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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

From The Outside to the Centaur

Ow… Hey! It’s crazy-hot out. But we’re back with more anthropomorphic news. We got this from Animation Scoop: “Netflix will transport viewers around the world to a colorful and imaginative land where fantastical creatures sing and adventure surrounds you – welcome to Centaurworld. The new kids animated series hails from first-time showrunner Megan Nicole Dong, a 2017 honoree of Variety’s10 Animators to Watch” list… Centaurworld follows a war horse who is transported from her embattled world to a strange land inhabited by silly, singing centaurs of all species, shapes, and sizes. Desperate to return home, she befriends a group of these magical creatures and embarks on a journey that will test her more than any battle she’s ever faced before… The series will feature a mix of animation styles and each episode will include original songs in a variety of genres.” No word yet on a premier date, but it’s Netflix — they will let us know!

image c. 2019 Netflix

Two Cups Make… A Pint?

Word has been going around that the Ursa Major Award-nominated video game Cuphead (developed by Studio MDHR) is now being turned into an animated TV series. We got this from Animation World Network: “Netflix has joined forces with King Features on The Cuphead Show!, a new kids series based on the Studio MDHR video game. The show will expand upon the characters and world of Cuphead, with an animation style inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s… The character-driven comedy follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman. Through their many misadventures across their surreal home of the Inkwell Isles, they’ve always got one another’s backs. The series will be produced by Netflix Animation and is executive produced by Emmy and Annie Award-winning producer, Dave Wasson (Mickey Mouse Shorts), with Cosmo Segurson (Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling) serving as co-executive producer.” That’s some good talent behind the project! No word on a planned release date yet.

image c. 2019 Studio MDHR

Two Birdies Are Back (and there’s gonna be trouble!)

Wow — it’s been more than a year since we first mentioned Tuca & Bertie, the new adult animated TV created by Bojack Horseman production designer Lisa Hanawalt. Now, finally, we have a release date! Look for it on May 3rd, coming to Netflix. Oh, what’s it about? Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Ali Wong star as a pair of bird women who are best friends — despite one of them being outgoing and sexually adventurous while the other one is, well, not. Animation World Network has a detailed preview and a YouTube link.

image c. 2019 Netflix

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

Bunny Bound by Magic

Found this thanks to Animation World Network: “Netflix has announced that it will produce the animated feature film, Escape From Hat, from two-time Academy Award-nominated director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda, The Little Prince) together with writer Adam Kline (Artemis Fowl, The Clockwork War)… The screenplay is by Kline and Osborne, based on the book of the same name by Kline [illustrated by Brian Taylorye ed-otter], a new middle-grade novel that will be published by HarperCollins in Winter 2020… Escape From Hat brings light to the ancient mysteries of magic. In a fairy tale where black cats are bad and magic rabbits are good, balance is threatened when one such rabbit is cast into a mysterious realm of danger and shadow. There, our desperate hero rallies an unexpected band of allies and undertakes an impossible quest to escape from inside a magician’s hat – and return to the human boy he dearly loves.” Netflix say they plan to release the film in 2022.

image c. 2018 HarperCollins

All The World Shall Be Your Enemy

How on Earth did we not hear about this coming up? Well thanks to The Nerdist we did — and just in time too, as the newly-animated Watership Down is due very soon! “The BBC and Netflix are releasing a new CG-animated version this Christmas, and in order to more accurately portray the book, it’s going to come in two feature-length installments. The cast was already all-star, with James McAvoy as refugee rabbit leader Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as the psychic runt Fiver, John Boyega as the intimidating fighter Bigwig, Olivia Colman as bereaved doe Strawberry (a gender-flip from the book), Ben Kingsley as villain General Woundwort, Tom Wilkinson as doomed elder Threarah, and Taron Egerton as the rabbit Christ-analogue El-ahrairah (meaning “prince with a thousand enemies”). But now, via an official BBC announcement, they’ve revealed even more: Peter Capaldi will play the bunnies’ seagull ally Kehaar, Daniel Kaluuya is warren destruction survivor Bluebell, and Rosamund Pike is the Black Rabbit of Inle, a death/Satan figure and counterpart to the rabbit deity Frith.” All that plus director Noam Murro, the man behind 300: Rise of an Empire. Look for it on Netflix this coming December.

image c. 2018 BBC

Help Make More Furry Animation

Alexander Henderson is head of a team of animators and film-makers with experience working for Disney, Netflix, and Amazon. Their first completed short film is called Breathing Space, which you can find on YouTube — and which just happens to have some anthropomorphic interest in it too! Now they’ve created a Kickstarter campaign to help finance their new film concept. “The Rhino and the Oxpecker is an action-adventure cartoon, featuring the story of Niles, a blind mercenary rhinoceros, and Redford, his neurotic-but-trusty guide bird. With Red acting as the eyes, ears, and brains of the duo, and Niles handling the action, the two work together to survive predators, poachers, and anything else the jungle can throw at them. That is, provided they can survive each other.” They’re trying to reach their current goal before Halloween, so hurry!

image c. 2018 by Alexander Henderson

Teddies Follow the Clues

Well look what showed up in our news-feed… Animation magazine talking about a new series for young viewers. “Upcoming Netflix Original animated series Treehouse Detectives is ready to introduce itself to worldwide viewers this year. The preschool series will debut June 8 in over 190 countries/territories… Treehouse Detectives is created by Seoul-based animation studio Enpop and co-produced with Saban Brands… Aimed at children ages 3-6, the series follows brother and sister detective team Toby and Teri as they ‘use the clues’ and ‘follow the facts’ to solve everything from backyard mysteries to the bigger puzzles of the natural world.” Looks like another season is already in the works, too.

image c. 2018 Enpop