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Animation

The Unkindest Cut of All

Another one of those “How did we miss this?” things. We’ll just put up the official description of Dog & Scissors for starters: “Harumi Kazuhito was the ultimate bookworm, spending days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little could make him happier than perusing the pages of his favorite author, Kirihime Natsuno. Unfortunately, Harumi’s life goes to the dogs – literally – when he gets himself killed while trying to stop a robber!  Thanks to the power of a true bookworm, however, Harumi inexplicably finds himself reincarnated as a dog… which might not be so bad if dogs could read. Or if the woman who adopts him didn’t have twin predilections for playing with scissors and tormenting her new pet! But what truly makes this strange reincarnation the worst of all possible worlds is that she’s also his favorite author!” Based on the light novel series written by Shunsuke Sarai and illustrated by Tetsuhiro Nabeshima, all 12 episodes of Dog & Scissors the anime series have been released to DVD by Crunchroll. They’re also streaming the episodes on line at their web site.

image c. 2014 Crunchyroll

image c. 2014 Crunchyroll

One Little Cat and a Whole Lotta Magic

We found this recently, over at Animation Scoop: “Shout Factory is mounting a theatrical release of Thunder and The House of Magic, directed by Ben Stassen (Fly Me to the Moon, Sammy’s Adventures: Escape from Paradise) and Jeremie Degruson (A Turtles Tale: Sammy’s Adventure), in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington, DC., beginning September 5th. The 85-minute film, budgeted at $34 million, was produced by Brussels (Belgium) based nWave Pictures in association with StudioCanal and media fund Anton Capital Entertainment. The story concerns Thunder, an abandoned young cat, who seeks shelter from a storm, stumbles into a house owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. But when the magician lands in the hospital and his scheming nephew puts the mansion up for sale, our young hero and his new friends join forces to save their magical home.” The Scoop article also has a first look at the film’s trailer.

image c. 2014 nWave

image c. 2014 nWave Pictures

Usagi on the Big Screen?

At this year’s San Diego Comic Con there was a 30 year celebration of Usagi Yojimbo — created by Stan Sakai, of course. One of the items featured during the event was a screening of Usagi Yojimbo: The Last Request, an animated short film created by Lintika Films (using both 2D and stop motion techniques) and directed by Roel Robles. The big news is that Mr. Sakai was impressed enough with the project that he has allowed the studio to use Last Request as a proof-of-concept film for a possible Usagi feature. Now they’re out seeking funds to work on that project. Over at Cartoon Brew they have an article about the project that also includes a link to the short.

image c. 2014 Lintika Films

image c. 2014 Lintika Films

Help! My Son Is In 3D…

Chris Callahan is a writer and artists who has worked for several years in the animation industry. Evidently, he has something to say about it… Check out his new comic book creation, Robochuck: “With the introduction of computer-generated characters, the World Of Entertainment”s population is now sharply divided between two types of cartoon characters: the Flats and the CGs. In Flattown, Robochuck is the only CG character most of his neighbors know.  He dreams of restoring his city to its glory days, when flat toons like his adoptive father, Inksplat MaGee, were the world’s biggest stars. However, one person in the World of Entertainment will do anything to keep that from happening.  As Chairman of Piczar, Don Masshurter developed the computer technology that changed the landscape of animated entertainment, and he will stop at nothing to protect his new reign…” Nope, no reflection on the real world here at all, nope. So go ahead, check out the Robochuck web site. We won’t tell anyone!

image c. 2014 by Chris Callahan

image c. 2014 by Chris Callahan

Like Punnies in the Spring

Well okay, the middle of summer, but hey… Llyn Hunter is an Emmy Award-winning storyboard artist, also known for her humorous illustrations and poetry. Many of those have been collected over the years in her Little Book series (like A Little Book of Monsters, reviewed here previously) put out by her own Bobcat Publishing. Her latest work is called Punnies — a collection of pun illustrations (cat fish, duck tape, cow bell…) each accompanied by a verse. She’s started up a Kickstarter campaign to help her fund publishing the book in a large-size coffee table format. The campaign is up from now until the end of September. Also make sure to visit her home page to see samples of the many other projects that she’s worked on over the years.

image c. 2014 by Llyn Hunter

image c. 2014 by Llyn Hunter

The Evolution of The Mouse

Needless to say there have been many, many books over the years (official and otherwise) showing you how to draw your favorite characters from Disney Animation. This latest book from the famous Walter Foster art how-to series takes a little different tack: How the look of Mickey Mouse and some of the most well-known Disney characters has evolved over time since they were first created. “A collection of vintage artwork from the Disney archives reveals early designs, sketches, and poses of Mickey Mouse as well as other classic characters such as Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends Through the Decades creates the opportunity for an artistic celebration of the world’s most beloved mouse, by bringing together a collection of step-by-step projects and inspirational illustrations for rendering these timeless characters as they originally appeared. Featuring 128 pages of art instruction material, this title makes a covetable collector’s item for any loyal Disney enthusiast or aspiring artists interested in learning to draw in classic cartoon style.” Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends Through the Decades (whew, long title!) is coming next year to Amazon and other sellers.

image c. 2014 Walter Foster Publishing

image c. 2014 Walter Foster Publishing

Pictures Coming At You!

We’ll let Lyla Warren tell it herself: ” Recently relocated to Portland (from San Francisco via Denver) Lyla Warren is a self-taught freelance artist. Her education was forged by late nights in the halls of the animation industry and by wonderful mentors. Through her career, she’s worked for a variety of clients such as Disney, Cartoon Network, Sony, Mattel, Zynga, Laika, and Leap Frog, to name a few. These days she is focused on sculpture, character design and personal art work.” And what sculpture! Her leaping-out-of-the frame 3D pictures of various Disney and Pixar characters have been featured at the Disneyland Wonderground Gallery, and her other works have drawn from many sources. She even found time to create her own 2D animated short film, Beaver vs. Platypus, as well as shorts for the Happy Tree Friends series. Take a look at her web site to see all that and more.

image c. 2014 by Lyla Warren

image c. 2014 by Lyla Warren

Beasts Invade the Rain Forest

It might seem like an age ago, but earlier this year the animated sensation of the moment was Rio 2. Now that we’ve moved on to the summer, Paperkutz have announced a new tie-in graphic novel, carrying on after the events of that film. “While recording bird calls, Linda loses her new digital recorder, but when Blu finds it, it’s full of strange and horrifying growls! Is some sort of new predator on the loose in the sanctuary? Before the gang can solve the mystery themselves, monster-hunters and reality shows invade, turning their quiet jungle home into pandemonium. ” Rio 2: The Creature from Blu’s Lagoon is written by Arie Kaplan and illustrated by James Silvani. The full-color trade paperback is available for pre-ordering; otherwise look for it in stores this fall.

image c. 2014 Paperkutz

image c. 2014 Paperkutz

Return of the Ghost Warrior

Ten years ago furry fandom — and animation fandom in general — saw an amazing new event with the premier of Kaze: Ghost Warrior. A multi-species fantasy adventure, it was most astounding for having been financed, designed, voiced, animated, and rendered by one person. Now creator Amadhia Albee — having spent the interim as a professional effects animator — has decided the time is right for a resurrection of the warrior tiger. Kaze: Winds of Change is to be a new series of audio dramas following Kaze and his world, this time with a full crew of voice actors, musicians, and singers involved. The project has a Kickstarter campaign going — and as of this writing they have already exceeded their goal, but you can still contribute to get involved and be kept up to date.

image c. 2014 by Amadhia Albee

image c. 2014 by Amadhia Albee