Shine on (you) Crazy Diamond #1 : Xavier, Renegade Angel

Shine on (you) crazy diamond, other than being a not so subtle reference to the magnificent music of Pink Floyd, is also the title for this series of articles hellbent on making you discover underrated artworks that have nothing but passion and a heaping amount of psychedelics in them.

With that out of the way, let me now talk about: XAVIER: RENEGADE ANGEL.

“What doth life? What, doth, leyffff?” is the incredibly dumb question posed in the pilot of the show by our unlikely superhero. Superhero? Is that the right term? What powers does he possess? According to the protagonist Xavier, “powers are for the weak. I have no powers. I mean, unless you count the power to blow people’s minds with my weapons-grade philosophical insight.”

So he’s a thinker: “a conundrummer, in a band, called Life Puzzler”. He’s also the unholy combination of human, animal and surrealist animation. I have already spent more than half of the beginning of the article using quotes from Xavier himself. That’s because the show is an endless bombardment of word play and quippy puns. The tone of the show and of the main character serve the ridiculousness of the show and help with it’s self-aware nature. At no point are you laughing at the show, instead, the show often laughs at you as it uses the expectations you have (presupposed A to B plot lines that would happen in any other show) to get the most surprising laughs out of you.

There are only two seasons of this masterpiece but the minds behind it have worked on a lot of other great projects. Right now they are the creative forces behind the show The Shivering Truth, a popular cornucopia of craziness available to watch on Adult Swim. Their humor is incredibly fine tuned and it’s quite easy to recognize their work. I was lucky enough to discover Xavier: Renegade Angel through a Movie Review Critic called YourMovieSucksDOTorg who in his “Top Ten of 2007”[1] (released in 2019, of course) introduced Xavier: Renegade Angel as the last of his guilty pleasures for that year. As I was already on YouTube I quickly searched the show and found out that the entirety of the show is available for free there. The length of an episode is 10 minutes which means that you can finish an entire season in about an hour and a half. However, the intensity of the show makes it so that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend indulging in it all at once.

The animation, as you probably noticed in the still I used, is quite rough. Needless to say that it will put a lot of people off, but if you love surrealist animation or anything whose ugliness becomes it’s charm (like South Park), then welcome to a show that incorporates both! Personally I find the animation to be hilarious as it allows the ridiculousness of the show to match its aesthetics: everything is out of place, and that’s kind of the point. You’ll see a snake hand devour a baby, a redneck take a bone from his pants and throw it at Xavier’s face. You’ll also see Xavier lick various liquids off his face. . . a lot.

On a podcast called Sardonicast, where the YouTuber I mentioned discusses the show for half an hour with two fellow critics[2], the point is made that the animation stopped them from taking the show seriously. Enjoying the show and thinking that it is ridiculous and absurd is definitely one way you could approach it, but just because it seems ridiculous doesn’t mean it has nothing to say. An amazing YouTube video spends almost two hours deconstructing the social and political themes present in both the animation and the writing. There are a lot of critiques against the US, religion, false spiritualism, etc. . .

I can only spend so many tiny paragraphs talking about the show. In order to have you become actively immersed and to show you that people actually can enjoy my recommendations, I created this sub-segment called “WATCH IT!” where, in a similar style to my article “The First Drop”, I force fellow writers of Writer’s Block to watch whatever the focus of Shine on (you) Crazy Diamond is!

WATCH IT!

We’re four episodes in, we all deserve a breather. In this brief moment of reprieve I ask them a small series of questions regarding the show. The first question I ask is, “how would you spell leyf?”

Eda in an attempt to spell it immediately begins imitating Xavier’s speech:

L-Y-F-F

Chaakir:                                      

L-E-I-F-E

The very first thing that popped into their ears as they watched the show was his voice, though the hilarity of it lingered behind an echo that almost never ceased to cling to Xavier’s words. Something I had missed on my first viewing and that Chaakir heard  from the very first /LEIFE/. The rewatchability of the show had me discover a small gag in the third episode where Xavier’s echo is also heard by Xavier as the criminal he needs to capture is taunting him. In episode eight, Eda comments on how the anarchists all sounded like they are from SoCal. Especially, it seems, when saying “personified”. After the breather Chaakir only has enough time for one more episode. Seeing as Eda’s article “In Defense of Anarchism” was still fresh in our minds, I decide a great closer would be a warm “Welcome to Squatopia”. The burning person celebration fires up many fits of laughter, like the roast of a boy in a wheelchair as Xavier barrages him with hilariously problematic insults.

Seconds after a trek in the desert of Arizona, Xavier is aggressed by a group of hillbillies. Eda questions whether the characters in the show realize how abnormal Xavier is. After which, one of the rednecks immediately shouts out “freak”. The presentation of the show divulges a multiplicity of freak-ish visuals. Transitions from scene to scene happen by having a close up of the intestinal tract of Xavier, the camera slaloming its way through and exiting out of the stinky diaper of a sewer baby. It comes as little surprise that Chaakir, a writer well versed in video games, could pull many similarities between the animation of the show and old school polygonal video games. Eda remarks that the animation could be the Sims without the squares. Xavier’s piercing blue and brown eye each make way for gut-busting and horrifying flashbacks, like him loving the earth like his mother, harder, till it hurts.

Best drug to watch it on?

Eda: weed and whiskey.

Chaakir: I don’t know if this show would be too intense to take psychedelics for. Weed and alcohol would be a safer bet.

The most recurring element of the show as elaborated on in the analysis video is the constant anti-hero misdeeds perpetrated under the guise of Spiritualism. When discussing what the themes of the show could be, the only one in common between Chaakir and Eda is that of the anti-hero. Remarks over how the show plays with confidence and surrealist ideas are also made. The socio-political aspect of the show was missed by them, and so I highly recommended the analysis video.

As for their favorite quote and episode:

Watching it all together we learned that “this is what gang banging ought to be about”.



[1] YourmoviesucksDOTorg, Top Ten of 2007, at about 12minutes 43seconds, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSysjsNQHVM&t=1653s

[2] Sardonicast #35, about 35:40, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djAw3gYe0eA&t=3782s


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