“Usavich”

Usavich

Please meet one of the most refreshingly original and funny animated series I’ve run across in a while: Usavich produced by Kanaban Graphics in Japan. The CG animation is funny beyond words, the gags are jam-packed and fresh, and the design is a stunningly distinctive picture-book illustration style. The show’s website Usavich.tv offers 14 of the 26 episodes produced to date, every one of them under two minutes. The entire production is so fun-spirited and well-done, what more can one ask for; I’ve watched all of the available episodes in the past day and still want to see more!

Description is useless for the series. Let’s just say it’s the slightly surreal adventures of an odd couple pair of Russian rabbit inmates who share a jail cell with a frog and a bird. The first season takes place behind bars, the second season follows them on the run in a stolen car. Every episode is solid, and there is a storyline, so it’s best to watch them in order, but two of the most entertaining entries, in my opinion, are this one and this one.

If anybody knows more details about these shorts, please share. The series looks to have some backing by MTV Japan, but there hasn’t been much discussion online about the show so it’s unclear whether it’s new or has been around for a while. I only found out about it the other day on Motionographer. Animator Peter Richardson also posted some praise for the show on his blog. He writes, “[I]t’s tricky to tell which features are in the painted textures and which are shaders and lighting. Perfectly balanced…it goes to show what’s to be gained from a thoughtful and thorough integration of textures and lighting.”

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  • Bobby D.

    I’m sorry, am I missing something? Isn’t this the website that’s quite consistent in its anti “potty humor” stance? I just watched fart jokes, followed by sitting on the toilet, with the blow-off joke being a close-up of a bowel movement. Nice shading though!

  • endekks

    I’ve been seeing this on occasion when I flip through MTV, and it is part of MTV Flux Japan’s venture which is essentially a mix between a TV channel and a social site – as users upload and pick what gets shown on the channel.

    Allegedly the FLUX thing is in full swing here already, but I have yet to see it, and then again i spend more time on Space Shower than I do MTVJ. So far, what I have seen has just been interesting animated shorts, and Usavich is the one I have seen most, though only bits out of order from Season 2 (apparently, since they have all been in the car).

    Upon further investigation, I have seen these guys’ work for a few years now. The CG bits for the PSP puzzle / action series EXIT & KANGAERU EXIT, along with some clips from the (pretty damn decent) Grasshoppa DVD series all got some love from me. So now it is nice to know that they are still up to making some funny stuff.

    Now I need to find that Petiteva stuff!!!

  • http://ian-j.blogspot.com Ian Jones-Quartey

    I’ve been digging Usavitch for a while. The storytelling is great and the gags are mad funny. There’s also a few episodes and some commercial/promo videos of it on youtube.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    these are wonderful! and short!

  • http://teatime-cady.blogspot.com Kelly

    Oh excellent! A friend of mine showed me Usavich a couple of weeks ago…you can find the entire series (up to episode…24? 27? Don’t remember. : / ) on Youtube.

    As ‘potty humour’ as it was, I thought it was interesting and funny. Like the little transvestite chicken…how many series has one of those? :o

    Cute and well-animated. Nothing ground-breaking, but certainly an afternoon well-spent. :3

  • Blasko

    I must be getting older, crankier, less able to appreciate humor, whatever, because I didn’t chuckle once. This seems a little too adolescent to be touted so highly on this site. But “NoRabbits Minutes” — the Japanese stop-motion series — to me is great! Why not talk about that?

  • red pill junkie

    Some of those were really good.

    And the game was strangely addictive too, but hopefully they will get a deal to make a more complex videogame for the PSP or the PS3 :-)

  • BNicolucci

    Really fun series. I’ve watched all up to 23 and me and the family are anxious to see how it all turns out.

    I love how the humor comes from so many things. Sometimes it is from a particular pose, others times the way a gag plays out. Plus you never are really sure what might happen next.

  • http://jmac.org Jason Mcintosh

    These are brilliant.

    And really, what kind of bloodless zombie must you be to sniff at poop jokes? (Ha ha ha.)

  • Jim

    I see they’re using DreamWorks’ proprietary TurdMan rendering software. Jeffrey will sue.

  • http://www.hobotopia.com Adam

    I’m smitten. Those are beautiful and funny.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Great to see stuff being done in CGI that isn’t hyper realistic and generic. Thanks for the link, Amid!

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com The Gagaman

    Wow, great find. Love the rubbery, cartoony animation and the great use of colour throughout. That Transvestite chicken creeps me the hell out, though.

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com j.j. sedelmaier

    Hilarious !

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Someone owes Dave Cooper a dinner. And Jim Woodring has at least got a salad and appetizer coming too.

  • http://octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    That was a rewarding thing to watch. Blogging that.

  • Dock Miles

    Great tip, thanks. Lively, funny stuff (got amazing mileage out of the switching-cell-door routines) and a delightful riff on the Dummy & Dangerous team concept.

  • erik

    anyone else tried the game yet? my best score is 24, rank S!

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Perhaps I’m watching it without the reference of an extended stay in a foreign prison that the more enthusiastic commenters may have in their past. I was underwhelmed.

  • AdrianC

    These are really funny!

    The visuals aren’t as good as I would like them to be, but they work for these short pieces. However, they do a have a refreshing look of their own. It’s like a world of moving three-dimensional illustrations—-and that’s a good thing!

  • http://stupidmahan.livejournal.com/ Sasha

    I liked it. I always thought there was something perverted about CG, leave it to the Japanese to make the best case for that thought.

    I also really liked how every short, not just the first of Amid’s examples, was just like a song. The animation is always moving to music and progresses in an interesting way as music.

    It was also nice to see some Japanese animation not totally mired in the ritual-like regurgitation of text.

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    I particularly like how it’s sequential.

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    I appreciate the work that went into creating it, but I just find it very creepy. I’ll have nightmares about this.

  • Gary Doodles

    This IS refreshing! And genius to say the least.

  • joecab

    Man, I can’t stop watching these! When you have to remind yourself that it’s CG, you know the quality is top notch. Hilarious! But you can’t get that steady beat ot of your head …

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tim Drage

    Great find, thanks!

  • the day the banks collapse

    ….seriously?…

  • Julia

    OMG – I have tears in my eyes! I don’t know why, but I just get this stuff. Poop jokes forever!!! C’mon – you KNOW poop is funny! Thanks for giving us this link – this is one of the best 3D things I’ve seen in a while. Viva la Nippon!

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tim Drage

    the day the banks collapse wrote, “….seriously?…”

    Seriously what?

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Seriously cooler than we are, I’ll bet.

  • Michael

    The missing series 1 episodes can be seen here: http://en.qoob.tv/users/user_videoList.asp?id=34

  • http://www.Tilt-Movie.com GregM

    I’m not sure that there’s anything I didn’t hate about this.

  • TallUki

    This is THE funniest cartoon series I have ever experienced! All the best things come from Japan, I always knew that. All 26 episodes are available on YouTube, just search for Usavich. Most of the best ones are in the blocks of 5.

    The bunny in red stripes is called Kirinenko, he is a Mafioso who killed his own brother. He is calm but ruthless. Anyone who disturbs his lifestyle will be punished severely. The guy in the Green strip is called Putin, happy but silly. Likes pleasure, but always gets in trouble.

    The frog is called Leningrad, and the transvestite chicken is Komanechi. 2 policeman chasing Kirinenko and Putin are called Boris and Kopcev. One is an excellent shooter, the other one drives like no-one. The green car is famous Moskvich 407, classis car from USSR. All other cars are Lada’s, newer model is still in production. The white and blue armoured vehicle is BA-20, the tank is KV-1, both are taken from the 2nd WW times. All the action happens in GULAG in 1961. I can hardly wait for more series from Kanaban Graphics!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Funny I had never got around to watching it until now. Quite an inventive series for what it is. Reminds me heavily of all those weird European stuff like Gogs, Lava-Lava! and others with it’s characterization and style, also enjoy the storyline that unfolds here as well.

    To update things a little, here’s what appears to be a promo for MTV Japan’s Video Music Awards Japan program featuring Kirinenko and Putin (seems more like a modified version of the 2nd episode).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNlr733eRdI

    This is one of those odd anime meme’s out there where they do some back-forth hip motion with their arms above their heads, but with Usavich characters! I can only assume this is a typical fanboy effort and not by the original guys.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjjgZV-khw0

    And finally, the premiere of Season Three! From the looks of it, we’re in for some towering inferno!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-xEq5t03Jc

  • hawkssj4

    if u want more info, here you are :) :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usavich

  • Liam Scanlan

    Hey guys!

    It looks like Usavich is coming to the US:http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4010:a55aan.2.1