Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cool Fan Animation: Go Go Gadget Neck

Hey, check out this great fan animation of Gadget by ShinyStrawberry over on DeviantArt!

"Gadget animation" by ShinyStrawberry (Feb 22, 2016)

Off-model, obviously – and the start especially could use some more inbetweens – but I love the lively, spontaneous feeling of this. Very nice timing and bounce to the Gadget neck animation in particular. I wouldn't mind seeing more fan animation in this vein.

The style on Gadget reminds me a little bit of the specific visual design seen in Season One episodes of the original show which were animation-directed by Shingo Araki. (I once misidentified Araki as likely to have worked on an episode like "The Japanese Connection", but have since learned otherwise, thanks in part to the "Les séries de notre enfance" book.) Here are a couple of episode stills showing off Araki's distinctive style:

From "Did You Myth Me?"

From "The Coo-Coo-Clock Caper"


  1. That's a nice bit of animation, good personality.
    I was wondering what your favorite episodes of the old series are?

    1. Sorry for my late reply here. I've been really swamped with different stuff lately.

      I neglected to mention anything about the personality in my post, but I do agree. :) I love that 'thinking' part where Gadget rubs his chin before suddenly launching the neck. :) I'm not sure he feels ENTIRELY like Gadget of the original series in that part -- and it's hard to put my finger on exactly why, too -- but it's a lovely little touch.

      Regarding your interesting question, I'll try to get back to you tomorrow (though I'm making no promises about the time!).

    2. Now then -- time for a long-overdue reply to your big question about MY FAVORITE EPISODES:

      My favorites are all Season 1 episodes, though it can vary from time to time exactly which I like the best. Right now, off the top of my head, I think it would be a tie between "Greenfinger", "All That Glitters" and "The Japanese Connection" (with perhaps an honorary mention of “Doubled Agent”).

      "Greenfinger" is simply the series at its best to me -- a creative plot, funny gags, sharply written dialogue, fast-paced action topped off with a fun showdown, and a great "villain of the day" (can't say "villain of the week" since Inspector Gadget originally aired in daily broadcast;). I also like how subtly Dr Claw's defeat is written here: he flies off declaring that he has won, and we only get to know that he DIDN’T win indirectly, through what we see happening with the vegetables right at the end.

      "All That Glitters" is another one of these all-time best entries, and a great example of one of my favorite ingredients in the series: the exotic locale. Great use of the 'City of Gold' setting, creating a real "Indiana Jones for children" feeling; great adventure bits for Penny and Brain, clever mystery and investigation, and a hilarious scene of interaction between Dr Claw and the main "hired" villain. And probably best of all – get a load of Gadget as an improvised tour guide, doing his (unsuccessful) best to keep the tourists from stumbling into his incredibly complicated traps while simultaneously coming across as a knowledgeable guide. My favorite part: "This is a form of ancient Mayan entertainment! -- Let's do it again!"

      "The Japanese Connection" and “Doubled Agent” are two episodes I appreciate for the way they play with the series' own conventions. They both border on self-parody, yet never so much that they break with the series' universe. Choosing one, I do think I'll have to put "Japanese Connection" first. It has Waruda-san (the awesome Japanese Dr Claw), Atsuko (probably the best "Penny's friend" character, mainly I think because she and Penny actually ARE friends even prior to the adventure's start; very nice to see), the advantage again of an exotic locale, and the stronger animation. (But seriously, hearing Dr Claw in "Doubled Agent" furiously order his confused M.A.D. agents to "save Gadget"... that's worth the entire episode alone.)

      Anyway, this can vary depending on my mood, and there are several other "really good ones" I could mention... "The Infiltration", "A Bad Altitude", "No Flies On Us", "The Coo-Coo-Clock Caper", "Did You Myth Me?", "Haunted Castle"...

  2. The Shingo Araki unit is one of my favorite animation teams to work on Inspector Gadget. (This included the first act and safety tip of "The Curse of the Pharaoh," along with "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper," "The Bermuda Triangle," "Did You Myth Me?" and "Unhenged.") The traits I recognized with their designs are the way their eyes look (like Penny's eyes being more detailed, and Brain's eyes being bigger), the more rounded features (especially Gadget's head and Penny's hair), Dr. Claw's skinnier arms, and the combination of "realistic" and "cartoonish" traits to the animation.
    Another one of my favorites is whoever was in charge of the animation for episodes like "The Ruby," "The Invasion," "The Infiltration," and the second act of "The Curse of the Pharaoh," along with the safety tip to "Sleeping Gas." It's so cartoony and full of life, and Gadget himself often looks rather stylized.

    1. Sorry for my late replying, Wileyk! This last week got busyyy.

      Yeah, the Shingo Araki unit's style is definitely an interesting one. In many ways, probably the single-most unique-looking of all the animation styles found in the original series... and it feels all the more unique for appearing in so few episodes.

      I marvel at how solid and good-looking Araki's animation is, but I also have to admit it's not my personal favorite style for Gadget. The craft side of it is very accomplished -- and the action scenes can look fantastic -- but I often find the movement and animation of the characters a little mechanical. Also, I'm not quite sure if I really like Dr Claw's skinnier arms.

      As far as the characters go, I think the different styles seen in episodes like "Haunted Castle" and, yeah, "The Infiltration" have a more appealing take on them both in movement and design. They also come closer to capturing Bruno Bianchi's original design style, which is a big plus for me, as I love the French comic-book style of Gadget in particular. And in terms of the movement itself, I think the liveliness of the animation in "Haunted Castle", for example, is quite amazing by 1980s television standards.

      I love the styles in "The Ruby", too. :) (It feels like it shifts in the second half to the same unit who did the whole "The Infiltration" episode.) "The Curse of the Pharaoh", though, actually suffers a bit from the shift in animation teams in my eyes. When you have Araki's unit animating the entire first half, it feels jarring to get a much looser animation style for the entire second half (excluding the safety tip). I'd actually have liked to see Araki do that whole episode.

    2. I agree; I would've loved to see "The Curse of the Pharaoh" entirely animated by Shingo Araki's unit.
      Another unit I know that drew Gadget very close to Bruno Binanchi's original designs was whoever did the animation for the dynamite torch scene in the pilot, the first act of "A Clear Case," and the second acts of "Sleeping Gas" and "Weather in Tibet." For the most part, the resemblance was pretty much spot-on!
      And I remember "Sleeping Gas" and "A Clear Case" having shifts in animation teams as well. The second half and safety tip of the latter appeared to have been animated by the crew that animated "Luck of the Irish" (given the way Gadget was drawn with the slightly wider face and larger, perfectly round eyes.)