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

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Bootleg Classics: Transformers “Heavy Metal War”

Who is going to see the new Transformers tonight? Raise your hand…

(Raises hand)

Yeah, you know I was going to go see the newest live-action Transformers tonight. I mean I started this blog with a post about Transformers! And even though we won’t get near the number of homies attending this showing as the last one, the nostalgia factor is just too strong for me to resist. Look for a review of the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen hopefully tomorrow. But in the meantime, I would like to re-visit one of my favorite Transformers Generation 1 episode, and yes… it is a bootleg classic.

Transformers “Heavy Metal War” December 15, 1984

Primeheavymetalwar1Background:

You already know! But just in case… they are those robots that change (transform)  into cars, airplanes, etc.  C’mon you know… Optimus Prime and the Autobots (aka the good guys)  vs. Megatron and the Decipticons (aka the bad guys).  You know what!?  If you need a background on Transformers why you reading this blog!

The Episode:

Megatron challenges Optimus Prime to an honorable one-on-one gladiator style duel. The loser of the duel must take his respective team and leave Earth forever, thus ending the long bitter war between the Autobots and the Decipticons. However, unbeknownst to Optimus, Megatron cheats by taking the abilities of the other decipticons, giving Megatron a huge advantage in the duel.

(Hit the Jump to find out what makes this a Bootleg Classic) Continue reading

Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons

IMG_0034Since I am currently (and will always be) a student of animation, when I heard that the exhibition, Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, was coming to Seattle’s MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry), I knew I had to make time to go see it. 

Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons gives a little insight into the history of Warner Bros. Cartoons. The exhibit does a good job of showing the process in which Warner Bros. Cartoons were made. There are character model sheets of your favorite Looney Tunes personalities. There are also animation cells, animation drawings, background paintings, story concepts, etc… 

The exhibit is simple and straightforward, and for me truly inspiring. If you have read some of the other posts on this blog, you know that I hold these Looney Tunes shorts in high regard. Not only do they bring back memories of childhood, they are also classic examples of top-notch animation. I would put these shorts against any of the cartoons that come on TV nowadays. 

Suffice to say I spent a good hour/ hour and a half in this exhibit alone. 30 minutes of which was just me watching old Bugs Bunny shorts. After that, I was ready to do what was necessary to keep on following this far-fetched dream of mine. Warner Bros. Cartoons has this great legacy, and I was ready to start making my own legacy. And how would I do that, I headed to the library to study and do my homework… 

(hit the jump to see pictures of this exhibition) Continue reading

Finally… Wile E. Coyote catches the Road Runner!

I remember sitting back and watching the Looney Tunes shorts with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and thinking, “What a smarmy road runner! I hope that coyote catches you one day.” Yet that never happened. Until this came along…

The difference in animation is jarring! Really jarring! But a little bit of me smiled when the Road Runner was finally caught…

But now I just feel empty…

Wow, that last bit og animation is really bad…

One final note, the original title to this short was “Fast and Furry-ous,” Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodirguez, and Jordana Brewster are set to star in the sequel “2Fast, 2 Furry-ous,”  or was it “THE Fast and THE Furry-ous,” it might’ve been “The Fast and the Furry-ous: Hong Kong Drift.” I forget…

New Gatorade Focus/ Tiger Woods commercials

I am really digging the new animated Gatorade commericals. The animation looks nice and smooth. It has that Jungle Book feel, which I think Gatorade was going for. And the Baloo character is obviously Tiger’s dad, or his reincarnation. And is that Samuel L. Jackson and Scott Van Pelt doing some of the voices? Watch the new commericials here:

Good Job Gatorade! Does anyone know who did the animation on this?

Bootleg Classics: Speedy Gonzales (film)

Some of my favorite cartoons while growing up were Transformers, He-Man, ThunderCats, and Ninja Turtles. I even enjoyed watching Jem, Strawberry Shortcake, and Rainbow Brite with my older sister. But between those shows there were always several Looney Tunes shorts to fill out the Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup. Of all the Looney Tunes characters, there was one that resonated with me the most.  That would be the one “brown” Looney Tune character out of the whole bunch, Speedy Gonzales.  This Bootleg Classic is the best of the Speedy Gonzales shorts, and the Academy Award win proves that.

Speedy Gonzales/ dir. Friz Freleng/ 1955

speedy_gonzales_titlesBackground:

From 1930 – 1969, Warner Bros. had a cartoon series called Looney Tunes, that consisted of animated shorts that showed at movie theaters.  These animated shorts featured the popular characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Tweety, Marvin the Martian, Taz, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite San, Pepe Le Pew, and many others. The Speedy Gonzales short featured the newly redesigned Speedy Gonzales, and was the first meeting between Speedy and Sylvester the Cat.

The Film:

There are a group of mice who are starving and are trying to get cheese from the AJAX cheese factory. The only problem is that there is a cat, Sylvester, who is gurading the the factory and the cheese. Other mice have attempted to get past Sylvester and get the cheese, but all of them have been eaten and died in the process.

Then one of the mice has a  brilliant idea to enlist the services of “the fastest mouse in all Mexico” Speedy Gonzales. After telling their plight to Speedy, Speedy agrees to help.speedy_gonzales2

Then some hilarious confrontations between Speedy and Sylvester occur, with Speedy always ending up the victor. Eventually, Sylvester decides to blow up the whole factory so nobody will get the cheese, but the plan backfires as all the cheese lands near the hungry mice.

Speedy then says “I like this pussycat fellow; he’s silly!” and the short ends.

To watch this Academy Award winning short and find out WHY it is a Bootleg Classic, hit the jump…

Continue reading

Set the VCR: Let’s burn the house down, there’s no turning back

Tomorrow, or today, err soon ,(April 5 in Japan) a brand new Fullmetal Alchemist series will be launching in Japan. From what I read, it will NOT be a continuation of the series, but a re-boot of the series in order to be more faithful to the manga.

Will it be as successful as the first anime series? We’ll see, but first I wanted to go over one of the many Set the VCR moments from the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime series. 

Fullmetal Alchemist (anime) “Mother” 2003

full-metal-alchemist1

Many of us can think of an event, an occurrence, a decision, or maybe a series of these in our past that drastically changed our lives. A change so dramatic, that we can safely think: “after that, there was no turning back.”  Do you remember any those times? Do you remember the feeling you had when you realized that everything had changed?  Were you confident and sure of your new paradigm? Or were you hesitant, worried, and a bit scared of what would happen next? Remember those feelings and emotions now?

Expressing these feelings and emotions through art is a daunting task for any form of art or media. Get it wrong and your audience will lose interest with the quickness. Get it right, and the skies the limit. 

This is where this next Set the VCR moment comes in: (Hit the jump) Continue reading

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