I didn’t get a chance to post my regular Sunday morning cartoon round-up last week, so I’m combining two Sundays in one. The big news is of course that Samurai Jack‘s new episode run is now over, and what an ending that was. I’m so thankful to Genndy Tartakovsky for producing this amazing extra season of the show, and giving the series a proper ending. I loved seeing Jack and Ashi’s relationship truly blossom in the final two episodes (despite the dark turn it takes) and I really wasn’t expecting to see something so final. I’m of course sad that I will no longer be getting new episodes of Samurai Jack on a weekly basis, but at least I got this lovely 10-week resurgence.
I’m still watching the second season of Mickey Mouse shorts, with last week’s shorts taking the form of “Eau de Minnie” and “O Futebol Classico” (which was by far the stronger of the two), and this week watching “Down the Hatch” (I loved the bit where they play hard rock with Donald’s vocal chords) and “Goofy’s Grandma.” For last week’s Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies short, I watched the still incredible “Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a Half Century” — still one of my favorite Looney Tunes settings. Today I watched “Speedy Gonzales,” which acts as the intro to the character.
For the last thing, both last week and today, I decided to start a re-watch of the old The Scooby-Doo Show — I’ve watched tons of Scooby-Doo series in my life, but that’s the one that I remember the most (the episodes originally aired in 1976-78, but I probably watched it in the 80s as reruns). I’ve watched the first 2 episodes, and it’s pretty fun, although the stories are incredibly dumb — they barely try to make the mystery interesting. And I’d completely forgotten that this series had a laugh track, which comes off as weird. But it’s been fun, especially since it’s been so long since I’ve watched anything from Hanna-Barbera.
I thought this week’s Samurai Jack was a bit on the weak side, but I did enjoy the coming together of Jack and Aki — yes, it was bound to happen, but it was still satisfying to see them embrace at the end. Tangled was Tangled (I like the series for the animation more than the story), and then I kicked off the second season of Mickey Mouse shorts with “Cable Car Chaos” and “Fire Escape.” For this week’s Looney Tunes short (or Merry Melodies, rather), I watched “Duck Amuck” (pictured), which is definitely one of the all-time classics — it’s just so deliciously meta, and feels quite avant-garde. I capped things off with some Ren & Stimpy, in the form of “Robin Hoek,” with a little Powdered Toast Man mixed in.
This past Sunday’s cartoon session kicked off yet again with another fantastic Samurai Jack episode — I really don’t know what I’m going to do when the season is over (and there are only 3 episodes left). After watching another episode of the Tangled series, I capped off the first season of Mickey Mouse shorts with “Third Wheel” and “The Adorable Couple” (pictured). Next week I’ll kick off the second season of shorts, but it also makes me sad to think that there are only 2 seasons to watch. These shorts are just so great. I then finished my morning viewing with another classic Looney Tunes short, this time “Buccaneer Bunny,” which so-stars Yosemite Sam as a pirate. Fun stuff.
This week’s Samurai Jack was so good on so many fronts, from the callbacks to old episodes (when meeting up with beings that had been saved by Jack) as well as the return of Jack to take arms, but my favorite sequence was the club/rave part — dance, baby, dance. Tangled was fine, and I watched another couple of Mickey Mouse shorts (“Flipperboobootosis” and “Trapped Out”) that were fine too, and I’m now coming close to the end of the first season of shorts. I capped it off with another classic Looney Tunes short, this time “Baseball Bugs” (pictured). Cartoons are awesome.
I can’t say that this is a really good movie, but I did enjoy watching it as a piece of nostalgia. I’d completely forgotten the story, and then I slowly remembered how disappointed I was when I saw it as a kid, that it introduced so many new characters, and quickly put aside the old favorites. I remembered the animation as being top notch, and although it’s definitely better than what we were getting on TV (I was an avid watcher of The Transformers cartoon, even though I never had any of the toys — I was a G.I. Joe kid), it’s not all that great. The worst though is the music, as it’s just stuffed in there with no care on how it works with the imagery — early in the film they use “The Touch” and it’s just ridiculously out of place. But like I said, as a nostalgic trip back, it was fun.
I remember being quite interested in watching this Korean animated film when it got announced last year (even though I’m pretty tired of seeing zombies in whatever form of media), and then had sorta forgotten about it. I watched it the other night, and wow, this is a really good movie. The animation is really fantastic — super realistic, and I love the character designs, with sort of simple line work. It’s pretty dark a movie, with an ending that’s even more horrific than you’d expect. Highly recommended.
I’ve realized that when it comes to my Sunday morning cartoon sessions, I much prefer to keep it to traditional 2D animation (or if it is CG, that it’s made to look like traditional animation). That’s why I stopped watching Star Wars Rebels on Sunday mornings (although I finished up season 3 a few days ago, really enjoying the last 3 episodes, especially the Obi Wan Kenobi one) and Trollhunters (which, to be honest, is also because I just don’t find myself particularly compelled to keep watching it). Yesterday’s session started as usual with the latest episode of Samurai Jack, which again featured some gorgeous visuals (see the image used for this post) — and it feels like we’re starting to head towards the end of the series (sadly). I then watched an episode of Tangled, which is still fun, followed by another couple of Mickey Mouse shorts — one of them was surprisingly long, at around 7-8 minutes (they tend to be 2-3 minutes long). I then decided to hop on another nostalgic trip, by starting to watch classic Looney Tunes shorts. I started off with the classic “Hare Tonic” — incredible to think it was released in 1945, as it still feels so dynamic.
My buddy Matt Alt wrote a great piece for The New Yorker about the arrival of Your Name — a film I loved to death — to North America.
The best thing about this morning’s cartoon cavalcade was the happy return of Samurai Jack — it had been preempted last week because of the Rick & Morty special. An interesting episode, with the — well, sorta expected — turn of one of the daughters of Aku. I followed that up with three Mickey Mouse shorts — that’s “O Sole Minnie” pictured in the post — and then some Ren & Stimpy (with the good ol’ “I don’t like it” horse). I capped things off with the Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. I really do enjoy these Sunday morning cartoon sessions.
I haven’t had a chance to dig into these yet, but the Film Center at Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art has posted 64 classic shorts — basically, examples from the birth of animation in Japan — online. More details in this article from The Hollywood Reporter.