It’s time to take a look at the nominees for Best Animated Series at this year’s Malaysia Film Festival (FFM27)! The awards ceremony, due on the 5th of September, will see top honours in the film industry handed out to several filmmakers and actors, and we’re here to talk about some pretty interesting contenders.
Before we begin, we must inform you that this is a new category added by FFM to recognise locally-animated series and this year we’ll have our first Best Animated Series winner! With that in mind, let’s begin evaluating these contenders!
Show description: In a beautiful little garden, live four friends. Although very different in characteristic and personality, they coexist together in harmony. Their lives are filled with fun, curiosity and adventure. Eager to learn new things and solve problems by working together, their lives are packed with humour and action instilled with the value of friendship.
Our verdict: In this extremely cute series by Les Copaque, we witness the lives of four elements (water, fire, wind and earth) who happen to be friends. It’s a bit strange and quite brilliant; jokes involve elemental reactions and elements of slapstick but all of it has been done in a manner that will make you go “aawwww“.
After taking a step back and doing some light research, we soon discovered that Dadudido is merely part of Les Copaque’s calculated plan of capturing international audiences. Having amassed over 20,000 likes on Facebook, it’s described by the team as their “latest IP”. Not so cute now, eh?
Show description: A young teenager whose body is stuck in a 10 year old has superpowers which he uses to protect his town called Indrasakti.
Our verdict: The Amazing Awang Khenit has come a long way since it first appeared in 2013. It’s basically what we would expect if we were thinking of a competent animated series. Emerging local animators SEAD Studios is responsible for this charming cartoon.
There’s not much to dislike about Awang Khenit – occasionally poor lip-syncing and vacant-looking female characters suggest that there’s plenty of room left for finetuning – and the ambitious project is constantly growing as a brand. There’s even an official Awang Khenit magazine now which looks pretty decent from what we’ve seen. Will there be any stopping Awang Khenit from taking home the coveted trophy?
Show description: Welcome to Golden Egg Securities, the number one security service on Rocky Perch. Chuck, who runs the company with his two friends, Flick and Wing, provide Kung Fu style security to the citizens of Rocky Perch and their valuables, as they travel across the island. Chuck also inherited a very special talisman in the shape of a golden egg, an object that bestows amazing powers on whomever possesses it, and it turns Chuck into Kung Fu Chicken. Unfortunately for Chuck, the talisman doesn’t come with any instructions, so he doesn’t know how to properly control his new abilities.
Our verdict: Did someone say Angry Birds? Chuck Chicken boasts one angry-looking bird as its protagonist, and it’s a fast-paced action series which is actually pretty decently-written. It’s an English-language 52-episode extravaganza with more birds than you can flap your hands at, and we really enjoy the animation on showcase here. Heck, it’s premiering on Disney Channel Asia on the 24th of August, so what else is there to say, really?
By the way, this one’s a product of Animasia Studios, one of the first few ISO-certified animation companies in Malaysia which even has a fancy MSC Malaysia status; according to the official website, the MSC Malaysia status serves as “a mark of world-class service and achievement and your passport and gateway to a host of privileges granted by the Government of Malaysia to the business entities”.
Show description: Rimba Racer revolves around the experiences of Tag, a street smart racing prodigy who is invited to participate in the world’s most prestigious racing competition: The Rimba Grand Prix. As a newcomer to the competition, he’s determined to make a name for himself by clinching the title. We follow Tag’s rise to fame as he learns new skills and overcomes his personal weaknesses. Off the track, we get to join in on Tag’s adventures as he gains new allies and clashes with the other racers who view him as a threat in their own quest for glory.
Our verdict: We have to say, Rimba Racer looks slick as f**k. This Glue Studios production is a visual treat – it’s one of those rare animated series which shines from extra layers of production gloss. Even its website is done with care; nobody’s half-assing anything with the brand.
Our common gripe that locally animated characters often have issues with dialogue syncing is barely validated in this particular series, and we have to give Glue Studios two thumbs up for their work here. There’s also a big enough range of individualistic characters to keep the ADHD-generation entertained, so congratulations Rimba team on your excellent effort – we can’t find anything to complain about here.
Show description: Puteri tells the lives of five princesses living in the Kingdom of Lime – Manis the sweet-voiced beauty, Kasturi the warrior at heart, Purut the shy and timid, Bali the warm-hearted and Nipis the mischievous with her pet cat Jebat. Each of these five sisters have extraordinary abilities which when combined, are able to keep peace and harmony within the kingdom by vanquishing evil threats, mystical creatures, and dark magic.
Our verdict: It’s time for some girl-power, bitches! Puteri has five different female protagonists with different personalities – that’s a whole of representation for females across the nation. It’s a very pretty action series which feels rather inspired by Disney‘s Frozen (and of course, local folklore) and it’s bound to appeal to little girls (perhaps even boys!) everywhere.
Unfortunately, syncing has gone to the dogs for this one; we don’t know if Les Copaque actually meant for Puteri to be an English-language series because the show’s dialogue barely even match its character’s mouth movements.
The Daily Seni’s Choice
The biggest surprise we had to face? How hard it is picking between all these choices!
We must admit, we weren’t expecting such decent work in this new category, so kudos to our animation scene for really picking up over the past decade or so. We think The Amazing Awang Khenit has a big chance thanks to its strong cultural aspect, but we cannot discount the fact that Chuck Chicken has actually managed to get onto regional TV. Rimba Racer meanwhile is no pushover – its creators really seem to know what they’re doing.
After much deliberation, we think it’s going to be a toss-up between The Amazing Awang Khenit and Chuck Chicken for FFM27’s first Best Animated Series winner. But if you still insist on making us choose… we’re going to go with Chuck Chicken.