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– by Brendan Hughes

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.

Batman On the Half Shell

Recently a trailer for the next DC animated film Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released giving fans hopes of what would be an entertaining film. As you probably know by now this will be an animated adaptation of 2015’s Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles intercompany crossover comic book miniseries. Written by staple Batman writer James Tynion IV, the series explores how turtle power and the Bat-family work together to stop their archrivals from taking over New York and Gotham.

It doesn’t appear that this film will feed into the larger canon of the DC Animated Movie Universe, and as such, it may be a shot for shot adaptation for the most part, not having to worry about tailoring it for the sake of continuity with other series. Less tampering with the film will be for the better as the source material was applauded by fans and critics alike. With two completed volumes and a third in production, there will be plenty of material to work with if Warner Bros. decides to create a sequel down the road.

The animation style picks up on the gritty theme supplied by the original artist Freddie Williams II. Incorporating elements of previous cartoon animation styles of Batman and TMNT into the aesthetic is a nice touch, as well as these series, have had well-received animation series in the 90s and 2000s. The background underlying theme is an added bonus that should be kept in the movie to underscore dramatic and tense moments.

Second My Hero Academia Film Debuting In Fall

To say My Hero Academia is popular is a massive understatement as it has garnered global appeal since its release in 2014. It was previously announced that a fourth season was set for release during anime’s fall season this year but now another animated film has been announced. Shueisha oriented magazine leaks by Moetron News describes that “A second “My Hero Academia” anime film has been announced for Winter.” This advertisement describes very little of the plot line simply saying that the story will be original and wait for more information. What this does tell us is that the American release will likely occur around the beginning of spring given that there is usually a two-month wait for it to be localized.

The announcement shows Izuku and Bakugo in the foreground with All Might overlooking in the background. This might lead to a potential hint for what the movie will be about since the manga has focused prevalently on both characters. Since Bakugo was informed of how Izuku received his powers from All Might the trio have formed a dynamic where All Might turns into a hands-on mentor both students.

This announcement also correlates with the home release of the first My Hero Academia film Two Heroes in America on March 26. I highly doubt this connection is related since the magazine is exclusive to Japan and Two Heroes was released back in February. However, it is always nice to see more of Deku so this announcement will be gladly received by the fans of this franchise.

 

One Punch Man Ruined?

Fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of One Punch Man’s second season for four years. A trailer was released this week and the reaction has been far from positive. Many fans are pointing out the visible downgrade in animation from the first season to the second season in terms of characters and their designs. This comes as the animation studio has been switched from Madhouse to J.C. Staff along with some staff changes, most notably Shingo Natsume, leaving after the first season.

The change in production companies suggested that there would have been some changes for the new season, but the change is very noticeable. This is only the reaction from the trailer and the series might turn out to be better than what we are being shown considering nothing much could be determined from the two-minute clip. In the worst-case scenario, the animation style could be cleaned up for the blu-ray home release. As long as the story is good the second season should be in good hands at J.C. Staff. Season two is scheduled for April meaning that the year-long wait is only a few days away.

Crunchyroll & Adult Swim Expand Programming Partnership

Two WarnerMedia branches are partnering with each other to bring new anime to Toonami and provide Crunchyroll a wider distribution source. Toonami has long been an industry leader for anime in the United States cultivating the medium and giving it widespread appeal. Crunchyroll the popular online streaming service offering localized third-party anime and original series will send these series to the Adult Swim lineup. This partnership will likely first come together with the Blade Runner anime set to hit both services at an unknown time. Considering they both part of the same parent company it is hardly surprising that these two anime oriented services are working together.

Victor and Valentino: Hispanic Gravity Falls or Interesting Cultural Entertainment?

Cartoon Network’s first new series of 2019 Victor and Valentino first episode has been released and the internet has labeled it as the Mexican Gravity Falls. In the first episode, it introduced the title characters Victor and Valentino and the premise of the show with alebrijes. Victor is very reminiscent of Rigby from Regular Show and is very grating making it hard to enjoy the show. I find that the dubbing of Mexican Gravity Falls is a bit inaccurate, as the show doesn’t have that many similarities besides the use of magical creatures and artifacts.

It is interesting to see the cultural representation of Mexican lore as this series will likely jump from one topic to the next possibly building a story arc along the way. There have not been many Mexican inspired cartoons in recent years with the last major non-educational one being El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera a decade ago. In the next few episodes, the folklore that will be explored is the Lechuza and Chupacabra. This series has promise though there are some pitfalls along the way making any judgment inconclusive.

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