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Animation

Celebrate Diversity — All Around You

Right on time! A couple of years ago we told you about a new animated TV series headed to the Disney Channel in 2023 — and now here we are. Animation World Network has this news: “Disney-Branded Television announced that Kiff, their nutty new animated buddy-comedy about optimistic squirrel Kiff and her chill bunny bestie Barry, will premiere Friday, March 10, on Disney Channel and Wednesday, March 15, on Disney+. Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black) stars in the titular role of Kiff, whose thirst for life takes her on countless adventures through their city alongside Barry, voiced by H. Michael Croner (Craig of the Creek). From creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal, the series follows Kiff and Barry as they navigate school, relationships and their often-eccentric community in Table Town, a world where animals and magical oddballs tackle day-to-day life together.” We’ll see it all this spring!

image c. 2023 The Disney Channel

Y’old Lizard, You

Cartoon Brew recently pointed us at a new upcoming animated film called Leo, being created for Netflix by Adam Sandler and his production company. “Netflix describes the film as ‘a coming-of-age animated musical comedy about the last year of elementary school – as seen through the eyes of a class pet. Jaded 74-year-old lizard Leo has been stuck in the same Florida classroom for decades with his terrarium-mate turtle. When he learns he only has one year left to live, he plans to escape to experience life on the outside, but instead gets caught up in the problems of his anxious students – including an impossibly mean substitute teacher. It ends up being the strangest but most rewarding bucket list ever…’ Leo’s animation is being produced by Netflix Animation and Animal Logic (The Lego Movie, DC League of Super-Pets)”. Look for it streaming on November 22nd.

image c. 2023 Netflix

The Annie Award Nominations for 2022

Recently ASIFA-Hollywood announced the nominations for the Annie Awards, celebrating the best in animation for the year 2022. The Annies are recognized world-wide as “the Oscars of animation”, chosen by folks in the animation industry from a host of disciplines. This year Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio leads the pack in nominations: Seven, including Best Animated Feature, Best Character Animation, Best Directing, Best Music, Best Production Design, and Best Editing. That’s followed close behind by Pixar’s Turning Red, Dreamworks’ Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, and The Sea Beast on Netflix, with six nominations each in various categories — including Best Animated Feature. Furry-fan-favorite The Bad Guys is up for four awards… but interestingly, not for Best Animated Feature. Marcel, The Shell With Shoes On and My Father’s Dragon are both nominated for Best Independent Feature and Best Directing, with Marcel also up for Best Writing and Best Voice Acting. (The little shell that could, sheesh!) The House (which is 2/3 furry…) and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse are both nominated for Special Production, for projects longer than a short but shorter than a feature. And that’s just a sampling! We don’t even have room to talk about all the nominations for TV series, games, commercials, and more. Check out the Annie Awards web page for a complete list of nominees. The awards will be handed out on February 25th. (And hey, while you’re at it: Don’t forget that nominations have opened for the 2023 Ursa Major Awards too!)

image c. 2023 Netflix

Jam Sessions for Juniors

Something new for the younger set we just found out about, thanks to Animation World Network: “YouTube Originals Kids & Family has released the official trailer for its all-new preschool series Jam Van, featuring a lineup of celebrity voice talent and musical guests… From Believe Entertainment Group (Dear Basketball), composer/producer Bill Sherman (Hamilton, In the Heights, Sesame Street), and animation studio Global Mechanic, the series follows animated best friends Lamb (voiced by Pete Lee) and Anne the Alligator (voiced by Nicole Byer). The duo travels to new locations around the country, where they meet with famous live-action musical artist friends. Together take on social-emotional learning challenges with the help of a new original song sung together.” This live action/animation mash-up premiers on January 19th.

image c. 2023 Global Mechanic

Two Brothers, On Their Way

Forgotten Seconds is another interesting project we came across at Midwest FurFest. It’s an online manga that includes animation and original music, all put together by the international team of Kylie Dracani and Koiyaroid.Forgotten Seconds is a story about two husky brothers, Teru and Kai, who haven’t seen each other for years, and now will have to learn to embrace their differences in order to overcome their personal conflicts… A story about personal growth, introspection, and the exploration of one’s identity.” The story is being created simultaneously in English, Spanish, and Japanese. The web site has all the information about the manga, their music, and their fundraising efforts.

image c. 2023 forgottenseconds.com

Bear With Him

This is a bit complex, so we’ll let Animation World Network explain it: “Nickelodeon has released a handful of first look images for Bossy Bear, the new animated preschool series from husband-and-wife team David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim (UglyDolls, Tea Time Cats), based on the Korean / U.S. pop culture blend book series by Horvath. The series follows the misadventures of unlikely besties Bossy Bear (an overly enthusiastic extrovert) and Turtle (a thoughtful introvert) in their Koreatown-inspired city of Pleasantburg.” Look for the show on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. in 2023. [And have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!]

image c. 2022 Nickelodeon

Multi-Species Messaging

Somehow we missed The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse when it was an illustrated book sensation three years ago. But now it’s been made into a new 2D-animated film, directed by the book’s author Charlie Mackesy with the help of animator Peter Baynton (The Tiger Who Came To Tea). “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse features traditional hand-drawn animation to tell a heartwarming tale of the unlikely friendship between the title characters as they journey in search of the boy’s home. Yet, as simple as the story is, the film, like the book, contains deep and profound insights into the things that matter most in life, offering a sorely needed message of hope in a troubled time.” Animation World Network has a detailed article about the film, which premiered on Apple TV+ at Christmas. Interesting to note: Idris Elba, Chief Bogo himself, voices the Fox.

image c. 2022 Apple Original Films

Lizard Latin Lover

Merry Christmas! Recently we stumbled across a new Internet star known as Tito Lizzardo, an animated lizard singer who pals around with a sexy feline dancer named Catty Baby (aka Catty B). Virtual Humans (a site we also just discovered!) has this to say about them: “Tito is a lizard that likes to dress in his school jacket. Catty Baby is a cat that rocks her sporty looks every day. Their TikTok account is exploding with the couple’s dance moves next to the beach and the palm trees in Miami. Tito and Catty are a couple of artists doing remixes of famous Latin songs like ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ or ‘Hey DJ’. Their gang is completed with Juan Gato, Catty’s brother who is always wearing a Miami Heat shirt. All together they create amazing videos of their song remixes, targeting very young audiences with their cute, animalistic appeal.” Tito and crew first appeared in a series of short, at times rather risque dance videos on TikTok. Since then, they’ve released several much-more-family-friendly music videos on their YouTube channel. Who’s behind all this? We don’t know! But we’d love to meet them!

Image c. 2022 Tito Lizzardo

They Do Anything. Really.

We stumbled across an ad for Lee’s Detective Agency, a new anime mini-series that’s a spinoff of the popular Arknights smart-phone game and anime series. Set in the same multi-species dystopian world, if follows the exploits of “…an odd jobs business in guise of a private investigation firm based in [the city of] Lungmen that is run by the namesake Mr. Lee and his personal, close-knit ‘family’.” We’re not sure how it works either, but it’s coming soon (December 23rd) on Crunchyroll, and they’ve got the trailer up for you to see.

image c. 2022 Yostar Pictures