Among global audiences, anime has evolved from niche to normalized, counting celebrities from Michael B. Jordan to Ariana Grande among its fans. Just this week, The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) announced the Nippon industry saw a record-breaking$19.1 billion (￥2.15 trillion) in revenue in 2017, fuelled by overseas sales to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, alongside Chinese entertainment giants. Sales from outside Japan hit a new high of $8.81... Read more »
Top Animation News: Rick and Morty, Bento Box, Dallas & Robo and more!
Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers May 04 to 11, 2018.1. Adult Swim orders 70 new episodes of Rick and Morty.
After months of uncertainty and fan despair about season four, there was inter-dimensional joy this week as Adult Swim ordered 70 new Rick and Morty episodes. Produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony, the sardonic sci-fi series’ return was teased (awkwardly) by co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland on the former's Instagram. Having such an extensive episode order also means Rick and Morty’s animators can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they’ll have stable work through season four and well beyond.
Read an interview with Dan Harmon discussing the Rick and Morty announcement on “GQ”.
2. Boulder Media is hiring.
The Irish animation industry is booming — and the largest Toon Boom studio in Europe, Boulder Media, is hiring. The Dublin-based production company was acquired by toy giant Hasbro in 2016 and has seen its team grow from 160 to 360 since then. Boulder is currently working on six IPs, guaranteeing its animators stable work for years to come.
Explore opportunities at Boulder Media on the Toon Boom blog.
3. Bento Box signs major deal with Comedy Central.
Bento Box Entertainment has entered into a non-exclusive deal with Comedy Central. The agreement will see the studio, best-known for comedy mega-hit Bob’s Burgers (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony), develop and produce animated shorts for digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook Watch. The projects will be overseen by Bento Box creative director Ben Jones and feature talent from Comedy Central.
Eat up the Bento Box x Comedy Central deal details on “Animation World News”.
4. WWE’s Dallas & Robo gets a release date and gives a sneak peek.
Dallas & Robo is an upcoming adult animated comedy for YouTube Red from the WWE. The series stars Kat Dennings as space trucker Dallas and wrestler-turned-actor John Cena as Robo, an aptly named cowboy-hat-wearing robot, who get into dangerous adventures along the galactic highway. Dallas & Robo is produced by ShadowMachine (BoJack Horseman) and Big Jump Productions in Storyboard Pro and Harmony, with the entire eight-episode first season going live on the WWE YouTube channel on May 30.
Slam into the first images from Dallas & Robo on “Animation Magazine”.
5. Europe gets two more Toon Boom Centres of Excellence.
Toon Boom is helping to develop Europe’s thriving 2D animation ecosystem by accrediting two more educational institutions as Centres of Excellence (COE). The first is L’Atelier in Angoulême, France; the school has a three-year 2D animation program that prepares students for a professional career in Gaul or abroad. Escuela Universitaria de Diseño, Innovación y Tecnología (ESNE) in Madrid, Spain marries the artistic with the technical, empowering pupils to master the medium across 2D and 3D techniques.
For more on L’Atelier and ESNE, visit the Toon Boom Centre of Excellence page.
6. Netflix announces Mexican anime, Seis Manos.
As Toon Boom covered last week, anime consumption outside of Japan is driving the industry’s growth. Netflix is bringing the 2D animation style to Mexican audiences with its new series, Seis Manos (produced by Viz Media LLC and Powerhouse Animation). The show is set in 1970s Mexico and follows three martial arts-trained orphans who partner with the authorities after their mentor is murdered in the streets. Seis Manos is co-created by Powerhouse CEO Brad Graeber and writer Alvaro Rodriguez, with Dan Dominguez (Captain Underpants) and Willis Bulliner (Castlevania) directing.
Stream all the Netflix Seis Manos details on “Bleeding Cool”.
7. Toon Boom levelled up its Japanese video game influence at Unite Tokyo 2018.
From May 07 to 09, Toon Boom reseller Daikin Industries, Ltd. was representing the leading animation software at Unite Tokyo 2018. The event was hosted by Unity, a top development platform for 3D and 2D video games, and brought forerunners from the industry to Japan’s capital. Daikin did a presentation on Toon Boom’s gaming potential and hosted a table at the event, connecting with leaders and growing its influence in the Nippon market.
Plug into the video game event’s details on the Unite Tokyo 2018 page (Japanese only).
8. Cyanide & Happiness to headline Rooster Teeth Animation Festival.
The third annual Rooster Teeth Animation Festival will once again be held at the RTX Austin convention (August 03 to 05) and the lineup has just been announced. This year’s event is being headlined by 2D animated web series Cyanide & Happiness along with a cast of other digital dominators. The YouTube show, produced by Explosm Entertainment, has garnered over 2 billion views, 8.2 million subscribers and is animated in Toon Boom Harmony.
Get all the details on Cyanide & Happiness at Rooster Teeth Animation Festival on “Tubefilter”.
9. Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch honours the industry’s best.
Brad Bird (The Incredibles 2), Domee Shi (Bao) and Ami Thompson (Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2) were among the industry leaders honoured at Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch event this week. During his acceptance speech, Bird gave some parting advice to future filmmakers, “Don’t make a film for any audience that doesn’t include you. Too many bad films are made for them.”
Venture over to “Variety” to see more on Brad Bird and the other 10 Animators to Watch.
10. RuPaul's Drag Race sashays into 2D animation with Drag Tots.
It is inarguable that RuPaul’s Drag Race has transitioned from cult favourite to cultural phenomenon, with guest appearances by Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga, and even a parody on Saturday Night Live. Its latest outrageous look is Drag Tots, a campy cartoon following a group of tiny drag queens in grammar school. The voice cast includes franchise favourites including Bianca del Rio, Adore Delano, Latrice Royale and RuPaul herself. Drag Tots will be integrated into this weekend’s DragCon in Los Angeles and premiere on June 28 on the WOW Presents Plus streaming platform.
Strut over to “The Hollywood Reporter” for more on Drag Tots.
11. Cristiano Ronaldo gets animated in Striker Force 7.
Soccer superstar and Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo has partnered with animation studio Graphic India and mobile digital marketing company VMS Communications for his own cartoon, Striker Force 7. The series will be a combination of sports and super heroics. “In the same way football connects cultures and people around the world, I believe great animated characters and heroes can do the same and that’s why I am excited to bring together these passions of football and superheroes through this project and share it with my fans,” says Ronaldo.
Put yourself into the Striker Force 7 game on “Deadline”.
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!