Futurama finale: “Reincarnation”

We’d like to thank the producers, writers and animators of last night’s season finale of Futurama for creating an episode just for us – the readers of Cartoon Brew.

“Reincarnation” featured three mini-episodes: one in the style of 1930s Fleischer Studios homage; another as a 1960s-70s anime; and a third in 8-Bit format. I’m not sure if the average public got it, but we sure enjoyed it.



I’ll post a link when the entire episode appears online. In the meantime, courtesy of Comedy Central, here are some extensive clips:

Futurama Thursdays 10/9c
Colorama – Diamondium Comet
www.comedycentral.com
Comedy Central Funny TV Shows Roast of Charlie Sheen
Futurama Thursdays 10/9c
Action Delivery Force – Thrilling Space Battle
www.comedycentral.com
Comedy Central Funny TV Shows Roast of Charlie Sheen

  • Jens

    sorry this video is unavailable in your location

    -any chance for the old europeans and the rest of the world?

    • http://jankrems.de Lino

      This has to be the first time something is geoblocked but still is available in Germany. :D

      • http://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle Graeme Edgeler

        Fine in New Zealand.

      • http://zombarbie.blogspot.com/ Lewie

        Not fine in Norway.

      • http://art-candy.blogspot.com/ Andrea

        Works in Australia!

  • http://www.youtube.com/RZetlin RZetlin

    Yet again, Canada gets the short end of the stick.

    The videos can’t be viewed outside the United States.

    The Comedy Network site haven’t even post Futurama clips, because Futurama isn’t even shown on this channel!

    • Clint H.

      Yeah, tell me about it. TELETOON is the only one who shows Futurama as far as I know, but so far it’s only reruns! God! Anyways, this looks amazing and the 1930′s cartoons designs look adorable. I hope this is part of the next DVD release.

      • http://www.sweetposer.tk/urbmn/ Cameron A.

        Teletoon has new Futurama episodes this fall – and by “new,” I mean episodes from “Seasons 7 & 8.”

        http://www.teletoon.com/media/2011/english/atnight/series-seasons.html

        I assume Teletoon means season six. You still won’t be able to see this episode for at least another half year. At least you’re not a fan of Regular Show, or else you’d REALLY be inconvenienced by Canadian cable.

  • http://comicsradio.blogspot.com Tim DeForest

    I know this marks me as a total nerd, but I think the anime version of the Planet Express ship is actually kinda cool.

  • 2011 Adult

    Well, from someone in a country that CAN view these videos (seriously, you’d think!), I watched the premiere AND the encore last night because it was awesome.

  • Jiles M

    I appreciate the attempt, but it’s obvious the writers know little about classic animation or anime.

    • http://www.terrybiddle.com Terry Biddle

      Really? I used to eat Anime for breakfast when I was a kid and I thought it was “spot on.”

      The soundtracks were even taken DIRECTLY from old anime shows. The battle sequence music was the “exact” same music used in Robotech in the 80′s. Some Tranzor Z (Mazinger Z) from the 70′s and Voltron parody there as well.

      • Jiles M

        I know anime is way more diverse than just action-based, roboty stuff. The only anime parodies I’ve seen are just rehashes of that same cliche, including this one.

      • Dennis Morgan

        This was clearly more of a parody the very early 70s imports and dubs

      • Chris Sobieniak

        It certainly has that Sandy Frank feel to it!

    • brubis

      Was this meant to be ironic? They know little about classic animation? Dude, they even included a nod to Fleischer’s “Stereoptical” process when Fry is trotting across the Diamondium comet!

      • Jiles M

        Well, fair enough, but this just has so much dialogue compared to Fleischer’s cartoons. Plus, the expressions were way more varied and abstract in the old cartoons then on here. Just because it’s black and white and the characters bob up and down doesn’t mean it’s a good emulation.

      • 2011 Adult

        It’s not supposed to be exactly like those cartoons. It’s a tribute and parody of them. Without too much dialogue, it will be more like a Fleischer cartoon but would cease to be Futurama as well!

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I still wouldn’t mind seeing this handled more faithful where there’s hardly much dialogue, the timing of those bounces tighten a bit, and perhaps the occasional ad-libbery that made the Fleischer toons work.

    • dbenson

      This is still a 2011 animated show with its characters and conventions, and I assume they were more interested in producing a killer episode of Futurama than a set of technically impeccable recreations. In fact, part of the comedy is in how the “real” Futurama stubbornly pokes through the parodies. Even the stiff “bouncing” in the Fleischer segment played like actors consciously trying to do it.

      • http://www.deptap.com Rajesh

        I disagree. It was just a standard Futurama script with the visual styles slapped on except for the anime section (which reminded me more of an episode of Superfriends).

        The video game section only used video game references as gags and more than half of it was talking heads. What a wasted opportunity!

        The 30s Fleischer stuff had great designs, mediocre animation, and again, too much talking.

        What’s the logic in that?

        That Futurama is great show to listen to but not watch?

        All the “homages” were obviously written in the script stage and it probably made a great read.

        They could have pushed it so much further if the people in charge just took the time to learn how to communicate with pictures. As with learning another language, you learn another way of interpreting reality.

        No doubt, anyone who has never made their own cartoon will continue to defend their shortcomings as creative choices rather than an inability to see beyond their systemic limitations.

      • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

        I agree with Rajesh. The episode was fun, but it could have been better. The Fleischer thing was done better in the mini short they included in The Beast With A Billion Backs, cause that had better animation. This had some good moments and yes, great designs, but it needed better animation and the dialogue should be less explanatory. Popeye cartoons did have a certain amount of dialogue, but they’ll never include gags like “A man can sneak off to do two things” or “Would it be possible to break off a piece and put it on an engagement ring for reasons that are private?”

        The anime section was the only one that felt completely right.

        I like Futurama and its writing but I believe an episode like this would have needed different approachs for those other styles to work better. Watching the characters as more cartoony cartoons in the Fleischer part only makes us realize that the dialogues are a little too elaborate and jokey in this show. It looks less natural when we watch it in this form than in his usual aspect.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Hate to crow in front of those who haven’t seen it, but it was great stuff. The 8-bit homage worked the best; unlike the other two, it relied on a number of primitive games quotations to get the joke across. My only complaint: not enough Magical Girl Amy.

    • http://www.spitandspite.com abel

      Man really, that 8-bit one hurt my eyes and was painful to sit through. Am I the only one who couldn’t stand it? I left the room until they moved on to the next spoof.

  • http://www.hobsonanimation.com Kevin

    All three segments were really good.

    They really captured the feel of the old Fleischer style. There’s even a scene where the background 3-D set like in the Popeye cartoons.

    The Anime-version was really nostalgic, especially when they played the theme to Voltron.

  • Michel Van

    Futurama strike again !
    I like the Fleischer and 1980 DIC/Anime trash
    sad there no clip of this 8Bit version here

  • http://animatedlane.com JWLane

    I really appreciate the work that must have gone into conforming to (and tweeking) these styles; plus, the extra work to break out of the normal production pipeline. It looks like it was a lot of fun to work on – lucky shits.

  • AJ

    sorry disreguard thats not the video.

  • Kitschensyngk

    I’m wondering how they got the rights to the Voltron theme music during the anime segment.

    I thought all three of them parodied their respective animation styles very well. I found myself liking the 8-bit segment the most of the three of them, and I’m not even into video games.

    • Deerhunter Dawg

      “Shut up, I’m trying to listen to a physics lecture!”

  • Pez

    the Fleischer one is pretty good. but the animation is really slow. I wonder why they did not have the characters jersey bounce to the beat. It looks unnatural.

    it’s also weird when the arms aren’t moving wiggly when the character bob up and down. Pretty awesome cartoon. i love Futurama. I ‘m sure there was some difficulty in getting overseas to understand 1930′s movement principals. The board looks great the designs and gags are perfect. I never thought I would say this but flash would have done a better job.

    • Mike

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sxFyu_U2go

      I would say that this incredible music video (animated by Simpsons artists) negates the theory that overseas animators don’t understand the Fleischer sensibility. And after seeing homages like this, I was VERY disappointed that Futurama adhered to this sensibility rather more in aesthetics than in the animation itself.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Certainly they could’ve done better but it was a budget and they had to get it out and all that. They could’ve spent a lot of good time planning this as perfect as it could be.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Watching this video again, I see two dozen animators credited which I suppose meant they perhaps did the keys/extremes here and sent everything else to Korea, but I could be wrong. It certainly feels they needed a little more oompf in the visuals to make this work.

  • http://blakejcartoons.blogspot.com BApple

    I thought it was very entertaining. They did a good enough job of deconstructing each style (like how bobbing up and down constantly would make it hard to look through a telescope), and they managed to tie each segment together with a single storyline. I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to alienate the general audience – which is why they only went as far as they did. All in all, funny, entertaining, and containing enough jokes about each style of animation.

  • Kyle Maloney

    I think Family Guy did this idea better. as much as I hate the show in general.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Yeah I was thinking a little of “Fixin’ the Shed” there.

  • Deerhunter Dawg

    This has been an excellent season for Zoidberg doing majestically heroic things.

  • Cyle

    After last week’s episode which seemed kind of forced, this was a pleasant return to the quality entertainment I expect from Futurama. The gags were really clever and all the segments were so fun to watch.

  • what_in_the_cel

    It’s sad that this was the best episode all season. Lela and Fry have been on, then off, then sometimes they’re not even a thing. Last night’s episode would have been a great opportunity to bring in the “Scary Door” or “Tales of Interest” format, or even bring back the “what if machine” to at least tie the stories together. But cohesiveness is the least of the problems with the show now. The writers keep putting the characters into major altering situations almost out of desperation. Some of the best stuff from the earlier shows was the dialogue and the way they worked off each other and I think after the horror that was the “movies” a lot of magic that never returned. Last night was fun but it doesn’t make up for the “meh” of the last two seasons. These characters write themselves and the writing has felt forced, uninspired, and many times just weak. And I doubt you’ll find a bigger fan of the show than me.

  • Arthur F.

    Futurama is generally so good, and I agree with everyone who mentioned the quoting from Fleischer’s 3-d turntable effect – it was genuinely cool and felt like someone was trying a bit more there. There is a danger that animation writers stay close to lazy notes about nations and culture and surprisingly, also to their own animation history (like as if bouncing up and down in black and white with rubbery arms is all it takes to emulate a period look) but in the case of Futurama, I think they usually rise above that, at least for the general tv public. Maybe because they are already embedded within sci-fi conventions to begin with?

  • Dana

    I know I’m showing my age, but isn’t the music in the anime clip from Battle of the Planets (G-Force) and not Voltron?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      At first I noticed what sounds like a track from Robotech here and then they used Hoyt Curtin’s Battle of the Planets theme as they get into their transformation bit. Both probably easier to obtain since they came from US composers.

  • Mike Russo

    Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the show. But this past season (or half season, or whatever it is) has really done nothing for me. The movies were extremely hit or miss but last year’s batch of episodes definitely had some great shows in there, some just as good as what originally aired on FOX. I didn’t see all the episodes this past Summer, but nothing really struck me as being all that good.

    I’m noticing a frustrating trend the writers have of trying to cram every Planet Express crew member into every single episodes. It’s gotten to the point where Hermes, Amy and Zoidberg follow Leela, Fry and Bender around in every episode so that everyone can spout their funny lines (which these days feel less like natural dialogue and more like shtick) and the fans are able to see all their favorite characters. Scruffy was great when he appeared once in a while, but now he’s in almost every show. He’s become the Sideshow Mel of the Futurama universe: good in small doses, but the writers obviously think he’s hilarious. So he never goes away now. And while Futurama was also a dialogue driven show, no one ever shuts up now.

    My other issue is that, in an apparent attempt to appeal to the cretins watching Comedy Central who otherwise wouldn’t be watching the show, elements of the series have been dumbed down to a certain degree. The show still has moments where it’s incredibly smart, but now it’s mixed in which an excessive amount of jokes about bodily fluids, penises, breasts and other things that drive the show into a South Park/Family Guy type of territory, albeit not as extreme.

    And the off again, on again thing with Fry and Leela has become incredibly annoying.

    • 2011 Adult

      Hermes: “Aren’t we supposed to be a delivery company?”

      • Funkybat

        Hmm, while I seem to have enjoyed the “movies” more than most people I know, I felt about half of last season was fabulous while the rest was middling to “meh.” This season actually has been more consistently “good” but with fewer “home runs” than last season. I liked that some long-time elements of the status quo are being overturned, like Zoidberg being more assertive/heroic at times, and less Nixon than we had been seeing since the return (predating “rebirth”) a few years ago. Some characters are still overused, such as Scruffy, while others like Nibbler get underutilized or used in more contrived ways.

        The “on again, off again” think with Fry & Leela is my biggest problem, I’ve had friends comment to me mid-episode “so are they still dating, or not or what?!” so I think it’s a problem for more casual fans as well. They need to s___ or get off the pot, there are still plenty of ways to play with the humor of their relationship if they are “going steady.”

        Still, I would say the current and recent “Futurama” episodes are more true to the originals than post-2003 “Family Guy” or 2000-2007 “Simpsons” were to their series’. I would rather see 80-odd-percent-strength “Futurama” continue for several more years than have none at all. Just don’t let it become what The Simpsons became through much of the 00′s. (At least The Simpsons has been getting better the past couple of years…)

  • m(_ _)m

    I’m kinda disappointed with the anime segment. I thought it was funny and well done, but I think the excessively limited animation, as a joke, was used too much (But man, the “most fluid dance ever” was so great). They should’ve taken it a bit further, into 70s-80s anime, so that they could recreate the Kanada style. Which, despite still being limited in frame rate, totally made up for that through it’s dynamism and energy. And they could’ve gotten into the awesome fx animation that Japan has a history of rather than use the same stale explosion three times.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Certainly (and Battle of the Planets which they used the theme song from had great style in it’s design and color, hardly any of that here). At times though I kinda picture wanting to see Fry and Leela drawn more like characters out of a Rumiko Takahashi manga personally given the on-again/off-again shtick they keep pulling here.

  • Amanda

    Gotta admit, as soon as I saw this, I was waiting to see what would be posted about it here.

    The anime I thought was great as a “1980s bad dub anime” rather than a modern one. Complete with trying to make things American that obviously weren’t. 8 bit seg was probably my favorite. They had done video game parodies before but the clips from actual game action (like the random Dig Dug) are still funny to see.

    I thought the Fleischer segment felt OK but a little off, and now that I rewatch the clip above I think it’s just because they’re not bouncing in time with anything. Just bouncing to bounce, while they’re talking, which made it feel, as said above, more stiff like the “actors” were doing it on purpose.

  • Magnusson

    The anime one seemed more like a parody of a parody than actual observation. It’s the same thing other shows have done before.

    It would have been a much more interesting experiment if they handed the segment to a Japanese studio and just asked them to do what they thought would work.

  • John

    People really ought to calm themselves and enjoy this for what it is. Any one who criticizes this on behalf of its historic authenticity may need a parachute with their high horse.

    • http://www.spitandspite.com abel

      my high horse comes w/ a ladder. where do you get your parachutes from?

  • Mic

    I love Futurama and I absolutely love this!