Rick and Morty Rick and Morty

Millennial favorite Rick and Morty has inspired its fair share of commentary, but rarely does the analysis come as well informed as this.

Canipa, a Youtuber best known for his anime coverage, has devoted a video essay to the Adult Swim series’ animation. The video is basically a critique of the show’s production pipeline, presented very accessibly. Watch it below:

Noting that Rick and Morty is mainly a vector-based 2d-puppet show, Canipa explains the economic advantages of this approach over, say, hand-drawn animation. But he adds that the complexity of the series’ world, with its scores of characters and morphing designs, reduces the benefits of puppets.

Canipa makes a case for using more hand-drawn animation in the show, and giving the experienced animators — who work at Canada’s Bardel Entertainment — more freedom. He argues that U.S. tv animation’s emphasis on detailed storyboards constrains what animators can do, and compares the situation unfavorably with the anime pipeline.

To add insult to injury, animators at Canadian service studios are often poorly credited, and don’t enjoy the union benefits of their American colleagues. “If we want to Rick and Morty to get more visually exciting,” says Canipa, “then it has to start with improving the schedule and paying the artists better.” A rethinking of the animation approach can then follow.

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