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Juanjo Guarnido’s ‘Freak of the Week’ is A Traditionally-Animated Stunner


Though best known as the award-winning artist of the French comic series Blacksad, Juanjo Guarnido is also a former Disney animator who worked on films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan and Atlantis. Earlier this year, he raised over $140,000 on Kickstarter to produce “Freak of the Week,” a music video for the Swedish rock band Freak Kitchen. The video premiered online today and it just might be the most classically animated teeth-gnashing and hair-flipping metal you’ve seen in your lifetime.

The video, which was produced at Paris-based Fortiche Production, has animated segments hand-drawn in TV Paint by Guarnido and a small team of traditional animators with Disney feature credentials.

“2D! Traditional animation!” Guarnido exclaimed while Cartoon Brew watched the work-in-progress with him earlier this month at New York Comic Con. “I love CG animation. I’m totally happy that movies like The Incredibles and Tangled exist, but traditional animation is something different; it’s another art.”

As a companion piece to the video, Guarnido and his team are in the process of completing an art-of book titled Freaky Project. Written by Micael Beausang-O’Griafa with a foreword by Eric Goldberg, it will be made available in time for CTN Expo next month as well as online at

The cover of the upcoming book "Freaky Project."
The cover of the upcoming book “Freaky Project.”

“I don’t know,” Guarnido says. “Maybe in a tiny little way I contributed so people can become interested in hand-drawn animation again. I hope so.”

Guarnido also drew the cover for the band’s latest album Cooking with Pagans, which includes the “Freak Of The Week” song:

Freak Kitchen's latest album "Cooking with Pagans." (Click to enlarge.)
Freak Kitchen’s latest album “Cooking with Pagans.” (Click to enlarge.)

Director: Juanjo Guarnido
Producers: Juanjo Guarnido and Pascal Charrue
Art Director: Julien Rossire
Storyboard & Supervising Animator: Juanjo Guarnido
Animators: Georges Abolin, Julien Bizat, Maël Gourmelen
Produced at Fortiche Production.

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  • oh man the animation is so fun I love seeing so much movement! and the hair animation is totally nuts, they did a great job :D

  • irving washington

    If something makes you smile widely then what more do you need? 42 thumbs up

  • nice

  • William Bradford

    VERY impressive

  • otterhead


  • James Madison

    Impressive. Very impressive.

  • Mister Twister

    Thank you Mr. Edwards, that was the living proof that rock will never be dead because good rock is always topical. Blow myself up for free, break my neck in HD.

  • April

    Urrgh! The expressions are so tasty.

  • Anonymous

    THIS VIDEO is the freak of the week! How bout that?

  • Karl Hungus

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • Robb Pratt

    Wow! Outstanding – my favorite thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Still have yet to see anything in CG that can match something like this in terms of just artistic wow quality. Obviously as a 2D animator I’m a bit biased, but frankly until people stop treating 3D as if it has to be perfect, we’ll never see the beautiful imperfection that gives 2D the human touch that makes such a difference.

  • qrowdad

    absolutely amazing

  • Chad Townsend

    the animation is pretty awesome, reminds me of Rock N Rule. Didnt care for the song. (Don’t know if I’d call it Metal either, Hard Rock? maybe?)

  • peter wassink

    Ok, so i agree, the animation was awesome and fun to watch, but what the freak was the video about!?
    It makes me feel a bit sad, all this incredible animation and artwork… to say what?

    • Matthew Broussard

      To draw attention to how sad it is the lengths people go for internet fame. The “freaks” in the song are not just people with abnormalities drawing attention to themselves on YouTube and Facebook (for a “like”), but the viral video “heroes” that we collectively worship as we post, like, share their desperate attempts to be noticed.

    • Boyd Barkhouse

      Freak of the week is about all the nut jobs doing stupid stuff on Youtube for attention

  • This is amazing. I find it fascinating that they were going to raise $90,000 to do about 4 minutes of animation. So a feature length film would be around $3,000,000 I can’t believe that studios wouldn’t pay 3 times that for a 2D animated film of this caliber.

    • studios aren’t looking to be cost effective.

    • To be fair it’s a little more complicated than that. :) When you have a full story to balance, plus voice acting and animation acting (it’s a LOT more involved than just “bang your head while playing guitar”) the difficulty ramps up pretty dang quickly.

      I’m not saying you’re not right that it could be done much cheaper than current studios attempts (just look at Chomet and his masterful 2D films, their costs are way down) but it’s not quite as easy as multiplying the budget of a short to get a feature. :)

  • Tracy Reynolds

    I hope can fix their website because I need that art book more than air.

    • Maf

      Same here

  • It reminded me more of Asterix than Disney in some parts, but I always related old franco-belgian bd with Disney style.

    • It’s weird people always think that way when wanting to see anything animated anymore.

    • Nikolas

      The video reminded me of Don Bluth’s “Rock and Rule” more than anything else.

  • Matthew Broussard

    I thought the character designs were more Bluth than Disney myself.

  • von

    They are real people….

    • I know, but two of them have almost the same face. It’s so… Renaissance Disney. I was just expecting the style to be a little more unique.

  • Googamp32

    Didn’t really care for the song, and I noticed that they did use some CGI for some of the effects, which was rather distracting. However, this was a really good music video! Also, nice use of “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” for all the MST3K fans out there.

  • greg manwaring

    How dare they make hand drawn animation!! Who do they think they are??


  • jhalpernkitcat

    That was a lot of fun to watch.

  • JasaneChan

    MIND.BLOWN. 2D will always be my love!

  • It’s obvious a large amount of 3D character animation went into the planning of the 2D work…wouldn’t be surprised if they animated 3d characters to near polish before animating overtop in 2D for many shots… not to mention the backgrounds. We should be celebrating the successful marriage of 2D and 3D and not claiming victory over one or the other. Not to take away from the incredible 2D work, you just can’t do hair like that in CG. Bravo, guys.

  • Alex N Soto

    The animation is just fine, well done even but nothing new. Old dog old tricks I guess. The character design seems dated and generic. The direction seems typical and cliche, but executed well. That main characters facial expressions are animated well but just the wrong ones to use. The wide eyes, and weird smirks he does seems like hes doing something weird to himself, takes away from the “metal” of the video.(or maybe adds to it?) Too Happy maybe, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps just the association with disney style/bluth style animation that is associated primarily with children entertainment, and the use of that style without any ‘twist”, in the context of a metal music video, might be just be the reason is it seeming off.
    Still better than I can do of course, no disrespect, just doing a quick critique.

    • Sal

      He’s supposed to be acting like a freak.

  • HalSolo

    This is a fantastic piece of traditional animation, and obviously took a tremendous amount of work. This is a case where everyone who crowdfunded it have no doubt their money was well spent.

    That being said, Metalocalypse does a better job of “getting” the metal world than any moment of this. It’s beautiful, fully rendered and fun. But metal, it’s not. It reminds me of ROCK AND RULE – clearly there’s so much love here, but if we take away the effort by the talent involved and the quality of the animation, the piece is found lacking because it relies the “tradition” of traditional animation – it has no sexuality, no raw energy, no attitude. In short, nothing that makes the metal culture so attractive to an adolescent mindset. It’s hand-drawn porn, but there’s something weirdly clinical about this piece, even down to it’s Akira/Steampunk environment designs. It feels like a fusion of everything fans of animation and comics love, without anything exciting beyond the thrill of actually seeing hand drawn animation. I’ll admit, seeing hand drawn molten lava got me excited, but there reached a point where I was just noting that “oh cool, they integrated that hand drawn camera move very well into that cel-shaded background.”

    I’ve defended Metalocalypse as a rare instance of animation infused with the genuine spirit of the culture it is putting upon a pedestal (I’d throw the intro to Beatles Rock Band up there as well) – while it’s animation quality may not be up to snuff with this incredible technical talent, Metalocalypse embodies the attitude of the Metal culture perfectly, then has the guts to even parody it and the surrounding culture of celebrity. Also, the music is incredible.

    By comparison, there’s little in this video that hasn’t been seen before and it doesn’t even have the attitude of 90’s commercial music videos. So much work to maintain the status quo of cutesy animation, for a “metal” band? This is something only for the CB community, it would never reinvigorate the medium like even Tool’s Quay-inspired videos.

    Despite my rant, if this gets a Blacksad movie financed, or allows a new amazing 2D animation house to thrive, then I suppose it’s all worth it on some level. But lately I’ve been yearning for animation that’s in touch with the zeitgeist of the moment, especially when the hand-drawn craft is becoming a rarity. Only John K’s animation for Miley Cyrus’ concert tour has nailed that energy, wit and attitude, and he’d already done an animated video for Tenacious D that also schools this. If we want the medium to truly thrive again, we need to expect better than this. Especially when so much amazing work is being done in the CG realm not funded by major studios (and even some that is).

    I do look forward to what these guys do next.

  • passerBye

    I cannot believe how petty a a lot of the comments offering “critique” are. So many people putting down both song and animation simply because it does not adhere to their own definition of Metal, or their personal taste of Animation. Simply speaking there is a reason why the “Disney” style of hand drawn animation has been proven to be good for a very long time, it is time tested and tempered in steel from the smelter of haters. People need to get off their high horse and truly appreciate the feat that has been accomplished with such a small group of artist and such a small budget.

    I highly doubt many artist can do anything both technically and artistically challenging as this under similar circumstances. I personally believe it to be offensive to put down such great artists, whether you agree with me or not, it cannot be argued that this is a work or art done by extremely talented artists who have spent the majority of their lives perfecting and honing their skills. This is not a scheme or a money grab attempt, if anything it is a tribute and a celebration of what makes 2D/3D and animation as a whole great.

    You would be surprised how many things you would actually like if you were to remain open minded when viewing videos like this.

    • Thank you.

    • schwarzgrau

      I didn’t read any comment here claiming the video isn’t extremly well animated. It’s just not their taste or they try to give some constructive critique. I think there is nothing wrong with it.

  • Uli Meyer

    Sorry Bob, the maths remark was not aimed at you, just a general comment to encourage interested people to pick up a calculator. Good luck with your project!

    • No insult taken, I was being cheeky. I agree with most of what you pointed out. I just think there are ways around how we’ve been doing things for the past decade or so that might open up opportunities for all of us who want to see 2D animation in features.

  • Michel Van

    Fantastic work
    congratulation to guys how made the music and Animation

  • AnimatedMadness


  • The animation was really fun to watch! Would be great to see this as a feature film medium again in the States.

  • Ikathan

    Song of the Sea was done for €5,300,000 approximately and The Triplets of Belleville $8,000,000 just sayin…

    • Uli Meyer

      ‘The Illusionist’ cost $20,000,000. All depends on the complexity of the animation.

      • nole

        Shomet said it was close to 15mil

    • swen

      And lots of people got burned (not payed) on the end.

  • Funkybat

    The animation here is a tour de force. Some parts left me speechless. I feel starved for this kind of character animation. I don’t even mind that the music is not really to my taste, what they do with it visually is just fantastic. The film world NEEDS more animation like this.

  • R E E

    That was inspiring. I think the only thing that wasn’t inspiring is hearing people always trying to find ways to make ART cheaper and exploit artists. “we could make a movie that normally costs $15m for $3m” … Artists are the skilled workers and if you want quality…frankly, you have to pay for it.

  • Kisun

    I really love this MV to pieces. Can’t wait for the “Freaky Project” art book to come out!