Jul 30, 2014

Time Out - An Update From AwesomeRobo HQ

Hello everyone. You might have noticed a strange lack of content over the last week or so, and might have noticed a few updates on our social media sections regarding an event that affected myself, Robobrain (My actual name is Sirio Brozzi) and my partner Rachael, who occasionally posts and takes care of business affairs with AwesomeRobo. During a trip outside of town, a freak storm hit the city that we were in and caused a flash flood in the place we called our home and work space.

 We suffered some significant damage as a result, and our home is currently unlivable, and we've lost equipment that helped us with our daily AwesomeRobo duties. Thanks to the courtesy of a neighbor we are currently living with them, but the shock of the entire event still remains with us. Estimates of the damage currently run at around $30-40,000 dollars due to the fact that we were not insured against floods, seeing that the area historically has never suffered such an incident. We unfortunately are unsure as to how we will pay for this damage- But we're working on finding a solution.

As you can imagine, it's the type of event that's turned our lives a little upside down..I never imagined a time when I wouldn't be able to muster up the energy to write content on a website that I've curated and grown for years alongside my talented colleagues. This website was, and still remains an escape from at times unfavorable work conditions, and a way to shed light onto some great creative talent that rarely gets the spotlight. At the moment though, it definitely feels like this is the type of occasion is what people would call a Sisyphean task, and something I need to focus on resolving full time.

Through this difficult time I hope our readers will have the patience to bear with us as we attempt to resolve this misfortune that's come into our lives. I honestly hope to resume full time posting in one to two weeks time (Perhaps earlier). We'll do our best to get online again- AwesomeRobo will be back on track soon.

Thank you
Sirio Brozzi (Robobrain)
Founder & Editor

Jul 29, 2014

Worth Checking Out - Aegis Defenders

Originally conceived as a student project at USC, the awesome looking Aegis Defenders looks to be getting a full release. Blending metroidvania mechanics with arena defense, Aegis Defenders has certainly perked my interest. I've always been a massive fan of the tower defense genre and seeing it implemented into an exploration-based platformer is certainly an awesome concept.

Along with it's interesting blend of mechanics, the team over at Studio Guts has a wonderful art direction with it's 16-bit style visuals. While no release is set, a Kickstarter campaign is set to begin tomorrow which we'll be sure to remind you of. For now, take a look at their website for a collection of concept art.

Jul 17, 2014

No Two Stars Are Alike In "One Of A Kind"

One Of A Kind is a visually stunning, transcendental short about the existence of the world and it's many interesting characters and eras, as portrayed via an ever changing dinner party cast. Fantastically narrated by Jim Carter, we're made to realize that this animated short isn't about any one character, but about the concept of individuality that every human possesses, and how no two people/creatures are alike.

And holy crap, that establishing shot with those beautiful, expressionist environments made my jaw drop. This is one of those shorts that feels like a perfect blend of music, art and narrative- So much so that the creators made it look somewhat effortless. Kudos to the folks at Trunk Animation, including director Rok Predin, this is one of the best executed animated shorts I've seen in a long time.

Magical Mistakes - "Hollow Bodies"

I first learned about Magical Mistakes, comprised of Osaka based expat Erik Lueb during a festival which had something called a 'chill out' tent, which would allow people to listen to soothing ambient tracks and mellow out from the typical chaos that these types of events produced. I was quite captivated by his style, which incorporated a lot of 'found' sounds into his tracks.

His latest music video for Hollow Bodies was created in collaboration with director Markus Hofko (Who's directed tracks for Flying Lotus and Débruit), and was executed as a public performance piece in tune to the music. The track is from the awesome 'Deassemble Reassemble' EP, which you can check out and purchase over here.

All Hell Breaks Loose In "Make It Sound Fat"

Tempted by the siren call of a mysterious box of donuts, a musician and island dweller finds himself transported to a strange, heavenly cloud realm. His musical inclinations and overwhelming curiosity ultimately end up cranking open a pandora's box of chaos on the inhabitants, until the actual master of that realm intervenes.

Created in a CG format, I definitely got some hints of McBess with the way they stylized the characters in this world, especially the blank eyed master and the noodly arms on all the characters. Make It Sound fat was created by a total of seven artists as a graduation film from the Bellecour 3D Program. It kind of felt like a modern and twisted version of Fantasia, in the best way possible of course.

Jul 16, 2014

The Insane Illustrations Of Xiao Botong

Xiao Botong is the type of foreign illustrator that strikes fear in the hearts of fledgling artists- With an extensive background in fine arts followed by a seamless transition into digital arts, the 29 year old Taiwanese illustrator is a veritable juggernaut of talent. What I particularly am fond of is his very understated usage of saturation in his pieces, which show an incredible sense of restraint when it comes to coming up with palettes for his sweeping fantasy illustrations.

Artists that we've featured in the past like the incredible Zhong Fenghua with his epic Journey to the West pieces and Jian Guan come to mind  when checking out Xiao's work. They all share a similar love for historic Chinese mythology and folk art, which they translate into some absolutely stunning work that showcases the best of what modern Chinese illustration has to offer. More of Xiao's incredible work after the break. Enjoy.

Masaaki Yuasa Directing A Trippy "Space Dandy" Episode - We Have No Clue What's Going On

And as expected from the director of movies like Mind Game, this episode is looking as bizarre as we've come to expect from his camp. Yuasa is contributing his quirky directing style to the 16th episode of the series, which airs this Sunday in Japan.

It's been a fantastic time for the director, who's been spearheading the popular Ping Pong anime series, as well as contributing his talents to co-directing western shows like Adventure Time (The 'Food Chain' episode). I'm predicting one of the strangest episodes of an anime I've probably seen in years, if the trailer is any indication.

"Wild & Wooly" Is A Colorful Romp

Wild & Wooly is an awesome little piece of motion design/animation from the likes of the Argentinian creative collective 2veinte. Featuring an ever evolving set of characters in the middle of a walk to no particular location, it's an ongoing process until a strange encounter with death puts an end to this strange stroll.

This is a nice example of straight ahead animation, which allows for some really fluid animations and cool transitions. Quite a fun watch.


Habitus is a term in sociology that refers to, "the lifestyle, values, dispositions and expectations of a particular social group that are acquired throughout everyday life experience within that group". A concept beautifully illustrated by Timor Barshtman in this sleek three-minute motion graphic that charts the course of one man's journey through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Monkey Vs Crane In "Higher Sky"

Eric Cheng created this sequence for Higher Sky at the University of Southern California, and it's an amazing little martial arts sequence between a crane and a monkey who happen to run into each other at a waterfall. The fluidity of the animation, as well as the fantastic job that Cheng did at building up the confrontation is definitely worth pointing out.

Perfectly fitting with his personality, the monkey ensues in some truly antagonistic behavior to provoke the crane while it attempts to play it's wind flute. Considering his choice of weapon, it definitely draws some parallels with the legend of Sun Wukong, the monkey king. Check out Cheng's excellent animation reel after the break.

Jul 15, 2014

"Big Hero 6" Gets It's First Official Trailer

Following a few months of trailer, we finally got the first official trailer for Big Hero 6, Disney's upcoming feature-length animated release for 2014. Based off of the relatively fringe comic created by Marvel's Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Roleaue, Big Hero 6 follows the exploits of a Japanese superhero team, although the film adaptation takes place in a hybrid setting called 'San Fransokyo,' a trans-Pacific megalopolis.

Based off of the images released of the cast so far with characters including Go Go Tomago, Honey Lemon and Wasabi it seems like the cast has also been quite culturally diversified compared to their comic incarnations. Seems like a safe move to guarantee the broadest appeal possible when the movie comes out.

The movie follows lead character and robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada and his robotic sidekick Baymax as they team up with a group of reluctant crime fighters to take on a mysterious, Kabuki mask donning villain called Yokai. Fun fact, the comic book also starred the likes of Silver Samurai and Sunfire, but it's likely that those characters were sidelined due to Fox Studios currently having the Xmen license in their pocket.

The movie is being co directed by Don Hall (Winnie The Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt) as well as a whole smattering of staff from high profile projects like Frozen and Wreck It Ralph, so there's a pretty good chance that this will be quite an entertaining flick. The movie is slated to release on November 7. Check out a few more images of the rest of the Big Hero 6 cast after the break.

Jul 14, 2014

The Art Of Asuka III

Asuka III (Patipat Asavasena) is an illustrator hailing from Thailand, and probably our first glimpse at the countries 'Thainime' scene, which seems to have some very interesting characteristics of it's own. Pati's work is definitely inspired by the types of aesthetics we're accustomed to seeing from the Japanese anime, but he puts a much more painterly twist to his pieces.

Pati's pieces mostly feel like comic book covers, thanks to his choice of retaining a more western format compared to Manga, with their boxier, denser 5x7.5" format. Just like with young artists hailing from east Asian regions, it's cool to see how they interpret one of Japan's greatest exports, the anime art style into something that's their own. If you've been looking at artists from that particular region on a more granular scale, you start to notice some truly curious trends with their stylistic leanings. More of Asuka III's work after the break.

"Apehood" - Planet of the Apes Meets Boyhood

Two movies came out last weekend: The long awaited sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Richard Lanklater's groundbreaking indie darling Boyhood, filmed over the course of 12 years alongside a child growing up. Both were amazing movies in their own right, but Nelson Carvajal found a common link between the two features.

This is where Apehood comes into play- a fun mashup trailer starring Caesar as a young chimp growing up in an ever changing world. It's not quite an all American upbringing as the more innocent tale of Boyhood- There's a little more along the lines of unintended evolution, deadly primordial viruses and the extinction of humanity as a whole going for the whole Planet of the Apes angle. You can check out the Boyhood trailer after the break.

"Socialist Circle" - An Abstract Wonderland

Socialist Circle was best described by the user that sent it in as a 'retinal romp,' and I couldn't agree more as I couldn't make much sense of what was going on throughout it. There's a lot of visual metaphors to pick through here, and it's all left quite open to interpretation. Animator Pansak Bas's other work is similarly abstract, specializing in quirky animated loops and cycles with loose social commentary throughout. Best approach: Turn off your brain and let all the visuals sink in.

"Running" - Getting Nowhere Fast

You can attempt to run from many things in life: Conflict, people, challenges, but there's one thing you can never outrun...Aging. Such is the premise for Running, a really slick short by Konstantin Gdalevish starring a young man trying to do just that when an illusion of his older self appears.

Created at a relatively new school called the Holon Institue of Technology (HIT) as a graduation film, the aesthetics of this animated short feel like a really cool blend of Drive and Hotline Miami. The choice of centering him during the sidescrolling elements is a cool choice, driving home the fact that he's not getting anywhere.  

"MarioKart Arcade GP DX" Adds Some Tanky Twists To The Kart Formula

Hot off the heels of the excellent Mario Kart 8, Bandai Namco just announced it's latest arcade collaboration with Nintendo in the form of Mario Kart Arcade GP Deluxe, which looks like it'll finally be getting an official US release following some location tests earlier this year. The most noteworthy addition is a really curious 'fusion' technique in a new coop mode that allows two players to fuse into a tank and lay waste to the competition.

If you thought those blue shells were bad, I think this gameplay mechanic will offer a new chance for single riders to shoot some truly dirty stares at their coop competition in arcades. The title also features Don-chan from Taiko: Drum Master, which definitely enjoys more popularity as a franchise overseas (I don't think there's been a localized installment since Playstation 2).

The arcade title's US release seems to have timed itself to spin off the immense popularity of Mario Kart 8, which enjoyed better than expected sales figures and reception. Not a bad strategy, even I was tempted to pick a Wiiu up after enjoying a few evenings playing that awesome 8th installment.

Jul 13, 2014

A Look At Goro Miyazaki's Latest - "Ronia The Robber's Daughter"

The first trailer for Goro Miyazaki's latest foray into the directors seat since 2011's understated Up On Poppy Hill and 2007's divisive Tales from Earthsea is coming in the form of an upcoming TV show called Ronia. Based off of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren's 1981 story by the same name, the show will narrate the tale of a girl growing up in a medieval era setting alongside a clan of robbers in a castle.

A lot of people didn't expect the series to be a hybrid 2D/3D short, with the trailer revealing that the characters will actually be cel shaded models on hand painted backgrounds. This has lead to quite a bit of heated discussion between fans of Ghibli's work, decrying Goro's choices with the series- Although honestly we've already seen Ghibli go down the 3D route with the likes of the Level 5/Studio Ghibli videogame Ni No Kuni.

The production is a collaboration between Studio Ghibli, Polygon Pictures and Japan's NHK channel which is set to debut in the fall season of this year. No plans as of yet for a western adaptation.

"R-Kaid-R" - An Amazing Portable Arcade Machine

In our latest in the 'money to burn' series comes the 'R-Kaid-R,' an absolutely amazing, portable custom arcade cabinet from the mind of Love Hulten. The Swedish designer and craftsman wanted to create a tribute to the fading arcade scene with a hand crafted creation drawing from his expertise in wood working and love of vintage design. As he best put it, 'I want to make the arcade an equivalent next to the oil painting on your wall.'

The R-Kaid-R is being created as a limited edition series of 50 units, with a €2,499 ($3400) price tag for any reader of ours with some money to burn, not including the handcrafted leather carrying case. Absolutely love the nearly Fallout style retro theming he did with the cabinet, including the custom interface he designed.

R-Kaid-R (Arcader) is a manifest and a tribute to the arcade. A hybrid made from solid wood, combining yesterday's game physics with the digital spectrum of today. A handmade exclusive toy for the dedicated gamer, a creative link between the present and the past and a game jewel to possess. When not in use, the console is folded into a protective vessel, surrounded with elements of mystique and curiosity. A processed gemstone is sparkling inside, waiting to be revealed. 

The specs will give you ~8 hrs of gaming per charge and the hardware will emulate and support up to fifth-generation game systems. Using SD cards for storage, there's no limits when creating your own personal game library. Protected by a tailored shoulder bag made from leather, R-Kaid-R is undoubtedly the absolute arcade machine for the road. This handcrafted machine comes in different material/color concepts, inspired by material values from historic and cultural perspectives.

"The Last Fiction" - An Initial Glimpse At Iran's Feature Animation Industry

While the media has made it a point to regularly convey Iran as a one dimensional country obsessed with nuclear power, the country actually has an amazing arts scene that we've been following for a while. They've made some amazing strides in the international movie industry, including 2010's critically acclaimed Farewell Baghdad and 2011's drama A Separation winning an Academy Award.

This week brings us a new chapter in Iran's attempt to capture international audiences with The Last Fiction- a production by Hoorakhsh Studio, founded in 2005. The initial trailer is showing some amazing promise so far as a historical feature, employing a realistic hand animated style with a palpable sense of epic scale.

Adapted from a 1,000 year old epic poem called Shahnama (The Book of Kings), The Last Fiction is based off of one of the country's highest regarded literary masterpieces, chronicling the rise of the Persian empire. The movie itself will actually focus on the tale of Kaveh, a blacksmith who leads a revolt against a ruthless, despotic foreign ruler with mythical powers called Zahhak.

As of now it's unknown how far off the movie is from release, but considering the quality of animation so far, I'm really excited to see what these guys will be able to accomplish. Check out a look into Hooraksh's animation studio after the break, to get a rare glimpse at how Iran's young animators and artists work.

Jul 12, 2014

The Art Of Jacob Rebelka

Straight out of the not so well known Polish comic scene comes the work of Jacob Rebelka, a 23 year old freelance artist and illustrator with a really awesome style to boot. Unlike most comic artists these days, Rebelka's work is still mostly grounded in analog mediums- Pencils, pens and acrylic paints, offering his work a more 'tangible' feel compared to most digital work we run into.

 You can see the texture of the paper he's working on, the smudges and mistakes that are left over following a lengthy production of a piece of art, the accidental folds and crinkles on his canvases. Instead of erasing them after scanning up his pieces, they become an integral part of his work.

While a majority of his pieces are firmly within the realm of scifi, he occasionally dabbles in fantasy work as well outside of his comic duties. Rebelka's been nominated with plenty of accolades in Poland for work on influential local comics like Oskar and Red Dwarf (Unrelated to the scifi series). More awesome pieces after the break.

"Orca" - A Dark Shadow Of Indifference

Inspired and disturbed by the Blackfish documentary, a feature about the plight of killer whales in captivity, Shuli Tager of the Belazel academy was inspired to create Orca. The animated short isn't lengthy but the message is quite damning, casting shame on the indifference that pervades societies in light of issues and injustices that loom right in front of them.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. -Teddy Roosevelt

"To My Son" - The Devil Likes Rock 'N' Roll

To My Son is a pretty slick short film by Guts N Films directed by Guilherme Petry as part of a grindy tribute to the annual Rock 'N' Roll day, July 13th. Featuring the devil himself talking to his very own prodigal 'son,' we're made aware that his dark spawn is actually the lifestyle associated with most famous rock acts.

And after the Devil takes credit for the creation of the entire Rocker lifestyle - We get to witness all the sex, drugs, alcohol and general debauchery that plagues rockers till the bitter end. Long live the curse of 27.

Woodkid - "The Golden Age"

Woodkid has always been an artist recognized, if not best known for his visually audacious music videos and thundering orchestral production. The visuals for his previous singles Iron and Run Boy Run were windows into an alternate epic fantasy world of feudal warfare and childlike whimsy, while I Love You toned down the fantasy elements in favor of a more somber meditation on loss and devotion.

The Golden Age gathers up all those thematic threads and, for the most part, strips away the excess to pierce at the heart of the song's namesake; Childhood. The Golden Age is a beautiful, eleven-minute epic bemoaning the loss of innocence yet celebrating its existence, all the while punctuated by Lemoine's gorgeous track.

Jul 11, 2014

"Bark" - Through The Eyes Of The Hunter

Creepy is the best way to sum up Bark, an unsettling stylized short created by Lucien Antigny at EMCA in France. Narrating the daily life of a hunter as he goes about his daily duties, it becomes painfully obvious that something is terribly amiss in his life. His sanity? Physical health? We're left guessing throughout the duration of Bark.

As the head of the household, he seems intent on maintaining that familial bond alive at all costs. As the short progresses the sound of buzzing mosquitoes becomes ever more prevalent, but we're left wondering- What is the source? Despite the presence of some French dialogue throughout, it's a pretty easy narrative to follow with one hell of a revelation towards the end.

Lazerhawk - "Children Of The Night" Is A Music Video With A Curious Backstory

Something kind of strange happened a few months back (Februrary), we posted this same music video by Alexandre Louvenaz for Gesaffelstein's excellent Obsession track, only to see it pulled a few hours later. It was an amazing music video, and fit the oppressive tone perfectly while narrating a downward spiral into depravity contained inside an unassuming house in the wilderness. I spent weeks looking for any track of the new music video, which had simply vanished into thin air, until now.

The edited music video just resurfaced today with a new artist attached to it, Austin's retro synth prodigy Lazerhawk- who contributed a more upbeat horror track to Andrew's visuals. Children of the Night channels a lot of 80's era VHS horror schlock, although after seeing the original pairing I still feel that Gesaffelstein's track was a better fit overall for the visual narrative. Nonetheless, nice to see Lazerhawk get some legit music video love.

The Art Of Chris B. Murray

Chris B. Murray is a prolific Philadelphia based artist/illustrator originally hailing from upstate New York. As a fulltime freelancer he's kept himself busy contributing his illustration work to publications/orgs including the New Yorker, IAm8Bit, Machinima and many others, as well as a copious amount of shirt design work and album covers.

Murray's style has a wide range, with an affinity for both analog and digital mediums that gives some of his pieces a slightly retro illustrated vibe. With an affinity for illustrating anything from femmes to tributes for shows like Breaking Bad and videogames like Crystal Dynamic's recent Tomb Raider reboot, his versatility will probably keep a healthy stream of work coming his way for years to come.

Everything Is A Remix In "Not Mine"

Guy Trefler set out to flex his graphic design mucles and convey the message that nothing is original in Not Mine, a creative visual exploration of how everything's been inspired by something else. In a true whirlwind of brand names, logos, iconic imagery and memorable products we're made to realize that everything inspired something else at some point or the other. It's a fallacy to assume that anything is original anymore, but it doesn't mean that old ideas and concepts can't be recombined and reinterpreted to create something new and exciting.

Not Mine was created using a series of 469 images from Google's image banks, which he playfully labels as 'not mine' in the making of section of his website, showing a full breakdown of all the shots in the short.

Rhasta Space Invaders Galore In "Deep Frequency"

A true mystery lies within the walls of a monolithic vessel found hurtling through space in Deep Frequency, a seriously awesome animated short by Angelique Paultes. In this short the tables are turned, with an alien actually letting curiosity get the best of him in this instance.

What ensues involves a very transcendental Rhasta entity, minds being blown and some truly surreal imagery set to the Reggae tinged electro sound of Lyon based artist Panda Dub. Following a revelation on this mysterious ship, the alien takes the sound conveyed to him back to his home planet to spread the love. Fantastic.

Jul 10, 2014

The Colorful Art Of Mintchoco

Mintchoco's colorful work literally bursts off the page, with some really cool saturation usage that strangely enough doesn't overwhelm the rest of her images. Inspired by some truly interesting illustrators, including Dutch children's illustrator Dick Bruna (Best known for Miffy) and pop artist Keith Haring, you can see where she gleaned bits and pieces of her style from.

With a nice mixture of original art and fanart from franchises including Metroid, The Powerpuff Girls and Pokemon, her vibrant, summery gallery of work is truly satisfying to check out. More of Mintchoco's pieces after the break.

"Engrenage" - A Downward Spiral

Engrenage (Gears) offers a stylized take on the idea of ultimately losing everything due to debt, known overseas as 'the debt of paper.' Animators Léa Dorsan-Rachet, Faustine Dumontier and Florian Titone chose to portray this concept quite literally, with a seemingly happy man finding the color sucked out of his world when the weight of debt finally comes crashing down.

The film was a second year animated short created at the Georges Méliès Film School.


Innuendo is an animated graduation short about procreation and reproduction. Life itself is inherently obsessed with this ongoing cycle. Director Tim De Haan, alongside his group wanted to show that the whole planet, and not just complex organisms, participate in this sensual dance of life.

Innuendo was created by five students at the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands over a span of eight months. The entire short is rife with metaphors, conveying a sense of sensuality and fertility without the need of any human imagery.

Jul 9, 2014

Digitalism feat. Youngblood Hawke - "Wolves"

German electro group Digitalism collaborated with LA based indie outfit Youngblood Hawke to deliver Wolves- an awesome dance track with pop stylings. Director Nelson De Castro took a really amazing approach with the visual aspect, narrating an evening of nocturnal adventures via a series of ocular, timelapsed transitions. With every zoom into a protagonists eye, the narrative progresses by the time it zooms out again. Really damn amazing, and I can't even imagine how long this took to execute in it's entirety.

Gallery Nucleus Teases Some Imagery From "Heroes In A Half Shell - A TMNT Tribute"

LA's Gallery Nucleus is currently gearing up for the premiere of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exhibit, and we've actually stumbled into a few amazing images floating around on Tumblr from the likes of AwesomeRobo faves Reyyyy and Sachin Teng.

They both created some fantastic takes on the entire TMNT squad, Krang, Master Splinter and a few others. The exhibit will feature over 60 pieces of tribute art and will launch July 12th and run till August 3rd, so if you happen to be in LA be sure to check the show out! And as a full disclaimer, this has nothing to do with the Bay produced reboot, and is sponsored by the Nickelodeon CG show. Check out Sachin's awesome pieces after the break!

Baseball And Folk Rock Collide In "The Closer"

Inspired by his small town upbringing in Alberta, including plenty of evenings spent watching baseball games with his dad and brother, Mike Edel created The Closer as a tribute to all those memories. As well as writing a lovely little song to represent his childhood nostalgia, Edel collaborated with a group of animators to accompany this song about those fleeting baseball moments. Incredibly relaxing.

I wrote a song called The Closer. It's a story about a pitcher in a small town, a lot like the one I grew up in, who is pitching a perfect game into the 9th inning. But his mom runs onto the mound and tells him that he needs to leave the game because his dad has had a farming accident. So the coach brings in the closer with a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning. He gives up a walk. Then a single. Then a home-run. They lose the game 3-2 in the 9th.

I think that sometimes we think that these small moments in small towns don't matter, but the truth is that they do.

"Métro, Boulot, Chaos" - Chaos Reigns

In a city that works like clockwork, including it's denizens, machinery and general pace of life, even the simplest distraction can lead to absolute chaos. The appearance of a tiny bird in this city seems to bring on the mass disruption, which leads to a spectacularly destructive chain reaction.

The ultra stylized characters kind of reminded me of those hopelessly clumsy Despicable Me minions, and their behavior fit the bill as well to be honest. The short was created at French animation school 'Pole 3D,' and this is the first short we've ever featured from that institute.

Jul 8, 2014

Lucha Libre Madness Ensues In "Legend Of The Flying Tomato"

In the face of adversity, a young redheaded girl mockingly called 'Tomato Head' finds an unlikely source of inspiration via lucha libre in this positively kick ass short by Michael Yates, Aurry Tan and Sharon Huang (Ringling). The short is overflowing with stylish touches that we've come to expect from titles like Street Fighter IV and anime. Heck, the group even called themselves Giñu Force, a not so subtle Dragon Ball reference.

When her past comes back to haunt her mid battle, she finds strength in the one thing that held her back for years. Fantastic job to the entire team, this was quite a fun watch.

Once a victim of bullying, Frida finds a hero in the legendary luchador El Pirana. However she finds herself at her lowest once more when she's ridiculed during the biggest wrestling match of her life. Through an unexpected meeting with a mysterious taco salesman, Frida learns that she must find strength in herself to overcome her demons.

Robo Reminder - Play Shovel Knight!

In our darkest hour of unfinished early access titles, half baked gimmick games (I'm looking at you Goat Simulator), every once in a while we get some amazing, polished games like Yacht Clubs' Shovel Knight. Which I'd describe as a finely tuned mixture of Ghosts and Ghoblins, Demon's Souls and Mr. Driller while we're at it.

The game captures that satisfying old school difficulty with an absolutely amazing old school aesthetic that beckons back to NES era visuals and sound (With those extra unlocked sound channels of course). And just like Demon's Souls it uses similar 'drop on death' mechanics, making for some true nail biting moments while you try and recover your dropped gold.

This is probably one of the funnest experiences I've had with an indie game in recent memory, so I'd highly recommend giving this game a spin if you happen to have a 3DS/WiiU or Steam. Go for it.

You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this valley with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. He wields a Shovel Blade; a multipurpose weapon whose techniques have now been lost to the ages. Always honest and helpful, Shovel Knight is a shining example of the code of Shovelry: Slash Mercilessly and Dig Tirelessly!

"Barcelona Go!" - A Spectacular Look At Barcelona

Using a really amazing technique called 'flow-motion,' Barcelona Go! is dubbed as a fast moving short film, and we can absolutely see why. Created by photographer Rob Whitworth, the technique employed allows for a seemingly one take fly around of Barcelona, even though it's mainly a series of cleverly edited, fluid transitions that we're witnessing. The mixture of time lapse footage with a never ending sense of motion made for a truly surreal combination.

Rob Whitworth shared some numbers about the making of this project:
363 hours work
75 Hours Logistics and Travel
31 Hours Scouting and Location Finding
78 Hours Shooting
179 Hours Post Production
26014 Camera Raw Files
817gb of data

"Bothered" - An Uncomfortable Reunion

On a seemingly empty train, a random acquaintance from the past suddenly shows up and attempts to rekindle a relationship that only one of them seems to remember. It's a classic encounter of an introverted versus an extroverted personality type , with a very interesting animated representation of what anxiety feels like. Directed by Christina Skyles at BYU.

Two former classmates see each other on a train. One of them is cheerful and friendly, perhaps a bit pushy. The other has a tendency to have strange, explosive anxiety attacks that terrify the people around her. This is a story about their encounter.

"Outbreak" - A Musical Faceoff

Two music minded neighbors, a punk rocker and a DJ get embroiled in an intense face off in Outbreak. When the bassy vibrations seep into each others houses, the ante continues to get upped until genre barriers get literally broken down. The short kind of reminded me of the type of premise that would typically accompany Harmonix games back in the day.

Check out the making of after the break!

"Pinchaque" - A Tale Of A Colombian Tapir

Pinchaque tells the tale of the mountain tapir (Genus Tapirus Pinchaque), from their initial western discovery in the 1800's by the French explorer Roulin, inclindg a breakdown of all the aspects that make these animals interesting and essential to their local ecosystems. The animals are currently endangered, so the short was created to raise awareness as to their current situation.

Unlike opting for a live action approach, I think it was a great idea to go the animated route to appeal to a broader audience. It was an entertaining, and informative look into a species I really knew nothing about. Pinchaque was directed and animated by Caroline Attia with the help of Nathalie Robert, and commissioned by the Nativa Foundation and Tapir Preservation Fund.

Jul 7, 2014

"Master Jiang And the Six Kingdoms" - An Awesome Looking Animated Feature From China

One thing to note before even clicking play on this impressive animated trailer - The animation for this short was created in it's entirety by two former Studio Vasoon animators, Pei Wei and Li Fei. We recently featured some of the work they did on another upcoming Chinese feature called God Hunters (Seriously, check it out), which left quite an impression on us as well.

This new production by the relatively unknown Anima CUC entity looks like an absolutely fantastic, epic affair starring many diverse kingdoms, and it actually reminded us a little of the likes of a more feature length Korra and The Last Airbender with some of the elemental themes and stylization present throughout.

After a little research on the Chinese IMDB equivalent (Called Mtime), the plot seems to revolve around the awakening of an ancient evil put to sleep during an era of darkness. The awakening of this evil will ultimately unite kingdoms from around the world, as well as an unlikely hero called the 'Fishing rod child,' who will rise to the occasion to counter this threat. The movie is slated for a 2016 release, and based off the presence of early subtitles I'm hoping this will also be intended for an international release.

Folk Art Meets Pop Culture In Takao Nagawa's Ukiyo-e Character Series

Ukiyo-e is a very distinct form of Japanese woodcut printing, and Japanese illustrator Takao Nagawa decided to flex his stylistic muscles to bring us a series of truly fun prints featuring classic characters from anime and pop culture in general. Featuring characters like Goku, Yoda and Kamen Rider clad in ornate Kabuki outfits and samurai outfits, this is probably the first mashup of this kind I've seen come from an actual Japanese artist versus the typical Tumblr denizen/illustrator.

Check out more of Nagawa's fun Ukiyo-e creations after the break.

"Broken Wand" - A Magical Animated Romp

Directed by Ann Yang and Michael Altman, Broken Wand is a pleasant animated short that transported me back to the heyday of touching, memorable Pixar animated shorts (Been a while since we had one of those, no?). The CG short features a magician getting a visit from his preteen grandson, only to realize that there's a palpable generational disconnect between the two.

In an attempt to reconnect with him, the magician resorts to giving it his all to win his attention. It's a simple premise but charmingly executed by the group from New York's School Of Visual Arts (SVA). I attribute part of it to the fantastic scoring as well, which really did an amazing job capturing the ups and downs of this short.

"Might No. 9 The Animated Series" Gets It's First Trailer

Announced at Anime Expo earlier this week, Comcept announced that they are collaborating with Japanese animation company Digital Frontier to create Mighty No. 9: The Animated TV Series. For those of you unfamiliar with the project, Mighty No. 9 is the brainchild of former Capcom producer Keiji Inafune, a long time veteran who worked on projects including Onimusha, Megaman and Dead Rising.

Following a 23 year stint at the company, Inafune left to form Comcept and successfully utilized Kickstarter to fund a spiritual successor to Megaman, a franchise that continues to be neglected by Capcom.

The animated series will revolve around Beck, a transforming robot pitted against a combat robot league known as The Mighty Numbers. The animated show will focus on a target audience of 6-11 as well as fans, indicating that the show might be aiming for a mass audience reach to grow the Mighty No. 9 brand.

Digital Frontier will be taking care of the production of the animated series, best known for their work on Capcom tie in feature Resident Evil: Damnation as well as most of the cut scenes in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This animated project kind of feels like a return to the animated video game show tie ins that dominated the 80's and 90's, which included some truly hilarious westernized takes on franchises like Mega Man, Street Fighter and Darkstalker. 

Jul 6, 2014

The Fantastic Scifi Worlds Of Arthur Haas

Arthur Haas started off his art career 19 years ago, originally pursuing a career as a photographer at the Art Academy of Hague before switching to painting to properly capture the imagery floating around in his head. As any artists starting off, he faced the same frustration that many up and coming artists stumble into- Being unable to translate ones vision onto a canvas due to lack of technical skill. However persistence and practice over the years paid off, and now Haas has a gallery of some truly amazing scifi work.

Focusing mainly on environmental pieces, Arthur's pieces capture expeditions to fantastic, alien worlds rich with unfamiliar imagery and shape language. While his ship designs remind me of Sparth's work, the general vibe in his pieces is generally retro, beckoning back to the amazing retro scifi illustrations by Roger Dean (Of Psygnosis fame).

Haas' work is regularly exhibited in his hometown of Amsterdam, and he regularly creates covers for scifi books and pitch work for various indie films. Check out more of his awesome scifi pieces after the break.

"In Lust III" - Get Hot And Bothered

We received an email with a link to a video and a small blurb: In Lust is available for rentals. And what we got is this rather amazing pseudo-music video starring the music of Health (Goth Star specifically). Featuring Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric fame and Yasmine Kittles, Lust III is a hot and heavy face off starring the two doing their best to express their lust for each other.

"Dip N' Dance" - What You Own Ultimately Owns You

Directed by Hugo Cierzniak, Dip N' Dance is a short about affluence and excess at it's most ridiculous, telling the tale of a fellow enamored with his fully automated household. When a malfunction causes this fellow to lose control of his body and voice, he comes to realize how over reliance can backfire spectacularly.

Using a fantastic cel shading technique with CG, the short ultimately feels like a really awesome short that could have been created by the likes of Disney back in their heyday. The color scripts alone evoke an awesome feeling of nostalgia, as well as the amazingly fluid animation. The short was created at Delapost Paris, which is an atelier dedicated to animation and post production work. Check out the awesome making of for Dip N' Dance after the break!

The Peach Kings - "Mojo Thunder"

Prepare to plunge into the lowest possible human depths with The Peach Kings' latest music video for Mojo Thunder, directed by Kris Merc and Benjy Brooke. Despite the hand drawn, chalky look appearing quite analog, the majority of the project was actually executed digitally with a very convincing emulation of a hand drawn feel.

We're made to witness one man's journey through cycles of abuse, pain, vice, lust and ultimately destruction in this gritty video, which evokes memories of Sin City (That protagonist looks like Marv, no?) and Bruce Timm's stylized work.

Jul 5, 2014

Scifi Camp Galore In "The Terrible Thing Of Alpha-9!"

Sent to a distant and strange planet in order to exterminate a terrifying monster, a certain bounty hunter comes to realize that this one creature is unlike anything he's ever faced before. And ultimately realizes that he definitely wasn't the first one to face off against this 'formidable' creature.

This animated short by Jake Armstrong employs a campy retro-scifi look to visually narrate the deadly duel between the hunter and the hunted. Props to Jake for taking some classic scifi tropes and turning them on their head for Alpha 9, you'll find yourself rooting for the completely wrong side. The short was created as a graduation short from New York's Sc hool of Visual Arts (SVA).

Jul 4, 2014

Plurabelle - "Our Fires"

It's all about the ominous vibes with Plurabelle's Our Fires, a track imbued with such an oppressive aural quality that it's kind of impressive. Couple that with the 2 tone music video by Mattis Dovier, who seems to be taking a few queues from Maruo Suehiro's muzan-e (A more violent ukiyo-e) stylings and low-fi PC graphics and you've got yourself one hell of a horror music video. The track is taken from Phantom Pyramid LP, set to release on June 16th via Stellar Kinematics.

Adolescence, embodied by the mutation into a monstrous beast, is a tribute to B-movies, drawing references from John Carpenter's or illustrator Charles Burns' universes. Symbolism in the transition into adulthood is seen as a rite of passage, requiring the death of a human being and the birth of another. The haunting mystical song immerses us inexorably into the intricacies of this transformation you can't avoid, whatever you do.

The Illustrations Of Tadahiro Uesugi

At a first glance, Tadahiro Uesugi's work resembles more of the type of exploratory concept art pieces you'd see in a Pixar or Dreamworks art book. Long, elongated femmes that seem pulled straight out of a fashion designers book of ideas wandering about some truly European looking locales, either on their way to a rendezvous or simply sightseeing.

While on a first glance his pieces might seem a little light on detail, Uesugi's pieces showcase a masterful understanding of light and color all around. Over the last few years he's been privileged enough to have his work showcased internationally, as well as contributions to France's Elle fashion magazine and work on some of Laika's features, including promotional artwork for Coraline. Check out more of his fantastic work after the break.

Jérémie Périn Returns With "Fantastic Capote And Wonder Capote" (NSFW)

I have to say, French animator Jérémie Périn really tends to outdo himself in the NSFW meter with every animated short he puts out (With the exception of his amazing retro homage Starr Mazer). While his realm of specialty has typically been centered around more musical affairs, this latest animated promo is more in the PSA arena, promoting safe sex via 'capote' (condom) usage.

The idea seems pretty straight forward, but in the typical Jérémie Périn style he found a way to make it as unintentionally disturbing as possible. In a city inhabited by a whole slew of genitals, two heroes make it their mission to protect the populace from various nasty bugs with their message of 'play it safe.' If you're curious to check out some more of Périn's even more noteworth work, check out his incredible (And incredibly NSFW) music video for DYE's Fantasy.

Surreal Geometric Landscapes Pervade In "Mother"

Abstract, surreal goodness galore in Mother, a 3D short directed by Fabrice Le Nezet in collaboration with Benjamin Mousquet and an excellent ambient sound treatment by Azel Martinez. The black and white short has a simulated tilt shift feel to it, giving the viewer a God's eye perspective over this strange, constantly moving world.

Kind of feels like the beginning of a really cool indie puzzle title if you think about it.

Jul 3, 2014

Perturbator - "She Is Young, She Is Beautiful ... "

The newest music video for Perturbator's latest single She Is Young, She Is Beautiful is nothing short of a concentrated 5-minute shot of 80's infused euphoria to the optics. Is there a story? Hell if I know, but it sure is awesome! Jarkko Kinnunen and Sami Rämä have created a perfect visual companion piece to the track's retro-electronic vibe.

We've got fast cars, sun-kissed beaches, derelict oil rigs, necromancer panthers, hover-bikes, towering cybernetic metropolises, light katanas, sun glass-totting cyber-zombies; And strobe lights, don't forget strobe lights. What's not to like?

"Brutus The Bound - The Infinite Gladiator" - An Upcoming, Blood Soaked Animated Series

Brutus The Bound is another short from Exit 73 Studio, the same folks who brought us the amazing, retro animated rampage short Coin last year. With a narrative and stylistic premise similar to Samurai Jack with the time traveling warrior premise, Brutus is one over the top, violent bastard.

While Studio 73 didn't specifically mention what this was for other than a 'Winter 2014' note at the end, it sure feels like a pitch animation for an animated series we'd find on a channel like Adult Swim. Either that or a promo for the IP development services that the New York based studio is capable of. Either way I enjoyed loved it from start to finish, including the amazing ending credits.

Brutus, a great warrior from a distant planet, is ripped from his past and taken to the future of an evil Overlord. The Overlord holds Brutus' family hostage, and binds Brutus in a temporal harness, forcing him to become an Infinite Gladiator, fighting opponents throughout time and space.