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‘Bartkira: The Animated Trailer’ Pushes Bartkira Meme to the Next Level

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How far can you take a parody? That’s the question that’s answered by Bartkira: The Animated Trailer, the latest incarnation of a meme that won’t go away.

Watch it now:

Bartkira started a couple years ago when artist Ryan Humphrey thought it would be funny to do some drawings mashing up The Simpsons and Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga Akira. That then sparked an ambitious group project in which hundreds of artists collectively re-drew Otomo’s Akira manga in their personal style while replacing the original characters with figures from The Simpsons.

Now, Bartkira: The Animated Trailer, which debuted this afternoon, takes it one step further, with over thirty animators collaborating on a crowdsourced shot-by-shot remake of Akira’s original Japanese theatrical trailer. It’s an impressive amount of labor for something to which none of the artists involved can claim legal ownership to or directly profit from. For reference, here’s the trailer they’re parodying:

The concept for making the trailer was pitched by artist Kate Sullivan, who was also responsible for co-ordinating last year’s Sailor Moon fan-produced episode Moon Animate Make-Up! You can read Cartoon Brew’s interview with Sullivan about that earlier project. The “story” of the Bartkira trailer is that it was a proposed collaboration between Fox and Toho from the early-1990s that has recently resurfaced on a long-lost VHS:

In the days of old, deep in the dredges of the “Do the Bartman” VHS, there was a trailer. In partnership with Chicken Tonight, Butterfinger, and CC Lemon, the early 90s execs of Fox and Toho made an animated short. An attempt to appeal to American consumers without having to spend a lot of money. Until a changing of the guard decided the kids needed more Poochie and it was lost…until today.

Here’s a breakdown by production company Real Good Liars of how the trailer’s typography and opening shot were made:

Is this it for the Akira/Simpsons mash-ups or will fans figure out a way to extend the meme further? With Bartkira, you never know.

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  • Ryoku240

    Its amazing how a crew of 30 fans can create animation superior to the countless “professionals” that currently animate for the Simpsons.

    • Jamie

      And a bit depressing on how its all towards a silly fan/joke project…

      • I only wish the Sailor Moon thing last year used an episode with the transformation sequence, I wanted to see who’d tackle that bit if they did. Oh well.

      • Ryoku240

        If you could choose what their effort went into, what would you pick?

  • Mister Twister

    >meme
    Please stop.

    • LazyStudent

      It really is a meme, in the original sense of the word. Not in the lolcat/reaction face/useless Impact font images nowadays.

  • Matthew Koh

    Would’ve been great for a Treehouse of Horror segment.

  • I think Jamie meant that its not something orginal and just a fan project.

    • DJM

      It truly is a shame that people from many walks of life and locations would be absolutely willing to donate their time and work together just so they could make a commercial. I can just imagine what a crowd sourced picture can be. This is probably the right step in the right direction, a necessary practice. If Ms. Sullivan can pull this off a second time, I can just imagine how glorious an original piece from her corralling efforts will be. Although, it would sadly only get about 1/100th of the views and support because it wouldn’t be a parody or a tribute.

      • Pete McEvoy

        A commercial? More a labour of love I would imagine. Simpsons and Akira fans having some fun, fan films are hardly a new thing. I would be seeing this very much in the vane of Superman Classic.

      • Bartkira Roadshow

        “If Ms. Sullivan can pull this off a second time, I can just imagine how glorious an original piece from her corralling efforts will be.”

        Stay tuned. ;)

        • I wouldn’t mind seeing a “Couch Gag” from your group if possible. *wink-wink* ;-)

      • Blender, the free 3D application, has some open source projects https://www.blender.org/features/projects/

      • applemeh

        It’s not a shame get over it. Spend more time working rather putting other people’s work. To me this is an original piece and clearly a labour of love.

  • Some of the backgrounds at the start reminded me more of the first season (probably just the Duff Beer sign). It did make me think of 1990 all over again.

  • as someone whos part of the Bartkira manga project this is amazing

  • Inkan1969

    I had not heard of this meme before. I have to admit, the first thing that came to mind was Bart imitating Shakira.

  • Ryoku240

    I’m flattered to be able to talk with the trailers director!

    I think that your trailer captured the old series look very well, honestly though I was watching old clips midway in.

    The animation on current Simpsons is if anything decent quality and very consistent, just a bit stiff imo. But I understand how some can be put off by “loose rubber” animation, all a matter of tastes.

    Still, it’d be nice to see more animation directors take a similar approach to what you’ve pulled off. Something loose yet controlled.

  • That is a tough question (and the same could be said for the Sailor Moon project the previous year). If these guys are so talented to do what they did, why not do something original? This was just meant to be a sort of love-letter to two separate fan favorite entities and a nice “What-if” on combining them together, nothing more.

  • GoofyGotKilos

    Absolutely incredible work. Have to say if you want to make something look like a VHS tape you should just record something on to actual VHS tape and re-import, that default CRT effect is awful.

    • I guess some don’t always go the extra mile to achieve it (find a used VCR and some blanks at Kmart and you’re set).

  • Pper79

    I love this and enjoy seeing Fan art like this, I don’t get the “Do something original” rant though. This is “Fan art” taken a step further because of the time invested in it, The people involved didn’t waste their time. And its a cool piece to have in your reel!

  • Barrett

    “Fan art” and mashups in particular seem to have become their own art form. If anything, this kind of creative blending is becoming MORE popular. If you look at “t-shirt of the day” sites like Teefury or Ript, it seems like in the past 3-4 years they have gone from a mix of creative original illustrations & stright fan tributes to almost entirely mash-ups of 2 or even 3 different fandoms at once, in every illustration. Almost no “original” illustrations”, and you’re lucky to get a fan art design that *just* spins the concept by emulating a particular art style like Art Nouveau, as opposed to a mashup with some other show or movie.

    I admire the skill of many of these fan artists, and while I “get” the arguments for originality, it just goes to show how hard it is to both create something entirely new and to get it popular attention. Even a great new show like “Rick & Morty” are the bastard offspring of a sick parody of “Back to the Future.” It is brilliant because it took that in a whole new direction and built upon it far more than any other “fan parody”, but that’s what makes it exceptional. Getting it noticed was almost the bigger challenge, people seem to want to “know” what kind of show or film or characters they are getting just with a glance at a poster or teaser trailer, otherwise they don’t get excited.

  • applemeh

    Well no, this was clearly a labour of love and posted on vimeo. To me this is even more a work of art than art by contemporary artists as their no thought about money here just purely a labour of love. Art for its own sake.if you’re too cynical too see it or just obsessed with making money, then please just stop. I’m not saying artists shouldn’t make money but if that’s their priority then they need a career more in line with getting rich.