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The tin dog from 'Doctor Who' is getting his own movie

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

k9.jpgThe long running British science fiction television series Doctor Who has somehow managed to avoid a film adaptation in this day and age when any property with even a bit of brand recognition is getting an expensive cinematic treatment, or at the very least a gritty reboot (admittedly, it was adapted back in the 1960s). However, K9, the robot dog who guest starred with the Doctor back in the 1970s, will star in K9: TimeQuake, which is planned to be released in 2017, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the character.

At this point, the only name (besides K9's, of course) attached to the project is that of the writer's, Bob Baker, who originally created the character (along with writing partner Dave Martin). Writers for Doctor Who were allowed to retain rights to their creations, allowing them to use the characters for their own purposes, so Baker can spin-off K9 (sometimes variantly written K-9). Besides his work on Doctor Who, Baker is probably best known for his work on the Wallace and Gromit series of animated films.

Freddy’s Back! (The OTHER One!)

After what can only be called a very successful year in 2014, Five Nights at Freddy’s creator Scott Cawthon has announced that Part 3 is in development and will be released very soon for computers and a variety of mobile devices. According to an article at Cinema Blend, this new chapter takes place 30 years after the horrific events of Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 and 2 have resulted in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza being shut down and demolished. But now, someone has come up with the bright idea of building a brand new theme park attraction based on Freddy Fazbear’s! Even better, they decide to use some of the old parts from the original animatronic characters for this new dark ride. As you can imagine, things don’t go as planned… No word yet on a precise release date, but the article does feature a very creepy teaser trailer for the new game.

image c. 2015 Scott Cawthon

image c. 2015 Scott Cawthon

Fur Affinity cracks down on 'watchbot' accounts

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Furry art community Fur Affinity has announced restrictions on the use of automated watching scripts, which they termed "watchbots".

While staff had been "addressing botters on a one-on-one basis for several weeks", to the tune of "roughly two dozen" accounts, they faced a growing number of users who were unaware of their position. Some also became concerned upon being watched by "TheNSA".

The trend appears to have been started by Mishka Burr, who claims to have watched over 160,000 users using a script on a Raspberry Pi. Several other accounts running a published watch script inspired by Mishka's work had over 40,000 on their watchlists prior to clearing.

Korean cinema: Toilet-paper Merlin turns pianist into cow, who's saved from incinerator by com-sat in robot girl form

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Korean animation looks enough like Japanese animation that it is usually lumped together as anime. But I don’t think that even the Japanese have made an animated feature like The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, directed by Jang Hyung-yun and released in February in Seoul.

Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop announces this South Korean release about a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents. It falls into the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it category -- and Jerry has the trailer, so you can see 1'22" of it.

Read more: Review at TwitchFilm.com

Review: 'Atomcat', by Osamu Tezuka

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Atomcat The last time I met Osamu Tezuka was at Daicon V, the 25th Japan National Science Fiction Convention, in Osaka on August 24-25, 1986. He was in a good mood, and told me through a helpful fan interpreter that he had just started a new manga that I was sure to like, considering my fondness for funny animals. It was a new version of Astro Boy – turned into a cat! “WHY?”, I asked. He chuckled and said something like, “Why not? It’s important to not take yourself too seriously.”

Tezuka had created Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy) in 1952 and drawn his adventures until 1968, including the five intense years of the TV series (1963-1966, with production starting in 1962). After that, Tezuka was “Astro Boyed out”, and turned down numerous requests to create new adventures of the robot little boy. He had other stories that he wanted to develop in manga and anime. So, when he got a request from the children’s Smile Comics in 1986 to produce a new manga for young readers, why did he return to Astro Boy, but as a kitten; besides “Why not?”

Well, Atomcat never pretended to be more than a humorous trifle. It was a self-parody, and also a parody of all the talking animal comics where a human little boy or girl has an animal companion to help him or her out. In Atomcat, young Tsugio is the only human who knows that Atom the kitten is not an ordinary kitten, and Atom protects Tsugio from being bullied. Yet Tsugio is such a coward and crybaby that Atom, exasperated, has to take the lead most of the time. Tezuka was very proud of having worked out the English pun Atomcat = A Tomcat, since he claimed not to speak English. He probably also delighted in naming the school bully who always picks on Tsugio, “Gaddafi”. Atomcat was published in the monthly Smile Comics for seven months, seven self-contained stories, from July 1986 to February 1987. The last couple of stories lacked the freshness of the first stories. I suspect that Tezuka had lost interest in Atomcat and was just hacking out the last few stories; he was probably glad to end the series.

I “read” Atomcat in Kodansha’s 400-volume Japanese Osamu Tezuka Complete Manga Works around 1997; that is to say, I looked at the artwork. This current Atomcat edition from Digital Manga’s Platinum Manga has enabled me to read it in English for the first time.

Gardena, CA, Digital Manga Publishing, April 2013, trade paperback $12.95 (194 [+ 9] pages).

Their Friendship is a Little Rusty

“Richly endearing and full of surprises, Robot Dreams follows an ill-fated friendship between a dog and robot. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves Robot rusty and immobilized in the sand, Dog, unsure what to do, abandons him. As the seasons pass, Dog tries to replace his friend, making and losing a series of new ones, from a melting snowman to epicurean anteaters. Meanwhile, Robot passes his time daydreaming, escaping to better places…Through interwoven journeys, the two characters long to recover from their day at the beach.” Thanks to :01 First Second, this classic full-color graphic novel by Sara Varon is in print once again. It’s available in softcover on Amazon and elsewhere.


image c. 2013 :01 First Second

A Dandy in Space!

Lots of fandom folks (anime, furry, science fiction and otherwise) got excited this fall with the news that the team behind Cowboy BeBop had created a new, openly-silly science fiction anime called Space Dandy.  The teaser trailer started making the rounds on YouTube. Well now comes even better news: Thanks to the efforts of Funimation, Space Dandy will be the first ever anime to premier in Japan and dubbed on American TV, simultaneously. It’ll be part of Adult Swim’s Toonami collection. Here’s what the producers say: “Space Dandy is a dandy in space! This dreamy adventurer with a to-die-for pompadour travels across the galaxy in search of aliens no one has ever laid eyes on. Each new species he discovers earns him a hefty reward, but this dandy has to be quick on his feet because it’s first come – first served!

Ratchet & Clank: The Movie

After a wildly successful run of Ratchet & Clank releases for the Sony Playstation, Insomniac Games have announced they are teaming up with Sony Computer Entertainment, Rainmaker Entertainment, and Blockade Entertainment to bring the planet-hopping lombax and his little robot companion to the big screen in a brand-new CGI animated film — set to be released in 2015.  According to an article in Forbes, Insomniac’s own TJ Fixman will be lead writer on the film, and voice talent will feature James A. Taylor as Ratchet, David Kaye as Clank, and Jim Ward as the lumbering human Qwark — all of whom are well-known from the game series. The article on-line also features a new teaser-trailer for the upcoming film.


image c. 2013 Insomniac Games

Robot Cat to the Rescue

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, DMP Digital Manga will be releasing a translated version of Osamu Tezuka’s A-Tomcat this April. Tezuka, as if you didn’t know, was the creator of Kimba the White Lion — and many many other world-famous titles, including of course Astro-Boy. This one-shot black & white paperback is an off-shoot of the Astro-Boy Series. Try to follow this: ” Tsugio is a young Japanese boy who is very fond of reading the Astro-Boy manga series. One day he finds a stray kitten and persuades his family to keep it. But then, after an encounter with two aliens honeymooning on Earth (!),  suddenly the little cat not only looks like Astro-Boy, but has Astro-Boy’s Powers! Check out more at DMP’s order site.


image c. 2013 DMP Digital Manga

Mickey Mouse Club — GO!!

This is almost impossible to describe, even when you’re looking right at it! Check out this name: Chogokin Super-Combining King Robo Mickey and Friends. Then just check out the picture below! It’s a new toy created in Japan as a collaboration between Bandai Tamashii Nations and Disney. It features die-cast metal characters with names like Jet Mickey, Sky Minnie, Diver Donald, Aqua Daisy, Land Goofy, and Dash Pluto, who combine (along with other accessories) into the massive King Robot to fight… sheesh, we can only guess what! Take a look at the advertisement on Amazon to see more of what the individual component characters look like. King Robo Mickey (etc etc…) will be available internationally this April. Now all we have to do is wait for the TV series…


image c. 2013 Bandai Tamashii Nations and Disney

Toys: It's the Mecha-Disney Monster!

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Mecha-Disney MonsterHot on the heels of the news of Disney partnering with luxury fashion clothes designers to create exclusive duds for attenuated versions of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and other classic Disney characters, comes this news that Disney is also partnering with Japanese toymaker Bandai to smooch said classic Disney characters together into a single “Voltron-style” transforming giant robot – coming in March 2013.

It may sound like a parody, but the Cartoon Brew website has a publicity picture of this “King Robo”. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto (plus Pluto’s doghouse and Steamboat Willie’s riverboat) into one giant robot! Like they say, we couldn’t make this stuff up. Check it out.

Short film: 'The Cats of Mars Meet the Toy Car'

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Cartoon Brew website has just posted this two-year-old eight-minute film by Swedish animator Jacob Stålhammar; written in 2004, painted in gouache on cardboard, and animated in limited animation to a public domain stock music score. Arguably less an animated cartoon than an animated children’s picture book. Still anthropomorphic.

Short film: 'D.A.D.: Digital Amusement Device'

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Are self-aware robots anthropomorphic? Hey, I think that I’ve asked th... [Ed.: !]

Cartoon Brew has posted D.A.D.: Digital Amusement Device by Mark Osberg, a brief CGI film.

In this short tale a father tries to encourage his son to overcome his fears and shows that even in this digital age that the trials of parenthood remain constant.

Short film: 'Dubstep Dispute'

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (7 votes)

Are self-aware robots anthropomorphic? Hey, I think that I've asked this question before.

The Cartoon Brew has posted Dubstep Dispute by Jason Giles, a 1:13 minute CGI film.

Trailer: 'invade ALL OF THE humans!!!'

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

Are self-aware robots anthropomorphic? Never mind; this two-minute invade ALL OF THE humans!!! starring Calculord 3 and Px Micron, two small robot toys (they run on AA batteries) who plan to take over the world, is very funny. Move over, Brain; you have competition!

By London filmmakers Tom and Mark Perrett as a “test piece” for a longer personal project. It seems to blend stop-motion with computer graphics. From the Cartoon Brew.