The Animatrix comparisons are unavoidable, so I’m not even going to try. Yes, Halo Legends is to the Halo universe as The Animatrix is to The Matrix; a collection of anime shorts made by different Japanese production houses (in fact some of the studios involved also worked on The Animatrix). The shorts – all of which are stylistically quite different – (mostly) deviate from the main story arc of the popular Halo games, opting instead to explore the wider universe.
Some of the characters have never been seen or referenced in other Halo literature before, but it all fits quite nicely within the franchise’s overarching canon. A number of aspects of the Halo universe are explored, ranging from the internal struggle faced by those humans kidnapped as part of the Spartan II programme to the reason the Arbiter rank came to be associated with disgraced Elites. The shorts are all rather effective in unique ways and add layers of depth to an already rich franchise. Some are weaker than others (the madcap The Odd One Out is true to its name), but many tastes are catered for. There are some great special features too, including a comprehensive recap of the Halo story so far. While Halo Legends won’t convince those that already dislike the franchise, fans will lap it up, and it might even win over those with a casual interest in the games.