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Animation

Furry Power In Your Pocket

Designer USB sticks have been a thing for a while now.  So why bring up “Mimobots” here, now?  Well maybe because their designs happen to include My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Ugly Doll, Hello Kitty, Adventure Time, and more! Mimoco also has a line of designer “Mimo Power Tubes”: Single-cell rechargeable back-up batteries for cell-phones, hand-held games, and so forth. New designs are coming out all the time, so keep your eyes on the Mimoco web site.

image c. 2015 Mimoco.com

image c. 2015 Mimoco.com

These Animals Rock!

Remember The Punky Pets? Here’s a refresher: “Who are the Punky Pets? These eight vastly different musicians meet up for the first time while auditioning for the hit TV show International Icon, in New York City. Their dreams of stardom are crushed when each performer gets booed off the stage, laughed at, ignored and criticized for their lack of talent. At least now they all have something in common. They talk about giving up, they express self-doubt, and they call each other rejects. In their darkest hour they see the light. With the help of a talent scout, they decide to turn their tragedy into triumph and form their own punk rock band.” Got it?  Well now in addition to the music videos and various tie-in products on the Punky Pets web site, there’s a new Punky Pets app game for the i-Phone and Android formats. Join DJ Freak, lead singer monkey, as he races around New York trying to collect instruments in time for the band’s next gig!

image c. 2015 thepunkypets.com

image c. 2015 thepunkypets.com

Clumsy, But Cute

The Awkward Animal web site is home to a series of plush toy animals who are put together… slightly wrong. They tend to suffer for it — in the cutest ways possible. Now in addition to their line of plushies, t-shirts, and other accessories, the Awkward Animal creators have a series of short animated commercials up on their web site to introduce you to these clumsy creatures. Go say hello to the latest, Awkward Fox! He made his premier at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.

image c. 2015 AwkwardAnimal.com

image c. 2015 AwkwardAnimal.com

Sounds of the Forest, Getting in Tune

Three entertainment veterans have teamed up to create a new music-oriented funny animal book series for kids called The Musicritters. The first full-color book is called The New House. “Ten year old Lizzie’s world was turning upside down. Dad’s new job was taking Lizzie, her mother, and her brother Jamie far from the only home and friends that she had ever known. Little did Lizzie realize that some of the most unusual, fun and lovable new friends a kid could ever have were waiting to be discovered at her new house, right in her own backyard. Lizzie was about to meet the MusiCritters!” Namely, creatures that combine animals with musical instruments! Writer Steve Sperry is known for his songwriting work on TV shows like Fame. Illustrator Willie Ito has spent years developing characters and animation for Disney, Hanna Barbera, and Warner Brothers cartoons. And colorist Iraj Paran has worked at Hanna Barbera too — he designed their world-famous logo. The book is available at Amazon, but it’s also available as a .pdf download at several sites, including OkayBooks.org.

image c. 2015 CreateSpace

image c. 2015 CreateSpace

Back Over the Wall

During the initial run of Cartoon Network’s highly-rated fantasy miniseries Over the Garden Wall, Kaboom! Studios ran a single-issue comic-book tie-in. Now series creator Pat McHale (who also worked on Adventure Time, of course) has announced that Kaboom! will be publishing a new 4-issue comic book mini-series, coming in August. Once again it’s written by Mr. McHale and illustrated by Jim Campbell. That means not only more adventures with the human kids Wirt and Greg, but also their talking animal friends Beatrice the bird and Fred the horse — and a dancing frog or two, likely. “The new story is set between the third and fourth episodes of the animated series, with the synopsis explaining, “Wirt and Greg are trying to hitch a ride out of schooltown but end up having to walk. Soon, they come upon two girls playing, and wind up having to keep them entertained so that they don’t wake their giant of a father!'” Check out the interview with Pat McHale over at Hero Complex.

image c. 2015 Kaboom! Studios

image c. 2015 Kaboom! Studios

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