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Turn to the Left! Right!

Something rather different — from Disney’s publishing house no less! The Fashion Kitty Collection brings together both volumes of this popular children’s comic book series written and illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper. “Fashion Kitty’s here to save the day! *fist pump* A brain that can mix and match hundreds of outfits in a second. X-ray eyes that can see through buildings and anything else in the way. Ears that hear the distress call of someone in need of fashion help. Tail of comfort. One touch of the tail makes everything seem all right. Supersonic feet that make Fashion Kitty really bounce.” No kidding. And it’s available now from Little Brown Books and Disney Hyperion.

image c. 2020 Little Brown Books

Little Dragons to the Rescue

Remember Dragons Rescue Riders from Dreamworks (which we talked about before)? Well Animation Scoop just let us know about a new 45-minute special on Netflix called Dragons Rescue Riders: Hunt For The Golden Dragon. It’s coming your way on March 27th. “Dak, Leyla, and the Rescue Riders crew brace for their newest adventure when greedy pirates get their hands on a map leading to a precious Golden Dragon’s nest. The young Rescue Riders must race against time to beat the pirates and save the dragon’s egg! Expanding the world of DreamWoks Dragons, the special is executive produced by Emmy-Award winner Jack Thomas (Regular Show, DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge) and co-executive produced by Brian Roberts (DreamWorks VeggieTales). Check out the video preview on YouTube, and look for the special later this month.

image c. 2020 Dreamworks

Furry Movies of 2019

Just returned from Midwest FurFest outside Chicago. GOODNESS what an impressive event! Among many other things there, your ever-lovin’ ed-otter presented a lecture called Furry Movies of 2019 — mostly as a way to remind people about some of the anthropomorphic items (very broadly defined!) which are eligible for the 2020 Ursa Major Awards. At the end of it, some folks in the audience asked if there was a version of the list up on line. Well guess what? Now there is! Furry movies (and movies with interesting anthropomorphic characters in them) this year have included:

  • A Dog’s Way Home (imdb)
  • The Underdog, from Korea (imdb)
  • Sheep & Wolves: Pig Deal, from Russia (imdb)
  • Boonie Bears: Blast into the Past, from China (imdb)
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (imdb)
  • How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World (imdb)
  • Manou the Swift, from Germany (imdb)
  • Dumbo (imdb)
  • Missing Link (imdb)
  • Avengers: Endgame (imdb)
  • Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (imdb)
  • Ugly Dolls (imdb)
  • Wonder Park (imdb)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (imdb)
  • Secret Life of Pets 2 (imdb)
  • Toy Story 4 (imdb)
  • The Lion King (imdb)
  • The Banana Splits Movie (imdb)
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2 (imdb)
  • Abominable (imdb)
  • The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, from France & Italy (imdb)
  • Arctic Dogs (imdb)
  • Lady and the Tramp (imdb)
  • Frozen 2 (imdb)
  • Togo, coming on December 13th (imdb)
  • Cats, coming on December 20th (imdb)
  • Spies in Disguise, coming on December 25th (imdb)
  • Hayop Ka! aka You Son of a Bitch!, from Korea — coming soon (YouTube)

And also coming soon: Look for a run-down of anthropomorphic movies to look forward to in 2020!

image c. 2019 Disney

Many of the Usual Suspects

Thanks to Animation Scoop we found out about The Bad Guys — a new feature film currently in production at Dreamworks Animation, slated for a 2021 release. “After a lifetime of pulling legendary heists, five notorious bad guys — Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula — attempt their most challenging job yet: Going good. Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as The Bad Guys… Based on the bestselling Scholastic blockbuster book series by Aaron Blabey, which has more than 8.2 million copies in print worldwide, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (director, DWA award-winning short Bilby; animator, the Kung Fu Panda films), making his feature-directing debut, from a script by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard) and Hilary Winston (NBC’s Community and ABC’s Happy Endings).” Got all that?

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

Talk to the Dragons

And now a rather different take on Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon universe, this time in a new Netflix TV series for young viewers. Animation World Network gave us the scoop: “DreamWorks Animation has just unveiled the high-flying trailer and cast of its new animated preschool series, Dragons Rescue Riders. This all-new chapter in the Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon franchise follows the adventures of twins, Dak and Leyla, raised by dragons, who share a unique ability to communicate with them. The brother and sister lead a team of five young dragons, Aggro, Winger, Summer, Cutter, and Burple, with whom they spend their days rescuing other dragons and helping people in their adopted town of Huttsgalor. All 14 episodes of the new series debut September 27 exclusively on Netflix.” Check out the preview trailer as well.

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

He’s Big, He’s White, He’s Lost

Just today we got the first full trailer for Abominable, the new animated feature from Dreamworks and Pearl, their production partners in China. Animation Scoop has the video. “When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him ‘Everest’ and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home… Abominable is written and directed by Jill Culton (Open Season, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2) and co-directed by Todd Wilderman (Trolls, The Croods).” Look for it in theaters September 27th.

image c. 2019 Entertainment Weekly

The Dragon is Ohana

Another artist we ran into at WonderCon: Denae Frazier. She does fine art and pin-ups on many subjects both fannish and “mundane”, but what really caught our eye right off the bat was her affinity for both Disney’s Stitch (of Lilo & Stitch) and Dreamworks’ Toothless (of How to Train Your Dragon)… individually, and together! (Has she met Chris Sanders? Probably!) In fact she’s complete so many pictures of those two together that she created a calendar for 2020 featuring those prints. Check out her web site to see those and more.

image c. 2019 by Denae Frazier

See Him Again, If You Dare

Congratulations are of course in order for the creators of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, following their Oscar win for Best Animated Feature of 2018. Now comes the word that one of the directors of that film is moving on to a project that’s got even more furry content — and he’s been there before. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Bob Persichetti has been signed to direct the sequel for DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots, according to a report by Deadline… Animation veteran Persichetti, who has worked in various roles in the industry in a career spanning more than two decades, served as the Head of Story and voiced a role in the original Puss in Boots. The follow-up to the 2011 hit film that garnered an Oscar nomination and grossed more than $550 million globally, Puss In Boots 2 is currently in development, with a release date yet to be announced… A spinoff of the studio’s blockbuster Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2012. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the character, which first appeared in Shrek 2, was included in subsequent Shrek sequels and shorts.” We’ll keep our ears pointed.

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

The Annie Award Winners for 2018

Your humble ed-otter and his mate got a chance to attend the Annie Awards at UCLA’s Royce Hall recently. Presented annually by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Annie Awards are considered by many to be the Oscars for animation, voted on by folks who work in the industry. And once again, there was plenty of anthropomorphic content to be found among the winners. By far, the big winner of the evening was Sony Pictures’ Spider Man: Into The Spiderverse. The surprise hit from last December not only won the coveted Best Animated Feature trophy, but also took home the Feature awards for Directing, Writing, Character Animation, Character Design, Production Design, and Editing — winning all seven categories in which it was nominated. (Go, Spider-Ham!). Ralph Breaks The Internet had to settle for only one award in Feature Effects Animation, while the 2D animated sequence in Mary Poppins Returns got the awards for Animated Special Production and Character Animation In A Live Action Feature. Also taking home one award was Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs, which got the award in Feature Voice Acting for Bryan Cranston’s performance as Chief. Over on the TV/Broadcast side of things, the big winners were Hilda from Netflix (taking home awards for Best TV Series For Children, Writing, and Character Animation) and Disney’s Mickey Mouse (with trophies for Music, Storyboarding — tied with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and Directing). In TV Character Design, the Annie went to a very anthropomorphic episode of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure called “Freebird”. Bojack Horseman did well, winning for TV Voice acting (Will Arnett as Bojack) and Best TV Production overall. Dreamworks’ Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters won the trophy for Best TV Effects Animation. The award for Best Commercial went to “There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom” (produced for Greenpeace), and the first winner of the brand new Best Virtual Reality award was Crow: The Legend (which we’ve talked about before!). Finally, the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement went to the developers of the open source software known as Blender, which of course many furry creators have also used extensively. To see all the winners visit the Annie Awards web site — and remember, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards close on February 16th!

image c. 2019 Sony Pictures