Archive for the ‘General Posts’ Category

(Left to Right): Guano, Lily, Mitsuki, Gonard (in the back), Mikey, Ozu, and Yes Man

Don’t you see the man is Kappa Mikey?


This show has nothing to do with anime or furry or tokusatsu.  Okay it has a little to do with anime.  If you’re not familiar with the series, it was a parody series that ran on NickToons Network from 2006-2008 about a young American kid named Mikey Simon who is having bad luck trying to become an actor.  He finds a the winning ticket (or whatever the object was) to a Japanese series called LilyMu and the show’s all about him living in Japan and being the star of LilyMu.  The premise is simple enough, but the execution is atrocious.  And nearly everyone who’s seen the show can agree on that.  Low brow, gross out humor and terrible Flash animation is really all the series had going for it.  As much as I consider this series to be one of my guilty pleasures, this show was bad.  And that disappoints me…


I think the show had something.  It had a decent premise as a parody series.  The problem is that the series was targeted for the wrong audience and made by the wrong people.  Most people will only insult Kappa Mikey as I did in the first paragraph.  Bad humor, horrendous animation, so on and so forth.  No one fails to mention how much fun the premise of this show could have been if in the hands of the right people.  Perhaps no one cares.  Everyone’s quite content with the fact the show’s been canceled for years now.  I’m not willing to let it go so easily…


While watching a countdown of the top 11 American made anime series by Suede the “That Guy with the Glasses” site, he mentions (using video and not so much talking about it) Kappa Mikey as a horrible example of American anime.  Well, I agree.  It’s a horrible anime series…if were actually trying to be an anime series.  The deal with Kappa Mikey is that it’s a parody show.  Or rather it’s supposed to be one.  But Suede’s right for listing it as an American anime because it’s attempting to cash in on the growing popularity and appeal of Japanese animated media in the US…but it does it horribly.  The problem with the show is that it doesn’t do what it sets out to do.  You can clearly tell it’s supposed to be a parody of the differences between Japanese animation and American animation.  That gets across just by looking at the style differences.  Since the majority of the characters are from Japan, they’re drawn looking like stereotypical anime cliches (thin lines, less “stylized” anatomy, big eyes).  Mikey’s drawn according to American animation cliches (thicker lines, more stylization with anatomy, etc.).  But that’s as far as the parody goes.  It tries to do silly things like adding in characters that look like anime characters either in the background or as a main character.  But they don’t push the concept far enough.  Here’s what the show should have been…


Kappa Mikey should have been a series that parodied the differences and similarities between Japanese animation and Western (American) animation in story and style.  The basic premise can remain.  But do something more with the LilyMu series.  If it’s going to parody a specific series or genre, make it parody that series or genre.  Currently it’s all over the place and other that it being a parody of the entire shounen genre, I can’t pin point a specific series it’s trying to parody.  At times it could be a mech series.  Others it seems very DragonBall Z like.  It even got into parodying Yugioh and other such series that uses cards as a motif.  This should have been a show made by people who know exactly what they’re parodying for people who’ll understand the references.  It tried to do that but it only stuck to things that every person in America has seen and it did the references way too obviously.  Their driver was a Speed Racer parody.  Guano’s a Pokemon parody.  The episode dealing with cards is a Yugioh parody.  The rarest the references got were Yubaba from Spirited Away or a persocom from Chobits.  Sticking to popular/common series isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But it’s just boring when it’s everything you expect and nothing new or clever.


The key to success for this series is quite simple.  1) Better animation and art.  None of this Flash stuff.  While it can be good, most times Flash products are stiff and lifeless.  They don’t move like people or creatures should move.  Redo the show with regular 2D, hand-drawn animation.  Flash is cheaper, but better to have a quality looking show than something quickly thrown out there for profit (especially when it clearly wasn’t going to make much anyways).  2) Have the humor pertain to the subject at hand and not focus on gross out humor.  Toilet humor is cheap comedy.  Cheap, disgusting, unfunny comedy.  It’s for little kids who are easily amused and adults who just never grew out of that liking toilet humor phase (the only series I’ll allow for gratuitous toilet humor aside from South Park is Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt…the title tells you what you’re getting pretty much).  Plus the show had a topic at hand.  Use that for the humor.  And in case you don’t know anyone who knows how to properly parody anime (due to a lack of knowledge about Japanese animated series/movies), find people who do.  It’s not that difficult.  For example…the theme song for Kappa Mikey was sung by the Beat Crusaders.  Even though the reference would be obscure, do some sort of nod to them in the show.  Or just in the theme animation.  If a nod to Puffy Ami Yumi (at least the cartoon they had for a while) could be made, why not one for the people that made something for your show?


For what it’s worth, the small parody elements that they did have were fun.  For example the title of the series is a play off of “Kappamaki” which is a type of sushi and the show is set in Japan and had that dancing sushi bit.  Apparently the “kappa” part of the title is also supposed to be referencing that Mikey’s like a fish out of water but that doesn’t really work considering what a kappa is.  Regardless, I’m well aware that people hate this show so I’ll just open it up to discussion.  Even if you don’t like what Kappa Mikey was, what did you think about the basic parody premise (the mixing of the art styles and the concept of making a parody of Japanese and American animation)?  If better people made something similar but really thought about what they were doing, would you give the show a shot or dismiss it as exactly like Kappa Mikey?


(Side note:  I have nothing against using Flash as a medium for animation.  When people put in the effort in Flash it can really pay off.  But many of these animated series on TV done in Flash have little to no effort put into them and make Flash look like a cheap product which it really isn’t.  I’ve seen some independently made Flash works that are incredible.)

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And I’m using that term very loosely…


My friend, HikaruRose made a post earlier today about what it takes to really work in the gaming industry.  Apparently there’s this girl who created a poorly animated “music video” saying why she wants to work at Valve.  While I’m fairly sure it’s a joke, I’ve yet to find where she openly states that this was just done for fun and that she really doesn’t do the things she lists in the video.  Because she doesn’t openly declare it as a joke, I’m inclined to believe that she’s serious (especially when she states it right there).  But this does bring up a rather serious topic about pursing a job in the entertainment industry.


Firstly…why am I putting this on a blog geared towards fandoms?  Because many people in fandoms wish to pursue a career that will cater towards that fandom.  Many anime fans want to be animators, mangaka/comic artists or writers, or voice actors.  Many furries also wish to be animators or illustrators (not all but a decent amount of the artists do).  I’m an animation major myself and while the only thing I’ve applied for are internships, a lot of what I say is either going to be from what I’ve learned from my professors who are professionals and have worked in the industry, what I’ve learned from my current internship at an animation studio, and from plain old common sense.  Secondly…let me preface this by saying I’m pretty sure this video is a joke.  I would really hope that there isn’t a person out there who actually thinks that this is a good way to ask for a job.  I’m writing this really because sadly it was made and no one can really tell if it’s a joke or not because she never says it’s a joke.  Like I stated above, she actually claims that this is supposed to be taken seriously and a few of the comments on YouTube are taking it rather seriously too (just a few but still a few too many).


Here’s a link to HikaruRose’s post with her thoughts on the subject: So you want to work at Valve?


And the video itself for reference:


With that out of the way let’s go through the top 10 things wrong with this video…


10. The presentation.


Creating a portfolio is key in getting any job in the entertainment industry.  Whether you’re planning on being a animator, an illustrator/concept artist, character designer, actor, voice actor, or anything else in advertisement, film, television, etc., you’re going to need to prove that you can do what the job requires you to do.  She’s asking for a job at Valve which is a 3D gaming company and what does she do for a presentation?  A poorly Flash animated music video.  She doesn’t display any knowledge of gaming or of how to create games.  She doesn’t display any skills in 3D animation or character design.  She doesn’t display a reason that Valve should ever hire her.  If you’re going to apply for a job or even an internship, look at what the companies do, look at what they require their employees to know, and prove to them through a portfolio or demo reel that you can do the things that they would require you to do.


I will say this though, it is a creative approach to making a demo reel and so it would actually stand out among other applicants.  The problem is that is doesn’t showcase the abilities needed to work at a gaming company.  The only reference to gaming in the video is references to actual games that Valve has made which makes this look like a piece of fan art rather than a serious way to ask for a job.  As fan art, it’s very adorable.  As a honest way to get your foot in the door, it needs a lot (and I mean a lot) of work.


9. Telling the people you want to work for what to do.


In the first couple of seconds of her song you hear about how she applied for a job at Valve 3 times (which is what makes me 99.99% that this is just a joke…because who the deuce uses a carrier pigeon for anything anymore?), and why she wants them to take this seriously as an application.  She wants an answer back from them because she hasn’t gotten one back before.  As a job applicant, you don’t have the upper hand.  You can’t call the shots.  If they have a position open, that’s when a company looks through applications.  If there’s no position open, why are they going to be in contact with you?  It’s a job’s job to announce when they have open positions just as it’s an applicant’s job to keep watch for open positions in the company they wish to work for.  Also, if they don’t like your application or if they don’t believe you’re the right person for the job, they reserve every right not to call you back.  They don’t need to tell you you don’t have the job.  Their silence on the issue can be answer enough.  You can always apply again when you feel your skills are up to par, but if not, it’s not the end of the world.  There’s other gaming companies out there other than Valve.  There’s other animation studios out there other than Disney.  They’re not all big names, but it’s a start and something to put on the resume.  For a first job, it’s going to be rare that you’d get a top position at a first rate company or studio right out of the gate.  That’s just unrealistic.  Start small and work your way up.  Be humble about what you get and don’t order your bosses around.  You should be fine.


8. Pestering them.


I actually have a little bit of first hand knowledge of this from the animation studio I work at.  You see, there’s some boy/man that keeps calling the studio asking to work on Alpha and Omega 2.  There might not even be a sequel to Alpha and Omega, but this person keeps calling them.  At first everyone was being nice with him.  They just told him that he should check for job openings or send a demo reel.  Eventually this guy kept calling and calling them.  Not every day but maybe every other week or so.  He wasn’t getting the hint.  While they’re still professional with him when he calls, the truth of the matter is they’re only professional because they have to be.  The truth is they just want to tell him to stop calling them.


Companies hate it when you pester them.  They’re busy trying to put out products for the public and they don’t have time to be bothered with obsessive fans trying to work for them just because they want to work for them.  You might have a good sequel idea for a movie or a good idea for a game that a company might be able to put out.  That’s great.  But they’re not going to listen to it right off the bat.  They’ve got their own movies/games/shows/etc. that they’re working on at the moment.  Sometimes they’re working on more than one thing at the same time.  They’ve got deadlines to meet and other companies to please.  It would be rare for them to take time out of their busy schedule to read a piece of fan fiction or check a piece of fan art someone sends in as “proof” that they’ve got good ideas for the company/studio.  Again, this is another case of needing to work from the bottom up.  Start slow and maybe somewhere along the line you can get your concepts out there.  Rarely will that happen right off the bat.


7. Resume?


Okay, to be fair on her website it says she works for Apple and she states the major she has and which college she graduated from.  But all she says here is that she draws and she writes.  Clearly from the presentation, you can see she animates and sings as well.  That’s fine and dandy, but previous job experience?  What else have you done in the animation field?  Or outside the animation field?  What experience in 3D do you have if any?  And if not, what do you have that you can offer the company?  Concept art?  Character design?  Resume goes hand in hand with a portfolio/demo reel.  She has a few things up on here site but anything regarding gaming?  3D work?  Nope.  If she’s aiming for something other than concept art, I don’t think she has anything to show off those skills.


6. The “potential” card.


Now just saying you have potential isn’t inherently a bad thing.  It really isn’t.  It’s good to have potential and in fact everyone has potential for something.  Whether it’s what you dreamed of or something you never could have conceived, everyone has potential.  But in order for someone to bank on whatever potential you may have, they have to be shown that they can in fact rely on you.  This whole concept of people just taking some poor soul from the streets and giving them a chance, while that’s a one in a million chance that could happen in real life, we’ve been taught that stuff like that happens all the time.  It doesn’t.  And usually when it does, it’s because the lucky person chosen showed that they had an inkling of ability.  You know…like the team of people that worked on the Portal games.  They were students, they created a student project as a thesis, guy who runs Valve (owns it…runs it…? I’m not sure) loved their work and their idea so much that he hired them.  He didn’t hire them because they begged or said they had potential.  He hired them because they proved they had potential and he saw it.  So with potential, prove that you have it.  Don’t just say you do.


5.  “Destiny”.


Okay…this really has nothing to do with applying for a job or anything.  This is really just about the concept of destiny.  Just because you believe you were meant to do something doesn’t automatically make it so.  Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try.  But think of the people who try out for American Idol.  There’s one person I remember seeing during the audition phases that was convinced that she was supposed to be a singer.  Her mother told her that she was meant to be a singer.  But when she went to sing, her voice was terrible and she wasn’t given a ticket to Hollywood.  And she was honestly upset and shocked by this because she was told all her life that she could sing and this was her destiny.  Destiny’s a tricky thing but we all like to believe in it.  We all secretly want to know that we’re here for some reason and we’re not some accident.  The problem with the idea of destiny is that you can get it into your head that this is the only career path that you’re supposed to have and this is the only thing you’ll ever pursue and you won’t think of the alternatives.  Or rather you’ll think of them…you just won’t allow for them because you’re so fixated on this concept of “fate” or “destiny”.


4. Slightly distasteful jokes.


Now if there’s a second good thing I could say about this video other than the creative approach to a (sort of) demo reel is that there’s some clever gaming humor in there.  Like the Left 4 Dead jokes and the one about the companion cube.  But right in the middle, there’s a rather distasteful joke in there regarding doing…something…with an octopus.  While it’s not explicitly said, you know exactly what she’s talking about.  Humor is good.  Humor when done well can make you stand out.  Don’t rely on adult humor though.  For some companies you probably could.  Like if you wanted to work on South Park or Family Guy.  Those are shows that solely rely on potty humor, societal commentary, and adult humor.  But as a part of a portfolio, it’s better to hold back on humor like that.  I’d say that this joke was slightly subtle.  But to be on the safe side, it probably isn’t something that you’d want to show to future employers unless they’re Matt Stone, Trey Parker, or Seth MacFarlane.  And even then you should still probably hold back a little and show off your skills and not how raunchy you can be.  Again…in here it’s a subtle joke, but to be on the safe side (you never know who you might offend), it’s better to leave stuff like that out.


3. Desperation.


I can’t be the only one that feels how desperate she is to get a job with Valve.  Every other line is something like “Please hire me” or “It’s my destiny”.  Acting desperate is not a good thing.  You’re not going to do yourself any good by showing off how desperate you are.  Let your personality and most importantly your work speak for itself.  If you don’t get the job or internship, try again later or try again somewhere else.  You don’t have to go for the big fish right off the bat and you can still find a smaller place to be just as good.  When you come across as desperate though, you’re just pushing potential employers away from you.  They don’t want to deal with someone who’s desperate.  They don’t need to.  They need someone who’s confident.


2. Skill level.


Okay, I’m not a gamer.  But I am familiar with the look and feel of Valve games like Portal.  Not fully realistic, but very nice textures, very detailed environments, and fluid animation.  Yes, skill level is something that’s important.  While you most definitely don’t have to be a master at what you do (and who the heck is?), you do have to show that you have some basic skills.  Basic knowledge of anatomy, movement, design, texturing, modeling, rigging…whatever the task entails.  A simple, barely animated flash animation is good enough for YouTube fame.  But for trying to prove that you have what it takes to work at their company, it’s not enough.  Especially because Valve doesn’t specialize in flash animations.


1. Overzealous fangirl-ism.


Yes.  This video had overzealous fangirl written all over it.  Because that’s the way it was presented.  She’s a fan who wants to work for Valve.  Many of the jokes are centered around her playing games.  She’s playing to the fact that she’s a gamer girl.  Not the fact that she’s a person who wants to truely pursue a career in creating video games.  No company wants to hire a fangirl or fanboy.  Companies/Studios want competent employees who are confident in their skills, know what they’re doing, and have something unique to bring to the table.  While it seems she can offer humor to the table, Valve already knows of writers who can write humorous material (just listen to some of GLaDOS’ dialogue).  Her overzealous-ness is truly shown off when she claims that she’ll do anything to work there.  Including janitorial work.  Who really wants to do janitorial work?  And why do janitorial work at Valve?  Just to say you work there?  That makes no sense.  There is nothing wrong with being a janitor, but it seems desperate and very fangirl-like to say that you’d be willing to do menial labor just so you can say you work at X company/studio.  We all have our dream places that we’d love to work at.  But don’t be a fangirl or fanboy about it.


And that concludes my list.  Now, I’m quite certain that this video is a joke and in fact I would rather believe that it is than believe that it is an actual plea for work.  So I don’t believe I’m aiming this list solely at her.  What appals me more than the video itself is the number of people sticking up for her and believing this is a viable way to try and get a job.  This list is aimed towards those who really see this as a good way to get a job.


But what do you think?  Is the video for real?  Is it a joke?  Do you think that the way she presented this video is a decent way to ask/apply for a job?

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I want more specific advice from fans/future fans/whoever reads this blog.  What do you guys want to see more of?


And if you vote other, please leave a comment here or on twitter saying what the other is.  There’s no point in voting other if you don’t comment.  I’m not a mind reader you know (although it’d be a little awesome if I was).


(PS: This message will self destruct after a month.)

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