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#3 March 2013 ÂŁ 14.99

Ghibli Historia A retrospective with the beloved animation studio.

Round Springfield Taking a trip down memory lane with our favourite yellow dysfunctional family

Oh Mah Glob! We chat with Adventure time creator Pendleton Ward


WRECK-IT RALPH We r ev i e w D i s n e y s l ove - l e t t e r t o g a m e r s and the bygone era of 8-bit and Arcades

EDITOR IN CHIEF Sindre Johnsen PUBLISHER JohnsenTrykk ART DIRECTOR Kenny Mccormic PHOTO EDITOR Randy Marsh PHOTOS Peter Parker GRAPHIC DIRECTOR Simon Petrikov GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Wendy Darling Dorothy Oz Alice Underland MARKETING Ingvild Haug ILLUSTRATIONS Tracey Sketchit JOURNALISTS Jonah Jameson PROOFING Marte Kaslegard COVER Sindre Johnsen Type: 8/10pkt. Aller Paper: 150g Glossy The material in this publication is under the copyright law’s restrictions. Without special agreement from the pubishing house, any reprinting or availabilities is only allowed in the circumstances where it is legal, or under special agreement with Kopinor, organization for copyright holders. Exploitation not in accordance with the law or agreement could result in legal fines or prison.

Salutations! Cartoons! How boring would the world be without them? I think the world would be a pretty dull place without all our animated friends. And that’s why we have this magazine right here, In this months issue, we have lots of different goodies for ya’ll. We have an exclusive review of one of this years most fantastic movies, Wreck it Ralph. SPOILER ALERT; it’s pretty darn awesome! We also have an interview with the fantastic Pen Ward, and some great featured articles to round it all out. As we do each month, we spotlight a different part of animated movies, this month it’s the music. So, intersperced in the magazine, you’ll find what we’ve called “Musical Memories”, featuring some of our favourite songs from some of our favourite animated movies. Anyways, now it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy this magazine. Cheers! -Shannon Lee Editor in Chief


What Time is it?


We have a chat with Adventure Time creator Pen Ward about what inspires him, and whats to come in the future for his wacky show

18 Wreck it Ralph Fun Facts Americas First Family


We take a look back at how this now-iconic series got started and how it influenced shows for years to come.


The Essential Ghibli


Adventure Time 101 I’m Gonna Wreck it!


This years animated blockbuster gets a review by us here at the Animatic. Find out what we think!


Top 10 Simpsons The Japanese Masters


Studio Ghibli has taken the animation-world by storm since it’s founding. Join us for a retrospective.

Portrait: Pen Ward

suckin’ “ Dude, at something is the first step to

being sorta good at something.”

- Jake the Dog

Adventure Time returns this week for its fifth season. . We talked with series creator Pendleton Ward about the origin of the show, how he keeps it weird from year to year, and the challenge of writing a show that amazes adults while remaining kid-friendly.

Portrait: Pen Ward

What time is it? Text: Joe Peppatone Illustrations: Cartoon Network

For the uninitiated, just watching two minutes of the Cartoon Network show lets you know you are seeing something different. In the show, a boy named Finn and a shape-shifting dog name Jake--who can talk, of course--go on adventures in a postapocalyptic (yet happily so) land. Animatic: How did Adventure Time get started? Pendleton Ward: My first job out of school was the Adventure Time pilot. I was lucky enough to have my first lead on a job at a company called Frederator. They were accepting pitches for a shorts program. They were doing 7-minute-long shorts. And they were taking pitches from anyone, and you didn’t have to have any representation. Which was great for me. I just followed up on it. I pitched my storyboard for Adventure Time that I had boarded straight ahead--I didn’t really know what a storyboard needed, but I did my best and threw together a comic script. Luckily, they liked it. That’s how it started, with the pilot. That was six years ago. I spent a year storyboarding and writing on a show called The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack for Cartoon

Network, which really taught me how to run a show. Or at least the idea of running a show. Thurop Van Orman was the creator of Flapjack and his philosophy for running Flapjack is what I used when I started running Adventure Time, which is a storyboard-driven show. The storyboarder gets to write and draw out all the dialogue and expressions for every episode. Fred Seibert took the short and pitched it to Cartoon Network. It was a really big risk to pick it up. I feel like Adventure Time was a hard sell, in the beginning, for a network to pick it up. The show didn’t have a hook. It was just two friends that got along perfectly fine and they live in a fantasy world together. It didn’t really have anything that you would want to invest millions of dollars into. Luckily, Fred was with me and he just pitched it really hard to Cartoon Network and took a chance. The show has a post-apocalyptic candyland and it’s filled with geek references. Was that weirdness the mission of the series or does it just come naturally from you and the other writers? It all comes from us, from the writers that work on it. We write all the stories. But in general, it’s not weird to us. It comes from a really genuine place. I grew up watching Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butt-Head, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. So all of those elements feel really natural to me. They don’t feel bizarre to me, to write about magic, to write about strange creatures. It all feels right out of my childhood. I don’t think the weirdness is where



the risk was. Any new show for a network is a risk. So it makes sense to buy up established properties, like Ninja Turtles. So new property is always risky. And my show really didn’t have a strong hook to it. I couldn’t c o m e u p with a tag line for it. I just liked that it was friendly and n i ce, j u s t two friends that hang out in a weird world. I think that’s what was risky. It was boring and you couldn’t see where it would go. I mean, I could. But I don’t think anyone else could see where it could go, in the beginning. The fifth season is starting this week. Considering how broad the content is, it seems like you can never run out

of subject matter. What do you have planned? There is no end and there is really no plan. I don’t think there is any end in sight. It could go on for a very long time. It will go on as long as the show stays popular. And I think it is still really popular. We’ll just keep making it. I get this question at Comic Con, “How far in advanced have you plotted anything out?” And the answer everyone wants is that, “Yes, I have plotted out every bit of it!” So that people can feel safe, that, “It’s all unfolding in front of me.” But in reality, we are faced with deadlines. It’s just like playing D&D, where I’m role-playing these characters. I don’t

know where they are going to go yet, but I am them when I am writing it. It’s exciting for me to w rite it. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Finn’s relationship because we haven’t totally figured everything out yet, but that’s okay because we are those characters. I feel like when I answer, “There’s no plan,” it bums everyone out. But it shouldn’t, How will you raise your game in season five? Every episode and every season we always think about how do we make it better than last season. Over season four and into five, we’ve been doing really well. The show is coming back and I am really proud of (the episodes). I can’t really see how to make them better. I guess I’m bragging. Or I am overly confident. But I like them a lot. We are just trying to expand the characters. I look to the Simpsons and see what they did. So that’s what we are trying to do, dig into some more of the secondary characters, like Peppermint Butler and Beemo. And show off their secret lives, what they do in their spare time, their pasts.


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Finn the Human

Jake the Dog

Finn is a thirteen year old boy, and lives in a treehouse with his brother/dog/ best friend Jake. He’s a pretty richeous guy with a knack for adventuring and dungeon crawling.

A magical dog with unlimited stretchy powers, jake is Finn’s brother and slightly more lazy adventurer. Beeing a pretty laid back dude, he enjoys the couch a bit more than the outdoors.



Beemo Marceline This little guy is Finn and Jakes resident videogame and pal. Though he’s a robot, he longs to be a real boy, and always tries to emulate human behavior. He also has a pretty active imagination.

Marceline is a 1000 year old vampirewho’s got a killer musical talent. Though she’s an indepentent dame, she’s also got some daddy issues, who happens to be an undead deamon lord.

Who’s who in the land of Ooo

If you are totally new to Adventure Time, we here at the Animaniac made a little quick start guide for you, introducing you to all the principal characters of the show. So, if you like it, check it out now! We promise you won’t find anything quite the same.


Bonibell Bubblegum is the ruler of the candy kingdom, and a bit of a sciencebuff. Though she’s a kind ruler, she doesn’t shy away from a conflict, especially form her perpertual stalker, The Ice King.

Lumpy Space Princess

Lady Rainicorn

The Ice King

Oh Mah Glob! This luscious lumpy lady is quite a babe. Always the senter of atention everywhere she goes, she might have a bit higher thoughts about herself then what others think.

A half unicorn, half rainbow that only speaks korean? Sure, completely normal. She’s princess Bubblegums trusty steed, and Jake’s long-time girlfriend, with who she has 5 puppies.

This ice cold baddy is a constant nuisance for the adventuring duo, and has probably kindapped princesses more than we can count. He pretty much spends his time hanging with penguins



When you wish upon a star

As performed by Cliff Edwards

When you wish upon a star Makes no diff'rence who you are Anything your heart desires will come to you If your heart is in your dream No request is too extreme When you wish upon a star As dreamers do Fate is kind She brings to those who love The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing Like a bolt out of the blue Fate steps in and sees you through When you wish upon a star Your dreams come true When you wish upon a star Makes no diff'rence who you are Anything your heart desires will come to you If your heart is in your dream No request is too extreme When you wish upon a star As dreamers do Fate is kind She brings to those who love The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing Like a bolt out of the blue Fate steps in and sees you through When you wish upon a star Your dreams come true



Pinnochio (1940)



I’m Gonna Wreck It!” Text: Joe Peppatone Illustrations: Walt Disney Studios We review this years film from Walt Disney Studios, Wreck It Ralph. Set inside an arcade, the film follows Ralph, a video game bad guy who doesn’t wanna be bad! Read the next two pages to find out if it’s wort your hard earned cash. (Spoiler alert; It is!)


“I’m bad, and that’s good, i will never be good and that’s not bad, there’s no-one i’d rather be than me”


reck-It Ralph is not only the best animated film of the year, it’s the best video game movie ever made. Filled with wit, heart and nods to games ranging from Q*Bert to Gears of War, it is a movie for gamers by gamers, but the story and execution are so brilliant you don’t need to be a game fan to enjoy it. It’s no wonder that many people have mistaken Wreck-It Ralph for a Pixar effort. Disney Animation has done an amazing job making sure solid storytelling is at the foundation of this film. Sure, there are nods to Street Fighter and Sonic and Mario Kart aplenty, but everything is tethered to a simple but fulfilling narrative, and that makes all the difference.

In the world of Wreck-It Ralph, characters in video games have a life outside of their games; when the lights in the arcade turn off, they pack up and trudge home, rubbing elbows with the likes of Zangief, Pac-Man and Bowser on the train. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villainous star of the game Fix-It Felix. Jr., and serves as a Donkey Kongstyle character whose sole gameplay goal is to destroy a building (shades of Rampage) before the do-gooder Fix-It Felix (voiced by 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer) can repair the damage. Ralph’s catchphrase “I’m gonna wreck it!” echoes in arcades throughout the land. Problem is; Ralph’s a really nice guy. After decades of being a villain, he just wants to do something good. He wants people to love him; he wants to be included. He goes to a support group for video game villains where ne’er-do-wells like Dr. Eggman and Kano try to make sense of being bad in a world that rewards the good. The support group is where a lot of the video game character cameos come in. The film is smart and doesn’t populate the proceedings with too many gaming in-jokes, but there are a few peppered in here to good effect. The flip side of the bad guysupport group is personified by Felix, the star of the game he and Ralph inhabit. The two are acquaintances outside of work, but since Ralph carries the stigma of being a “bad guy,” they don’t hang out. There is no place for Ralph in the 8-bit Mayberry of Niceland, so he lives in the dump that overlooks the game’s building and bemoans his status as a universally-reviled villain.

There is a beautiful scene early in the movie where Ralph crashes a party of NPCs celebrating the anniversary of the game. The stilted social interaction between the 8-bit building dwellers and their constant villain is priceless. Ralph just wants to be included in the festivities, but ends up scaring the Nicelanders and, you guessed it, wrecking every-

“The film is smart and doesn’t populate the proceedings with too many gaming in-jokes”





thing. So the next day, he doesn’t show up to work, and instead goes on a quest to prove he’s good and, in super-obvious video game fashion, earn a medal to prove his worth. To do so, Ralph endeavors to go inside the realm of Hero’s Duty, whose name invokes the obvious Call of Duty, but actually looks much more like a mix of Gears

of War and Starship Troopers. Ralph is woefully out of his depth, and this fact is hammered home repeatedly by the hard-barking Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by the amazing Jane Lynch), whose colorful palate of insults is a highlight of the movie. The world of Hero’s Duty is a pitch-perfect take on a bleak shooter realm, and the action in this sequence is quite wellstaged, but the movie doesn’t stay there. Instead, it pitches Ralph off to the sugar-dusted, candy-roped world of Sugar Rush, which looks like a combo of Candy Land and Mario Kart. It’s here the movie spends the bulk of its time. The land of Sugar Rush looks like Rainbow Road on an 8-ball of Pixie Stick dust, and is home to

some cloyingly cute visuals, superobnoxious cart racers (imagine the Mean Girls as Power Puff Girls), and the achingly funny King Candy (voiced by Firefly alum Alan Tudyk). The movie’s one and only flaw is that it spends too much time in this land. The film is so engaging and inventive that I wanted more and different takes on characters, genres and video game tropes. But that is stuff for sequels, and I imagine Ralph will be getting one of those. It’s in Candy Land that Ralph meets the precocious but winning kart racer Vannelope (played by comic Sarah Silverman), a misfit in her own right. She’s an outsider due to the fact that she “glitches” out and, like Ralph, strives to overcome her perceived

i m pe r fe c ti o n the who le movi e. T h e two form a tenuous partnership that grows into respect and friendship as the movie progresses. Their dynamic is the backbone of the film, and their arc from mistrusting loners to frieAnds who share a tender bond is quite touching. The cast is excellent and well-balanced: no one actor steals the spotlight. John C. Reilly’s portrayal of Ralph is heartfelt and subtle; it’s impossible not to pull for Ralph. Sarah Silverman shines as Vannelope, a character who comes on strong but melts your heart in the end. The support from Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk is phenomenal. Lynch delivers her tough-as-nails military boilerplate with gusto, winking heavily at the ham-handed dialogue present in many shooters. Wreck-It Ralph is beautifullyrendered. The latest evidence that Disney Animation is returning to its former glory and then some. But technical wizardry is nothing without heart, and Wreck-It Ralph never loses site of its main purpose: to entertain and teach us something about ourselves.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, Wreck-It Ralph is a movie about folks finding their place in the world, and being comfortable in their own skin, which is a great parable for our times, and a well-executed one, to boot. Video game fans, get to the theater as soon as humanly possible. Everyone else… do the same! Wreck-It Ralph is worth every single quarter you'll sink into it.


+ Genuinely funny + By gamers, for gamers +Heartfelt performances +Dazzlingly beautifull - Too much Sugar Rush


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10 Things you (maybe) didn’t know about


Wreck-It Ralph has 188 unique, individual characters, more than any Disney movie in history. Normal Disney films have between 40 and 60.


The film has 70 unique settings while the usual Disney film has about 25.


For the first two months of story development on the film, Fix It Felix Jr. (McBrayer) was the main character. Moore soon realized his nemesis, Ralph, had a better arc.


Very early on, they considered making Ralph look 8-bit the entire time, but it was deemed he wouldn’t be lovable enough. The design of Ralph began as an animal dressed as a bum, evolved into a big white gorilla and only became human about six iterations in.




Unlike most animated films, the principal actors recorded audio sessions together in the same room, which led to a lot of improv.


Each world in the film is associated with a particular shape and set of physics:

Fix It Felix Jr. is built with square shapes and the physics are jerky. Hero’s Duty is built almost exclusively with triangle shapes and the physics are super realistic. Sugar Rush is composed of circles and its physics are described as cartoonish.


During production, the animators and director would watch dailies 3-5 hours per day and animators are expected to turn in about 80 frames per week.


The Nicelanders were the hardest thing to animate because they don’t have a fluid motion. They move very jittery and blocky, in an 8-bit fashion. They had to “remove their classic Disney brains” and throw physics out the window to get the movements just right.


Fix It Felix Jr. is primarily influenced by Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros., but there’s some Rampage in there too.


when Microsoft revealed their Kinect controller, the producers worried it would change video games forever. Disney briefly considered changing Hero’s Duty into a movement-based game.



Sleeping Beauty (1959)



Once upon A Dream As performed by Mary Costa

I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam Yet I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem But if I know you, I know what you'll do You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream But if I know you, I know what you do You love me at once The way you did once upon a dream I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam And I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem But if I know you, I know what you'll do You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream



Americas First family Text: Randy Butternubs Illustrations: Matt Groening/20th Fox

For 25 years, The Simpsons have been a television staple all over the world. From a humble start as short bumpers on the Tracy Ullman show to what can best be described as a global phenomenon.

Americas First Family


hen The Simpsons had premiered on Fox, in 1989, prime-time television was somewhat lacking in comedy. Despite a few bright spots such as Cheers and the barbed, happily crude Roseanne, the sitcom roost was ruled by didactic, saccharine family fare: The Cosby Show, Full House, Growing Pains, Family Matters. Of the last—the show that gave the world Urkel— Tom Shales piously declared in The Washington Post, “A decent human being would have a hard time not smiling.” It was on this wan entertainment landscape that The Simpsons planted its flag. Prime time had not seen an animated sitcom since The Flintstones, in the 1960s, and the Christmas special with which The Simpsons debuted made clear that Springfield and Bedrock were separated by more than just a few millennia. In “Simpsons

Roasting on an Open Fire,” Homer takes a job as a department-store Santa after the family’s emergency money is spent on tattoo removal for Bart. Following a motivational chat from Bart on the nature of Christmas miracles on television—meta-commentary was a Simpsons hallmark from the start—Homer risks his earnings at the track, on a dog named Santa’s Little Helper. When the dog comes in dead last, the family adopts him. While the ending sounds a tad cheesy, and it was, the seeds had been planted: up against impossible odds, and one another, the family ultimately bonded together and overcame. And the gags were solid: Homer is despondent at the length of his children’s Christmas pageant; a tattoo artist unquestioningly accepts 10-year-old Bart as an adult; the family’sChristmasdecorations are clearly pathetic in contrast to the Flanders family’s next door. Critical reaction was nearly unanimous. “Couldn’t be better … not only exquisitely weird but also as smart and witty as television gets,” raved the Los Angeles Times. “Why

Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive? would anyone want to go back to Growing Pains?” asked USA Today. The half-hour series premiered on December 17, 1989 with “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.The series was originally set to debut in the fall of ‘89 with the episode “Some Enchanted Evening”, but the producers discovered that the animation was so appalling that 70 percent of the episode needed to be redone. At the time there were only a few choices for animation style. Usually, they would either follow the style of Disney, Warner Bros., or Hanna-Barbera. The producers wanted a realistic environment in which the characters and objects could not do anything that was not possible in the real world. They considered aborting the series if the next episode “Bart the Genius” turned out as bad, but it only suf-



Americas First Family

From left to right; Maggie, Homer, Marge and Bart

fered from easily fixable problems. The debut was moved to December, and “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” became the first episode of the series. In some of the episodes of the first season, the characters act completely differently to how they do in later seasons; Lisa, for example, is undisciplined and short-tempered, while Homer is the voice of reason; these roles are reversed in later episodes.

was named the best TV show of all time by Time magazine in 1999. (The magazine also named Bart one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. “[Bart] embodies a century of popular culture and is one of the richest characters in it. One thinks of Chekhov, Celine, Lenny Bruce,” the writer cooed.) But the most telling accolade is that The Simpsons is TV’s longest-running sitcom ever, outlasting The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet’s 14 seasons.

What followed is one of the most astounding successes in television history. The Simpsons went on to be a ratings and syndication winner for 18 years, and has grossed Fox sums of money measuring in the billions. It has won 23 Emmys and a Peabody Award, and

Not surprisingly, given its success, The Simpsons has spawned many imitators and opened doors for new avenues of animated comedy. Directly or indirectly, the show sired Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Futurama, Family Guy, Adult Swim, and South

Park, which, nearly a d ecade after Bart’s boastful underachieving, managed to regenerate a familiar cacophony of ratings, merchandise, and controversy when it premiered, in 1997. (The controversial label was perhaps deserved. Bart’s greatest sin has been sawing the head off the statue of the town’s founder; last year, on South Park, Cartman tried to exterminate the Jews.) “It’s like what sci-fi fans say about Star Trek: it created an audience for that genre,” says Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. “I think The Simpsons created an audience for primetime animation that had not been there for many, many years. As far as I’m concerned, they basically re-invented

the wheel. They created what is in many ways—you could classify it as—a wholly new medium. It’s just wholly original.” “The Simpsons is the bane of our existence,” says Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park with Trey Parker. “They have done so many parodies, tackled so many subjects. ‘Simpsons did it!’ is a very familiar refrain in our writers’ room. Trey and I are constantly having our little cartoon compared to the best show in the history of television, The Simpsons. Why can’t we be compared to According to Jim? Or Sister, Sister?” Not that there aren’t some debits on The Simpsons’ ledger—for every King of the Hill, there was a Fish Police and a Critic. But over 18 years, The



Americas First Family

Lisa, vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos. Simpsons has been so influential, it is difficult to find any strain of television comedy that does not contain its DNA. And yet the show’s footprint is so much larger. Homer’s signature “D’oh!” has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. There’s a “Simpsons and Philosophy” course at Berkeley (for credit), not to mention the hundreds of published academic articles with The Simpsons as their subject. Even conservatives have come around. “It’s possibly the most intelligent, funny, and even politically satisfying TV show ever,” wrote the National Review in 2000. “The Simpsons celebrates many … of the best conservative principles: the primacy of family, skepticism about political authority.… Springfield residents pray and attend church every Sunday.” Next



to pornography, no single subject may have as many Websites and blogs dedicated to its veneration. The Simpsons has permeated our vernacular, the way we tell jokes, and how our storytellers practice their craft. If you look around, you can see the evidence, but as with any truly powerful cultural force, you can never see it all—it’s buried too deep.

The best of The Simpsons We her at The Animatic have decided to compile a list of our favourite episodes of the show. While a list like this can never be 100% agreeable with everyone, most people will agree that these are all some gosh darn good episodes. So, without further Apu we give you our picks for the 10 best Simpsons Episodes.



Countdown: The Simpsons

10 The Springfield Files

Featuring a crossover on with The XFiles, this episodes finds Homer at the ridicule of the town when he sees an alien in the forest, while no-one actually believes him. Agents Mulder and Scully come to investigate, but no-one is really prepared for the truth. With agents Mulder and Scully reprising their X-files roles, and a great cameo from Leonard Nimoy «they’re entertaining lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth?»

9 22 stories from Springfield

Giving over the spotlight from the Simpson family over to more ancilliary characters was a pretty great idea, as this episode shows. Somew hat a paro dy of Pu lp Fi c ti o n, Dr Nick, Superintendent Chalmers, Chief Wiggum, Smiters and Skinner all get their own little story here, with the highlight being The Chalmers/Skinner story, with Steamed Hams and an extremely local Aurora Borealis

8 Marge VS The Monorail

Poor Marge. She always seems to be at odds with the mob mentality of her fellow springfieldians. In this episode, Springfield is conned into bying a Monorail from a smooth talking con-man known as Lyle Lanley. This episode is just hillarious, in that it fires joke after joke, and everything just works, that’s what’s great about this episode. Not to mention the complete random guest appearance of Leonard Nimoy as himself.

7 You Only Move Twice

Oh, Hank Scorpio, you might possibly be the best one-episode character on the show! When Homer gets a job at the Globex corporation, The Simpsons have to move to Cypress Creek, a seemingly perfect town. Hank Scorpio is Homers boss, but he’s also working in a little world domination at the side. Chalked full of Bond references and the Hammock District, makes this episode is a true classic



Countdown: The Simpsons

6 A Fish Called Selma

The Washed up actor Troy McClure finaly has his first starring role in an episode, after years of appearing in countles Infomercials. McClure starts dating Marge’s sister Selma to dispell a rumor of his sexual life (hint; It involves fish) Featuring the voice talents of Phil Hartman and Jeff Goldblum, this episode perfectly scewers Hollywod and it’s idiosyncrasies. And who can forget Planet of the Apes; The Musical?

5 Homers Phobia

This episode is notable for several things. Not only is it classic simpsons, hillarious from start to finish, but it also takes up a pretty important subject, namely homophobia. When the Simpsons befriend a campy store owner named John, Homer is quick to judge once he discovers John is gay. The whole thing is handled really well, and Homer’s line «I like my beer cold, my tv loud and my homosexuals flaming!» still brings a huge laugh.

4 Cape Feare

Now this episode is pure entertainment from start to finish. Featuring the third appearance of the maniacal Sideshow Bob, voiced by Fraiser himself, Kelsey Grammer, the episode features the simpsons having to go undercover to hide from a paroled Bob, out to excact his revenge on Bart. From the rake gag to the explanation of Bob’s tatoo (Die Bart, Die is german for The Bart, The) this is one for the historybooks!



Countdown: The Simpsons

3 Krusty gets Kancelled

Bette Midler, Luke Perry, Elisabeth Taylor, Johnny Carson and the Red Hot Chilli-Peppers. This episode is just chalked full of celebrity cameos, with the kind of stars that just aren’t made anymore. Detaling Krusty’s fall from fame after a new kids show hits the airways. This show may be the most star-studded, but it still has a lot of heart. Just look at Midler/Krusty’s «Hero» duet. If that doesn’t make you just a little choked up, i don’t know what will.

2 Lisa’s substitute

Now, while the simpsons always has been a funny show, back in the good old days, mostly pre-21st century, they also had a lot of heart, something this episode has in abundance. When Lisas teacher get’s sick, her class gets a substitute called Mr Bergstrom. With his unusual teaching methods, he quickly becomes lisa’s favourite teacher, and she starts developing a crush on him. Now this whole story really dvelves deeper into the character of Lisa, and explores her relationship with Homer in a pretty excellent way. Meanwhile, the subplot of Bart up for class president election agains class nerd Martin Prince is the episodes main source of hillarity. With an excellent balance between heart and humor, this episode really belongs up here on top.


Lemon of Troy

Ah, now this episode is really something. After years of squabble between Springfield and it’s neighbouring city Shellbyville, we finally get an episode where the conflict is in centre. After a lemon tree is stolen from Springfield, the kids of the town are quick to suspect Shellbyvillians of the misdeed, so Bart and his friends infiltrate Shellbyville, guerillja style, to get the tree back. According to behind the scenes material, Springfield was really depicted as a much better town than it really is in this episode, to really get the differences between Shelbyville and Springfield clear. There are really just to many great bits in this episode to list them all, from the team up of school bully Nelson and teachers pet Martin, to when Milhouse meets his Shelbyvillian doppelganger, stating «this must be what it feels like when doves cry»



Worst Episode Countdown EVER!



Beauty and the Beast

As performed by Angela Lansbury Tale as old as time True as it can be Barely even friends Then somebody bends Unexpectedly Just a little change Small to say the least Both a little scared Neither one prepared Beauty and the beast Ever just the same Ever a surprise Ever as before and Ever just as sure As the sun will rise Tale as old as time Tune as old as song Bittersweet and strange Finding you can change Learning you were wrong Certain as the sun (Certain as the sun) Rising in the east Tale as old as time Song as old as rhyme Beauty and the beast Tale as old as time Song as old as rhyme Beauty and the beast



Beauty and the Beast (1991)



Japanese Masters of Animation Text: Randy Butternubs Illustrations: Ghibli/Walt Disney Studios

The story of how a japanese animation studio won the hearts and minds of the entire world, with instant classics as My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away.

The Japanese Masters

The greatest animation studio in the world, bar none— and yes, that includes Pixar—Japan’s Studio Ghibli is largely dedicated to the work of two brilliant directors, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who co-founded the animation house in 1985 with producer Toshio Suzuki.


hanks to movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke, as well as a sustained publicity campaign by Ghibli’s U.S. distributor, Disney, Miyazaki’s name is wellknown to animation buffs, as well as the parents of many a delighted preteen. Takahata’s work isn’t as well known, in no small part because he hasn’t directed a feature in 13 years. But in the studio’s first decade and a half, the two traded masterworks on a regular basis, working in disparate but complementary styles. For those who have fallen under Ghibli’s spell, it’s difficult to choose a favorite, but for the uninitiated, the obvious starting point is 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, which perfectly encapsulates the beguiling mystery of Miyazaki’s films. The story is simple:

9-year-old Satsuki and her little sister Mei move to the country with their father to be nearer the hospital that houses their ailing mother. They pass their time investigating the surrounding woods, which turn out to be full of all manner of magical creatures, including a round, fuzzy forest spirit Mei names Totoro, in imitation of its earth-shaking voice. (Miyazaki compares the creature to an owl or a bear; it also resembles a plump, neckless rabbit.) But as is often the case in Miyazaki’s films, the plot is only a pretext to explore a magical world, sometimes located right under the noses of inattentive grownups. Wait by a bus stop long enough, and the mundane forms of public transport will be replaced by a sentient, many-legged, cat-shaped bus whose route quickly leaves the earth’s surface behind.

My Neighbour Totoro was Ghibli’s first smash hit



Now enshrined as Studio Ghibli’s mascot, Totoro is an iconic (and, inevitably, marketable) character. But Miyazaki never cedes the film to his non-human creations. Rather than standing in for the magic of the natural world, Totoro merely embodies the qualities already present in the sisters’ surroundings. There’s as much enchantment in ordinary activities, like the girls chasing each other around the house, as in any flight of fancy. My Neighbor Totoro has its roots in Miyazaki’s own life—his mother was hospitalized when he was a child— and the movie is informed by the texture of memory, so reality and imagination become indistinguishable. In Miyazaki’s films, the characters are rendered in cartoon fashion, but the world around them is painted in more realistic hues, more closely resem-

bling an impressionist painting than a comic strip. The evident care with which Miyazaki depicts the texture of a clump of grass or a tree is a subtle but persistent reminder of one of his great themes: the power and fragility of the natural world. In Princess Mononoke, his ecological bent crystallizes into an environmentalist parable, but it also has deep roots in Japanese tradition, where seemingly inanimate objects like rocks and trees are inhabited by living spirits. Princess Mononoke was Ghibli’s beachhead in the U.S., the movie that got the studio the mainstream recognition and theatrical audiences it deserved. (For a glimpse at the bad old days, seek out the dubbed, pannedand-scanned Fox DVDs of Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service—or, better yet, don’t.) With an English script by Neil Gaiman and a high-profile voice cast, it seemed poised for a Stateside breakthrough. Though box-office returns in the U.S. were modest—and a drop in the bucket compared to those in Japan, where it was the highestgrossing film in the country’s history until it was dethroned by Titanic— the notion that Studio Ghibli made animated films that culturally literate adults could attend without a pintsized companion as pretext had been firmly planted in the nation’s mind. In the context of Miyazaki’s other films, Mononoke’s story of a wandering warrior who gets caught in the battle between an angry forest spirit and a mining town seems slightly ponderous, and

The Japanese Masters

a tad too aware of its own epic scope, but it is undeniably a majestic work, a lyrical vision with metaphorical weight. Certain aspects of Ghibli’s films inevitably get lost in translation. While it’s commendable that Disney’s DVDs regularly include the original Japanese-language tracks as well as their star-studded English dubs, it’s unfortunate that the subtitles (or rather, “dubtitles”) simply replicate the English dialogue, which is sometimes significantly tweaked in order to make the films more palatable to an American audience. It’s far better treatment than Ghibli got in earlier decades; Disney learned its lesson

from the fan outcry that arose when Miramax announced plans to release Princess Mononoke with only the English audio track. But the movies still suffer from schizophrenic treatment at Disney’s hands. Pixar’s John Lasseter, who has been Miyazaki’s most vocal champion, pays tribute in video introductions on some of the discs, but Miyazaki’s presence is otherwise ignored in favor of highlighting the films’ American voice talent. The dubbed versions are fine—and, needless to say, much easier on younger viewers—but even without access to a literal translation, the Japanese-language tracks convey an emotional volatility that better matches

the characters’ actions. (And yet the English dubs are sometimes better matched to the characters’ lip movements, since in the Japanese tradition, dialogue is added after the film has been animated, where most animators match the characters’ mouths to a prerecorded vocal track.) While it’s a blessing to have nearly all Ghibli’s features available on DVD in the U.S., it’s clear that Disney still thinks their primary audience is children, which is presumably why it’s never released the adult-themed Only Yesterday and Ocean Waves. Fortunately, Isao Takahata’s Grave Of The Fireflies is excluded from Disney’s holdings, which allowed Sentai Filmworks to

bring the sobering film back into print earlier this year. Although the movie’s protagonists, 14-year-old Seita and his 4-year-old sister, Setsuko, are children, the film is hardly fit for preteen audiences. Even adults may find the story of a boy and his sister trying to fend for themselves amid the rubble of immediately post-World War II Japan difficult to endure, at least without shedding copious amounts of tears along the way. While Miyazaki often approaches the same themes from different angles, Takahata is Ghibli’s wild card, an inventive, versatile craftsman whose talents lend themselves to a wide range of approaches.Grave Of The Fireflies



The Japanese Masters is part memoir and part ghost story, beginning with Seita homeless and near death, his only apparent possession a small tin full of ash and bone fragments. Where Totoro uses animation to envision a world that doesn’t exist, Grave uses animation to tell a story that would be unbearable in a more realistic medium. The opening scene foreshadows the inevitable tragedy, but that hardly makes the sorrowful forward march of time easier to weather. Even amid the ashes of a defeated, disheartened nation, though, Takahata finds moments of beauty, like the incandescent insects of the film’s title. But few films, animated or otherwise, have the courage to pursue such a bleak, fatalistic view of the world, to say nothing of one that so determinedly casts its

Aryetti, loosely based on “The Borrowers”

native country’s past in such a dour light. Miyazaki’s films are characterized by their artistic discipline, but Takahata’s is a more protean, unpredictable gift. My Neighbors The Yamadas, Takahata’s final feature to date, is an oddity even for him. Adapted from a popular comic strip, the film takes on a similar style, with two-dimensional characters presented in a sea of white space. The only Ghibli film to be produced entirely with digital technology, it lacks the fluidity and grace of the studio’s hand-drawn efforts, and the episodic narrative is only fitfully satisfying. That said, it’s rare to find a film so squarely focused on the familiar ins and outs of family life, and there’s a low-key charm to its ebullient vignettes, although

Seita and his sister Setsuko in Grave of the fireflies

even at its best, it feels like a wellcrafted sitcom. Miyazaki’s features split, very roughly, into two strands, indicated by their protagonists’ age (and, less exactly, gender). The fables, which include Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, and Miyazaki’s most recent feature, Ponyo, are episodic in form, concerned with delineating a world and defining the characters, mostly preteen girls, through their understanding of it. The adventures—Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Porco Rosso, and Castle In The Sky (a.k.a. Laputa)—are oriented around conflict, generally featuring older male characters in the lead. Miyazaki’s films overlap to such a degree, and are of such high quality across the board, that differentiating between them is difficult and not especially desirable. Kiki’s Delivery Service ranks second only

to Totoro as a blissful children’s adventure, a lighthearted story of an apprentice witch who puts her talents to good use. But for Miyazaki, the boundaries of childhood are always porous, and encompass subjects that many present-day filmmakers (and parents) consider beyond young viewers’ ability to assimilate or comprehend. His movies are truer to the way children understand the world, as well as to their impetuous, irrational, sometimespetulant selves, than the imaginary innocents who are the tar get audience for most diluted, denatured kiddie entertainment. Following a girl named Chihiro into a bathhouse for wayward spirits, Spirited Away is poised between the relatively carefree world of childhood and the dangerous territory of adult life. The world Chihiro encounters—looking for her parents, who have been turned into

Isao Takahata - Born in Ujiyamada, October 29th 1935 - Worked for Toei Animation before joining Studio Ghibli - Has directed the grim war movie “Grave of the Fireflies” and “Pom Poko” among others



The Japanese Masters

Hayao Miazaki - Born in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Januray 5th 1941 - Co-founded Studio Ghibli with Isao Takahata after the succes of Naausica of the Valley of the wind - Has directed a total of 8 movies for Studio Ghibli, Including Spirited away, which won an Academy Award in 2001

pigs—is full of wonder and danger as well, notably a witch named Yubaba who evokes John Tenniel’s Red Queen. Ponyo, a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” skews younger with its story of a goldfish (depicted as a blobby toddler) who falls in love with a human boy, but the threat of catastrophe still lurks. Ponyo’s father is a powerful sorcerer, and her actions unleash a power that could be devastating. Miyazaki is obsessed with flight, enough so that Studio Ghibli’s name comes from a WWII-era nickname for Italian spy planes. Castle In The Sky is one of many films where characters find a entire world hidden in the clouds, in this case one that takes its name, Laputa, from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. A more obvious, though still highly eccentric, homage to his preoccupation with flight is the delightfully bonkers

Porco Rosso, in which a WWI flying ace does battle with rogue bands of “air pirates” in the Adriatic Sea. Miyazaki’s films rarely take place in a recognizable world, let alone a specific time period, but the film’s modest realism is more than offset by the fact that its main character is a bipedal pig. Originally commissioned as an in-flight film for Japan Airlines, the film grew into a feature but retains some of the casual lightness of a short subject. Miyazaki often takes his inspiration from literature, although even in the case of explicit adaptations, the source material has been thoroughly absorbed. Howl’s Moving Castle bears little resemblance to Diana Wynne Jones’ source novel, but even she was taken enough with the results to proclaim her full support. As in many of Miyazaki’s adventures, the world

Howl’s Moving Castle, their second Oscar Nominated film

is pushed to the brink of war, but here, the origins and even the nature remain unclear, as if from the perspective on the ground, it hardly matters who’s fighting whom. Miyazaki’s later films are more leisurely in their pacing, often because they dawdle to take in the texture of a leaf or patterns of light, but here, the pace is seasoned with something like dread. The studio has released a number of films by directors other than Miyazaki and Takahata, though those titles don’t entirely measure up to the work of Ghibli’s grand masters. The most recent, and one of the best, is The Secret World Of Arrietty, directed by Ghibli key animation veteran Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Loosely based on Mary Norton’s  The Borrowers—though it follows the novel’s storyline much

more closely than Howl’s Moving Castle  sticks to its own source material— the movie follows its doll-sized heroine into the strange, threatening world of humankind, a nifty twist on Ghibli’s usual habit of placing human heroes in unfamiliar surroundings. The movie is particularly acute when it comes to representing the texture of Arrietty’s world, like the way a water droplet looks to a creature only slightly larger than it, or the booming echo of sounds that humans typically pay no mind.


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The Japanese Masters

The Esential Ghibli If you are new to the world of Ghibli, we here at the animatic have picked out some of our absolute faves. These five are an ideal starting point for anyone.



1. My Neighbor Totoro

2. Grave Of The Fireflies

Ghibli’s best-known film, and the ideal introduction for viewers young and old. A benevolent forest spirit befriend two young girls, and opens the doors for some great storytelling

The darkest film in Ghibli’s library, and one of its most moving, as well as a landmark that shatters preconceptions about the animation medium’s potential.

The Japanese Masters

3. Ponyo on the cliff by the sea

4. Howl’s Moving Castle

5. The Secret World Of Arrietty

The other side of Miazaki: playful where Grave is somber, chaotic where it’s controlled. A giddy, flawless lark that reveals more serious themes

It’s neck-and-neck with Castle In The Sky and Princess Mononoke, but it takes the edge among Miyazaki’s tales of epic struggle for the way it balances world-shaking developments and character interaction.

Yonebayashi follows ably in his mentor’s footsteps by seeing our world though the eyes of a tiny protagonist, making the mundane world seem full of new wonder and fascination.



The Japanese Masters

Ghibli Timeline From Castle in the sky to Up on Poppy Hill, Studio Ghibli has amassed a massive collection of animated classics since it’s founding in 1984. On these two pages we give you the complete works of Ghibli, in chronological order. Maybe you’ll discover some missed pearls?

1 5 6



3 8 4 42



The Japanese Masters



16 11 12 13


17 1) Castle in the sky - 1986 2) Totoro - 1988 3) Grave of the fireflies - 1988 4) Kiki’s delivery Service - 1989 5) Only Yesterday - 1991 6) Porco Rosso -1992 7) Pom Poko - 1994 8) Whisper of the Heart - 1995 9) Princess Mononoke - 1997 10) My Neighbours the Yamadas - 1999 11) Spirited Away - 2001 12) The Cat’s Return - 2002 13) Howl’s Moving Castle - 2004 14) Tales from Earthsea - 2006


15) Ponyo - 2008 16) Arrieti - 2010 17) From Up On Poppy Hill - 2011



The Lion King (1993)



Circle of Life

As performed by Carmen Twilie From the day we arrive on the planet And blinking, step into the sun There's more to see than can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done There's far too much to take in here More to find than can ever be found But the sun rolling high Through the sapphire sky Keeps great and small on the endless round It's the Circle of Life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path unwinding In the Circle The Circle of Life It's the Circle of Life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path unwinding In the Circle The Circle of Life









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