This Week in Animation News: ‘Voltron’ Gets a VR Game; ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season 3 Clips Emerge

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 some excellent Blu-ray releases (and some not-so-great ones) like Disney’s re-release of The Lion King and Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels; both of those have some bonus clips that have been made available for your viewing pleasure. Elsewhere, Voltron Legendary Defender is getting a VR game and Steven Universe now has some legit, hands-on toys for you to play with.

Image via LA-AFF

There’s not much going on in the movie world outside of Pixar’s Coco, but a new trailer for the anime release A Silent Voice should capture your attention. However, the Los Angeles Anime Film Festival, taking place early this September, will celebrate 100 years of anime. On the TV side, we have news on Mike Judge‘s new Cinemax series Tales from the Tour Bus and a new YouTube Red show Dallas & Robo, featuring the team-up of Kat Dennings and John Cena. For the little ones out there, Disney Junior has set the release date for Vampirina a few weeks before the spooky Halloween holiday.

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!

DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles Trailer, Images, and Info!

Become a Paladin of Voltron and fight back against the relentless threat of Zarkon by solving puzzles and conquering challenges.

Digital Domain and Universal Brand Development unveiled DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles, the first ever virtual reality adventure for the critically acclaimed Netflix original series, DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender.

In DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles, viewers become a Paladin of Voltron and blast through time and space to save the Universe from dangerous alien threats in a fully-immersive environment with interactive elements. Fans join forces with characters Lance, Hunk, Pidge, Keith, Shiro, Allura and Coran in a narrative where they fight back against the relentless threat of Zarkon by solving puzzles and conquering challenges.

DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles will launch on PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on September 26th for $14.99; fans can pre-order the experience on PlayStation VR starting today and receive a 20% discount!

Keep an eye out for the Season 4 premiere of Voltron Legendary Defender on Netflix October 13th!

Image via DreamWorks

Image via DreamWorks

Image via DreamWorks

Image via DreamWorks

'Star Wars Rebels' Season 3 Clips Revisit the Epic Space Story

Delve into the addition of Thrawn to the series in this bonus footage from season 3 of Star Wars Rebels.

Learn more about Sabine’s story in this bonus footage from season 3 of Star Wars Rebels.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Mon Mothma’s role in season 3 of Star Wars Rebels in this bonus footage.

Learn more about the origins of the Darksaber in this bonus footage from season 3 of Star Wars Rebels.

Delve into the process of creating the pivotal battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul in this bonus footage.

 

Join the Ghost crew as it prepares for its biggest mission yet in Star Wars Rebels: Season Three! The story of the Ghost crew is far from over. While Sabine confronts new challenges on her home world of Mandalore, Ezra’s growing power as both a Jedi and a rebel leader helps the rebellion acquire new resources and recruits for the fight ahead. However, the Imperial effort to eliminate the rebellion is now being led by the coldly analytical Grand Admiral Thrawn, whose strategic, tactical and cultural insights make him a threat unlike any they have faced before.

Own the complete third season now!

Image via Disney XD

'The Lion King' Clips Go Behind-the-Scenes of the Disney Classic

The Lion King Roars To Its Rightful Place In The Walt Disney Signature Collection! Available Now!

 

Celebrate the glory of The Lion King as this magnificent coming-of-age masterpiece takes its rightful place as the reigning star of the acclaimed Walt Disney Signature Collection! With humor and heart, breathtaking animation, soul-stirring Academy Award®–winning music*, and revealing new Bonus Extras, this much-beloved story transports you to the Pride Lands and inspires generations of fans to find their places in the “Circle Of Life”. Create memories that will transcend time with Disney’s The Lion King—a treasured classic that belongs in every family’s collection!

Image via Disney

'A Silent Voice' Trailer Turns a Bully into a Friend

I’m not familiar with the original story from the manga–the animated adaptation of which seems to have people divided over how well the source material is handled–but for me, this trailer does a great job at grabbing my attention. I certainly want to know more, so it’s done its job.

As for A Silent Voice, it stars Saori Hayami as Shōko Nishimiya, a girl with a hearing disability who’s bullied mercilessly by Shoya Ishida (Miyu Irino). When the tables are turned and he finds himself the victim of bullying, he’ll go to great lengths to make amends. Naoko Yamada directs from Reiko Yoshida‘s screenplay adapted from writer-illustrator Yoshitoki Oima‘s original manga series, “Koe no Katachi.”

From Kyoto Animation and ELEVEN ARTS Anime Studio, A Silent Voice will make its way into U.S. theaters on October 20th.

Here’s the official synopsis for A Silent Voice:

“A Silent Voice” follows the poignant and moving story of Shōya Ishida, a school bully, and Shōko Nishimiya, a young girl with a hearing disability. Their story begins in sixth grade when Shōko transfers to Shōya’s elementary school and quickly finds herself bullied and isolated due to her hearing disability. Years later, the tables turn, and Shōya finds himself the victim. “A Silent Voice” depicts the struggles and challenges of adolescence alongside coming-of-age outside the norm.

Image via ELEVEN ARTS

Mike Judge's New Animated Series Set for Cinemax Debut This September

Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus chronicles the tales of some of country music’s most legendary artists when the series begins its eight-episode season Friday, September 22nd exclusively on Cinemax.

Marking a return to his roots in animation and as a musician, Judge co-created, narrates and serves as an executive producer on the series, which recounts the raucous adventures of these musicians, as told by those who knew them best. Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus kicks off with an episode devoted to Johnny Paycheck, followed by episodes about Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones and Tammy Wynette (two parts), Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings (two parts) and Blaze Foley.

Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus features animated interviews with former bandmates, friends and other erstwhile associates, who share uncensored anecdotes about the exploits of these artists, brought to life by animated reenactments, woven together with live-action archival performance footage and photos.

Upcoming episodes (Fridays from 10:00-10:30pm ET/PT):

Episode #1: “Johnny Paycheck” (9/22)

In addition to selling 40 million records and producing chart-topping hits like “She’s All I Got” and “Take This Job and Shove It,” country music outlaw Johnny Paycheck became notorious for living the part. He was known for his music, grand theft auto, drug binges and stints in jail. At the height of Paycheck’s fame, he shot a man over a turtle soup recipe, which led to a high-profile trial, a prison sentence and one of his greatest hits, “Old Violin.”

Episode #2: “Jerry Lee Lewis” (9/29)

One of the pioneers of rock’n’roll, Jerry Lee Lewis also happened to be a country music singer who liked to call himself “The Killer.” He made a name for himself not just as a magnetic piano-playing singer, but also as an impulsive, gun-wielding wild man, who stoked epic rivalries with the likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. The Killer also notoriously married his 13-year-old second cousin, setting off an epic worldwide scandal.

Image via Cinemax

Episode #3: “George Jones and Tammy Wynette (Part One)” (10/6)

He was a poor boy from a bootleggers’ town in the Texas backwoods. She was a cotton-picking Mississippi girl dreaming of stardom in Nashville. Together, George Jones and Tammy Wynette became the first power couple in country music. They were perfect in the public eye, but their tumultuous relationship was punctuated by George’s alcohol-fueled escapades and his paranoia over Tammy’s romantic past. She tried to keep the marriage from turning toxic, singing “Stand By Your Man,” her greatest hit, onstage with her husband every night.

Episode #4: “George Jones and Tammy Wynette (Part Two)” (10/13)

Collaborating on 33 hit songs and nine studio albums, George Jones and Tammy Wynette projected an image of marital bliss. Backstage, real life was more of a mess, highlighted by actual gunplay, an accusation of poisoning and ingenious disappearing acts in the name of alcohol. The marriage was ultimately sacrificed, but the music survived. Despite George’s split personalities and Tammy’s endless string of men, the two maintained an artistic partnership that stood the test of time and gave them one of their greatest hits, “Golden Rings,” about love and marriage.

John Cena and Kat Dennings Bring 'Dallas & Robo' to YouTube Red

YouTube Red continues to add some of the biggest names in Hollywood to its all-star comedy roster. On a packed slate showcasing inventive new Originals, comes Dallas & Robo, a hilarious animated space adventure and buddy-comedy from the producers behind Robot Chicken. The YouTube Red series features the voices of 16-time WWE champion John Cena and Kat Dennings.

Dallas & Robo centers around sassy space-trucker “Dallas” (Dennings) and self-proclaimed warrior-poet ”Robo” (Cena) who have to navigate their way around cannibal bikers, rival space truckers, and vending machine burritos as they try to make a buck in the seedy world of interplanetary big rigging.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast are Jane Lynch, Dana Snyder, Giancarlo Esposito, Clancy Brown, Bree Williamson, Nat Faxon, Taran Killam and Milana Vayntraub.

Image via ICM Partners

The eight episode series will be produced by Shadowmachine (Robot Chicken, BoJack Horseman). Mike Roberts is the creator of the series and also serves as an executive producer. Matt Mariska and Andy Sipes serve as writers and executive producers. Cena also serves as an executive producer. Dallas & Robo will debut exclusively on YouTube Red in 2018.

“I’m thrilled to join Kat and the rest of this fantastic voice cast for Dallas and Robo,” said John Cena. “The writing for this series is flat-out funny and very creative, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of such a unique, entertaining project.”

“With Kat Dennings and John Cena bringing these animated characters to life, I have no doubt viewers are going to have fun watching this imaginative, new outer space comedy from Shadowmachine,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube.

Disney Junior Sets 'Vampirina' Release Date

Disney Junior’s animated series Vampirina will premiere Sunday, October 1st (11:00 a.m. EDT), with two back-to-back episodes simulcast on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. The episodes will also be available on Disney Junior VOD, Disney Junior YouTube and in the new DisneyNOW app, which will also debut two additional episodes same day. New episodes will be presented every Monday and Friday in October on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

Special screenings of Vampirina will take place at movie theaters across the U.S. on Saturday, October 21st; Thursday, October 26th; and Saturday, October 28th, as part of “Disney Junior at the Movies – HalloVeen Party!,” presented by Fathom Events. The screening events will include a never-before-seen episode of Vampirina, a costume party for kids and families, with more to be announced soon. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 22nd, at FathomEvents.com/DisneyJunior.

Image via Disney Junior

Set in a Pennsylvania neighborhood, the series stars Lauren Graham, James Van Der Beek and Isabella Crovetti as the Hauntley family, friendly vampires who have recently moved from their home in Transylvania. The stories follow Vampirina (aka “Vee”) as she faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town including making friends and attending a new school in the human world. Along the way, Vee learns that it may be easier to blend in with her peers, but it’s more valuable to celebrate the qualities that make each individual unique.

In addition to Van Der Beek, Graham and Crovetti, the Vampirina voice cast includes: Mitchell Whitfield as playful ghost, Demi; Jordan Alexa Davis as Vee’s best friend and next-door neighbor, Poppy; ViviAnn Yee as another one of Vee’s close friends, Bridget; Dee Bradley Baker as Vee’s teacher, Mr. Gore, and the Hauntley’s dog, Wolfie; Benji Risley as Poppy’s twin brother, Edgar; Cree Summer as Poppy and Edgar’s mom, Edna; and Ian James Corlett as Chef Remy Bones, the Scare B&B’s resident skeleton chef.

Recurring guest stars include Tony Award-winning Broadway performers Patti LuPone and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Vee’s grandparents, Nanpire and Grandpop; and Wanda Sykes as Vampirina’s cantankerous yet loyal gargoyle sidekick Gregoria.

Inspired by Disney Publishing’s popular children’s book series “Vampirina Ballerina,” written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the series includes leaders from the creative team on Disney Junior’s Peabody Award-winning animated series Doc McStuffins including creator/executive producer Chris Nee and co-executive producer Norton Virgien. Nicky Phelan serves as director. Broadway composers Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond are the series’ songwriters and Layla Minoui is composer. Each episode of Vampirina features two 11-minute stories and one original song. The series is produced by Academy Award-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films in association with Disney Junior.

Image via Disney Junior

Image via Disney Junior

Image via Disney Junior

'Steven Universe' Toys Bring the Grand Adventure Home

New McFarlane Construction Sets based on Steven Universe, a hit TV series created by Emmy-nominated writer, storyboard artist, and New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Sugar, are available now!

Steven Universe is the coming-of-age story of a boy named Steven Universe and the “Crystal Gems”, a team of magical alien guardians who protect the Earth. Every episode finds Steven, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl in one incredible adventure after the next, protecting the planet and always finding a way to save the day.

The first wave of Steven Universe Construction Sets from McFarlane Toys includes 6 different Construction Sets depicting iconic scenes and characters from the show. Figures included in each set feature articulation in the main joints and have swappable limbs for customization! McFarlane bricks and figures are compatible with other construction brands. Prices range from $8.99 – $34.99 and are available at Walmart.

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Image via McFarlane Toys

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival to Celebrate 100 Years of Anime

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LA-AFF), presented by international creative company Rydgen Inc. in partnership with L.A. based film distribution company Azoland Pictures, is proud to announce its opening and closing night films as well as their full lineup. No Game No Life Zero, the highly anticipated prequel film to the popular anime series No Game No Life, is set to kick off the festival on September 15th, while Katsuhiro Otomo’s timeless cyberpunk masterpiece, AKIRA, will mark the finale of the event on September 17th. The LA-AFF takes place September 15-17, 2017 and all programs will be showcased at the Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

LA-AFF will screen a diverse slate of anime feature films, including recently popular hits in Japan and also classic titles that are fan favorites. The festival will feature a full list of events in addition to the film screenings including an opening night red carpet gala and Q&A sessions with directors, voice actors, and film creators to further excite festival-goers.

2017 marks the 100th year since animation film was born in Japan, and to mark this centennial celebration, LA-AFF will screen one of the first Japanese animated short films created in 1917 by Junichi Kouichi called Namakura Katana during the opening ceremony on September 15th. In addition to the previously announced titles, the lineup will include the North American Premiere of King of Prism by PrettyRhythm which garnered major success among Japanese fans earning over 7 million dollars in Japanese box offices. One of the key features that led to this film’s major success lies in the unique “cheering screening style,” which allows the audience to engage with the movie just as they would during a live music event by bringing their own glow sticks and cheering the characters during the presentation.

ANIME, also known as Japanese animation have gained worldwide popularity in the recent years, through the accessibility of the internet and with streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu including many anime series in their programming. These days, there is a much bigger demand for Japanese anime films to be shown in theaters outside of Japan but there are still many films that do not get distributed. The goal for the LA-AFF is to further promote the appreciation of anime films abroad, and to present a place where people can enjoy anime films with full quality of image, music, and acoustics. LA-AFF has prepared a lineup that represents the full range of artistic expression, profoundness, and diversity of anime films. This is a chance for more people to get to know the world of anime like never before.

Tickets for each screening are now available and on sale at: http://la-aff.eventbrite.com

Opening Gala Screening – Friday, September 15

  • No Game No Life Zero, dir. Atsuko Ishizuka, Japan, 2017 *North American Premiere
  • Namakura Katana (Special Presentation)

Closing Film – Sunday, September 17

  • Akira, dir. Katsuhiro Otomo, Japan, 1988

Festival Lineup

  • 009 Re:Cyborg 3D, dir. Kenji Kamiyama, Japan, 2012
  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, dir. Tatsuyuki Nagai, Japan 2013
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, dir. Shinichirō Watanabe, Hiroyuki Okiura, Yoshiyuki Takei, Japan, 2001
  • Ghost in the Shell, dir. Mamoru Oshii, Japan, 1995
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, dir. Mamoru Oshii, Japan, 2004 (35mm)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service, dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1989
  • King of Prism by PrettyRhythm dir. Masakazu Hishida, Japan, 2016 *North American Premiere
  • Love Live! The School Idol Movie, dir. Takahiko Kyogoku, Japan, 2015
  • Metropolis, dir. Rintaro, Japan, 2001
  • Miss Hokusai, dir. Keiichi Hara, Japan, 2015
  • My Neighbor Totoro, dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1988
  • Paprika, dir. Satoshi Kon, Japan, 2006 (35mm)
  • Pigtails, dir. Yoshimi Itazu, Japan, 2015
  • Porco Rosso, dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1992
  • Red Turtle, dir. Michaël Dudok de Wit, France/Belgium/Japan, 2016
  • Summer Wars, dir. Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2009

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