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Top Animation News: Netflix’s new anime, In a Heartbeat, VR and more!

Tags: News Storyboard Pro Animation Film Television Education Harmony News and Opinion Trends Games Top Animation News

Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers July 28 to August 04, 2017.

  1. Netflix announces tons of toons in Tokyo.

At its 2017 Anime Slate event in Tokyo, the American subscription streaming giant announced it will be partnering with Japanese studios to create over 10 original titles either for later this year or early 2018. Netflix will also release exclusive animes including "Baki", "Lost Song", "Sword Gai: The Animation", "A.I.C.O. Incarnation", "B: The Beginning" and "Devilman Crybaby". Japan is the platform's largest audience for the genre, though 90 percent of viewers now come from other countries.

Tune into Netflix's 2017 Anime Slate on "CNet".

  1. LGBT animation "In a Heartbeat" has everyone aflutter.

With over 9.4 million views at the time of writing, the Internet is positively palpitating over "In a Heartbeat". The short film, created by Ringling College computer animation students Beth David and Esteban Bravo, is about: "A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams" according to its Youtube description. Released on July 31, it has been covered in major media outlets including "Teen Vogue", "PEOPLE" and "The Washington Post".

Catch "In a Heartbeat" above or read our interview with the animators on the Toon Boom blog.

  1. VR gaming to be worth $45 billion by 2025.

Video games will engage new dimensions —and dollars— in the coming decade. Virtual Reality (VR) gaming presents a huge opportunity, with Grand View Research estimating the industry will see $45 billion in revenue by 2025. Among the biggest drivers, other than consoles' $2000 price tags, are VR arcades popping up globally.

See the new (virtual) reality of gaming on "Forbes".

A still of Rick from Rick and Morty, produced in Toon Boom software.
Source: Adult Swim.

  1. Walking Dead creator: "I will never do anything as good as RICK AND MORTY".

"Rick and Morty" season three premiered less than a week ago and it has already captured the attention and acclaim of the Internet. Among the Adult Swim series' biggest fans is comic book writer and creator of "The Walking Dead", Robert Kirkman. The sci-fi scribe tweeted on Tuesday: "If I live a thousand years I will never do anything as good as RICK AND MORTY. #picklerick". (Editor's note: "Rick and Morty" is produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony.)

Get more "Rick and Morty" praise on "Entertainment Weekly".

  1. 2D video games level up with "Sundered".

The freshly released fantasy-horror quest is the second title from Montreal's Thunder Lotus Games. The independent studio's first IP, Norse mythology-inspired "Jotun", sold around 200,000 copies and was created in Toon Boom Harmony. Available for Mac, PC and PS4, "Sundered" follows in its predecessor's footsteps: a 2D video game that has already been praised for its hand-drawn style.

Plug into all the "Sundered" details on "Montreal Gazette".

  1. And the fastest growing freelancer job requirement is…

Virtual reality. According to global freelancing platform Upwork, VR rose from 106 listings last year to 2,500 now. Increasingly, as the technology becomes cheaper and more culturally relevant, producers spanning fields from animation to video games to experiential marketing are incorporating it into their projects — driving the need for skilled contract workers.

Find out what else freelancers should know on "Quartz".

The coming-of-age fire ceremony in Mumue.
Source: Zeropoint Studios.

  1. South African-Canadian animation brings awareness to child marriage.

"Mumue" is the vision of Wendy Spinks, founder of South Africa's Zeropoint Studios. The upcoming 2D animated short follows the story of a 13-year-old girl from an African desert tribe who rebels against a traditional marriage ceremony. To bring "Mumue" to life, Spinks is working with Canada's Copernicus Studios, who will produce the film in Toon Boom animation software.

Discover the full story behind "Mumue" on the Toon Boom blog.

  1. Marvel Animation's first female-led superhero cartoon coming in 2019.

Well, it's a start. After the runaway success of DC Comics' "Wonder Woman", it's no surprise that Marvel is ramping up its lady-led IPs. It looks like Captain Marvel will be the first female hero to get her own cartoon, though likely not until the accompanying movie (starring Brie Larson) comes out in March 2019. Cort Lane, Marvel Animation's senior vice president, says, "We are committed to doing something specifically for the girl audience."

Check out just how committed Marvel Animation is to Captain Marvel on "Polygon".

  1. "The Girl Without Hands" — the feminist fairy tale everyone is talking about.

The 2D animated French feature was hand-drawn by its creator, director and illustrator, Sébastien Laudenbach — all outside of a traditional studio and pipeline. Based on a little-known Grimm's Fairy Tale about a father who exchanges his daughter for wealth, its style is impressionistic and its substance impressive. "The Girl Without Hands" was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the César Awards and won both the Jury Prize and Best French Film at Annecy. Next: it will be screening across the United States.

Watch a clip of "The Girl Without Hands" above or read about how Laudenbach brought it to life on "Creators".

  1. Studio Ghibli alum's "Mary and the Witch's Flower" coming to North America.

The anime feature film is the first title from Studio Ponoc, founded by Yoshiaki Nishimura — formerly of Studio Ghibli. He is also a producer on "Mary and the Witch's Flower", with fellow Studio Ghibli alum Hiromasa Yonebayashi directing. The film is based on Mary Stewart's children's book, "The Little Broomstick", and follows a young girl who finds a flower that imbues her with magical powers for a night. Having been released in Japan last month, GKIDS plans on distributing "Mary and the Witch's Flower" in North American theatres this winter.

Dig into the "Mary and the Witch's Flower" distribution details on "Cartoon Brew".

What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!