Set the VCR: Happy Birthday Lisa, from Bart and Michael Jackson…

2006257928018765212_rsYesterday was one of those surreal days. I think mostly everyone will remember the day Michael Jackson died. Combine this with the whirlwind of Farrah Fawcett passing away earlier in the day and Ed McMahon passing 2 days before that, it was just madness. I’m not even sure how they went through with an NBA Draft. Anyway, my dude jabok stated it best over twitter:

the worlds coming to an end. =(

A little overblown, but I think that was the general consensus. Now I know everyone is doing their little tributes and look backs to the “King of Pop” at the moment. It’s amazing really, MTV started to play music videos again… really! I’m going to ignore all the craziness and all the controversy surrounding the last few years of Michael Jackson’s life for the moment, and focus on this one touching moment in television animation history.

Hit the Jump to read more about this Set the VCR moment: Continue reading

Ill Bill feat. Immortal Technique & Max Cavalera “War Is My Destiny” Music Video

There is a start up animation company  from Pennsylvania called “More Frames” that has produced some dope animation. Their latest is this beauty, it’s the animated music video for Brooklyn’s Ill Bill feat. Immortal Technique (one of my favorites) & Max Cavalera. The song is called “War is My Destiny.” Watch it here:

“War Is My Destiny” /Ill Bill feat. Immortal Technique & Max Cavalera/ 2009

Right from the opening with the dude dropping from the sky, this video had me on the edge of my sheet. I’m glad that “More Frames” was able to do the whole video as an animated piece. As much as I would’ve like to see Ill Bill, Immortal Technique, & Max Cavalera on screen, I think for art and story purposes, keeping it all animated was a great idea. There really isn’t much color to this piece, which works since this is all about the bleakness of war and revenge. Of course the color that does stand out is that red bloodshed (as it should be!). The character designs are nice and simplistic, which makes things easier for the animators (more muscles and lines = more work!), and the action scenes are nicely paced. Plus, I enjoyed the song too. Good work “More Frames” I will look for your name in the future (since I may be looking for a job =P)

Rhythm Heaven (video game)

Rhythm Heaven/ Nintendo DS/ 2009

rhythmheavenI like to think of myself as a gamer, but between work, school, runnning, training and working out, other things art related, and kickin it with the homies, I haven’t sat down and played a game in months. Gone are the days when I could spend hours gaining experience points in Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, or Chrono Trigger, or spend quality time trying to beat Dr. Wily, Metal Gear, or whatever video game villain you want to throw in.

That’s why I am more inclined to play games that are in small doses, and Rhythm Heaven is perfect for me. I can play it for 5 minutes and be alright with it if I wanted to, I can’t say the same for a game like Resident Evil 5.

Rhythm Heaven is the english version of Rhythm Tengoku which was a popular DS game in Japan. The premise is simple, in each of the many mini-games you either flick, tap, hold or slide to the rhythm of the beat. The more on rhythm, the better you do. Just like I said on my twitter, this game taught me that I have no rhythm. I don’t want to get into a full review because IGN does it so much better:

I just want to add that I am a big fan of the art and animation style of this game. Yes, it is very simplistic, but the art and animation get their point across and to me seem very polished. The style also works very well with the great soundtrack that was produced by Tsunku, who is a prolific Japanese record producer. I know that my big dream is to make animated films, but after playing this quirky little game, I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at video game animation.

BTW, I still have NO rhythm…

Azeem “Latin Revenge” Music Video

You know how youtube has those “featured videos” up on their homepage. That’s how I found this:

“Latin Revenge”/ Azeem/ 2009/ beats by DJ Zeph/ dir. Ben Stokes

Can’t say that I’m really digging the song…or the beats. It works tho… in fact I thinks its growing on me. I have to say the animation is a little jarring (apparently made with After Effects) but what can you expect when you animate cut-out snapshots. HOWEVER, there is sooo much to look at (hold up was that Darth Vader!?), that I can’t help but be transfixed to the screen.  It has that South Park vibe too. And it has a nice progression to it and I think I can safely say no current music video out there looks like this, so good work on the originality.  And I believe those are actual streets, so if you live in the Mission District of San Francisco, stand up! 

BTW, who is this Azeem dude? Has anyone ever heard of this guy before?

Review: BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (anime)

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad/ dir. Osamu Kobayashi/ 2004-2005 (26 episodes)

beckseattle1I started the Art of the Cartoon blog this past January. When it first debuted, my marquee header was a little different, and my good friend and running partner, Angel, thought the anime character on my marquee was Koyuki, the main character from BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad (It was actually Naota from FLCL, but anyway).

After one of our runs, she played the opening song from the series on her car stereo and went off on what a good series BECK was. She mentioned it was about starting a rock band and how they got through struggles. This caught my attention and I was intrigued by what kind of series about a rock band would impress her.

A month later I saw BECK the complete series on sale at Fry’s Electronics. I was tempted, but I did not pick it up (money’s tight y’know). Over the next couple of weeks, I kept going back to Fry’s and staring at that set (there was only one left) wondering if I should pick it up before it was too late. It wasn’t until after my birthday, and a break from school that I finally decided to pick up BECK, and see what the fuss my homegirl was talking about.

So how was it?

Flawed. Actually, there were a LOT of flaws. HOWEVER, when a cartoon series is so powerful that it makes me do this:

sigh

You know that something went immensely right. In fact, watching BECK reinforced the reasons why I decided to get into the field of animation in the first place. Hit the jump for the rest of the review…
Continue reading

Review: NKOTB “The New Kid In Class”

New Kids On the Block/ “The New Kid In Class”/ 1990

nkotb-cartoon2One year before Hammerman came on the scene, the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were the latest musical act to have the honor (read: exploited!) of getting their own animated series. 

I  do remember hearing back then that the New Kids on the Block were getting their own cartoon series. I don’t ever remember watching a single episode. The reason, I just wasn’t that interested. People may not believe me, but I was NOT a New Kids on the Block fan when they first came out. Over the years, the feeling has dulled and for a good nostalgia trip I now enjoy a classic NKOTB song every now and then, but back then, I only  tolerated them because of my sister and some of my friends. Just to reiterate, NKOTB was just  not for me. 

So why after some 20 years, have I decided to go back and watch an episode of NKOTB? 

Well besides NKOTB’s unexpected return to music last year, after one of my biggest posting blunders, I posted this lighthearted clip of the NKOTB intro. Based on that clip, the show seemed really bad. Even still, I figured I should at least watch an episode to see if, in reality, either:

a) it was a good/ decent show with a bad intro,

or  

b) if it was as bad as I think it is. 

The result: I really should trust my instincts… hit the jump for the rest of the review and video of the episode. Continue reading

NKOTB: The Animation

Alright, I hope you all had your fun with the last post (Gee that really backfired! … Live & Learn). 

Time to get serious:

(stares at screen in disbelief…) 

I have nothing…

Well back to the sketchbook 😛 !

I’ll come back to this I promise…

Hammerman

By request from Daps1

From 1990 – 91, MC Hammer was arguably the biggest hip-hop star in the world. You can’t deny the fact that his break out hit “U Can’t Touch This” was catchy, and with it’s heavy (understated) sampling of Rick James’ “Superfreak”, it made heavy, HEAVY sampling of funk hits popular in future hip-hop songs. Hammer helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream audience with an entertainment style that no hip-hop artist had back then. 

But how do you know you when someone hits it big? They get their own cartoon series…

hammermanHit the Jump, to read more about hip-hop’s first animated series… Continue reading

2Pac: Do For Love (Music Video)

While uploading my animation assignments to youtube yesterday, this random video popped up on the main screen. It was 2Pac’s “Do For Love” with Blackstreet. One of the forgotten posthumously released 2Pac songs, I remember this video back in 1997 and I thought it was a unique touch being all animation in getting around the fact that a live 2Pac wasn’t available (RIP Pac!). Still, I wasn’t too impressed with the animation back in 1997. In 2009, still not impressed, BUT now I do admire the fact that several animation techniques were used to produce this trippy video. 2D animation, 3D animation, claymation stop-motion, rotoscoping, among others came together to create something that, while not impressive in terms of animation, was still quite entertaining. Plus, no 2Pac music video ever looked like this:

“Do For Love”/ 2Pac/ 1997/ dir. ???

Listening back, I really do enjoy this song. It may find a rotation on my iphone. Plus, apparently according to wikipedia (so take this with a grain of salt),”Do For Love” actually rechopped J Dilla‘s production on a remix of the The Pharcyde‘s track Y? hmmm…..

Speaking of J Dilla, head over to my dude DJ Daps1 Thaswassup site. In preparation for his site getting to the 10,000 hit mark he has made available a Tribute Mixtape to J Dilla he made back in 2006. Congrats Bro! I’m not sure I’ll ever get to that mark. 

PS: Around the 3:07 mark in the video, where it was a mix of 2D and the 2Pac claymation, did that seem a little off to you? Maybe it was just me.