Today I received an email from my good friend Jason Martin, in it was a link he’d received from his good friend Jorge, to an animated short that I had no idea even existed. It’s called Batman of Shanghai and it’s some of the best hand drawn images I’ve seen in a very long time. Slightly reminiscent of famous animators like Kazuto Nakazawa (Samurai Champloo/ Kill Bill) , Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop/Animatrix) and the late Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers), the two person creative team, that calls themselves Wolf Smoke, focuses on style and movement, giving their films an almost roto-scoped look, but then blends those cinematic touches that will have you begging to see their work on the big screen . Writer Wu Yan and animator Jin Roh , are the creative minds behind Wolf Smoke, a name they created by combining both their names.
Taken from an interview with Art Eater
When the two teamed up to form a studio they combined their names; ‘Roh’ means wolf and ‘Yan’ is a homophone for smoke so Wolf Smoke was born!
Wu Yan: Writer, Character Designer, Color Designer; the stories spring fourth from her imagination!
Jin Roh: Director, Lead Animator; he hand draws the keyframes that bring it all to life!
The two have been creating worlds for some time, but reached another level when they were granted the opportunity to create an animated short for Cartoon Networks DC Nation. The series featured DC characters animated by some of the industries best artist. Among some of the characters they focused on were Animal Man, Blue Beetle, Doctor fate and The New Teen Titans.
Without seeing the other films, I think I can say with all certainty, that Batman of Shanghai is probably the best of the lot. Sure I’ll try to find the DC Nation series on Netflix, for you out there about to send me hate mail, but I’m just saying.
Batman of Shanghai is a non- stop thrill ride and chock full of intricate fight sequences and super dynamic angles. The best part about this short is the re-imagining of Cat Woman, who unlike her black latex laden American counter part, is in vibrant reds and whites and fully clothed, but is still every bit as lethal and cheeky as ever. In addition to Catwoman, Bane also makes an appearance as well as the Dark Knight, whose sporting these Cyclops from the X-Men, style goggles. It’s a look at the franchise in a way, quite frankly most have never seen and probably never will. Having slipped on the original air date of this series, I did a little research about the show and found out some distressing news.
On October 13, 2012, the DC Nation block of programming was unexpectedly pulled off Cartoon Network and replaced with reruns of unrelated content. Those involved with DC Nation claimed to have no knowledge of why the sudden change, especially considering new content only began being released the previous month, and had no prior knowledge of the change. Cartoon Network would tweet that the programming block would return in January 2013.
Of course this is coming from Wiki so I did a little sleuthing and found other articles related to this debacle.
Alright enough about this shit I’m finding out about six months after the fact, this is more or less for those of you like me, who follow, but don’t follow…you feel me? Long story short, this is a outstanding showing by Wolf Smoke and would be fantastic to see on the big screen. I wish Chris Nolan, or should I just call him the CEO of DC?… would take this team under his well financed wing and create either a whole movie or a tv series and ….wait for it…make it in 3D. Somebody stop me! Can I help it if I think this short is just that good? Probably the best looking stuff I’ve seen since Afro Samurai. I could talk/type about this until I’m blue in the face, but the proof is in the pudding. Watch it for yourself and when your done watching, go to their Youtube page were they have more goodies for yo ass!