Saturday, 19 June 2010

Studio 4ºC

I've been meaning to write something about the wonderful animation company in Japan called Studio 4ºC ever since I saw Tekkonkinkreet last month. They are responsible for many animated shorts that I have enjoyed greatly over the past few years.

When the Matrix sequels came out an accompanying series of animations set in the universe of the films, imaginatively titled The Animatrix, was released on DVD. Several different studios with varying styles created and told stories that ranged from being tied to the plot of the films, to the history of the Matrix, or even just showing what happens when there's a bit of glitch.
In Beyond, one of Studio 4ºC's segments, a woman loses her cat in a crowded shanty town and stumbles across some kids playing in what they deem to be a haunted house, but is in fact a glitchy area of the Matrix. Gravity isn't obeying the laws of physics, time slows down and even more obscure things happen within the grounds of this house, it's a fun piece with a thin storyline but has very beautiful and textured visuals.

Another sequel and another tie-in animated DVD, this time around it was The Dark Knight in the cinemas and Gotham Knight at home, a collection of tales set in the Batman universe though not strictly in that of Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan's reinterpretation.
Here Studio 4ºC contributed two tales; the first "Have I Got A Story For You" being my favourite, possibly of the whole set, and shows some kids telling each other stories of their encounters with Batman and what they reckon him to be; a smoke creature, a robot or even a really large bat!

They have since also worked on a similar DVD release based on the Xbox's Halo series of games, however I have not played these a great deal and haven't been too interested in their story.

Tekkonkinkreet was a feature film based on a manga called Black and White, and follows two kids in a sprawling Japanese city who try to act as guardians when gangsters and strange ninja creatures come to town. I had been meaning to watch it for quite a while after hearing about it some time last year and then I'd spotted it and recognised the title after the local library held a Japan/Manga promotion with the usual Studio Ghibli fare. The backgrounds are unbelievable and show a staggering amount of detail, in contrast to the simple and fairly flat colours of the characters that help them to pop out of the scene, especially when they are moving about at speed performing swift parkour moves through the city.

This year it was announced that the studio has been tasked with bringing back the cult-loved Thundercats series for 2011, for now though I shall leave you with my attempt from the end of last month of emulating Studio 4ºC's style with a depiction of the Eleventh Doctor... hmm, a Doctor Who animation DVD, now that could work.


Steff Lee said...

Steff likes your post :)

Toby J said...

hehe, nice post.

Didn't they do animated Doctor Who for cbbc? Not good. Needs to be more mature I guess.

Chris said...

There were some animated Doctor Who mini-series on CBBC, one with the Doctor and Martha which had some nice ideas but limited actual animation, more standing still talking. The second was without any of the TV companions and used some dodgy 3D animation, set in Roswell, I thought it was worse than the first. But don't know which companies did those, there have also been some simple animated versions of the missing episodes where just the audio remains.