This Week in Animation: ‘In a Heartbeat’ Steals All the Feels; New ‘Voltron’ Toys Debut

In This Week in Animation News, I’ll take a look at the previous week in the world of animation in order to get you caught up on everything you might have missed. It’s your one-stop shop for news regarding cartoons, anime, and animated web series. We’re talking movies, TV shows, digital shorts, and everything in between!

This week saw a heartwarming animated short by the name of In a Heartbeat sweep across the internet to the tune of more than 16 million views. And since Voltron returned to Netflix for Season 3, we have early looks at awesome new diecast Playmates Toys that will be available this August along with a LEGO design inspired by a fan creation.

Image via TV Tokyo

Lots of movie news this week including theatrical releases for Batman and Harley QuinnPokemon the Movie: I Choose You! and Mary and the Witch’s Flower, plus clips for Leap! and The Nut Job 2. In movie/TV news, Hasbro has unveiled their plans for more Transformers content, including a new animated feature film inspired by the live-action cinematic movie-verse, plus new animated series slated through 2019.

For the latest animation stories we’ve already covered on the site this week, take a look at the following links. Then, check out a selection of new stories below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

'In a Heartbeat' Short Wins the Internet This Week

“In a Heartbeat” – Animated Short Film by Beth David and Esteban Bravo

A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.

With ~16.5 million views, In a Heartbeat is finding an audience thanks to its positive message of inclusion, heartfelt characters, and beautiful animation style. It was brought to our attention by The Impossible and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director JA Bayona:

New 'Voltron' Toys Featuring Diecast 'Legendary Defender' and LEGO 'Defender of the Universe' Figures

Voltron Metal Defender Collection

  • Voltron fans can add to their collection with this assortment of Voltron figures from Playmates Toys in premium diecast.
  • Assortment includes highly detailed and fully articulated figures of the Blue, Red, Black, Green, and Yellow Lions.
  • Collect all five diecast lions to combine to form an 8-inch articulated Voltron figure.
  • The Black Lion transforms into the head and torso, the Red Lion transforms into the right arm, the Green Lion transforms into the left arm, the Blue Lion transforms into the right leg and the Yellow Lion transforms into the left leg of the 8-inch Voltron figure.
  • The detailed figures were first available from Toys“R”Us at San Diego Comic Con in July and are available at mass retailers nationwide beginning in August.

Image via Playmates Toys

Image via Playmates Toys

Image via Playmates Toys

Image via Playmates Toys

Image via Playmates Toys

Voltron – Defender of the Universe

A big congratulations to len_d69 on becoming the next official LEGO Ideas fan designer!


Leandro’s passion for Voltron started at a very young age when his parents bought him a Voltron toy. From that moment on Leandro was hooked. Building with LEGO bricks allowed Leandro to celebrate his passion for Voltron – Defender of the Universe even more.


We’re really excited to be able to introduce Leandro’s Voltron – Defender of the Universe set. Leandro’s project sets itself apart for its creative way to build with LEGO bricks.


If you’d like to learn more about Leandro then make sure to check out his 10K Club Interview.

Image via LEGO

'Leap!' Clip Pays a Visit to the First Day of Dance Class

Directed by Éric Summer and Éric Warin from a script by Carol Noble, Éric Summer, and Laurent Zeitourn, Leap! stars Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, and Maddie Ziegler, with Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon and Carly Rae Jepsen and dances into theaters nationwide starting August 25th.

Here’s the synopsis:

11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own – to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But – there’s a catch, Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris. And with no professional dance training, she quickly learns that talent alone is not enough to overcome the ruthless, conniving attitudes of her fellow classmates, led by the devious Camille Le Haut (Maddie Ziegler). Determined to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor in the tough and mysterious school custodian, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) who, along with Victor’s encouraging friendship, help her reach for the stars.

'Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You' Gets a Limited Theatrical Release Date

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon anime’s release will be Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!, a new feature film which travels back to Ash and Pikachu’s first meeting. The origin story tracks their adventures as they search for the Pokémon Ho-Oh, encountering familiar faces along the way, along with new characters like trainers Verity and Sorrel, and the mysterious new, mythical Pokémon, Marshadow.

Thanks to Fathom events, the movie will get a two-day, worldwide limited theatrical release on November 5th and 6th; the movie opened in Japan just last month.

Colin Palmer, VP of marketing at The Pokémon Company International, described the movie:

As an origin story, ‘Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!’ is the perfect way for a new generation of Pokémon fans to experience the beginning of Ash and Pikachu’s friendship, and it offers longtime fans an exciting new look into the start of their epic adventures,” said  “We’re excited to work with Fathom Events, whose expertise in unique theatrical event activations will offer families and fans the opportunity to come together and experience the excitement of Pokémon animation on the big screen.

Keep an eye out!

New 'The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature' Clips Get Cute

Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back. We are once again in Oakton where the evil mayor has decided to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place. Surly and his ragtag group of animal friends band together to save their home, defeat the mayor, and take back the park.


NUT JOB 2 also features the voice talent of Katherine Heigl, Jackie Chan, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale, Isabela Moner, and Maya Rudolph. Look for it in theaters August 11th.

GKIDS Acquires 'Mary and the Witch's Flower' for North American Release

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced that it is has acquired the North American distribution rights to Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the inaugural feature from Studio Ponoc. The film is directed by Academy Award-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and is produced by Studio Ponoc founder and two-time Academy Award-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There).

May and the Witch’s Flower will be released in theaters this winter.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER is based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book, “The Little Broomstick,” and features a script by Riko Sakaguchi. The story centers on an ordinary young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. As she is whisked into an exciting new world beyond belief, she must learn to stay true to herself.

'Batman and Harley Quinn' Gets One-Night Only Theatrical Release

Image via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Sam Liu is in the director’s chair for Batman and Harley Quinn, following up on his efforts at the helm of Teen Titans: The Judas ContractBatman: The Killing Joke, and Justice League vs Teen Titans, to name a few. Bruce Timm is involved as both an Executive Producer alongside Sam Register and a co-writer of the teleplay alongside Jim Krieg (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). Wes Gleason returns as casting director to oversee Kevin Conroy and Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) in the title roles, with Loren LesterPaget BrewsterJohn DiMaggioEric BauzaRob PaulsenRobin Atkin DownesMindy Sterling, and Trevor Devall.

From an original story by animation icon Bruce Timm, comes an all-new DC Universe animated movie, Batman and Harley Quinn, coming to cinemas for a special one-night event on August 14. Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way.


The event includes a sneak peek at a never-before-seen featurette. For tickets and participating theaters, visit

Hasbro Announces New Animated 'Transformers' Movie and Series

Thanks to Hasbro’s Media & Investor Day, and the coverage by TFW2005, we have word on the company’s plans for more Transformers content coming soon. As for animated feature films, Hasbro plans to bring a new animated Transformers installment to theaters in the next couple of years; their one-animated-movie-a-year schedule also includes My Little Pony and Stretch Armstrong features. The Transformers movie is going to be based on the current movie universe and will be a co-production between Paramount Pictures and Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures.

The next animated series will be:

  • Transformers: Cyberverse {Chapter 1) – 2018
  • Transformers: Cyververse (Chapter 2) - 2019
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy for younger audiences (3-5)

Hasbro-owned Boulder Media will be bringing the animated Transformers content to TV.

They also revealed the first looks at their new series, Stretch Armstrong And Flex FightersMicronauts and Littlest Pet Shop: Unleashed. We’ll have images available for you once they make them public.

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