Animation Scoop – Animated News, Reviews and Commentary

Manga Review: “My Sister’s Husband”

Although millions of Americans, especially Americans udner 30, buy and read manga, they’re only seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Manga culture remains far more complex and diverse than readers in the US realize, as Gengoroh Tagame’s singular My Brother’s Husband demonstrates.

Tagame is a celebrated manga-ka, or manga artist, best known for his homoerotic stories that feature sadomasochistic elements. Tagame’s dark fantasies are completely unlike the popular feathery romances between willowy young men in yaoi/boy’s love manga, which are created by women for female readers. Tagame is openly gay, and his audience is gay Japanese men. The warmer, gentler “My Brother’s Husband” is his first work intended for a more mainstream audience.

Warner Archive Announces “Porky Pig 101” DVD Collection

Warner Archives has announced today the September 19th release for Porky Pig 101 – a unique 5-disc DVD set that collects 99 black-and-white Looney Tunes (and two Technicolor Merrie Melodies) starring Warner Bros. first cartoon superstar.

The set includes cartoons dating from 1935 (with Porky’s first appearance in Friz Freleng’s I Haven’t Got A Hat) through 1943 (in Frank Tashlin’s Porky Pig’s Feat), presented in original release order. There is audio commentary on key cartoons from animation historians Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck, Mark Kausler, among others.

INTERVIEW: Alec Baldwin, Star of “The Boss Baby”

Few actors have stepped back to the plate and scored as many home runs on the media landscape as Alec Baldwin. He’s an Emmy hopeful for his satirical take on you-know-who on Saturday Night Live, the “quizzzmaster” of Match Game, a longtime podcaster, best selling author—and the voice of a diapered CEO in DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby, now topping the charts on Blu-ray and DVD.

Baldwin was eager to share his passion for voice acting during a recent press junket. He talked about the challenge of intermittently resuming the attitude of the character, even though months might pass between sessions (a daunting issue for feature animation voice actors for decades; according to Bob Thomas’ The Art of Animation, Mary Costa rose to the same challenge when voicing Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora).

INTERVIEW: Disney’s “DuckTales” reboot

Executive Producer Matt Youngberg and Story Editor/Co-Producer Francisco (Frank) Angones are well aware that they have big duck shoes as they reboot the classic animated TV series, DuckTales. But if from the initial response at ComicCon is any indication (the panel at ComicCon was well over capacity), they’re off to an encouraging start. Their show launches late-late tonight in a one-hour television movie – to be presented for 24 consecutive hours tomorrow, Saturday August 12th (beginning at midnight EDT/PDT) – on Disney XD. I sat down for a small chat with the duo:

FRANK ANGONES: DuckTales means so many things to so many people. It’s the original series, the Carl Barks comics, the Donald, Huey, Louie and Dewey cartoon shorts and so on. Everybody has a different access point to these iconic characters. We want to try to pay homage to all of that while pushing it in a direction for today’s kids.

GREG EHRBAR: How do you set up the premise in the pilot film?

FRANK: For one thing, Scrooge and Donald haven’t talked for years. Huey, Louie and Dewey don’t even know that Scrooge is their great-uncle. Here’s this amazing adventurer who’s had this rich, full life of epic quests.We wanted the three younger ducks to be the surrogates for this new generation of viewers.

Annie Awards “Call For Entries” Begins August 14th

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced today its ‘Call for Entries’ for the 45th Annual Annie Awards to begin on Monday, August 14th. Honoring excellence in the field of animation, the Annie Awards™ will be presented in nine Production categories (Best Feature, Broadcast Production, Short Film, etc.) and 22 Achievement categories (Best Animation, Direction, Production Design, Music, Voice Acting, etc.). Additionally, up to 5 honorary awards may also be granted for lifetime accomplishments, philanthropy, technical advances, special achievement and meritorious service. The 45th Annual Annie Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Gkids Acquires Benjamin Renner’s “The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”

GKIDS announced today that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales. The film is co-directed by Academy Award-nominee Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert and is based on Renner’s own graphic novel The Big Bad Fox, which was recently released in North America by First Second Publishing. GKIDS will release the film theatrically this winter. The deal was negotiated by Eric Beckman and David Jesteadt of GKIDS and Aska Yamaguchi of STUDIOCANAL. An English-subtitled trailer for the film can be viewed here:

Oh Deer: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Disney’s “Bambi”

The late, great animation historian John Culhane vividly remembered seeing Bambi when he was a young boy. The movie’s most impactful scene (maybe one of the most impactful scenes in all movie history), the death of Bambi’s mother was playing out on the screen.

“Bambi’s screaming ‘Mother!’ ‘Mother!’,” Culhane recalled in a 1998 interview. “A little kid, younger than me shouted out in the theater, ‘You can come home with me Bambi honey!’ The audience started to laugh and then their laughter choked in their throats and I thought “‘This is a great work of art!'”

John’s story is just one of many that’s evidence of how powerful a movie Walt Disney’s Bambi is and how watching it has been a pivotal moment for many generations. Bambi celebrates its 75th anniversary this month, which is the perfect time to reflect back on Disney’s masterpiece.

There’s so much to celebrate about “Bambi,” and the film’s making of stories could fill a book (which they already have).

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AWARDS WATCH 2017

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Checklist of Animated Features Slated for U.S. Release for 2017

1. YU-GI-OH! DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS (1/27/16) Screen Vision Media. D: Satoshi Kuwabara.

2. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2/10/17) Warner Bros. D: Chris McCay.

3. ROCK DOG (2/26/17) Summit. D: Ash Brannon.

4. THE BOSS BABY (3/31/17) Dreamworks-20th Century Fox. D: Tom McGrath.

5. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (4/7/17) Sony. D: Kelly Asbury.

6. MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA (4/14/17) GKids. D: Dash Shaw

7. SPARK: A SPACE TAIL (4/14/17) Open Road. D: Aaron Woodley

8. ANIMAL CRACKERS (4/21/17) D: Tony Bancroft, Scott Christian Sava.

9. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS (6/2/17) Dreamworks. D: David Soren.

10. CARS 3 (6/16/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Brian Fee

11. DESPICABLE ME 3 (6/30/17) Universal (Illumination). D: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon.

12. THE GIRL WITH NO HANDS (7/21/17) GKids. D: Sébastien Laudenbach

13. THE EMOJI MOVIE (7/28/17) Sony. D: Tony Leondis.

14. BLAZING SAMURAI (8/4/17) Open Road. D: Chris Bailey, Mark Koetsier.

15. IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD (8/11/17) Shout! Factory/Funimation. D: Sunao Katabuch.

16. THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE (8/11/17) D: Cal Brunker.

17. LEAP! (8/25/17) The Weinstein Company. D: Eric Summer, Éric Warin.

18. ANIMAL CRACKERS (9/21/17) Blue Dream Studios. D: Scott Christian Sava, Tony Bancroft.

19. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (9/22/17) Warner Bros. D: Charlie Bean.

20. LOVING VINCENT (09/22/17) Good Deed Entertainment. D: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman.

21. MY LITTLE PONY THE MOVIE (10/6/17) The Weinstein Company. D: Jayson Thiessen.

22. BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN Gkids. (Release date TBA). D: Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero.

23. THE STAR (11/10/17) Columbia Pictures. D: Timothy Reckart

24. COCO (11/22/17) Disney-Pixar. D: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina.

25. FERDINAND (12/15/17) 20th Century-Fox (Blue Sky). D: Carlos Saldanha.

26. THE BREADWINNER Gkids. (Release date TBA). D: Nora Twomey.


NOTES: 2017 Limited-release theatricals (movies going Direct-to-Video (DVD, VOD but getting a theatrical billboard) began this year with ONE PIECE FILM: GOLD, directed by Hiroaki Miyamoto, on January 10th via Funimation. Studio Ghibli’s 1993 TV movie OCEAN WAVES, directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, got a U.S. theatrical release via Gkids on January 13th. Similarly, the 1993 anime feature SAILOR MOON R THE MOVIE, directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, was also a limited U.S. release by Eleven Arts on the same date, January 13th (in Los Angeles at the Theater in the Ace Hotel). Denmark’s 2010 feature THE TROUBLE WITH TERKEL was given a token theatrical run in several U.S. cities on February 3rd, via Indican Pictures. BUNYAN AND BABE, directed by Tony Bancroft and Jim Rygiel, was given a limited NY/LA theatrical release by Cinedigm on February 3rd. Fathom Events, ELEVEN ARTS, and Aniplex held a one night theatrical for SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE: ORDINAL SCALE, directed by Tomohiko Itō, on March 9th. Viva Pictures opened Spanish family film OZZY, directed by Alberto Rodríguez and Nacho La Casa, on April 21st. GKids and Fathom Events did a one-day 350 theatre nationwide release of MUNE: GUARDIAN OF THE MOON, Directed by Benoît Philippon and Alexandre Heboyan, on Saturday, August 12th. Warner Bros. and Fathom Events presented a one-night nationwide cinema screening of BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN on August 14th.

Click for more information on 2016 animated feature releases – and for further information on all U.S. Animated Feature releases since 1937 Click Here.

OFFICIAL TRAILER: “Loving Vincent”

Loving Vincent the world’s “first fully oil painted feature film”, written & directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, opens in New York on September 22nd and in LA a week later on September 29th. Produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films & UK’s Trademark Films, the official trailer dropped today – have a look:

Nickelodeon and Nelvana Set Date For “Mysticons”

A mythic quest to save the world unfolds in Nickelodeon’s newest animated series, Mysticons, premiering Monday, August 28th, at 4 p.m. (ET/PT). Produced by Corus Entertainment’s animation studio Nelvana, the half-hour action series follows four girls who transform into legendary warriors, Mysticons, who band together to save their realm from evil. The series airs at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT) through Friday, Sept. 1, and continues with premieres in its regular timeslot of Sundays at 12:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. Beginning August 30th, fans can watch encore episodes Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nicktoons.

Gkids and Fathom Events to screen “Mune” this Saturday

This Saturday, Aug. 12, Fathom Events is debuting the English-language version of the animated film, Mune: Guardian of the Moon, in 350 theaters nationwide. Mune was released in France in 2015 and earned both the Young People’s Jury Award at the TIFF Kids International Festival and Best Film at the Tokyo Anime Awards.

Last year, GKIDS gave “Mune” a qualifying US release for Academy Awards consideration. It was one of a record 27 animated films that competed for the five slots in the Best Animated Feature category. While the studio was not rewarded with a nomination, GKIDS has garnered nine Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations, which is the fourth most for any studio, behind only DreamWorks (11), Disney (10) and Pixar (10).

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Gkids Acquires Studio Ponoc’s “Mary and The Witch’s Flower”

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced that it is has acquired the North American distribution rights to Mary and The Witch’s Flower, the inaugural feature from Studio Ponoc. The film is directed by Academy Award-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and is produced by Studio Ponoc founder and two-time Academy Award-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya).

em>Mary and The Witch’s Flower will be released in theaters this winter. The deal was negotiated by Mike Runagall for Altitude Film Sales, and Eric Beckman for GKIDS.

Remembering June Foray

The world is much too quiet today with the passing of June Foray. Fortunately, she got a chance to catch a small glimpse of how much people loved her when she was the victim on December 30, 2016 of a fake news story that she had passed away.

The instant flood of sincere appreciation for all she has done and all the lives she has unselfishly touched in a positive way was overwhelming. She outlived most of her contemporaries and was one of the last survivors from the Golden Age of animation.

In June 1992, June Foray wrote the foreword for a book I had written that was never published entitled Hooked: Peter Pan on Stage and Screen. We had known each other because of our work with ASIFA-Hollywood and I was impressed by her graciousness and enthusiasm in helping out an aspiring book author.