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Animation

Animals Along for the Ride

When anthropomorphic characters aren’t the star of the show, the most common place to find them is as a human character’s sidekick. Such is the case with two more pre-school animated TV series on their way to Netflix in the near future. First up there’s Kazoops (from Cheeky Little studio) in 2016, which “…follows the inquisitive young boy Monty and his best friend, a pig named Jimmy Jones, as they seek answers to the questions children routinely ask about everyday life.” There’s a teaser trailer over at Cartoon Brew. Then in 2017 look for True & the Rainbow Kingdom from Guru Studio: It stars a young girl who “…with the help of her best friend Bartleby the cat navigates the magical Rainbow Kingdom using her creativity and ingenuity in search of harmony and love for all.”

image c. Cheeky Little

image c. Cheeky Little

When Young Animals Learn to Talk

According to our friends at CartoonBrew, in addition to the four new animated TV series announced recently by Netflix (and discussed here as well), the network has added an additional three new animated shows that are squarely aimed at the preschool set. One of them, at very least, is especially anthropomorphic: “Arriving worldwide in 2016 exclusively on Netflix is the Jim Henson Company’s Word Party. Produced through Henson’s digital puppetry studio, Word Party’s 11-minute episodes follow the adventures of four baby animals, whose singing and dancing aims to help build the vocabulary skills of its preschool viewers. Jim Henson Creature Shop’s digital puppetry innovation ‘allows puppeteers to perform digitally animated characters in real-time, enabling the animation to be more lifelike and spontaneous.'” Watch for it next year.

image c. 2015 The Jim Henson Company

image c. 2015 The Jim Henson Company

Drawing His Characters… and Many Others!

Eric Goldberg is a supervising animator at Walt Disney Pictures, well known for his work on such classic cartoon films as Aladdin, Hercules, and Fantasia 2000. He also recently began a stint as an artist-in-residence instructor for character animation at the University of Southern California (USC). For the opening of a new Disneyland in Shanghai, China, Mr. Goldberg helped to decorate one of the restaurants by drawing a series of Disney characters in the caricature style made famous by restaurants like The Brown Derby and Sardi’s in Hollywood.  In fact, Mr. Goldberg wound up drawing nearly 200 pictures for the project! Now no less than 180 of these black & white illustrations have been gathered together in a new hardcover book — An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draw The Disney Characters from Disney Editions. According to an article at Stitch Kingdom, “Fans of all ages, and from all over, can enjoy Eric’s playful portraits, starting with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse from the Company’s early days through Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Bonus sections will even feature some of the most beloved characters from Pixar (Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Inc.) and live-action films (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean).” Featuring text by fellow Disney animator David Bossert and a foreword by John Lasseter, An Animator’s Gallery will be available this September.

image c. 2015 Disney Editions

image c. 2015 Disney Editions

Find the Phoenix, Beat the Moo!

One of several Pokemon-wannabe series that appeared in the wake of that series’ massive success, Monster Farm (aka Monster Rancher for the US release) is one of a select few that made it to American shores in translated form. Now Discotek Media have release Monster Farm: The Complete Series on DVD. The story “… follows a boy named Genki Sakura, who is an avid player of the Monster Rancher video games. After winning a tournament hosted by the game’s creators, Genki wins a special CD that he can use to unlock a special monster in his game at home. However, upon using this disk in his game console, he finds himself transported to a world of monsters that, much like Genki’s game, are given life by scanning special stone disks within temples. There he meets a girl named Holly, who is seeking a stone disk containing a legendary Phoenix that will save the land from the tyranny of an evil ruler named Moo. While attempting to use the disk to try and release the Phoenix, they instead bring forth a different sort of monster, which Genki names ‘Mocchi’. Wanting to free the land from Moo’s rule, Genki, Holly, Mocchi and their other monster companions set forth on a quest to find the stone disk that contains the Phoenix!” Got all that? Good! Check it out over at Previews.

image c. 2015 Discotek Media

image c. 2015 Discotek Media

Ganba, You’ve Changed!

The future can be scary — and welcome to it! Writer Brian Ashcraft notes in an article at Kotaku.com that he’s not very thrilled with the re-design of the characters for the upcoming CGI feature version of Ganba no Bouken (also known as The Adventures of Ganba). If you didn’t know, Ganba no Bouken was originally an anime TV series in the 1970’s about a rat and his rodent companions who sail off on adventures while trying to avoid a terrifying white weasel. In the 1980’s the series was made into a popular 2D anime feature as well. The article includes a trailer for the CGI version.  See what you think.

image c. 2015 Kotaku.com

image c. 2015 Kotaku.com

Scare the Bear!

CartoonBrew.com made note that the fourth feature-length animation in the Open Season series is in production and scheduled for release on home video in the spring of 2016. “Directed by Cow and Chicken creator David Feiss (who was also head of story on the original Open Season) and produced by The Simpsons’ John Bush, Open Season’s fourth installment [Open Season: Scared Silly], animated by Canada’s Rainmaker Entertainment, centers on the mystery of the Wailing Wampus Werewolf, who reportedly haunts the Timberline National Forest that serves as the setting for the franchise. Its possible existence so intensely scares the crap out of Open Season’s domesticated grizzly bear Boog that he elects to skip summer camp, which inspires his companions, led by the one-antlered mule deer Elliot, to bombard their ursine pal with exposure therapy to cure his fears.” No word yet on who’ll be voicing Boog and Elliot this time.

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

Fox and Rabbit are Friends… Eventually

ComingSoon.net recently ran an article summarizing an article in USA Today (the Internet is so circular sometimes…) about Disney Animation releasing a preview image from their upcoming 2016 CGI feature Zootopia. The new picture gives us the first glimpse of lead characters Nick Wilde (fox, voiced by Jason Bateman) and Judy Hopps (rabbit, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) as they’ll actually appear in the finished film. For those who don’t know, “The story involves these two characters who don’t get along at first but must work together when Nick needs Judy’s help getting out of a jam as she’s trying to crack a big case. [Co-director Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph)] describes the film as the story of ‘two animals who would naturally never hang out or like one another in the beginning, but over the course of the movie develop a relationship and become friends.’ So apparently, it’s a buddy comedy via anthrapamorphic Disney cartoon characters.” And apparently, the writer for ComingSoon.net doesn’t know how to spell “anthropomorphic”. Anyway, the film’s other director is Byron Howard (Tangled) and it’s set to be released in March of next year.

image c. 2015 Walt Disney Animation

image c. 2015 Walt Disney Animation

New Furry Toons for Netflix

Ears up! A recent article in Variety talks about a new set of animated TV programs that Netflix has picked up — the majority of which just happen to be very furry. Or anthropomorphic if you want to get technical! Two of the original series created just for Netflix include: Kulipari — An Army of Frogs, coming in 2016. It’s based on the original novel series by NFL star Trevor Pryce (which we have noted at In-Fur-Nation before) about an army of amphibian swamp warriors. Meanwhile Puffin Rock (coming this September) is about an adventurous young puffin (and her less-adventurous little brother) living off the coast of Ireland. The other two original series, Luna Petunia from the folks at Cirque du Soleil and a re-imagining of Tarzan & Jane, may or may not have anthropomorphic elements in them — we’ll see! On top of all that, Netflix has picked up two already-existing animated series for US premier, and they are both plenty furry: Masha and the Bear from Russia, and Elias from Norway — the latter featuring anthropomorphic boats. Check the article to find out more.

image c. 2015 Splash Entertainment

image c. 2015 Splash Entertainment

Save King Mickey!

After what seems like a long long time, this past March Yen Press finally released Kingdom Hearts: The Novel as a single black & white collected manga. Just one that happens to be over 300 pages long! “On the Destiny Islands, three children–Sora, Riku, and Kairi–are living out their peaceful, carefree lives while yearning for whatever lies beyond the great ocean. But one night, an unexpected disaster takes place, and the three are torn from each other and their island home. Meanwhile, at Disney Castle, Donald Duck and the other castle residents are in an uproar upon discovering King Mickey has suddenly gone missing. When fate brings them together, Sora, Donald, and Goofy set out on a grand Disney adventure to find their friends!” Find it over at the Yen Press web site. It’s written by Tomoco Kanemaki and illustrated by Shiro Amano, based on the original game concept by Tetsuya Nomura.

image c. 2015 Yen Press

image c. 2015 Yen Press