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The Animated WWII Series Everyone's Binging On Netflix

Every year on November 11, Americans take a moment to pause and observe the sacrifices the brave men and women in the American Armed Forces have made in service of their country. It's a time to honor veterans for the love they have for their country and for their willingness to put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedoms. Most of us have never seen war, and thanks to our veterans, it can stay that way as they ensure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

To commemorate this special day in 2020, Netflix released an ambitious new miniseries entitled The Liberator. There are plenty of war movies and series to watch on Netflix — from The Outpost starring Orlando Bloom to Barbarians, which takes you back to Germanic-versus-Roman conflicts. However, The Liberator differentiates itself from other war stories by combining live-action performances with rotoscope animation, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that should be your next binge-watch. 

What's the plot of The Liberator?

The Liberator is based off the novel The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey by Alex Kershaw. The opening narration of the series (which comes courtesy of Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe) tells you everything you need to know about the harrowing true story you're about to witness. The miniseries follows the 45th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army — more colloquially known as the Thunderbirds, due to the insignia depicting the supernatural entity that they wore on their shoulders. This unit was noteworthy for being one of the most racially diverse divisions the U.S. Army had in World War II. Soldiers consisted of Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and cowboys from the Southwest. While they came from different backgrounds, they banded together to become one of the hardest-fighting regiments in the entire war. 

These soldiers land in Sicily, Italy, and The Liberator documents their 500-day trek into Germany. They battle against the Axis forces, enacting a devastating toll on the enemy while playing a pivotal role in the Allied forces' victory. 

Should you binge-watch The Liberator?

The Liberator is a classic World War II tale in the same vein as Band of Brothers. However, it's noteworthy for incorporating rotoscoping into the live-action performances brought about by the likes of Bradley James, Martin Sensmeier, and Jose Miguel Vasquez. This makes The Liberator a unique entry into the realm of adult animation, offering a mature, honest look into what life was like for these soldiers battling insurmountable odds.

Critics have had mostly positive things to say about The Liberator. Reviewing the miniseries for The A.V. Club, Toussaint Egan wrote, "The Liberator is an entertaining and impressive series, with the show's appeal evident through the strength of its performances." Egan also praised the lead performance, stating, "Bradley James is captivating as Lt. Col. Sparks, who was recognized not only for his decision to lead his troops from the front, but for returning to duty alongside his company following a near-fatal wound, in open defiance of orders for his discharge."

With four episodes between 45 and 56 minutes in length, binge-watching The Liberator is the equivalent to watching one really long movie. It's certainly worth your time for the animation alone, but it also serves as a good reminder of the sacrifices our soldiers have made for our liberties.