Welcome to Fine Toon, a column where I discuss the latest developments in the animated medium. This will range from western cartoons to eastern anime providing a wide range of topics to be discussed each week. While the majority of LRM discusses focuses on live-action material animated shows are often not covered. Seeing the need to fill this hole I will act as your guide to get you, the reader, all caught up to enter each week ready for new episodes.
Here’s The Landscape for Spring Anime
April is when the majority of anime series are released for the Spring season and there are a few headliners that everyone is looking forward to. The main excitement stems from the continuation of ongoing series One Punch Man, Attack on Titan, and Bungou Stray Dogs.
One Punch Man was previously covered in the last Fine Toon installment but in case you missed that I’ll provide a quick recap. After a four-year hiatus, One Punch Man has returned but has drawn criticism over the art style direction the series has taken under new animation studio J.C. Staff. With new staff manning the production and Shingo Natsume leaving after the first season the footage shown lacks a defined style. The wait is almost over with the series releasing on April 9th.
The third season of Attack on Titan has been an enjoyable roller coaster of anticipation as it followed the Reiss family and Yeager family filling in the history of the franchise. The midseason finale was a lull in the otherwise exciting season setting up preparations for the upcoming battle on Wall Maria. This setting up of the next episode, set to release April 29th, will likely take off from the start providing excellent excitement.
Bungou Stray Dogs is an underrated series that is now on its third season. Stray Dogs revolves around the Armed Detective Agency who function as a crime-solving unit with superpowers. Rats in the House of the Dead and their leader Fyodor Dostoyevsky whose ability revolves around killing someone with a single touch. This will pose a significant challenge and will likely lead to interesting moments throughout the season.
However, there are a few new series that could catch people by surprise and end up being very popular shows. The main show that has that potential is Fairy Gone which will be produced by P.A. Works. Similar to Attack on Titan this series follows supernatural soldiers. With the powers of fairies giving them heightened abilities, it follows these soldiers and how they have moved on since the end of the war. The main character Mariya and the organization Dorothea tracks fairy related crimes. This series deviates from P.A. Works as it will be a darker tone than the studio usually handles though this isn’t their first stab at a darker series. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Director Kenichi Suzuki and other members from that team will make Fairy Gone something to keep an eye on moving forward.
How Does the Fox-Disney Merger Impact Animation Industry
The merger between Fox and Disney has finally been completed making Disney the proprietors of Fox’s massive studio collection. Many people may focus on how the X-Men or Fantastic Four character will be inevitably entering the MCU after Avengers: End Game there is much more to the acquisition. Disney is now in hands of the longest running television show, another animation film studio, and a share of Hulu. The Disney takeover is not nigh it is already here with it likely going to take a few months to feel the effect. With Disney now owning Fox Animation leads to the questions of how Disney is going to fully use them. Blue Sky Studios the studio best known for Ice Age will be finishing their next two films, Spies in Disguise and Nimona, before the status of the studio becomes murky.
Disney would likely scale down the production studio no matter if they decide to absorb it completely or let the studio remain as an imprint for select films. Seeing remastered additions under the Disney label is also another thing the merger could have accomplished for the new owners of the media collection. Fox’s television properties like The Simpsons and Family Guy are also thrown into the question of what will happen to them. The two are currently in production with The Simpsons having two more seasons ordered. If they remain on Fox is another question as well due to Fox having to commission shows, they just sold which might not be well suited with some studio executives. The eventual wave will impact the media landscape making it an interesting state of events.
News on Amphibia Breaks
Information about Disney’s next animated series Amphibia, created by Matt Braly, has not been prevalent since receiving a greenlight back in early 2018 but the wait is soon coming to an end. The Gravity Falls alumn led show is gearing up for a release date that is currently projected for sometime this summer. The first information about the series is that Disney star Brenda Song (Suite Life) will be voicing the lead character Anne Boonchuy a 13-year old girl who gets transported into the magical world of Amphibia inhabited by frog people. With this series receiving some news after nearly a year, it will likely be releasing more news in the upcoming weeks if the goal for a summer release is still in the cards. According to industry insider Steve Hulett, Amphibia is still in production.
I’m not sure if Happy! technically qualifies to be on here since it is mostly live action, but it has CGI animated elements as well. The breakout hit for SYFY returned for another season deciding to go with another premise scheduled around a holiday. This time it has chosen Easter with the show taking hits at the Catholic Church with side jabs at the current political landscape. The premise does not feel as strong as the first season and feels a bit forced. The interactions with Christopher Meloni’s Nick Sax and Patton Oswalt’s Happy are still the best part of the series providing an excellent back and forth between two polarizing personalities. This season opener honestly wasn’t enough to get new viewers hooked in to watch the rest of the season in my opinion. There could still be hope for the series but the groundwork is still needed to be laid.
Let us know your thoughts. What upcoming anime are you most looking forward to?