"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 14, 2011 -
Ten years ago today, Cartoon Network aired a very special episode of The Powerpuff Girls
. Though nominally a harmless kids series about three adorable kindergarten superheroes, creator Craig McCracken
attracted an unexpectedly diverse audience (50% male, 25% adult) by sneaking in a surprising amount of violence
and adult in-jokes
-- and on that last point, this particular episode was king. Broadcast on the 37th anniversary of their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show
, "Meet the Beat-Alls"
was an extended and sophisticated metaphor for the rise and fall of The Beatles, cramming more than forty song references
and dozens of visual jokes into only ten minutes of animated allegory. Catch the original episode here
or read the transcript
, but for the full
effect, watch this remarkable YouTube mash-up
that splices the referenced song clips directly into the audio track and plasters the screen with helpful annotations. Want more PPG goodness? You can start with the special "Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!"
), a sly, hyperkinetic celebration of the show's tenth anniversary directed by McCracken himself that features every character (and totally subverts an important one). But as far as weirdness goes, it's hard to top Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi
, a long-running fan-made webcomic which stars the trio alongside Dexter, Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, and tons of other network icons
in an unusually dark manga adventure. Oh, and don't forget your plate of beans
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 9, 2011 -
"Five orphans with a spacecraft battle a lipsticked maniac from the Crab Nebula and his unlikely big flying robots. No one gets hurt."
In 1972, the anime action-adventure show Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman
(Science Ninja Team Gatchaman,
) premiered on Japanese television. Featuring graphic violence, extensive profanity and a transgendered villain
, it was one of the most popular animated series of its time. Envisioning similar success in the US, Sandy Frank Entertainment
acquired the series in 1978 but deemed it too graphic and shocking for domestic audiences. So they hired two Hanna-Barbera vets to "
" totally bowdlerize
the episodes with new scripts, voiceovers music and effects, animation, etc., at a cost of $5 million and turn it into a brand new show: Battle of the Planets
. Here are the original 1978 Battle of the Planets feature film (in 7 parts,)
and the first 19 episodes of the show,
all available on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 28, 2011 -
Anime Music Videos.
Yet another remixing web subculture
, they're usually a source of amateurishly produced angst. From the competitive perfectionists
, though, come well lipsynched
, action packed
, and occasionally just filthy
stuff for cartoon nerds. Besides the usual metal, ballads, and pop rock, there's some Daft Punk
, and downtempo
accompaniment. Or you can just go to hell
. Wear headphones and no-one will know.
posted by anthill
on May 28, 2007 -
AN AMAZING JAPANESE ANIMATION
based on the psychologically complicated and beautifully playful work of comic book artist Jim Woodring
. (Monday morning cartoons for you, complete with a nod to the Jetsons, courtesy the Japan Media Arts Festival. Other featured work here
posted by Peter H
on Aug 16, 2004 -