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Danger Boy

Below is the “Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing”, the unaired pilot to Rugrats, which was one of Nickelodeon's most popular cartoons. This is the primeval origin of over 350 episodes which aired over the course of eleven years and continued into several films and spinoffs.

If you've ever watched the show, especially the later seasons, take a look at the huge, huge differences in the animation direction. There's an obvious and overt flow to the animation that's rendered much more naturally/realistically in the later seasons. Here, the characters' limbs are elongated, the facial expressions are much more adult and emphasized to expressionistic levels, and the viewing angles are both regularly canted and make heavy use of perspective distortion. All this, well, weirdness is the hallmark of a single animation director you may be familiar with. Have you guessed who it is? How about a hint...

Above: Rugrats, “Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing”
Below: Aeon Flux, “Gravity”

The director is none other than Aeon Flux's Peter Chung. Chung has, of course, much more to his credit than Aeon Flux, but that series shows off his design and directorial skills like none other. And this Rugrats pilot makes it obvious just how well he can carry his personal technique over into non-action-oriented content.


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