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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

link: Batman Gotham Knights (preview)

Similar to the Animatrix, Warner Bros., Studio 4°c, Production IG and Madhouse are teaming up again to do a series of shorts related to the Dark Knight.

Anime-inspired direct-to-DVD anthology film. Comprised of six short stories, from diverse creators, including Academy Award-nominated Josh Olsen (A History of Violence), Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer, and comics scribe Brian Azzarello. It's planned for a release window of two to four weeks prior to the release of The Dark Knight, and would bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

IMDB entry

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed in the featurette; Batman is a character rife with potential for exploration, particularly in the anime aesthetic. And like the short-format anthology collection of the Animatrix offers the best potential for realizing this potential in its purest form, stripped of camp and free of action-bloat.

The production designs look impeccable and incredibly varied. I have to admit a bit of nostalgia for the old super-sized anthology issues of back in day, where artists and writers out of the mainstream were invited to cast a character through the prism of re-interpretation.

I'm still holding my breath on the actual animation here. There is precious little of it to go by, but there are quite a few moments in the clips that worry me: halting, mechanical action; awkward movement; still silhouettes moved across the frame without motion. It does beg the question whether anime as a whole abides by Disney's rules of animation (particularly since Japanese animation shares a spiritual lineage with it). If they deviate substantially, this could be why the animation seems odd; it's simply because the iconography of behavior is different. It'll be interesting to revisit this once the movie has been released.

Still, I really would have liked to have seen a segment from the likes of Gonzo ('Afro Samurai') or Manglobe ('Samurai Champloo')

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