Do you think it's kinda weird that even though the characters in Villainous don't TECHNICALLY have good designs, while that kind of thing destroys other cartoons, in this one, it seems to work in its favor? Like, they look ridiculous, over the top, and crazy, but that feels like exactly what they're supposed to look like.
oh sweetheart let me tell you a little secret
the people who genuinely think the Villainous character designs are bad don’t know a damn thing about designing characters for animation
STRAP IN FOLKS IT’S TIME FOR ANOTHER RANT LESSON ABOUT ANIMATION CHARACTER DESIGN WITH NOVA (brought to you by SCAD: “I pay $35,000 a year to learn how to make cartoons so trust me I know what I’m talking about”)
The first thing any character design class (including the one I took) will teach you is “have a strong silhouette”
You can probably recognize almost if not every single one of these characters just from their outlines! So let’s take a look at the silhouettes of the Villainous cast…
HOLY SMOKES THEY ARE HELLA DISTINCTIVE!!! And here we even see what is probably the design reason for Dr. Flug’s paper bag and Demencia’s huge fluffy ponytail - they add to the strength of their silhouettes immensely.
Now let’s examine both the shape language of the characters AND how they’re likely divided in terms of their digital puppet rigs (as Villainous appears to use both the hand drawn and rigging techniques), because the former is the second thing any character design class will teach you and the latter is incredibly important to the modern digital 2D animation process. (Apologies if my rig estimates are off, I haven’t had as much experience with 2D rigging as I have with hand drawn.)
Black Hat has the most variety out of the cast, but broken up he’s really just a combination of rectangles, triangles and one or two circles. His hat is also kind of a shape in and of itself, one that comes very naturally when drawing his head. Like a lot of villain characters his sharpness is highly emphasized.
Dr. Flug is ALL about squares and skinny rectangles, with his only rounded shapes being his eyes and shoes. Normally when you see boxy characters they’re on the very masculine or muscular side, meant to seem strong or imposing, but Flug is a wimpy, scrawny twig. That’s really unorthodox and something I like a lot about his look.
What’s super interesting about Demencia is that next to 5.0.5, she has the most circles and rounded shapes. Sharpness is added in her details which makes her design look a lot more complex than it really is. What’s great about digital animation and 2D rigging is it makes characters who have a lot of specific details like her much simpler to animate, so she really isn’t impractical at all provided you’re animating her using a computer.
And finally we have BeariplierMarkibear 5.0.5, who I’m sure surprises no one by being a big old round baby full of circles. His nose and snout are of course triangles though. I like how he’s the most intentionally simple out of the cast, even going so far as to have a different eye style that almost makes him look like something out of an ultra-cutesy anime. He doesn’t fit in with and stands out a lot from the others, which is entirely the point.
To sum up, the Villainous characters are both simple enough to animate on a budget/deadline and interesting looking enough to want to watch, the perfect combination for modern 2D digital TV animation. These designs were MADE for a 2017 Cartoon Network show in every sense, with just enough early 2000s influence to feel fresh and new as well as classic and nostalgic. I want these guys to represent and become iconic of CN the same way Finn, Jake, Mordecai and Rigby have.
The existence of paranormal entities is widely debated. Some people have direct experience with non-human and non-living beings, while some dismiss the idea as ridiculous. No matter what you believe, you have probably heard the following terms in reference to supernatural entities and while some terms seem interchangeable, these refer to specific presence.
Spirit - General term for any non-physical entity.
Ghost - The most common term used to refer to a spirit is “ghost”, but “ghost” refers only to spirits of once-living things, like humans and animals.
Poltergeist - The term “poltergeist” refers to two kinds of supernatural activity. One involves spirits, human or otherwise, that cause havoc or chaos. These spirits often manipulate electronics and objects to elicit a reaction from the living. The second form of poltergeist haunting has to do with energies emitted from children or adolescents that manifest physically and cause chaos.
Thoughtforms - Thoughtforms are entities created by thought energy. Though they are usually created for a certain purpose, they can often develop a mind of their own and their own agendas.
Residual Hauntings - Residual hauntings are caused by leftover energy or emotions from a specific event that leaves an imprint in the physical world. These hauntings may manifest as a recurring physical events, such as a certain object being moved over and over again or a specific sound being heard with no source.
Shadow People - Shadow People are figures seen on the edge of one’s vision. They are considered to be bad omens
Parasitic Entities (Demons) - Parasitic entities (including what some refer to as Demons) are supernatural beings that feed off of the energy of a living host or victim.
Doppelgangers - Doppelgangers are spirits that appear in the form of a living person. They are known to appear to a person as themselves to warn them of their imminent death.
Guides - These spirits could have once been human, but do that is not always the case. They linger close to certain people in order to watch over them. These spirits are known to communicate with mediums.
This was my favorite part of this episode. Here’s why:
So here comes Daesung, trailing after Seungri, hands full with bowls of washed lettuce and whatnot. He’s taking his sweet time and,
in typical introvert fashion, complaining about how he isn’t ready to return to camp yet (“I don’t feel like going back”)… but the second he sees TOP tending to the fire his demeanor changes.
He’s all, “Whoa, look at that fire! You okay over there?” There’s a teasing note to it, yes. Because he’s already been on TOP’s case once today about the importance of washing his hands before handling meat that they’re all going to eat, come on, hyung.
But just underneath that there’s genuine concern, too. Because Daesung cares. And TOP is Big Bang’s big baby, after all. Someone’s gotta look after him. Daesung doesn’t call himself his nanny for nothing; one look at TOP dutifully manning the grill and he knows he’s having a hard time.
At Daesung’s voice TOP turns and– finally, someone who will listen to him! “The tongs are too short,” he complains, though by now he’s laughing at himself a little too. He knows his problems are trivial, but he just… he needs to unload on someone. The fire is hot! It hurts his hand! Why won’t anyone acknowledge that he’s struggling?
Poor TOP, the others all shot him down when he made a fuss about the heat from the fire burning his hand: “What do you want! Leave me alone!” They were so done with him right from the start; they had work of their own to do and no patience for his whining. But then along came Daesung, offering him an ear and an opportunity to vent his frustrations a bit. And really, sometimes that’s all TOP needs to keep going: someone who recognizes that, above all, he just wants to be heard.
Peter’s head snapped up at the sound of his name. Kind of shocked to see [Y/N] standing in front of him and Ned, he lost his grip on the table. Catching himself before he fell face first into their project, he cleared his throat, “Uh, yeah, yeah, uh, that’s me. Peter….”
“Nice, dude.” Ned snickered.
Flashing his friend a dirty look, he quickly turned back towards [Y/N]. She was awkwardly standing in front of their workshop table, he could sense that she was a bit nervous. “Did you need something?” He asked with a smile.
[Y/N]’s cheeks turned a little tinge of pink, something that had never happened to Peter. He had never made a girl blush before. Looking down at her feet, she bit her lip. “Yeah, actually I do. Um, well, how do I put this.” She looked back up at Peter’s confused expression. “I’m about to fail this class.”
“No fucking way.” Ned gasped, “You’re like the smartest girl in this school.”
Peter clenched his jaw, closing his eyes. “Ned.” He warned.
Ned shrugged, “What? She is. I don’t think she’s ever failed a class. It’s just shocking, that’s all.”
Peter shook his head, giving Ned a look to shut up. Turning to face [Y/N] again, he gently raised a brow. “And you need me to?”
Taking a deep breath, she pointed to Ned, “I actually failed Spanish in middle school by the way but,” looking at Peter, she exhaled in defeat. “not trying to exploit your mechanical genius or anything but Mr. Harding said if I can come up with at least three projects that can move, speak, and think on its own, he won’t fail me and give me a passing grade.” Tucking a piece of hair behind her ear, she bit her lip. “I’ve come up with the first two…kind of, not really but the last one I can’t seem to figure out. And I was wondering if you could help….me.”
Ned’s eyes widened as he smiled. Slapping Peter on the back, he cheered out. “OF course he can!”
[Y/N] gave Ned a peculiar look, “I appreciate you speaking for Peter, Ned. But, it’s not your time that I’d be wasting. I’m completely helpless when it comes to wiring. I just don’t understand.”
Peter watched her babble on about her inability to mechanically engineer things. He couldn’t help but smile, she was kind of cute when she panicked. She was one of those girls that never talked much outside her circle of friends and seemed unbelievably shy. He could relate to her.
“I’ll do it.” Peter said, cutting off her ramble of paying him too. Shaking his head, he crossed his arms, smiling. “You don’t have to pay me. We can trade services. I help you with your project and you help me study for the History exam.”
Her eyes lit up, “Really?”
Nodding, “Yeah, definitely.”
Reaching into her totebag, she tore a piece of paper from her notebook and scribbled down her number. “You seriously have no idea how much this means to me, Peter!” Handing him her number, she gave a shy smile. “Just, uh, um, text me whenever you figure out your schedule and I’ll rearrange mine.” Backing up slowly, she started to blush again, “I should get back, my partner’s probably wondering where I am.”
Peter looked down at the number and smiled. “Yeah, I’ll text you after school.” Sticking in his pocket, he looked back down at his project.
Ned leaned in, “Dude, did that just happen?”
“Shut up, Ned.” Peter rolled his eyes.
“No seriously, did it? Because I’m pretty sure that it didn’t. [Y/N] is like the most underrated girl in our school. She’s so pretty that she doesn’t even know she’s pretty.”
Squinting his eyes, Peter looked at Ned, “What does that even mean?”
Squeezing his arm, Ned squealed out. “It means you have a chance dude.”
Peter shook his head and glanced across the room. He chuckled silently at [Y/N] desperately trying to understand what her partner was telling her. Ned had a point, she was extremely pretty and he could bet she didn’t even know her worth. Looking back down at their open wires, he shrugged, “Yeah maybe.”
“Nice.” Bumping Peter to do their little hand shake, Ned whispered. “Liz Allen who, whaaat?”