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1. ‘Ping Pong’ Recap: ‘Smile is a Robot’

Determined to unleash Smile's potential, Coach Koizumi devises a relentless schedule of training that culminates in a death match pitting old veteran versus young hopeful. Smile's resistance finally cracks under the pressure, and he begins to get serious. Meanwhile, the appearance of a new rival - the tough-looking Ryuichi Kazama - sets the stage for a later showdown.

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2. A Major Stop Motion Exhibit in Barcelona Explores Starewitch, Švankmajer and Brothers Quay

“Animated cinema is the demiurgic art par excellence: matter comes to life and is transformed in the hands and imaginations of the creators. They, more than anybody, know about the secret life of objects.” This description, comes from the exhibition “Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions in Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers,” now playing at the Centre de Cultura Contemporanea (CCCB) in Barcelona, Spain, and it's a good summary of the work of these four visionary animators.

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3. Can You Identify These Legendary Animators?

Tonight, just for fun, I posted a series of photos of legendary animators from the Golden Age of theatrical animation. We owe them a great deal. Without the pioneering efforts of these artists (and hundreds of others like them), animation would not be nearly so advanced as it is today. How many of these animators can you identify? You can click through to Instagram for the identifications.

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4. Artist of the Day: Joan Casaramona

Barcelona, Spain-based Joan Casaramona draws and sketches with pencil, applies digital techniques to animated stamped images, designs graphics, and generally produces all kinds of visual work. Casaramona shares his sketches and free form sketchbook pages. Below is one of Casaramona’s animated experiments, and after that is two sketchbook pages that were multiplied together in different colors to create a chaotic effect. Some of the themes of Casaramona’s illustration projects include Picasso and Napoleon. See more work from Joan Casaramona on his blog, Flickr, and Tumblr, which has a lot of work categorized for browsing by type.

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5. This Week in Animation History: Milt Kahl, Porky Pig & Michael Eisner

A look at animation history via Cartoon Brew's archives.

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6. DreamWorks Is Developing ‘Hot Stuff’

DreamWorks is developing "Hot Stuff," a feature film starring the diaper-wearing demon-baby Hot Stuff the Little Devil, who originally appeared in Harvey Comics.

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7. Why Did CG Hub Shut Down Without Warning Its Users?

It's been one week now since CG Hub, the popular portfolio site and social network for digital artists, unexpectedly shut down, leaving thousands of its users angry and confused.

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8. ‘A Girl Named Elastika’ by Guillaume Blanchet

She’s young, dreamy and fearless, she drives cars way too fast, she’s also a yamakasi. She likes adventure, fireworks and unrelenting seas. From the day I conceived her, I’ve been a worried father. And a proud one too.

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9. See the Brothers Quay For Free in Chicago Tonight

The Brothers Quay, the legendary team of identical twin stop motion animators, will be appearing tonight in Chicago at DePaul University for a screening and conversation about their work.

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10. The ‘New Yorker’ Discovers ‘Adventure Time’ After Five Seasons

This week's issue of "The New Yorker" does something that they rarely ever do: review an animated TV series. The show they elected to discuss is "Adventure Time."

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11. Blue Sky’s ‘Rio 2′ Opens In Second Place in the U.S.

Blue Sky's "Rio 2" failed to unseat "Captain America 2" at the box office last weekend and settled for a second-place opening of $39.3 million.

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12. This Bear Animation Is Not Computer Animated

This short animation of a seemingly CG bear climbing stairs is garnering a lot of attention on the Internet because it's actually a CG bear printed as 3-D models and then animated in stop motion.

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13. ‘Johnny Bravo’ Creator Van Partible Talks About New Dance-Combat Game

Van Partible, the creator of Cartoon Network’s Nineties series "Johnny Bravo," is making the rounds with a new third-person video game concept called Dancers of War. In the game, Marine Sgt. Jack Dancer is out to save the world from a maniacal pop star by strapping on an exoskeleton/leotard called “The Exo-Tard 3000.”

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14. How The Producer of ‘Green Lantern’ Learned That Animation Focus Groups Are Nonsense

"Green Lantern: The Animated Series" showrunner Giancarlo Volpe drew a mini-comic about his first experience attending a focus group for his series.

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15. ‘The Tale of the Plump Bird’ by Saki Iyori

"The Tale of the Plump Bird" was directed, animated and edited by Saki Iyori

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16. John Kricfalusi Accepts Texas Avery Award in Dallas [Video]

"Ren & Stimpy" creator John Kricfalusi attended the Dallas International Film Festival this weekend to accept the Texas Avery Award.

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17. ‘Out to Lunch’ by Joseph Bennett

A man appears on a talk show.

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18. Artist of the Day: Arik Roper

New York City-based artist Arik Moonhawk Roper illustrates fantasy art in full washes of color or in limited colors for black light posters, books, and shirts. He has illustrated a handful of covers and articles for "Arthur" magazine, and he also frequently gets commissions from musicians that find his art to evoke exactly the right visual mood for their music.

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19. Gawker’s io9 Launches Animation Website

This week the influential Gawker Media brand launched an animation-specific site called, quite simply, Animation. The blog is a subsite of the larger io9 brand, which already publishes a fair amount of animation coverage. Another Gawker site, the gaming-oriented Kotaku, covers anime and will continue to do so.

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20. ‘Ping Pong’ Recap: ‘The Wind Makes It Too Hard to Hear’

A recap of the first episode of Masaaki Yuasa's new series "Ping Pong."

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21. British Studios Locksmith and Double Negative Plan To Make CG Features

There are big developments in the UK animation industry in the wake of a much-heralded tax break received by the British animation industry that went into effect last year. Sarah Smith, the former creative director of features at Aardman Animations, is setting up a studio named Locksmith Animation. She bills it as the UK’s "first high-end CGI feature animation studio," and it is focused on creating a long-term slate of films for worldwide distribution.

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22. A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Sylvain Chomet’s ‘Simpsons’ Opening

The elaborate "Simpsons" couch gag directed by Sylvain Chomet ("Triplets of Belleville," "The Illusionist") now has a making-of video courtesy of the production company that produced the opening, London-based th1ng.

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23. ‘Steven Universe’ Recap: ‘Steven the Sword Fighter’

It’s been a few weeks but the last few times in Beach City we witnessed a lot of growth in the series. Steven had an anger revelation after he hung with the cool kids and really showcased the father-son relationship thanks to little Onion. Now we’re back and "Steven Universe" went and explored the maternal dynamic within their group after Pearl took a blade through the chest.

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24. See ‘Ernest & Celestine’ This Weekend In These U.S. Cities

It’s not too late to see the Oscar-nominated French animated feature Ernest & Celestine. Below is a list of theaters that are screening the film this weekend. If your city isn’t listed below, check out the complete list of screening dates on the official website. New York, NY – IFC CenterAustin, TX – Regal Arbor CinemasPortland, OR – Regal Fox TowerSalt Lake City, UT – Broadway TheatreChicago, IL – Music Box TheatreScottsdale, AZ – Harkins SheaBaltimore, MD – The Charles TheatreHouston, TX – Landmark River Oaks TheatreAtlanta, GA – Landmark Midtown ArtDenver, CO – Landmark MayanForest Hills, NY – Cinemart CinemasBerkeley, CA – Rialto Cinemas Elmwood Washington, DC – West End CinemaOgden, UT – Art House Cinema 502Juneau, AK – Gold Town NickelodeonSan Francisco, CA – Landmark Opera Plaza CinemaMinneapolis, MN – Landmark Lagoon CinemaNorthbrook, IL – AMC NorthbrookSkokie, IL – AMC Village CrossingLas Vegas, NV – Regal Village SquareTucson, AZ – The Loft CinemaSalem, OR – Salem CinemaHonolulu, HI – Kahala Theatres 8Charlotte, NC – Regal Manor TwinKnoxville, TN – Regal Downtown WestSanta Fe, NM – CCA Santa FeColumbus, OH – Gateway Film CenterSt. Louis, MO – Landmark Plaza FrontenacIndianapolis, IN – Landmark Keystone ArtDurango, CO – Animas TheatreLincolnshire, IL – Regal LincolnshireCoral Gables, FL – Coral Gables Art CinemaPittsfield, MA – Berkshire Museum Little CinemaSan Luis Obispo, CA – Palm TheatreIthaca, NY – CinemapolisSanta Cruz, CA – Del MarBoulder, CO – Boedecker Theater (begins 4/12)Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Film Festival (4/12 – 4/13)Omaha, NE – Film Streams Omaha (begins 4/12)Three Rivers, MI – Riviera Theatre (begins 4/12) Huntington, NY – Cinema Arts Centre (4/12 – 4/13)Santa Barbara, CA – Plaza de Oro (4/16) *This post is sponsored by GKIDS.*

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25. Masaaki Yuasa’s ‘Ping Pong’ Will Be Recapped on Cartoon Brew

When we started offering recaps of Steven Universe last November, we were uncertain how readers would respond. Your feedback turned out to be overwhelmingly positive, and in fact, the most common request over the past few months has been to provide more recaps. But what show to choose for our sophomore recapping effort? After I saw the trailer a few weeks ago for Masaaki Yuasa’s new series Ping Pong, the choice became clear. So yesterday we recapped the show’s premiere and will continue to provide recaps throughout the show’s full run. The choice to recap a show by Yuasa wasn’t difficult because he pushes the cinematic language of animation more expertly than arguably any director—TV or feature—working in animation today. As I watched the premiere episode of Ping Pong, I was challenged and rewarded by a filmmaker who masterfully manipulates the frame for narrative and psychological effect and explores the expressive potential of the animation medium to its fullest. To do Yuasa’s work justice, I have turned to anime scholar Ben Ettinger, who is the foremost English-language expert on Yuasa’s work. It’s only fitting to ask Ben to write these recaps since it was through his unrivaled anime website, Anipages, that I first learned about Yuasa’s remarkable feature debut Mind Game way back in 2004. Since Mind Game, Ben (pictured right) has kept atop Yuasa’s work as few others, and has cataloged his output including Kemonozume, Kaiba, and Tatami Galaxy. Not only are Ben’s insights on anime art unparalleled, he is also a professional Japanese translator, which means that he will be reviewing these episodes based on their original Japanese-language versions. If you’re looking for the subtitled versions, Crunchyroll is simulcasting the episodes for American audiences.

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