25 April 2005 | pip-7
From The Creative Mind of PPG Comes Yet Another Masterpiece...
It's great to see how animation studios start shifting their attention from traditional animation to Flash animation in this new millennium. However, I still personally feel that Flash is a relatively new technology, which means that most Flash cartoons still haven't matched up with even the best 2D cartoons in the market yet. Let's check out the latest wave of Flash toons now showing on Cartoon Network. Lucha Mucha! has some of the fanciest animation I've ever seen but I still feel that it pretty much suffers from episodic plot and over-the-top toilet humor. Elsewhere, I've high hopes for Atomic Betty (I saw its impressive promo clip via the Internet), which is unfortunately marred by its unoriginal plot and settings, sluggish editing and it's even ripping off Samurai Jack's cinematic ratio screen! I begin to lose faith in Flash when suddenly I hear of another Flash cartoon created by Craig McCracken who also helps create the ever-popular PPG! Despite this great news, some questions remain uncertain: will this new show be McCracken's next masterpiece? Will it be as funny and energetic as his previous works? Will it even surpass my expectations as it may surpass PPG when it debuts on CN?
As for the answers for all three questions above: YES! In fact, of all the Flash cartoons currently available on TV, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends has the best of all worlds. Because Craig has gained experiences while working on Dex's Lab and PPG several years before, it's no doubt that Foster's Home manages to attract audience of all ages with its superbly balanced and original storyline, a strange mix of cute and bizarre characters and even some of the catchiest music I've ever heard from a particular cartoon show.
Like all good cartoon shows, many of the characters in Foster's Home have some unique features and personalities of their own (thanks to its incredibly tight yet funny voice acting). Bloo, the cute little blue blob, is Mac's imaginary friend who often looks for trouble, intentionally and unintentionally, even as if he admits that he does it for fun. Coco is a bird who can only mention its name (similar to Pokemon, I guess) but it also can lay eggs that, when hatched, reveal some really useful and sometimes unnecessary items based on Coco's thoughts. We also even have Eduardo the big bull monster who's afraid of everything; Wilt, the one-eyed, one-armed intelligent imaginary friend, the noble but irritating bunny man Mr. Herriman, hot chick Frankie who is neglected of Herriman's orders and is pretty much of a typical teenager, quiet Madame Foster who still acts like a little brat, etc. Despite their differences in appearances, accents and attitudes, they are all very funny, lovable and appealing.
I also wish to congratulate the background artists for making Foster's Home a truly strange and imaginative world. Most of the settings are beautifully designed, with inspirations from its predecessor (PPG) in addition to vibrant colors and the wackiness of its overall nature that suits the atmosphere of the entire show. Like I have mentioned above, the music is pretty catchy and truthfully one of the real highlights of the show, especially its opening theme which is a nice amalgamation of a classic piano tune which is often heard in most cowboy movies, a 'roller-coaster ride' song and even some really silly clown effects. As a bonus for finishing a particular episode, viewers will be treated with a simple yet absurd sequence at the end credits.
Each episode of Foster's Home, although still hasn't yet reached the insanity level that its predecessors had in their later years, is captivating and hilarious at best. The only complaint I have here is the fact that most episodes only run for 30 minutes each (some of them are actually two-in-one episodes which are true to the spirit of PPG/Dexter). I can't see why they are shown individually (like Samurai Jack) instead of the usual PPG structure. I bet everyone will think of something like, "GIVE ME MORE 'BLOO', PLEASE!"
Anyway, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends has proved, even to Craig himself, that its simplistic concept can clearly make up for a truly classic cartoon show with the right ingredients given by chances and choices. Give it a try, you'll definitely love it!