Alan Becker has been one of Youtube’s most popular indie animators since his first viral hit Animator vs. Animation made it big back in 2006. Since then, his channel has grown immensely, and now boasts more than 23.5 million subscribers and over 5.5 billion views.
Becker recently posted Animation vs. Math, a new video that has not only delighted longtime fans of his work but also shook up the mathematics community. The nearly 14-minute video has amassed more than 26 million views in its first month online. It’s so popular that reaction and analysis videos to the short are amassing millions of views of their own.
The short features a signature Becker stick-figure character and, as is always the case, no dialogue. In this video, an orange protagonist encounters some basic numbers and symbols and begins playing around with them to create interesting equations. As the video carries on, the math gets harder and the consequences of the orange guy’s toying become more and more significant. Even if the math gets over your head, as happened quickly with me, it’s worth sticking around to the end to see just how crazy things get.
The drawings themselves are as minimalist as minimalist gets, but there is no questioning Becker’s quality as a filmmaker or visual storyteller. As is typically the case with his work, the movement, camera work, visual gags, and pacing are all stellar. And, according to experts like Oxford University mathematician Dr. Tom Crawford, the math checks out. I’ll take his word for it.