Tag Archives: animation

Check Out the New Ant-Man Animated Disney XD Shorts

We’ll be getting a bunch of Ant-Man shorts courtesy of Disney XD. Check out three of them.

Despite Hank Pym’s warning, Ant-Man manages to spill soup on his suit, sending him into a size-changing frenzy while trying to defeat the nefarious Egghead!

Scott helps his daughter Cassie at her school science fair but he forgets one key ingredient. Not only does he have to fix her volcano, but fend off Yellowjacket too…as Ant-Man!

Ant-Man and The Wasp are in Hank Pym’s lab when they are attacked by an army of tiny alien invaders seeking Pym’s growth technology.

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DC Super Hero Girls Gets an All New Animated Series in 2018

Production has begun on DC Super Hero Girls, an all-new animated action-comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation and based on characters from DC Entertainment. Featuring fresh character designs and storytelling from Emmy Award–winning producer Lauren Faust, DC Super Hero Girls will be coming to Cartoon Network in 2018.

The world may know them as Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl, but not-so-typical teenagers Diana, Kara and Barbara, alongside their Super Hero friends have much more to deal with than just protecting the citizens of Metropolis from some of the most sinister school-aged Super-Villains of the DC Universe. After all, being teens is tough enough, what with school, friends, family and the chaos that comes with managing a social life. . But add super powers and a secret identity to the mix, and things can get a lot more complicated.

Sure, gal pals Bumblebee, Zatanna and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz are always there to lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a fist to punch with, and their bros in the Justice League amp up the fun whether they’re at a concert or taking down a crime ring. But what happens when Diana and her favorite study buddy and fencing partner, Tatsu, can’t agree on how to dole out justice as Wonder Woman and Katana? Or when Barbara finds out her Gotham-Con bestie is teen-fiend Harley Quinn? Along with all their friends, foes and frenemies, this squad of super teens navigates the unique growing pains that come when you’re a teenager trying to fight the battles of the world and the battles of growing up at the same time.

The new series is a global initiative with Cartoon Network and builds on the successful DC Super Hero Girls direct-to-video movies as well as digital webisodes launched in 2015 and viewed by millions of fans on the DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel, as well as the DC Super Hero Girls mobile app.

Sam Register serves as executive producer.

A Sneak Peek at Marvel’s Spider-Man

In the exciting first look at the new animated series, we see Spider-Man going back to his origins as a hero as Peter Parker discovers his powers and begins fighting crime in NYC! Watch the first sneak peek now and look out for Marvel’s Spider-Man premiering this Summer on Disney XD.

Disney XD’s Big Hero 6 Gets a Teaser

Big Hero 6 The Series continues the hit animated film. Based on a Marvel comic, the animated television show reunites most of the original voice cast. Big Hero 6 The Series Coming Fall 2017 to Disney XD.

Young Justice is Returning for a Third Season

After a lot of fan demand it looks like the social pressure has paid off as it has been announced that the much beloved animated series Young Justice will be getting a third season.

It’s unknown exactly where/how/when/what platform the series will be returning, but you better believe we’re excited!

Check out the full press release below.

The Team is back and it’s “business as usual.” Warner Bros. Animation has begun production on a third season of all-new episodes of the acclaimed hit, action-animated series “Young Justice,” based on the characters from DC Entertainment. Season three promises new twists, turns and dangerous new threats for the team, but most importantly, the opportunity for fans to finally continue the adventures of some of their favorite Super Heroes. Further details about the new season — including premiere date and network partner — will be announced at a later time.

Heralded by Entertainment Weekly as one of the “9 Best Animated TV Series Drawn from Comics,” “Young Justice” has been equally praised by critics and viewers for its impressive visuals and rich storytelling. The series reached more than 25 million unique viewers in each of its two seasons on Cartoon Network.

“The affection that fans have had for ‘Young Justice,’ and their rallying cry for more episodes, has always resonated with us,” said Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series. “We are excited to bring the show back for this loyal fanbase and to provide an opportunity for new viewers to discover this excellent series.”

Producers Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood, Superman: Doomsday) and Greg Weisman (Star Wars Rebels, Gargoyles) will be returning to the series.

In “Young Justice,” the teenage Super Heroes of the DC Universe come of age in a world of super powers, Super-Villains and super secrets. Used strategically as the secret covert weapon of the Justice League, Nightwing, Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and a host of others strive to prove to their legendary mentors, as well as to themselves, that they have what it takes to be heroes.

For more information or to sign up for updates, visit YJS3.com.

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Big Hero 6 Disney XD Series Gets it Voice Cast

Disney XD’s upcoming animated series Big Hero 6, based on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning feature film inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, will reunite much of the original cast for its 2017 debut. Reprising their roles are: Maya Rudolph as Aunt Cass; Jamie Chung as no-nonsense, speed genius Go Go; Scott Adsit as huggable robot Baymax; Alan Tudyk as tech guru Alistair Krei; Ryan Potter as tech genius Hiro; Genesis Rodriguez as quirky scientist Honey Lemon; David Shaughnessy as the butler Heathcliff; and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee as Fred’s dad.

Also joining the main voice cast are Khary Payton as control freak Wasabi and Brooks Wheelan as fanboy Fred.

The film, from Walt Disney Animation Studios, was inspired by the Marvel comic created by Man of Action.

The series picks up immediately following the events of the feature film and continues the adventures and friendship of 14-year-old tech genius Hiro and his compassionate, cutting-edge robot Baymax. Along with their friends Wasabi, Honey Lemon, Go Go and Fred, they form the legendary superhero team Big Hero 6 and embark on high-tech adventures as they protect their city from an array of scientifically enhanced villains. In his normal day-to-day life, Hiro faces daunting academic challenges and social trials as the new prodigy at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology.

Additional guest cast includes: Jenifer Lewis as strict Professor Granville; Andrew Scott as villain Obake; comedian Andy Richter as Globby; Diedrich Bader as Bluff Dunder; Susan Sullivan as Fred’s mother; Sean Giambrone as Richardson Mole; John Ross Bowie as Mel; and Haley Tju as classmate Karmi.

Emmy Award winners Mark McCorkle, Bob Schooley and Nick Filippi, the team behind the global hit Disney Channel series “Kim Possible,” serve as executive producers. Filippi also serves as supervising director. Big Hero 6 is a production of Disney Television Animation.

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Review: Chrono Crusade

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I’m about to get nostalgic here. This was one of the first series I ever watched, I rented the DVDs from Blockbuster, and have a lot of love for it. Except, recently, I re-watched it. Chrono Crusade is that anime. It was written and illustrated by Daisuke Moriyama also known for his work on World Embryo. Published in Comic Dragon and Monthly Dragon Age from November 1998- June 2004. It was then adapted into a 24-episode series by Gonzo, where it ran on Fuji TV, it’s run was from November 2003-June 2004. The anime, as most go, did not follow the original manga, which hurts its story immensely.

The story follows Sister Rosette Christopher and her assistant Chrono in the 1920s as they search for her long lost sibling. As well as deal with Chrono’s shadowy past as a demon/devil, which becomes more crucial as the plot advances. It also shows the Order of Magdalene which Rosette works for, a holy group made in order to fight the growing demon problem in the world, especially with the elusive group of demons called Sinners. Who may have something to do with Chrono? Along the way they gain new allies and enemies, while dealing with the issues at hand, such as finding the Apostles of God and stopping the end of the world.

Rosette Christopher is the protagonist of the series and is an elite exorcist of the order. Though she is impulsive and selfish, she genuinely tries her best. She has a mysterious past with Chrono, which is pretty much cleared up in the second volume. Rosette is also a contractor. Which means her life is slowly being drained by a demon. But that’s beside the point, she’s trying to make the most out of her short lifespan, often saying that despite her short life she’ll live longer than anyone ever believed she would. She often gets in trouble and is actually, in hindsight, sort of an annoying character that can grow on you the longer you read or watch. She’s to be the bright light of hope at the end of the tunnel who knows how short and precious life is in actuality.

Chrono is Rosette’s assistant and contractor. Surprise! It’s sort of revealed right away, so no worries. Yes, Chrono is a demon, but he’s trying to be a good person. This is because he owes Rosette his life and more, but also because he’s tired of hurting people. When compared to Rosette, he’s a much quieter, almost stoic. He plays the part of the mild young boy perfectly, though he is constantly plagued by everything he’s done and the continuing guilt in what has happened to Rosette because of him. His past continues to become more and more important as the plot grows, especially as it intertwines with Rosette’s. He’s the more endearing character of the series and this is because he’s the character that probably goes through the most character growth next to Rosette.

Azmaria Hendirch is the Songtress of Vegas, a twelve-year-old with the gift of healing through song. She’s soft spoken and easily shaken due to low self-worth. Rosette and Chrono save her and she begins tagging along on their adventures as a junior member of the Order. She looks up to Rosette, even if everyone questions it. Unfortunately, Azmaria doesn’t get a lot of actual growth till the last three volumes of the manga. Which, doesn’t make up for her being a tool to further Rosette’s storyline. She merely there for Rosette to see herself in and for sad comical relief.

There’s a lot more characters, but really to keep this as spoiler free as I can, I’ll cut it short here. It will also make the story seem complicated and contrived, which it really, really can be.

So, upfront, the manga is far prettier than the anime. Though, even that is dated. I can’t be too harsh though, because it was good at the time. Still, the anime was too bright at times and had uneven eye to face ratio. Just poor anatomy in general at times. It also really like fanservice, which was basically non-existent in the manga, at least overt fanservice wasn’t. It had a direction it was going for that was very much a part of its time, it wanted to appeal to a certain audience. In doing so, it made it have no appeal in the current times. The animation was done by Gonzo studio, better known for their work on Samurai 7 or Full Metal Panic! It also was just unkind to hair and the details that became so beautiful in the manga. On the subject of the manga, as I said, it is dated now, but holds up far better than the anime. It had far more attention to detail on the characters and really shined in the way hair moved on the pages or mouths were shaped. Like many series it became beautiful the longer it went on as a manga.

The sound of the series is a lot different, considering that the opening and ending themes are pretty beautiful and the stand out sounds of the series. Tsubasa wa Pleasure Line by Minami Kuribayashi was the theme and had an uplifting sound that showed the hopeful side of the series. Saeko Chiba’s Sayonara Solitaire was the ending them and acted as a literal building goodbye for the series and characters, the artist also was the voice of Azmaria in the Japanese release. The rest of the sound is nothing to really make a note, but was composed by Masumi Ito, known for her work on Azumanga Daioh and Scrapped Princess. The series, both English and Japanese, is not the prettiest to listen to and I would much rather recommend reading the manga. It’s actually pretty cringe worthy, considering that a majority of Rosette’s lines are fast and… Screechy. Hilary Haag voiced Rosette and is better known for her work as Satsuki Miyanoshita from Ghost Stories or Hermia from Princess Tutu. Greg Ayres played Chrono, but is better known for his voice as Kaoru Hitachiin from Ouran High School Host Club or Nagisa Hazuki from Free! Both of them worked hard and it’s clear, but the series is just very dated by the changes made to dialogue and how the characters just sound in general. Which isn’t to say the Japanese is much better, because it’s not. This is definitely a series that works best as a manga, where you can read things rather than listen.

This is a good series, I swear, just in a specific form. I fully endorse the manga where you’re going to get the original story, which frankly was much better when compared to the anime, and see it’s progression. It’s also a short read, only 8 volumes! While it’s a definitely a dated series it’s worth a look into. I’m not sure if it was popular or not, but it’s one of those series that I frequently tell people about and not many people know about it. At least not from what I’ve seen.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Around the Tubes

Black_Panther_1_CoverIt was new comic book day yesterday. What’d folks get? What’d you enjoy? What’d you not like? Sound off in the comments!

Until then, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – The Politics of the Black Panther – A good read to get you ready.

Black Nerd Problem – The Shrewd And Cynical Brilliance With DC Universe Animated Movies – They’re really good usually.

Lawyers, Guns & Money – Superman Is Not The Bad Guy – A good read!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – All-New, All-Different Avengers #7

Comic Vine – Batman #50

Newsarama – Batman #50

CBR – Batman #50

Flayrah – Klaw

Comic Vine – Ultimates #5

Arcana and Shout! Factory Announce Cast for Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom

Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen KingdomArcana Studio and Shout! Factory today announced the casting of Golden Globe-winning actor Ron Perlman and Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer in the upcoming animated film Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom. Perlman is set to voice the role of Shoggoth, and Plummer has been cast in the role of Dr. Herbert West.

Written, being directed and produced by Sean Patrick O’ReillyHoward Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is the movie adaptation of Arcana’s popular graphic novel of the same name, and introduces a new generation to the imaginative Lovecraft universe through a fantastical, cinematic adventure that entwines new storytelling, events of H.P. Lovecraft’s life, iconic elements of his writings and more!

A fun and thrilling animated feature for any Lovecraft fan, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is slated for a fall 2016 release across major entertainment distribution platforms and in packaged media from Shout! Factory.

The film is based on the bestselling graphic novel by Bruce Brown, is written, being directed and produced by Sean Patrick O’Reilly; producer, Michelle O’Reilly; art director & senior modeler, Gary Yuen; senior editor, Brendan Hansell; CG supervisor, Haqui Gbadamosi.

Zootopia Deconstructs Beast Fables, Ancient and Modern

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*Spoiler alert for the entire Zootopia film*

The latest Disney animated film Zootopia wowed both audiences and critics grossing $75.1 million domestically, which is the biggest opening weekend for a non-Pixar Disney animated film, and getting 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film features anthropomorphic animals (Mostly mammals.) living in a society, not unlike contemporary American society with complex gender, class, and race divisions. It follows the first bunny police officer Judy Hopps (voiced by Once Upon A Time‘s Ginnifer Goodwin) as she moves from the rural Bunny Burrows to Zootopia and investigates a missing animal case with the help of fox con man and self-proclaimed hustler Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman). Along the way, she becomes aware of the problems, corruption, and overall complicated nature of living in a diverse society. The plot of the film is a crime thriller meets mystery with a dash of comedy and satire, and there are nods and homages to great crime stories, like Breaking Bad and The Godfather along with the slapstick and pitfalls of animated films. However, throughout the film, Zootopia is a deconstruction of the classic beast fable genre, which uses animals and their often stereotypical personalities to teach a moral lesson.

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Reynard the Fox seducing the other animals.

Beast fables are simple and usually straightforward tales that use animals to model ethics. For example, in the The Nun’s Priest Tale found in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales, the fox Reynard symbolizes deception and evil while the doomed rooster protagonist Chanticleer symbolizes pride and its downfall. It’s a pithy, memorable tale with the lesson of not listening to flattery. But beneath the moral instruction and broad animal personalities, there is usually something nefarious dealing with the ideological conflicts or fears of the time period. In the 14th century, the Roman Catholic Church used the popular Reynard character to attack the English Lollard preachers, who believed that the common people should read and hear the Bible in their own language and not Latin. Later, in 1937, there was an anti-Semitic Dutch children’s story called Of Reynaert the Fox that was used as Nazi propaganda on the eve of World War II to show the lawlessness of Jewish people and socialists.

This story (and later animated film) is one of many that shows the power of children’s stories featuring talking and dressed animals to create social and racial divisions. Disney itself isn’t exempt from this with Dumbo (1940) featuring an actual character named Jim Crow, the singing Siamese cats in Lady in the Tramp (1955), and all of the Song of the South (1946), which has never been released on video or DVD, but is still featured as part of the Disney theme parks’ Splash Mountain ride. Basically, people attribute different personality qualities to animals that may have nothing to do with their actual nature, biological or otherwise, and apply them to people to demonize them and make them less than human. This happens in Zootopia, a world where predators and prey supposedly live in harmony, but Judy’s parents give her repellent and a taser specifically made for foxes before she goes off to the big city. The opening of the film shows a young Judy along with a tiger cub talking about how they have moved on from this primal state, but deeply engrained racist attitudes still persist even in a highly developed society, like Zootopia.

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But, back to the fox. In many cultures, the fox symbolizes treachery. “Outfox” means to deceive someone, the German WWII general Erwin Rommel was nicknamed the “Desert Fox” because he confused Allied forces with his maneuvers in North Africa, and in Japanese folklore, the kitsune is a symbol of mischief. However, in the 1973 Disney animated classic Robin Hood, the title hero was a fox because of Robin Hood’s guerilla tactics to evade the forces of usurper Prince John while stealing the government’s money and giving it to the poor. Robin Hood may not obey the law, but he has the good of ordinary people in mind in his actions. The multiple writers of Zootopia apply this more nuanced characterization to Nick Wilde, the film’s deuteragonist while showing the pitfalls of profiling and stereotyping people through the animal metaphor. Sure, Nick’s a skilled con man, but he only does this job because as a child, some non-predator children beat and muzzled him when he wanted to become a Zootopia Scout. He felt trapped by the stereotype, and one of the most emotional parts of the film is young Nick crying with his muzzle beside him.

The writers of Zootopia present audiences with the stereotypes of foxes being crafty and deceitful with Nick Wilde pulling a con with his partner Finnick (a fennec fox), who pretends to be his little baby as he gets ice cream from a species-ist elephant and then mass produces them as popsicles to sell to lemming bankers in one of the film’s funniest jokes. It’s a clever sequence and sets up Nick’s character as a trickster in the beast fable tradition. Then, the writers subvert it by making him Judy’s partner as they look for a missing otter and end up being drawn into a vast conspiracy featuring gangsters, the mayor, and drugs that make Zootopia’s predators feral. Judy goes from forcing Nick to help her, or she’ll turn him in for tax evasion to actually becoming friends with him. But this “color blind” utopia idea is short lived once Judy tells the press that predators have a “biological” reason to attack prey, and Nick is hurt by her discrimination. This leads to a citywide crackdown on predators from the corrupt vice mayor Bellwether (voiced by former SNL cast member Jenny Slate), who wants to rule Zootopia by uniting the 90% of non-predators in fear against the 10% predators. It’s similar to the racially charged rhetoric that is marking Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign, but Bellwether has a meeker exterior.

The biggest turning point in Zootopia‘s deconstruction of the beast fables comes in a sequence where a savage Nick is chasing Judy around in a natural history diorama featuring deer that is an homage to the Disney classic Bambi. Bellwether (and some of the audience by extension) thinks that Nick is actually savage, and that she can spin a story of a predator killing a hero cop and stir up even more discrimination. But it is all a clever ruse as Nick has replaced the drug in Bellwether’s gun with harmless blueberries from Judy’s parents’ farm. This scene shows the foolishness of judging someone based on their species and by extension, their skin color, sexuality, religion, or gender as Zootopia‘s writers put the stereotypes of the classic beast fables out to pasture in a beautiful musical number by Gazelle (voiced by Shakira), who is a pop star activist, and has tiger backup dancers symbolizing equality. But even though the ending is happy, there is still discrimination going on in Zootopia, and even organized crime from multiple gangs featuring wolves and polar bears that still control whole territories of the city. (Judy and Nick get a lot of help from the polar bear gang led by a shrew named Mr. Big, who is like the animal reincarnation of Vito Corleone.) Just like in our world, there is plenty of work to be done to end racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.

Zootopia subverts the familiar stereotypes of beast fables and their successors, like the Redwall books where mice are good and animals like ferrets, rats, and weasels are evil simply because they are a certain species, and uses its animal characters to show a more nuanced view of the world. People aren’t bad or have a certain personality because they are a certain ethnicity or religion. Judy might be a bunny, but she’s not dumb. Nick is a fox, but he’s not evil. Instead of being like Dumbo or previous Disney cartoons and using animals to propagate racial stereotypes, Zootopia tears them down and even uses storytelling devices like the bait and switch with the berries and drug to get viewers to examine their own prejudices. It is also an entertaining buddy mystery comedy along the way.

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