What happens when anime fans get the green light to produce what they want? Get Netflix Love, Death and Robots, an anthology series intended to remind viewers that animation isn’t just for kids. You’d think that would be an inevitable outcome in 2022, after decades of anime becoming mainstream, irreverent Adult Swim comedies have taken over the bedrooms, and the network/streaming platform has its own (edgy) animated series (edgy) (mysterious And big mouth on Netflix, Invincible on Amazon Prime).
However, it is very common to see the medium diminish. At this year’s Academy Awards, the award for Best Animated Feature was introduced as something entirely made for children, prompting filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. (The LEGO movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), to Demanding Hollywood to raise the genre instead. Even Pixar’s library of clever and engaging movies is still not seen as “adult” stories.
Love, Death and Robots, which just launched its third season on Netflix, feels like a crash course in the limitless narrative potential of animation. It bounces off a cute entry about robots exploring the remnants of human civilization (part one of the series, 3 robots: exit strategieswritten by science fiction author John Scalzi), into a nearly silent, visually lush game of cat-and-mouse between a deaf soldier and a legendary siren (gebaro), to a horrific story about whalers who were boarded by a giant man-eating crab (bad travelthe first animated project directed by David Fincher, co-author of the series).
Jennifer Yeoh Nelson, Managing Director of Love, Death and Robots, told Engadget that the animation industry has definitely made headway when it comes to telling more mature stories. “Everyone who works in animators talks about trying to get more adult stuff done because it is [about] “The freedom to explore the full scope of storytelling,” she said. “You’re not trying to do things for a certain age group.”
But, she says, the animators were also told that mature projects didn’t necessarily exist. “I think it takes a show like [this] To prove that it can [work]and that makes the whole company and the whole company city look around and say, “Oh, that’s a viable thing that people really want to see.”
Series co-creator Tim Miller (Deadpool, Terminator: Dark Fate) also points to the power of video games, which have been telling mature stories with interactive animations for decades. This is another industry that was initially seen as children’s games, but has matured significantly with rich storytelling from independent projects, such as Kentucky Road Zeroto big-budget movies like the last of us. Games and animation are practically evolving together, as audiences demand more complex ideas and the creators who have grown up on previous generations of those media. You can’t have a premium Disney + remake DuckTales, or the latest version from Sony God of Warwithout a fondness for the simple joy of originality.
“Animations have grown a lot and reflect the taste of the people who make them and the people who watch them,” says Nelson. “It’s a generational shift. People demand a certain level of sophistication in their story, so it’s not really princess movies anymore.”
with every season Love, Death and Robots, Nelson says she and Miller focus on finding stories that evoke a sense of “nerd joy.” There is no overarching theme, instead they are looking for projects with scope, passion, and potential to be visually pleasing. And while none of the short films have been made into miniseries or independent films yet, Nelson points out that this is a possibility, especially since some authors have explored other ideas within those worlds. (I would definitely like to see these three devious robots mock humanity for an entire season.)
The series also serves as a showcase for a variety of animation techniques. Some show off the delicately tailored CG shorts, while others love bad travel Use motion capture to preserve the intricacies of the actor’s movement or face. Jerome Chen, Director of Military Horror Short In vaulted halls buried, on Unreal, which makes his plot look like a cut scene from a game I desperately want to play. And there is still a lot of love for traditional 2D technologies, such as cool bloody techniques Kill Team Kill (Directed by Nelson, Far From Fun kung fu panda supplement).
“Technology does not replace art, but the experience allows these studios to find ways to do things better,” Nelson said. “[The show gives] Freedom for all these different studios to experiment with their own language.”
Miller has a slightly different view, saying on one level that “technology is art and they have mixed together in some way.” While agreeing with Nelson, who was quick to point out that “artists can make art with a stick,” Miller said you still need some level of sophisticated technology to create realistic stories.
The great thing about an anthology series like I love death and robots? These two philosophies can coexist while demonstrating the power of animation in equal measure.
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