November 30, 2012

Lupin - First Contact Scene

I was watching Lupin III 2002 special "Episode Zero: First Contact" recently and this scene's animation stuck out to me. It's got interesting timing, and the poses are amazing. If anybody has any idea who animated this, please let me know!

Sorry for the terrible encoding and the lack of audio.

Toons on Tap - the Driver

Drawings from this week's Toons on Tap session.

I should note that the model didn't actually look like Fester.

Miscellaneous doodles from the session. The model's mohawk reminded me of Hayashida's magical mohawk from Cromartie High. And obviously whenever you think of Cromartie High you have to draw Mechazawa because .

Some fast ones from the end of the night

November 10, 2012

Ur Doin It Rite Disney

My two favourite current cartoons are both Disney productions. This is pretty unusual for me.

I think Wreck-It Ralph is their strongest movie in a long time (some might prefer Tangled, but it didn't do much for me apart from the visuals). I was initially eager to see Ralph because classic Simpsons vets Rich Moore and Jim Reardon worked on the story, with Moore also directing. The cast was another reason I wanted to see it-- It's rare that the celebrity-casting shtick in big-deal animated movies actually pays off, but John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch all have distinctive voices that fit their roles perfectly, especially Reilly. Mainly because they're all character actors rather than the kind of generic "whoever's big right now" teen stars or A-listers with dull voices that are often chosen.

I was also surprised to see some very nice snappy animation on the King Candy character, and lots of subtle details in Vanellope's acting; things like her playing with the strings on her hoodie while Ralph is talking to her. I thought the emotional parts of the story worked well, such as the scene where (SPOILER) Ralph is forced to destroy Vanellope's car.

I loved how they incorporated ideas like lost levels, hacks and glitch characters into the original games they created for the story. I wasn't expecting them to go so deep into those kinds of video game "secrets" and it took me back to the days of poring over "Secrets of Sonic the Hedgehog" websites, and trying to learn out about the hidden glitches in Pokemon Red and Blue. I know some people were hoping for more jumping through different game genre parodies rather than the characters staying in one game for the second half of the movie, but I didn't mind. It wasn't a road movie, and the point wasn't just to make video game jokes-- it was to tell an actual story too, and I think they did a good job doing both.

The other new Disney production I really like is Gravity Falls. I can't remember liking any American cartoon this much since Clone High (has it really been a decade since that aired?!) The humour on the show has a similar sensibility to the latter, as well as the Simpsons during its peak years. This is even more impressive when you realize that it's allegedly aimed at kids. The direction is tight, the backgrounds are nicely colored and full of hidden jokes, and the voices are all excellent. Kristen Schall is obviously the standout as Mabel, who often comes off as a little-girl version of classic Homer Simpson. Series creator Alex Hirsch also does a great job as Grunkle Stan and Soos. And Neil Hamburger plays a recurring character!
The show also features my favourite kind of plotting -- the episodes each tell a self-contained story, but they're gradually building a larger narrative through minor events in each episode and background details. In short, it's amazing. If you're not already watching it, you should be!

November 03, 2012

Listen to Me on Dynamite in the Brain

As I think I've mentioned on the blog before, one of my favourite podcasts is the British anime discussion show "Dynamite in the Brain." In this week's episode I'm a guest, talking about the sixth One Piece movie (the one directed by Mamoru Hosoda, one of my favourite anime directors).

Listen to it here!