ramona discovers a time-traveling Old Scott (Will Forte) was the mastermind behind the (Younger) Scott’s kidnapping. In the future, Scott and Ramona separated after about 12 or 13 years of marriage, so the Old Scott Scott-napped his younger self to prevent his union with Ramona and save himself an adulthood of heartbroken misery.
By the finale, Old Scott has become the Even Older Scott, and trained to become a more powerful, Ryu-sized Evil Ex, and snatches Scott, Ramona, and company into the future to literally punch away his past and wash his bruised knuckles of it. But it all comes to a head when Old Ramona rollerblades to the rescue and confronts her Old Scott, scolding him for fistfighting his pastRead more on polygon.com