Monday, February 20, 2017

DRAMAtical Murder (2014)

On the fictional island Midorijima, the shady Toue Corporation has built an exclusive district named Platinum Jail. Meanwhile the island's poor original natives are confined to the run-down 'old-town', where warring street-gangs battle each other in the virtual-reality game Rhyme. Delivery-boy Aoba only wants a quiet life, but is soon drawn into a conspiracy when he discovers about the mysterious disappearance of numerous gang members and Rhyme players.

DRAMAtical Murder is a 12 part series from NAZ studio that originally aired/streamed in the Summer 2014 season. It was adapted from the Visual-Novel game of the same name and was followed up with a one-off OAV (original animation video), also included in this release.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Web Animation Watch: Deadstar, Gravity Rush, Game Grumps Animated and more

Advances in technology and the spread of the internet has made it easier than ever for animators to share their work with the masses. But with ease of sharing, comes the challenge of finding the right audience. A challenge made all the more difficult by the growing sea of information. How do you know what's worth watching? That's where we come in! Welcome to this month's edition of one of AFA's favorite segments...Web Animation Watch.

If you've made something that would be a good fit for a future installment, drop us a line and let us know!

Deadstar: The Animated Series

Deadstar is an ongoing 3D sci-fi/fantasy series written/animated/directed by Brandon Wright. The story focuses around the respective journeys of Harrison and Panala. Harrison, a red-eyed mercenary, who has been hired to battle a powerful drug cartel in order to help complete important research project started by his late mother. Panala, a young girl with seafoam hair, is the eighth clone of a terminally ill princess of a faraway world. When Panala begins to assert her own individuality, she decides to escape into an uncertain galaxy. In order to decide for herself what kind of person she wants to be. After a chance meeting with Harrison, the two reluctantly begin to travel together. On a journey that may very well tied to the fate of the galaxy itself. This short in particular follows Harrison (prior to the series start) as he has an unusual encounter while on a job.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Following the unexpected success of The Lego Movie (2014), Warner Bros. Animation further capitalized on the Lego franchise by releasing the much hyped The Lego Batman Movie last week. The film puts the popular side character Lego Batman, an exaggerated version of the dark and brooding Batman of Christopher Nolan's trilogy, from the core film at the center of his own movie where he learns how to allow himself to become a part of a family again. The film is great fun and full of sharp comedic wit, however it does fall just short of its predecessor in terms of overall quality. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Now Streaming: 'Finding Dory','Cyborg 009', 'Miraculous Ladybug' and more

Another month, another bunch of animated films and series have hit the world's most popular streaming service. Animation new to Netflix this month includes Pixar's Finding Dory and the first season of the cult hit Miraculous Ladybug ( both in the US).

Elsewhere, new animated Netflix Originals are available to subscribers in all regions, with the newcomer CG anime Cyborg 009 joined later on by new seasons of The Seven Deadly Sins and Dragons: Race To the Edge.

Note: Some new additions may already be available in other regions, and includes renewals  All information correct to the best of our knowledge but subject to change.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Taika Waititi to Co-Direct 'Bubbles' Stop-Motion Feature

Dan Harmon's Starburns Industries is following up the acclaimed Anomalisa with another stop-motion animated feature named Bubbles- a bizarre sounding fictional biography of Michael Jackson's pet chimp. We first reported on the project- based on a Black List nominated screenplay- nearly a year ago. Now, it seems the project is moving forward as a director has signed on.

As with Anomalisa, the new feature will be bringing on a director from outside the animation world. Live-action director Taika Waititi is a New-Zealand based director responsible for the excellent films What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople. He is currently working on the upcoming Marvel movie Thor: Ragnorok.

Fans of his films know that he has a unique comedic sensibility that should translate well to animation. Wilderpeople proved that beyond his impressive comic chops, he also has the ability to bring real heart to his films too.

Monday, February 13, 2017

'Kubo And The Two Strings' Bags a BAFTA

Sunday February 12th saw the BAFTA Film Awards take place in London. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts handed out their iconic golden masks to some of the top talent in film from around the world- including in the animation awards categories.

The highest profile of these was- of course- the Best Animated Feature. In this category three out of four were Disney/Pixar films- Zootropolis ( aka Zootopia), Moana and Finding Dory. Ultimately though, the one non-Disney film nominated- LAIKA's Kubo and The Two Strings-surprised by overcoming the odds to take the prize.

The BAFTAs are often seen as an indicator for the result we might see later at the Oscars. Could a similar upset happen there? It's possible, but it wouldn't be the first time that BAFTA has differed in the category- having previously awarded The LEGO Movie, which the US Academy didn't even nominate.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Life As A Zucchini (2016)

Nine-year-old Icar- better known by the nickname of Zucchini (or Courgette in the original version) lives alone with his mother. When she unexpectedly passes away, a kindly policeman named Raymond takes the youngster to a home full of kids like him. At first, he struggles to fit in but over time he's able to make friends and find acceptance and true happiness for the first time.

Claude Barras's stop-motion feature is based on a book by Gilles Paris. The film made its world debut at last year's Cannes Film Festival and went on to wow the festival circuit, eventually making its US premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It has been nominated for numerous awards including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an Annie Award and three Cesars.