Some of Doug's favorite web animations

So, I wrote this in 2003. There were lots of videos on the web, but no Youtube, so you went to all of these delightful curated sites to see them, or you would go to people's personal pages. I thought about updating this essay, but it will never be current. But these videos that I loved so in 2003 are STILL awesome and you should check them out. (I did update the links)

I feel that as visitors to my webpage you deserve to be happy, and nothing makes one happier than viewing excellent web animations, so behold my guide to the best of the best, annotated with my ramblings. If I am boring you, click here to see breasts.

I've narrowed them down to five, but don't ask me to put them in order, because it is impossible. It was tough to narrow it to five. Really tough. I was even tempted to cheat.

(1) Radiskull
This is actually a series of eight cartoons. . It is a mildly sad thing in my life that when I first saw them, I was not socializing with anyone else who loved it like I did. My friends Jill and Dave took a trip together, reciting phrases and doing little imitations because they had just experienced the Radiskull. And I was left out of all that.

The first one is completely brilliant. Go there now; it is very short. The second one is equally high-quality, but doesn't bear up to repeated viewings. I wish there were an option to start it right before the song. I watch that one at least once a year, at the end of October. The rest of them lose a little - spirit, but they are still very worthwhile. The Radiskull is evil and frightening, but he and his friend Devil Doll will make you happy.

(2) Kikko-man
When I first saw this superhero short, I had no idea what the context was. It was just the most surreal thing I had ever seen. I knew what my eyes and ears were telling me, but my brain was just like, "No. No. This can not be. This should not be." After it was finished, I realized what it was, and then saw it again. It made more sense, but it became even funnier. Every time you think that it won't get stranger - it does.

(3) Hyakugojyuuichi and Irrational Exuberance
I have shown Hyakugojyuuichi to many people. Their post-viewing reactions vary widely. But their during-viewing behavior is always the same. Their mouths open slightly, their eyes widen, they lean closer to the screen. It doesn't have the sense of wrongness that Kikko-man does. It has more of a sense of ... i am going to open my mouth and widen my eyesness. If I were going to rank these animations, I would be tempted to rank this number one. I've memorized the refrain, and sing it to myself occasionally. People tend to have strong feelings about this one. The person who wrote Irrational Exuberance certainly did. The latter film is a tribute to Hyakugojyuuichi. I am tempted to call it a sequel, except that would be such an abuse of the word "sequel" that I dare not try. The moods are very different - Hyakugojyuuichi makes you laugh like a crazy person, Irrational Exuberance makes you laugh like a joyful person. I watch these often, and so should you.

(3) Nina Paley - Fetch
Okay, if I wanted to put on airs, I would say Nina Paley is an acquaintance of mine. I suppose I wouldn't literally be lying. I met her when I was in college in Urbana, and I never forgot her, because I have a good memory for interesting, creative people. She has probably forgotten me, and, sadly, she probably also has a good memory for interesting, creative people. At the time, she was doing a comic for the school paper. (I have a collected version, which is now probably incredibly rare and Nina fans would pay me a fortune for them, but I would never sell it ha ha ha) She ran out of ideas, and sent out an SOS for someone to collaborate with her. I had some ideas, and was going to respond to her, but I had a lot of Engineering homework, and didn't do it. I spent the next several years looking for someone with whom to collaborate on a comic strip. She spent the next several years getting better and better, and eventually becoming internationally recognized. Her animations are amazing from both a technical and creative standpoint. Some the political ones are very preachy, but they are still fantastically done. The above link is not to a political one, but to one of the most wonderful animations you will ever see. I believe that every Art teacher in the country must show this to his or her classes. I have no background in drawing, so watching this cartoon actually taught me something as well as entertained me.

(4) I Eat People
This one does not lend itself to as many repeated viewings. Umm... and it doesn't have the same technical excellence. But it is really funny and you will love it.

(5) The Adventures of August Strindberg
I was turned on to these cartoons by my friend Georgeanne. It turns out (I checked) that August Strindberg was a real person. I don't know if this cartoon uses actual quotations from Strindberg, or if it is spoofing Strindberg You know what? I don't care. I have never read a single thing that Strindberg has written. I've seen the cartoon version, and I'm fine with it. You must view this, and afterwards I will forgive you if you go "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeliuuuuuuuum"


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© Douglas J. Shaw,  2003