Noob Reviews: Seis Manos (Season 01)
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included to help explain certain points.
Season 01 is currently available to view on Netflix.
What is Seis Manos?
Seis Manos is a fantastic and unique take on 1970s Mexico in which a small martial arts school and its neighbouring town (San Simon) are assaulted by a mutant which goes on a murderous rampage, killing not only the schools sifu (teacher) Chui but countless civilians. To avenge their fallen sifu and seek justice for the innocents slain, the school’s students (Isabela, Jesús and Silencio) team up with local law enforcement (Garcia) and an American DEA agent (Brister) to do just that.
Unbeknown to anyone at first, this mutant is created by El Balde, the main antagonist of the season; who has been toying with other worldly powers in the hopes of strengthening his and his cartel’s power so that they can rule Mexico unopposed. Cartel kingpin by trade, Orphan Maker as his nickname, El Balde does not take his subject getting loose lightly and sets out to recapture it and at the same time, bring San Simon under his rule.
What is so special about the students?
Chui’s students are all trained in different martial arts. Fast on their feet, adaptable and agile. They are able to fight demons and mutants just as easily as if they were fighting armed cartel soldiers.
Isabela is the conscience and soul of the trio of students. She believes in law, justice and the ‘right way’ of doing things. Isabela is trained in the Chinese Martial Art Hung Ga.
Jesús is a walking talking embodiment of indulgence. Jokester and heart of the trio, he tries to keep everyone from fighting and arguing when their bonds are tested. Jesús is trained in the Chinese Martial Art Drunken Boxing.
Silencio is the third and final member of the trio. At a young age he was mutilated and his tongue cut out, rendering him speechless. He is anger. He is rage. He is revenge. Although Isabela and Jesús are able to control him for the most part, it becomes harder and harder to do so as the season unfolds. Silencio is trained in the Chinese Martial Art Bak Mei.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Season 01 | Official Trailer -
When did it come out?
Seis Manos was first aired on Netflix on October 03rd 2019.
How many episodes are there?
There are currently eight episodes available for season one.
Unfortunately, as of posting this there has been no news of a season two yet. There are though rumours of a script for a second season having read several interviews.
Can you give us an example of some story lines?
There are a few subplots that appear within the first season in addition to the main story plots too. Some of them may already be quite apparent. The students avenging their sifu for example plays a large part in the season, however, we also have Silencio who is on his own path of revenge for the murder of his family when he was a child. Unbeknown to him, the Orphan Maker (El Balde) was the one who murdered his mother and mutilated him as a child. However, upon first meeting, it is almost instant recognition between the two. Silencio’s path of revenge leads him down a slippery slope where he slowly begins to pull away from Isabela and Jesús.
Another interesting story line is that of Brister and Garcia. Garcia is the first ever female police officer in her area to be made active. Praying on a daily basis for ‘something big’ to happen, when the town and school are attacked she is torn up and to an extent blames herself for wishing for something like this to happen. She is not alone though, for reasons never fully explained, a Vietnam veteran named Brister (now working for the DEA) is sent to San Simon. When trying to assert his superiority and rank over Garcia, he is quite literally slapped across the face and dismissed. The character development and relationship development between the two is well written but also paced really well too. There is never too much information or too little. Just enough to help a love hate relationship build.
Who is behind Seis Manos?
The episodes actually have some really good soundtracks to them too, so a big shoutout to Carl Thiel who was the composer.
- Episode Intro -
Who are some actors and actresses in the series?
Aislinn Derbez (Isabela) - Aislinn is a Mexican actress and model who has appeared in eighteen Mexican and Latin American films and ten television shows too. Most recently she has appeared in La casa de las Flores (Television) and Miss Bala (film).
Angelica Vale (Garcia) - Angelica is a Mexican-American triple threat. Singer, actor and comedian. She has an expansive list of television and film appearances which include films like Ice Age. She was also put forward for Best Comedic Performance in 2003 and Best Lead Actress in 2007 at the Premios TVyNovelas (a huge Mexican award ceremony) and won both times.
Danny Trejo (El Balde) - If you don’t know the works of Danny Trejo then you need to expand the type of films you watch. Danny has had an interesting build up to his career, going from construction to prison and then into boxing and finally onto the screen. Whether it be television or film. He has also starred in video games, music videos and owns a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles too. Actual film wise, he has been in a lot. From Devil’s Rejects to Anaconda. Machete to Spy Kids. He can quite literally turn his talents to anything he wishes.
Jonny Cruz (Jesús) - Jonny is an actor, producer and filmmaker of American origins who also turns his hand to scriptwriting and music. Having starred in such things as Prison Break, Walking Tall and even a voice acting role as Lúcio in Overwatch.
Mike Colter (Brister) - This legend plays Luke Cage (also available on Netflix). I think that says it all. But seriously, an American actor, he has appeared in many Marvel television series such as Luke Cage, The Defenders (the short Marvel series, not the legal one) and Jessica Jones. He has also appeared in Ringer, The Good Wife and is (again another legend) Jameson Locke from the Halo universe.
Vic Chao (Chui) - Vic is an American actor who has previously appeared in 24, General Hospital, Pearl Harbour and Mask of the Ninja as well as multiple other television and films productions. He has also done voice acting in some great games, such as Red Alert 3, The Crew and Mortal Kombat X.
Silencio does not have a voice actor (or at least one listed) as he is unable to speak after having his tongue cut out by El Balde. I wanted to mention him just in case you thought I had missed a character out.
How did you like the first season?
I honestly thought the first season was fantastic. Set in the 1970s in Mexico, it has a very old school film vibe to its presentation, the soundtrack is awesome and the character development for the most part was really well done as was the pacing of the story. Although admittedly in the beginning the art style really reminded me of the Scooby-Doo reboot on Cartoon Network, it is far from it. Although the art style may look it, the language, fight scenes and overall plot are of a very mature theme. By the end I loved almost everything about Seis Manos and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to try out something new.
That being said there were a few things that did bother me a little which had a slight negative impact on my overall rating. First and foremost I really had hoped the season had been longer, but from what we did get, I am already anticipating a season two to be announced and will definitely be watching it.
Above I mentioned a ‘for the most part’ with the character development. Character wise I don’t actually see the point of Brister unfortunately nor his contribution to the story. Initially when we are first introduced to Brister we meet him stood naked in a doorway talking to his DEA handler (Larry) whose wife Brister is currently having intimate relations with in another room (I am not even joking). When we first meet Brister he is confident, cocky and an alpha male type character who reminded me somewhat of Black Dynamite (played by Michael Jai White). I loved Black Dynamite and was quite interested to see how the character played out. Unfortunately it was disappointing. With little dialogue, little contribution to the main plot or subplots bar in the very last episode finding out Larry wants him dead (for sleeping with his wife) he doesn’t really do much and when he does it is stereotypical gun ho approach to solving situations. Don’t get me wrong we do touch on some really interesting topics like how African-Americans were treated in the 1970s, Vietnam and how soldiers were treated when returning from Vietnam, but they are touched on (and not explored very well) and never really re visited. I felt that was quite a wasted opportunity and hope that we get to find out more about Brister in season two.
Another quite interesting surprise was to see that Danny Trejo was the voice actor for El Balde. I am a huge Danny Trejo fan or at least… I use to think I was… Until I found that out. I honestly thought the voice acting for El Balde was done by Saro Solis who was the voice actor for El Sueno in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. There was just a very cold and almost cruel tone to the voice of El Balde that made me think of El Sueno instantly. I could kick myself for getting it wrong. I still love Danny Trejo though and think he is a great actor with a wide scope to his acting abilities.
Just to recap. Love it. Can’t wait for season two to be announced. Really going to fan boy over this one.
What overall rating would you give Seis Manos?
Overall I found Seis Manos to be very enjoyable, easy to binge watch and I have already been googling to see if a second season has been announced (you might have guessed this from the above). Story is strong overall but some minor amendments could be made. I would give this a solid 4.5 out of 5 bananas if I could but it’s either a 4 or 5 so went 4 on this occasion.
Thank you very much for checking out the review and if you are interested in Seis Manos and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.