Why Funny Faces Are Essential to the Success of an Anime

An art style can make or break an anime; For example, an art style with a superb use of color theory can enhance an anime, but one with a complete lack of understanding anatomy would absolutely ruin it. However, there’s one element of an anime’s art that stands above all the others, ready to wreck devastation onto the animes that don’t use it: We’re, of course, talking about the funny faces.

Anime fans everywhere know that funny faces are a staple and a signifier of a good show; These expressions are an indicator that you’re in for a good time, whether you’re watching the anime itself or just simply posting about it online. It’s basically telling its viewers “Are you ready for fun? Because it’s time to have fun!” After all, who doesn’t like to have fun?

There’s a reason why we use Sailor Moon the most out of the three pillars of Comica approval.

To start our analysis of why funny faces are pivotal to successful anime, we’ll have to go back to anime’s humble beginnings: Anime originally started in the 1910s, much like many other cartoon industries from around the world. Not unlike the rest of the world, Japan was following in the same footsteps as everyone else: They took up sound when it was invented, they took up making animated feature films when they realized they could do that, they then— Well, you get the idea already.

Predictably, this would lead Japan to follow in the footsteps of western animation companies such as Disney and Fleischer Studios, and become inspired by their expressive characters. In fact, Japan liked them enough, Fleischer Studios even sent Betty Boop over there to perform once!

…That, and the fact that Donald Duck basically invented modern anime/manga. How could we ever forget about his influence on anime?

Pictured: Osamu Tezuka (And his character, Mighty Atom/Astro Boy) wishing Donald a happy new year!

While anime characters have always been expressive due to their traditionally-cartoony roots, another element would later come into play of the effectiveness of funny faces: Reaction images.

You see, all of these animation companies made sure to consider the classical principle of “emoticons” in their work. Dating back to a simple drawing of a smiley face in 1653, emoticons were instantly incorporated into animation to help make their characters easier to draw (especially repeatedly) than having to draw realistic human faces for nearly every frame.

However, it wouldn’t be until 1982 that the idea of emoticons being used digitally was taken into consideration. As the internet and other digital mediums grew, people began to develop new kinds of emoticons to use in their communication, such as smilies, sideways emoticons, kaomoji, emojis like the ones in The Emoji Movie, -and of course- using gifs/pictures of shows to express one’s feelings. Naturally, anime funny faces ended up being a common occurrence among all of the gifs and pictures people used.

This is only a small sample of the many, many anime reaction faces out there. (Admittedly, -aside from the left column, and one or two other ones- these are all kinda lame…)

Meanwhile, back in the anime industry, all of the companies were starting to notice that images of their show’s funny faces were starting to be posted nearly everywhere online. Originally, the anime industry was considering suing everyone who used reaction images into oblivion, but as soon as they noticed all of the “what anime is this?” comments near many of the anime funny faces, it turns out they found free advertising for the shows themselves.

As soon as many studios released again how much impact funny faces could have on their anime (getting people attached to their characters, free advertising in the form of reaction gifs, its fun to draw and animate, etc.) they made sure to provide plenty for their audiences to enjoy. However, what happens to an anime that doesn’t use funny faces?

Maybe it’s a deep, serious drama that can’t see itself using wacky expressions? Perhaps they spent too much of the animation budget on special effects? Or maybe they’re just complete brutes who don’t like people having fun while watching their shows?

Proof that an anime with funny faces is better than one without faces faces.

However, what if an anime is nothing but funny faces? One example would be the soon-to-become-an-actual-anime, Pop Team Epic; It plays with this idea, having it’s main characters faces always look adorable and funny, while engaging in all sorts weird, oddball scenarios, mainly since it’s a comedy series.

Pictured: Pop Team Epic‘s homage to anime’s early Disney roots.

In conclusion, anime funny faces is a time-honored tradition dating back to the 1930s that also still holds up to this very day, and very likely into the future. Everybody loves and relates to them, they’re fun, and they’re an indicator of whether a series is truly good and worth watching, especially as we go further into the digital age; Wherever there’s pictures, there will be anime funny faces!

Robbie Rotten: The True Hero of LazyTown?

A true Lazytown hero.

To many, Robbie Rotten is a scheming villain, a master of disguise, an advocate of laziness, and just an overall brutus. However… Did you know Robbie Rotten is actually a straight-up honest guy? Contrary to his reputation as “Villain Number One”, he’s actually a freedom fighter for LazyTown, hoping to free it from its communist dictatorship.

Due to the lack of coverage regarding not only LazyTown’s government, but all of Robbie Rotten’s not-so-rotten heart as well, one of our Buttbuddz reporters decided to interview Robbie himself.

Buttbuddz Reporter: Thank you for taking time from your busy day to sit down and speak with us, Mr. Rotten. First off, do you have any connection to the brutish, British politician, Theresa Mays?

Robbie: What!? No! She disguised herself to look like me! For one, I’m against spying on ordinary citizens: Perhaps LazyTown’s dictators like Mayor Meanswell, maybe, but not innocent civilians!

Buttbuddz: You say that LazyTown’s a dictatorship, but can you elaborate on what it’s leaders -like Mayor Meanswell- have done to LazyTown?

Robbie: They all say that they “love that it’s the laziest place on Earth” yet “Mayor” Meanswell insists on everyone following the sleeping schedules, and physical activity standards set up by Sportaflop, the sworn enemy of laziness and all that LazyTown stands for! Then he turns around and says I’m the bad guy because I like sleeping in, and liking sweets… How can one man be in favor of all these contradictory things!? …And don’t think this is ending anytime soon; His niece, Stephanie, plans on taking over the family dictatorship after he retires.

Buttbuddz: I can see the problems you have with LazyTown’s government, but how does this impact the other residents of LazyTown?

Robbie: Believe it or not, they don’t want to be outside, or wake up at six in the morning, or eat nothing but fruits, and vegetables; Do you think Pixel is really happy being forced to play real football outside instead of games like Extreme Football Throwdown? Do you think Ziggy’s happy not eating his favorite candies, but apples instead? Do you really think Trixie likes be forced to wear Roller-skates all the time!? I didn’t think so!

Buttbuddz: If you were in charge of LazyTown, how would you run it instead?

Robbie: I’d change the laws, of course. I’d abolish the required education laws Meanswell set up so that nobody would be forced to go to school, and everyone can learn at their own pace. I’d abolish the sleeping schedule, so everybody can sleep as long as their bodies need it. And, of course, I’d abolish all of Sportaflop’s “healthy living standards”; A nation without cake and Pepsi is a nation nobody should be living in!

Robbie really would be the best mayor LazyTown’s ever had.

Buttbuddz: But isn’t having only cake a bit unhealthy? 

Robbie: Not exactly; There’s carrot cake, sweet potato cake, beef cake… Cake’s like sandwiches: You can put anything in a cake and still call it cake. Besides, its not just cake and Pepsi I’d allow; Ice cream, pies… You name it; we’ll have it. …Just not Coca Cola and apples, as those end up giving Sportacus the power to overthrow LazyTown’s reformed government. And we can’t have that, now can we?

Buttbuddz: Finally, what do you think of the residents of LazyTown?

Robbie: Deep down, I wish I could be friends with everyone… Sometimes it feels like I’m thinking about myself more than anyone else, but then I look at everyone’s living situations, and I realize they need my help too.

After our interview was over, Robbie immediately dashed out to resume his efforts in saving LazyTown from it’s tyrannical government. Hopefully, he succeeds in his efforts, but if he doesn’t, he’ll always be a straight up honest guy in our hearts.

Bubsy Bobcat Returns After Being Missing For Half A Decade

After years of being declared missing by the gaming industry at large, Accolade’s (in)famous feline mascot, Bubsy the Bobcat, has finally returned in a new game titled Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. Bubsy’s sudden comeback has shocked millions; Nobody was prepared for his reappearance in the public eye, especially not after the overwhelmingly positive reception of 1996’s Bubsy 3D: Bubsy visits the James Turrell Retrospective.

“…Stunning…Original…Bubsy 3D climbs back to the top…Check it out!” – EGM

While some speculated that Bubsy was going to appear in Sonic Forces due to the appearance of a matching silhouette (that ended up actually being a Sonic OC that was somehow less generic-looking than he is), the last true sighting of the bobcat was in a late 2012 photograph of him and Ren and Stimpy‘s Ren Hoek eating bowls of soup together. However, the photograph -not unlike Bubsy himself- was missing from the Buttbuddz Historical Archives, so in it’s place, here’s an artist’s recreation instead:

a quality recreation

Professional Bubsy players are rejoicing in the streets due to the comeback of their beloved gaming franchise and gaming-mascot bobcat, but will Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back become a classic like the other installments in it’s franchise? We’ll have to wait and see when Fall 2017 gets here.

[EDIT] As it turns out, the original was in the Buttbuddz archive all along; Buttbuddz history is saved!

“you eediot the original was in the buttbuddz archives all along.”

How MGM’s 1930’s police procedural series Crime Does Not Pay influenced modern Magical Girl anime.

Apparently everyone’s been waiting years for this article, but if this was released earlier, not much would’ve changed; The Magical Girl genre -as a whole- has been rather “stagnant” within the 2010’s, with all of it’s reboots, and sequels, and other things. In this analysis, the influence of Crime Does Not Pay that’s slowly seeping it’s way into the genre will be looked at with a critical eye, and plenty of appreciation of it’s brilliance.

Crime Does Not Pay is a theatrical crime-genre series of short films by MGM that ran in theatres from 1935 to 1947. The Crime Does Not Pay series revolves around one-off short stories starring police officers, detectives, and criminal justice workers of all kinds solving the crimes surrounding them. It also had a spin-off radio show that ran from 1949 to 1951, and a crime-genre comic series by Lev Gleason Publications that -while both have the same title- are not actually related.

For example, the comics have a consistent character in the form of Mr. Crime, a brutish narrator character who also eggs on the criminals of the comic’s short stories.

However, -as the writer of this article doesn’t own the “COMPLETE SHORTS COLLECTION” and also wasn’t able to find any of the films on the internet aside from Don’t Talk, a WWII-Propaganda piece about industrial espionage and defense manufacturing- most of the information regarding Crime Does Not Pay used in this analysis had to come from the radio dramas based on MGM’s films, and assorted IMDB articles.

As far as Crime Does Not Pay‘s influence on the magical girl anime genre goes, it wasn’t always there. While their worlds still have cops and other law enforcement, traditional crime series elements ended up taking a backseat to the sparkles, teamwork, occasional romance, and threats too huge for many criminal justice fields to even deal with, let alone defeat: That’s where the magical girls come in after all. It would take years before Crime Does Not Pay would ever influenced their genre.

Enter the early 2000’s, the very end of the “classic” era and the very beginning of the “Modern” era. After Sailor Moon ended in 1997, Toei Animation had been going through new magical girl series on a regular basis; At one point, they demanded an anime producer by the name of Washio Takashi to make a series for them, as they needed something to fill another show’s soon-to-be-empty time slot. However, there was problem; Washio Takashi wasn’t familiar with any “shoujo” genres, let alone the *~Mahou~* Shoujo genre.

Hoping to solve his writer’s block, Takashi watched a few episodes of his favorite classic crime series, Crime Does Not Pay for inspiration: As the daunting tales of detectives and crimes filled his head, he decided to bring a lot of elements from the show into his and Toei Animation’s Izumi Todo’s newest magical girl show; Futari wa Pretty Cure.

Image result for futari wa precureFutari wa Pretty Cure ended up premiering on TV Asahi in February 1, 2004. (Even though the show looks an entire decade older than it actually is.) The anime stars two girls: Nagisa Misumi, and Honoka “The Queen of Knowledge” Yukishiro. Nagisa, -like a true crime detective- doesn’t play by the rules, but by a sense of justice; She hates that innocent people get hurt for things they had nothing to do with.

Nagisa’s outfit has pink in it, therefore making her the main character.

Honoka, on the other hand, is a member of the chemistry club, therefore making her a professional chemist not unlike how many of the crime solvers in Crimes Do Not Pay are professionals at their jobs.

Solving crimes with chemistry!

After finding two talking cellphone critters, and becoming magical girls as a result, Nagisa and Honoka use their newfound powers and friendship -as Cure Black and Cure White respectively- to stop evil such as brutes, card-counters, and card-counting brutes.

Nagisa and Honoka’s great criminal-catching skills in action.

Similarly to Crime Does Not Pay, there’s thrilling action sequences that show up deep into Futari Wa Pretty Cure‘s episodes. Unlike Crime Does Not Play, though, they don’t use guns and punch people: Instead, they turn into magical girls, and punch people. (They even punch/kick people more than they use stock footage attacks.)

If you’re not absolutely convinced that Futari wa Precure‘s inspired by Crime Does Not Pay

In the end, justice wins every time: The crimes get solved, and Nagisa and Honoka -like Crime Does Not Pay‘s narrators- reflect on the mysteries of the human psyche and the crimes surrounding them.

They don’t call her “The Queen of Knowledge” for nothing.

Futari wa Pretty Cure ended up being a massive success, spawning not only a direct sequel and two movies, but countless spin-off seasons as well, each detailing the lives of various different teams like the original Crime Does Not Pay does with it’s crime solvers with each new short film; One film it would’ve been police inspectors, another would have FBI agents. Precure (the abbreviation for the franchise as whole) seasons past Futari wa Pretty Cure work much the same way; One season you’d have a chemist like Honoka, but another season you’d have a character like Splash Star‘s artist, Mai Mishou, instead. While the amount of Crime Does Not Pay‘s influence varies from installment to installment of the franchise, sometimes it gets even more obvious than it was in Futari wa Pretty Cure itself.

Mai Mishou, now finished with her latest forensic sketch.

A good example would be from the tenth anniversary season, 2014’s Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, which makes its influences incredibly obvious through it’s use of “Precards”; Not only dues it reference Futari wa Pretty Cure‘s similar (but unnamed) cards, but some of the cards, -such as the detective or police Precards- are references to the original Crime Does Not Pay series itself. (Complete with being able to be used by the non-magical forms of the protagonists, for that nice, classic crime fiction feel!) Conveniently, there’s clips of these forms already posted on YouTube, so here they are for the sake of evidence.

However, many modern-day magical girl shows (especially those from during the 2010’s) chose to follow in Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s footsteps instead in being gritty and dark, choosing to revel in the dark themes of shows prior except on an even huger scale than shows like Sailor Moon had ever done. And as we all know, edgy shows/comics/other works -magical girl genre or otherwise- don’t look highly on law enforcement, and it would be highly unlikely that these shows would take influence from classic crime fiction such as the short films of Crime Does Not Pay. (Which were initially made to stop the influence of 1930’s gangster films, the “edgy” works of it’s time.)

Image result for sad luna sailor moon
[Pictured: The current state of newer works in the genre.]
…Well, that, and there’s virtually no results for “magical girl police” or “magical girl detective” online, modern-era shows or otherwise; That means no shows are taking OBVIOUS influence from Crime Does Not Pay either. This, however, leaves the question of whether or not modern Magical Girl shows will continue to take influence from Crime Does Not Pay after the genre gets over it’s Hot Topic phase: Will the genre get its own equivalent of Crime Does Not Pay to combat it’s Public Enemies and Scarfaces? Only time will tell at this point. (But I sure hope Crime Does Not Pay‘s legacy in the magical girl genre will be able to continue, especially as it’s arrived fairly “late” in the grand scheme of things.)

Game Review #1: Kirby Squeak Squad

Welcome to the BLOGBUDDZ’s first ever game review: Today we’ll be reviewing a rather divisive game today, known for causing it’s gaming franchise’s fans to question the morality of it’s own protagonist. A game that’s more well-known as “Kirby’s Fucking Pissed” among the internet than by it’s actual title, Kirby: Squeak Squad. 

KSQSQ_logo

Like all Kirby games, it’s darkness and extensive lore is not visible in the slightest when you start it; The first thing you see in game with Kirby enjoying a piece of nice, delicious, strawberry cake. KSqSq_Strawberry_Shortcake_Screenshot

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” you might ask. “It’s just a pink gumball eating cake: Just how horrifying can it be?” Well, that’s when you notice that you’re wrong…

tumblr_inline_mzhi7oJpy51rjw2mu.png

Kirby beats up an entire game’s worth of enemies and bosses, over a slice of cake. This didn’t bode well with Kirby’s fans, as they were more used to the cutesy, innocent Kirby the other 14 years worth of games before Squeak Squad had. (Hal Labs eventually reverted back to the aforementioned “good Kirby” in Kirby games post-Squeak Squad as well, but the damage had already been done: The “Kirby is Evil” theories and disturbingly-realistic internet fan-art still persisted, and Kirby’s reputation was never the same since…)

…That’s basically the entire plot of the game. Well, that, and you fight this installment’s titular Squeak Squad.Squeak_Squad2The Squeak Squad are rats. They’re rats. They’re the rats. They prey at night, they stalk at night, they’re the rats. Their leader Daroach is even a giant rat that makes all of the rules. The trouble they got themselves into was stealing Kirby’s cake. (…Which is conveniently located in the same treasure chest as the game’s true antagonist.)

Keep in mind that Kirby Squeak Squad was made only eight years before the release of Jerma985’s legendary Rat Movie: Mystery of the Mayan Treasure. (and it’s 2015 sequel, Rat Movie 2.) Does this mean the Squeak Squad are the predecessors to the rats we see in the RAT MOVIE MOVIES!?

gfs_75607_2_1

Gameplay-wise, it’s like pretty much every other Kirby platformer: You can fly, you suck up foes and gain their abilities, you even fight King Dedede and Meta Knight like in a lot of other Kirby games, etc. However, you can see inside Kirby’s stomach from the Nintendo DS’s bottom screen, so there’s that, I guess…

Overall, there isn’t a lot to say about this game. The lore is surprisingly small for a Kirby game, which isn’t surprising considering the complete lack of Escargoon and the extensive lore surrounding him.

While Kirby: Squeak Squad is a still nice game, (After all, Kirby truly has no bad video games!) it’s not exactly one of the highest priority ones you need to play in the franchise: It’s pretty simple lore-wise, and about as remarkable as any other platformer in the series is gameplay-wise….

Well, unless you’re a die-hard Kirby fan, a Rat Movie fanatic, a “Kirby is Evil” theorist, or already finished with Super Star/Air Ride/Planet Robobot: Then this game should be a priority to play.

OUR SCORE: 5.2 [Needs more Escargoon.]

Last-Minute Fun Fact: When you play Kirby Squeak Squad on your birthday, you are greeted with a “Happy Birthday” screen. (It even greets you with a nice little song!)

rats.png

…I know this because it’s my birthday (or at least in EASTERN STANDARD TIME, where and when this article was written), so I’m sharing the surprise this game gave me with you. Enjoy?