“… of the animals who didn’t get on the Ark.” That’s the official tag line of Oops! Noah is Gone, a new CGI feature film coming out later this year. Produced in Germany and animated all over Europe, it follows the story of David and his young son Finny, the last of the Nestrians, and what happens when one of them misses the boat — literally. The official English trailer explains it all better… sort of. No word yet on if it’s to be released to North American theaters or only on DVD. Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the heads-up.
[Don’t forget, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards are open now! And with that, we’ll see you all after Further Confusion!]
image c. 2015 Global Screen
First off: Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015. We’re happy to be here with you.
Something cool slipped by us in 2014. Doraemon: New Nobita’s Great Demon—Peko and the Exploration Party of Five (whew what a title!) is the latest anime feature starring Doraemon — a robotic cat from the 22nd century who travels back in time to assist a young boy named Nobita Nobi. Since he premiered in 1969, Doraemon has become one of the most popular anime and manga stars in Japanese history — so much so that the Japanese government tagged him as Japan’s “animation ambassador”. In this latest feature, “While out playing, Nobita meets a dog prince who has become separated from his people. Thankfully Doraemon and his magical powers are close at hand so the gang set out on an adventure to return the prince to a mysterious land known as the Bow-Wow Dog Kingdom.” Evidently this new film is a remake of the 1982 feature Doraemon: Nobita and the Haunts of Evil. Really now. Here’s hoping that someone in the vast anime import industry might see fit to distribute this new film in North America. For now, check out the trailer over on YouTube.
image c. 2014 Toho Studios
This February comic book legend Stan Sakai and Dark Horse Press present a special Usagi Yojimbo one-shot for people looking to get a fresh start on this famous series. And the price is right: 1 issue for $1.00. “Miyamoto Usagi’s most popular adventure kicks off in this value-priced issue! A sweeping tale assembling nearly the series’ entire cast, Grasscutter finds the rabbit ronin drawn into a violent struggle over the legendary sword of the gods—the Grass Cutting Sword—as the fate of the nation hangs in the balance!” In black & white of course. Check it out at Dark Horse.
image c. 2014 Dark Horse Press
In an interesting article over at Cartoon Brew, writer Scott Thill discusses a notable animated cartoon short — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The amazing thing is that it was made at all. Peace on Earth was created at MGM Animation (the home of Tom & Jerry) and directed by Hugh Harman. Despite the objections of MGM executive Fred Quimby, the film was finished: And for a cartoon finished right before the outbreak of World War II, it’s quite surprising. An elderly squirrel (voiced by an un-credited Mel Blanc) tells his young grand-kids the story of the end of human-kind in a terrible war… and how the animals, directed by the bible, re-built the world and declared an end to conflicts and fighting of all kinds. An end which they celebrate and renew every year at Christmas. Seriously, go check it out at the bottom of the article. This film is very hard to find — but likely, it should be seen a lot more.
image c. 2014 Cartoon Brew
Yet another creative discovery from the CTN Animation Expo: Meg Park, designer and illustrator. Or as she puts it on her personal web site, character designer and visual development artist. Besides examples of her work you’ll find a link to her Etsy Store where you can purchase various prints — many of them toony and anthropomorphic — as well as her art collection book, Fluff & Fangs.
image c. 2914 by Meg Park
The career of artist Brian Ajhar has already spanned three decades. He’s a character designer and caricaturist who has illustrated more than a dozen books — furry, human, and otherwise. Many of his sketches and character designs have been gathered together in three books: In Character Volumes 1 & 2, and Mugs & Beards. Currently he travels the country as a guest lecturer and instructor at numerous art colleges and animation events. Check out his web site and make sure to watch the YouTube video featuring a collection of his work.
image c. 2014 by Brian Ajhar
Back in the Ren & Stimpy days of boffo animation (as opposed to the more sedate, cultured world of Adventure Time today. Right.), one of the more interesting and unusual shows lived on Nickelodeon of all places: Catdog, the story of a creature who was half cat and half dog… and both of them front ends! “Brothers Cat and Dog couldn’t be more different — Cat is clever and cultured, while Dog is a naïve but lovable goofball. But they definitely share one thing in common: a body! This crazy set of conjoined twins find themselves in all sorts of silly adventures, but through them all, the two misfits stick together…whether they like it or not!” Now Shout Factory have brought together all 68 episodes in one new DVD compilation, Catdog: The Complete Series. Check it out at their web site. You even get a poster!
image c. 2014 Shout Factory
Hillary Bradfield describes herself as an animator, comic creator, and storyboard artist. Most recently she’s spent her time working on Disney XD’s Randy Cunningham, 9th Grade Ninja. On her own though, she’s created a comic strip adventure called Hank the Horse over on her blogspot. Follow the adventures of a cranky equine as he’s dragged along on a wild adventure by a young lady — who happens to look a lot like Hillary draws herself. Some of her Hank comics have been collected on dead trees as well, and Volumes 1 & 2 are available on her blogspot also.
image c. 2014 by Hillary Bradfield
In 2010 Russia’s Centre of National Film gave the world Space Dogs, a CGI animated feature that celebrated the memory of Strelka and Belka (the first animals ever to survive a trip rocketing into orbit) by re-imagining them in a science fiction adventure. Now one of the same directors (Inna Evlannikova) has returned to bring us their further adventures in Space Dogs 2, also known as Space Dog: Adventure to the Moon. Epic Pictures has picked up international distribution rights for the film. According to their web site, the plot goes like this: “When the world’s most precious monuments disappear before everyone’s eyes, an unlikely team of two legendary Russian canine astronauts named Belka and Strelka, a heroic American monkey named Bonnie, and Belka’s brave teenage son Pushok jet off to the dark side of the moon to investigate the mystery.” The site also has a link to the trailer. Here’s another Russian film that is slowly making its way around North America in specialty screenings, so look for it. (It’s also available on DVD at least some places, apparently.)
image c. 2014 Epic Pictures