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20

Aug

Disney’s Next Animated Short is Sure to be a Treat

Whenever you head out to the good ole movie theater to see Disney’s next animated feature, Big Hero 6, (which I am extremely excited for), you will first be able to witness Disney’s newest animated short, Feast.

First things first, this short tells the story of an owner and his little Boston terrier named Winston. But this story is not shown traditionally, it is shown through a series of quick flashes, exhibiting how Winston and his owner grow together. But, to be more specific, how Winston and his owner grow together through their eating habits. And, of course, Winston, like all other dogs, sits right underneath the kitchen table waiting for any scraps he can get his paws on. But, all of this changes when his owner meets someone new… Once the aspiring chef comes into the picture, both Winston and his owner face various, healthier meals crafted by the owner’s new girlfriend. So, it seems like man and man’s best friend will be facing major differences when it comes to mealtime. 

In his review, Drew Taylor tells all about Disney’s next short, including the animation style. He says, “Feast’ is the latest short film attempting to marry the world of two-dimensional animation and 3D computer animation, with a distinctly different stylistic bent. And the results are really enchanting.” Apparently, the environment contains 3D objects covered with 2D textures, so you get a feel for an exciting blend of 2D and 3D animation in the Boston terrier’s story. This has gotta be a crafty and extremely adorable new short.

You can ‘feast’ your eyes upon Feast before Disney’s Big Hero 6, in theaters November 7th.

-Madison

18

Aug

The Emmys came, the Emmys went…

and none of the sparsely nominated animated shows won anything outside of the specifically designated animated categories.

But even so, let’s take a look at the few animated winners from the Creative Arts Emmy Show, held last Saturday, Aug. 16, and airing on an obscure channel (FXM) next Sunday, Aug. 24.

  1. Bob’s Burgers, “Mazel Tina” Outstanding Animated Program  

Bob’s Burgers, created by Loren Bouchard, has been around since 2011, but this is its first award of national significance, despite Emmy nominations twice before. The show has also received several other award nominations, including ASIFA / International Animated Film Society awards (the Annies) in 2013 and ’14 and Teen Choice Awards in 2011, ’12 and ’13.

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Bob’s Burgers beat out ArcherFuturamaSouth Park and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project for the top spot.  

  2. Disney Mickey Mouse, “O Sole Minnie” — Outstanding Short-format Animated Program 

Disney’s 2D Mickey Mouse shorts have swept the Short-format Animated Program category both years since the show’s creation in 2013, and for good reason. The shorts are as endearing as they are visually appealing, uniting beloved characters with interesting locations and situations.

An Adventure Time loyalist myself, I’m a little sad that Mickey Mouse again took the top slot at the 2014 Emmys, but I find consolation, nay, even hope in the fact that Disney might still appreciate its 2D art form thanks to the continued success of this show.

Mickey Mouse was nominated along with fellow Disney show Phineas and Ferb and Cartoon Network staples Adventure Time and Regular Show and Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken.

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  3. Harry Shearer as “Kent Brockman / Mr. Burns / Smithers / Younger Burns,” The SimpsonsOutstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

The Simpsons have been around almost as long as color television, spanning an impressive 25-season era on Fox and soon airing all 552 episodes in order on FXX from August 21 to the end of time.

During its continual run (its tenure on Fox, not the weeks-long marathon) since 1989, The Simpsons has racked up a nice list of accolades, including 17 years of Emmys.

Although also nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation, The Simpsons walked away with three Emmy awards this year: the aforementioned Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and a couple of Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation honors.

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Shearer came out ahead over Chris Diamantopoulos [Mickey Mouse], Seth MacFarlane [Family Guy’s Glenn Quagmire/Peter Griffin/Stewie Griffin], Seth Green [Robot Chicken], Maurice LaMarche [Futurama’s Calculon and Morbo] and renowned canine blogger Stan I  mean Stephen Full [Dog with a Blog].

   4. The final recognition for animated shows is more specific and therefore less talked about by anyone: Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation.

It’s actually a very cool honor, since the nominees are screened by a jury of peers and people who understand and like animation. “All entrants are screened by a jury of appropriate branch members with the possibility of one, more than one, or no award,” according to the Academy website.

This year, ten animators were recognized for their excellent work:

  1. Nick Jennings, Art Director, Cartoon Network:
    Adventure Time, “Wizards Only, Fools
  2. Ian Worrel, Art Director, Disney Channel:
    Disney Gravity Falls, “Dreamscaperers
  3. Narina Sokolova, Background Painter, Disney Channel
    Disney Mickey Mouse, “‘O Sole Minnie
  4. Valerio Ventura, Background Designer, Disney Channel
    Disney Mickey Mouse, “The Adorable Couple
  5. Sean Szeles, Storyboard Artist, CartoonNetwork.com
    "Long Live The Royals"
  6. Jasmin Lai, Background Painter, Cartoon Network
    The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed
  7. Cameron Baity, Animator, Adult Swim
    Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains In Paradise
  8. Dmitry Malanitchev, Color Design Director, Fox
    The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror XXIV”
  9. Charles Ragins, Background Designer, Fox
    The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror XXIV”
  10. Nick Edwards, Character Designer, Cartoon Network
    Uncle Grandpa, “Afraid of the Dark” 

You can impress at least two of your friends with your Emmy-winner knowledge gained here.

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

15

Aug

Star Wars: The Animated Serieses

Whether or not you’re a fan of Star Wars, you’ve heard of it. More than likely, you’ve heard of The Clone Wars series and the upcoming sequel trilogy, staring some of our favorite faces in the Star Wars universe (SQUEEE!!). But you may not be aware of the upcoming expansion to the canon through the new series coming this October, Star Wars Rebels.

This new show will premiere on the Disney Channel in a one-hour time slot, and then continue on Disney XD in standard 30-min slots. This is keeping with the standard set by the previous series, The Clone Wars, except this will take place on a timeline between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. I judge it to be a little closer to Ep. IV simply based on the look of the Stormtroopers, and according to StarWars.com, it does indeed take place a mere 5 years before the Battle of Yavin. Let’s take a quick look at the preview Lucasfilm has released in anticipation of this new chapter.

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Courtney Elyse at Dreamworks Studios - shot taken by Scott Klasner
Wanna hear what the inside of Dreamworks Studios was like in Burbank, California? Courtney E. has the scoop.  

Courtney Elyse at Dreamworks Studios - shot taken by Scott Klasner

Wanna hear what the inside of Dreamworks Studios was like in Burbank, California? Courtney E. has the scoop.  

Why you should do iAnimate/Animation Mentor

I met with my iAnimate professor and Dreamworks Animator Bill Tessier in person a while back. For months we had only known each other through a virtual classroom, but now we had the chance to grab lunch and tour the studio that houses my dream career. In order to get onto the campus, we had to get special VIP passes (which I kept and will scrapbook eventually). 

After those were made, we walked along the pathway, and it was then that I became overwhelmed and awestruck by how truly dreamlike the atmosphere was.  The campus was abundant with beautiful fountains, koi ponds, exotic flowers and ivy, which weaved along the archways and around the winding paths. The main courtyard was surrounded by benches and tables (for lounging and dining), an outdoor grill and table games. The grounds themselves were filled with young brilliant people; I didn’t see one face over forty years old, but the the majority were young males in there 20s-30s.

I saw behind-the-scenes concept development for The Rise of the Guardians, which at the time I could not disclose. I also saw and met one of the storyboard artists working on The Croods. They use Cintiques, which I now desperately want for my own work, because it allows them a lot of flexibility in terms of editing and shading. He also walked me through the process of 3D animating the un-rendered layouts that he gets through the pipeline from a layout artist who basically frames and positions all the 3D models (kind of like creating a 3D version of the storyboard).

It’s his job as animator to do the in-betweens that get you from one extreme to the next.  He said it can be a tedious process (sometimes spending months on the same 5 seconds of motion) only for it to be edited out of the feature film later. You gotta have a thick skin and not get too married to your work in this type of environment.  

We sat and talked for a long time about the dynamic of the industry, the egos you encounter and the different types of jobs that are more in demand than others. He said grad school or a certificate program is not 100% necessary, but without taking classes after college, I would not have met him or made some valuable connections so that in itself made it invaluable. The best advice he gave me was

"Work as hard as you possibly can, do what you love, and be nice to everybody"  - Bill Tessier

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[photo by Scott Klasner]

SO if you wanted to know is it worth it to do iAnimate or Animation Mentor… ABSOLUTELY!  

- Mason to Animation / Courtney Elyse

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14

Aug

Is this awesome Doctor Who animation also a salute to Gravity Falls? You tell me. 

Either way, great job, Stephen Byrne! If you make more of these, I may actually watch more Doctor Who

(Yeah, it’s totally about Gravity Falls. …No, I don’t have a problem.)

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

13

Aug

Here is the first commercial for next anime season’s Seven Deadly Sins.

A few months back the manga magazine that Seven Deadly Sins runs in had announced that an anime was greenlit, but it wasn’t until recently that we had a staff list and air date.

The studio that will be animating Seven Deadly Sins is A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Magi, Birdy the Mighty.)

Directing the series will be Tensai Okamura (Darker Than Black, Blue Exorcist, Wolf’s Rain,) with Shoutarou Suga (The Eccentric Family, Darker Than Black Episodes 15-25, Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne) handling the series composition.

Also included in the staff will be Keigo Sasaki, (Blue Exorcist, World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Night Raid 1931) who will handle being both character designer and chief animation director.

And lastly Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Guilty Crown, Gundam Unicorn) will be composing the music.

Here’s the official synopsis:
"When they were accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy, the feared warriors the Seven Deadly Sins were sent into exile. Princess Elizabeth discovers the truth - the Sins were framed by the king’s guard, the Holy Knights - too late to prevent them from assassinating her father and seizing the throne!

Now the princess is on the run, seeking the Sins to help her reclaim the kingdom. But the first Sin she meets, Meliodas, is a little innkeeper with a talking pig. He doesn’t even have a real sword! Have the legends of the Sins’ strength been exaggerated?”
(Source: Kodansha Comics)


Seven Deadly Sins begins airing in Japan on October 5th. Make sure you check it out!

-Josh

08

Aug

Fate/Stay Night (2014)


The upcoming Fate/stay night TV anime has been revealed to be an adaption of the original visual novel’s “Unlimited Blade Works" route.
This particular adaption is being marketed as a sequel to 2011’s Fate/Zero, which is an adaption of a prequel novel series that takes place 10 years prior to Fate/stay night.

UFOtable (Fate/Zero, Kara no Kyoukai/Garden of Sinners) will be handling the animation with Takahiro Miura (Garden of Sinners Movie 6) directing, Tomonori Sudou (Fate/Zero, Garden of Sinners) in charge of character designs, and Hideyuki Fukasawa (Vividred Operation, Flowers of Evil, Street Fighter 4) composing the music.

This new anime will be split into two seasons. The first season will start airing on October 4, 2014, with the second season starting in April 2015.

UFOtable has released a 3 minute long trailer for this new adaption, which one can watch here.

For those who do not have any knowledge of the Fate universe, I heavily recommend giving Fate/Zero a watch. It may be a prequel, but it does a great job of explaining the world and its mechanics, as well as being an excellent show. Fate/Zero is also available for streaming on Netflix in North America right now.

-Josh

07

Aug

Space Dandy



So have you ever wondered what an American-style cartoon done by the Japanese would be like? Well, Space Dandy is probably the closest thing to that you’ll find.

General director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope) decided that he wanted to create a comedy series that follows around an alien bounty hunter, joined by his talking robot vacuum and a cat alien.

What makes this show so unique is the staff. There’s different directors, writers, and even key animators almost every episode. That means from one episode to the next, you can have a huge tone shift in not only presentation and comedy, but also in art and animation style.

The series is animated by Studio Bones (Soul Eater, Darker Than Black, Eureka Seven) andfeatures fluid movements, bright and varied colors, and interesting alien designs. Combine those with the excellent soundtrack and great characters, it’s no wonder that Space Dandy is so popular on Toonami right now.

The show plays out a lot like a standard American cartoon comedy in that there’s not a whole lot of consistency between episodes. One (or all) of our main characters may die or disappear in one episode, only to be in the next without even the tiniest bit of explanation. There’s also no over-arching plot which makes it easy to jump in and watch an episode whenever you want.

The characters themselves are great. Dandy, our main character, is just what you would expect of someone with that name. He cares about his looks and presentation far too much, and is always trying to hit it off with the ladies. His talking robot, QT, is the smartest of the group, but that isn’t saying much. As for Meow, if you try and tell him he’s actually a cat he will stubbornly tell you that he is in fact a very specific type of alien who comes from Betelgeuse.

The best part of this show is the comedy. Not only do the characters have great chemistry, but some of the episodes are pure genius in their ideas and execution. For instance, one episode has to do with zombies. But this zombie story is different. It’s not about survival, not at all. In fact, the people who become zombies are grateful. Why? Because since they’re technically ‘dead’ they can collect and live off their live insurance! This then leads to the life insurance companies hiring zombie killers to exterminate them before they can collect!

One other interesting fact about this show is that it airs in America the night before it does in Japan, English dub and all. The second season is currently airing at 12:30 AM on Sundays during Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. Be sure to check it out as, like I said, one can easily drop in at any moment and follow the show just fine!

-Josh

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time

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One of my favorite anime of the year so far. Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time follows our protagonist Yokoi Rumi as she tries to concentrate on her studies while being seated next to her classmate, Seki Toshinari.

Seki doesn’t like to sit quietly like the rest of the class, though. He enjoys every day by finding some new and innovative way to kill time. Whether it’s playing dominoes, shogi (under his own unique set of rules), or even playing miniature golf (literally!) using the holes in his desk!

As this show takes place during class time, the characters aren’t allowed to talk out loud, which means that the majority of the dialogue in this show are monologues by the main character, Yokoi. This makes for an interesting viewing experience. And for this reason, I must give the voice actress of Yokoi, Kana Hanazawa, major props for handling her role so well. She really captured the character well with her screams, gasps, shrieks, you name it. She breathed life into the character and is a large part of what made the show so fun to watch.

The episodes are only 8 minutes long, and really lend themselves well to a day-to-day viewing experience. It’s fun to see what Seki has in plan for not only Yokoi, but also the viewer, so I would recommend not trying to marathon through the whole show in only a few sittings.

As for the other aspects of the show, the animation is average and uses CG on a couple of Seki’s activities, such as the dominoes. The music isn’t particularly noteworthy, but it gets the job done. The art is simple and pleasing to the eyes.



If you’re looking for a laugh, definitely check out Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time. You can even watch it for free on Crunchyroll here.

-Josh