Two shows doesn’t make a trend, but with Pocoyo and now Saari, one could make a convincing argument that the most artistic and appealing preschool animation is currently coming out of Spain. Saari was created by Finnish-artist Veronica Lassenius and directed by Spanish-animator Pablo Jordi. Thirty-nine three-minute episodes were produced out of the animation studio they own together, Barcelona’s Stor Fisk. The show has aired on Disney Channel in Italy and Spain, Cartoon Network in Japan, and various other broadcasters in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Wales, and Catalonia in Spain. Here’s an episode:
Based on the artwork of Lassenius, Saari has a beautiful sense of color and design. The animation–done in Flash–really shines too. There’s plenty of symbol use and it’s quite limited in some parts, yet it’s also fun and creative when it needs to be, and every character has an individual style of movement uniquely suited to its design. It’s refreshing to see something this well done–more often than not, studios will take good designs and animate them lifelessly and formulaically. Looking at Saari‘s credits, I’m going to assume that some of my praise for the animation belongs to the show’s animation director Txesco Montalt. Prior to working on this show, Montalt was also the animation director of Pocoyo.