Five Reasons to Rush to Check Out “Urbance”!October 19, 2014
Today we’re looking at an exciting new project that’s currently being crowd-funded over on Kickstarter called Urbance. The folks behind the project (Joel Dos Reis Viegas and Sébastien Larroudé, who have combined experience working on Tron Legacy, Godzilla, X-MEN: Days of Future Past, Thief, and various Batman games) are looking to produce a pilot episode for a potential animated series that they describe like this:
The story is set in a dystopian future where a deadly virus prohibits sex, forcing genders to divide into rival gangs. The series is described as a mashup between Tron, Jet Set Radio and The Warriors, mixing urban, hip hop and electro influences.
Sounds cool, right? Here are a few reasons we’re excited about Urbance.
There’s no denying how nice it is to see an animated series with a cast that actually reflects more than a small percentage of the world we live in. According to the Kickstarter’s FAQ, Urbance isn’t only going to be racially diverse, but will also actively work to be inclusive towards folks who fall under the LGTBQ umbrella, including those who identify with non-binary genders. All awesome things!
It’s a sad fact that many of those things are still something of a rarity in animation. It’s a great sign that the FAQ addresses all these questions up-front, even going so far as to make a point of insisting that it won’t just represent lesbians as fanservice, and will involve people with diverse backgrounds of all kinds at every level of production.
Daring and Stylish Animation
Urbance has a hip, sleek look that you can see already in a trailer that’s already been making rounds through various social media platforms. There’s so much energy, rhythm and personality in the way it moves that it’s hard not to want to see more of it. It’s fluid, it’s beautifully stylized, and it looks like nothing we’ve seen before. More importantly, it feels visually new and fresh, dancing to a beat all its own.
Don’t just listen to me describe it—check it out:
The above trailer practically grooves to its own sound, the music provided by Busy P is that great. ‘Pedrophilia’ is feverish and futuristic, hip and exciting all at once, culminating in a beat that’s downright hypnotic. What’s more, the trailer suggests that killer music and engaging, modern sound will be a major component of the series itself.
A recent update reveals that PLAID, the band behind Tekkonkinkreet, is on board to produce music (to paraphrase the kickstarter) unlike anything that’s ever been heard, inspired by “futuristic, tribal and electro vibes.” Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Urbance will take an adult approach to its themes and content, adopting a 16+ rating that will surprise nobody who actually watched the trailer.
Animation is a medium where questions of sex and gender are often mitigated through a family-friendly lens, if the subjects are broached at all. That’s not always the case—there are certainly many mature features for Japanese audiences in particular—but they’re still something of a rarity everywhere else.
While there’s nothing that says media with PG ratings can’t be sophisticated, thoughtful, and provocative, there are also restrictions on how stories look, feel, and sound because of it. The 16+ rating will let Urbance take to relatively uncharted waters, and its success will demonstrate that there’s widespread interest in animation geared towards an older audience.
2D Animation Is Still Dying
Let’s face it: 2D is a dying art form on the commercial stage. Studio Ghibli is currently undergoing restructuring and Disney’s 2D studios have shut their doors for the foreseeable future. Like Hullabaloo, which we featured previously on GCE, it’s important to support these indie creators who want to keep the art form alive and prosperous. The only way we’re going to see more of it, especially stuff that breaks from the old norms, is if we support projects like Urbance now.
Showing your support for these crowd-funding efforts can mean donating money, or simply promoting the project through social media. If you’re interested in contributing money, there are definitely some appealing perks, such as original drawings, a collector art book, and even the chance to become a featured character in the series!
Either way, if you’re a fan of this type of animation and you feel strongly about helping to preserve the art, don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard!
The Bottom Line:
Urbance is a unique project that brings together a lot of really exciting elements. Currently, they’re sitting at just under $84,000, which makes up about 44 percent of their goal of $189,000. Depending on which goals they reach, they’re looking to bring Studio Ghibli’s Hiroshi Shimizu on board, and to produce more episodes if the funds allow for it. With such exciting goals, checking out Urbance is definitely a must. You can find the kickstarter campaign here.