Thursday, December 10, 2009

Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa Production Notes: Naysayers

Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa is in full swing and the ratings are awesome. Of course, there will be naysayers. Here’s one (please ignore the man's abysmal grammar and spelling). The following is my reply to the dude’s review:

Hi there. The name's Squid Villanueva. I'm the head writer of the series you reviewed here.

If you are going to call this a pinoy Anime, i suggest you reconsider or else, the Anime force will get you.

I totally agree with you here. Calling a non-Japanese animated show or movie as anime is pretentious. I cringe every time someone calls our show Pinoy Anime. But then that's a marketing ploy and it's something I've learned to swallow. When you write for mainstream television there are a lot of artistic sensibilities that you learn to ignore because, after all, you're writing for the Great Unwashed. You can imagine my chagrin when someone slapped "live-action anime" on one fantaserye I worked on last year. Live-action anime?! WTF indeed. As I've said, it's a marketing ploy. The masses know what anime is. It's cool and it's awesome. Let's attach that label on our product. So far, cringe-factor aside, it's working. The ratings prove it.

The overall all part is , this is no Anime, the cartoons are simple, and in fact, this is TV quality made for TV quality, there is nothing to say more about it.

Again, I agree. I'd prefer seeing breakthrough designs and stories and I would create a truly awesome 100% Pinoy animated series if I had around 20 million pesos to burn. Sadly, I don't. But the network does. I want to make cartoons for people with similar tastes as I do. The network wants to make cartoons for the greater masses and thus make money. Guess whose vision got executed? On the other hand, the series is not worse than the fantaseryes you see out there, is it? It's TV. Even better, it's Pinoy TV. Don't be disheartened though. The fact that this show is rating means there will be more Pinoy cartoons to come as far as the network is concerned. They'll be bakya, sure, since the Filipino audience is bakya but little by little we'll manage to inject some awesomeness in it whenever we can get away with doing so. That's how it was with fantaseryes. There was a time when network executives would raise their eyebrows if you suggest a fantasy show for TV. Then slowly, they got around to giving fantasy concepts the green light. Still not as awesome as I would like them to be but we're getting there. Networks are torn between making breakthrough products and rating. The sad fact is, records show that breakthrough and awesome frequently do not equate to ratings and profit.

The story is typically aimed for children. Given that it’s airing on a uninteresting timeslot plus that, most kids are in their respective churches. ABS CBS is not really putting importance to their work. perhaps they’re just airing it for the sake of effort.

The ratings prove you wrong though. Sunday morning is a dead time slot but ratings suddenly shot up when Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa aired. But you're right about it being aimed at children. It is.

So far as 3 episode, the story hasn’t been that deep. In fact they are currently in “Cruising ” mode.

That's right. Almost every cartoon series does this to give the audience time to be comfortable with the premise of the show. Watch out for the next episodes though, they start getting a bit darker and they start exploring uncomfortable questions with equally uncomfortable answers.

Story wise, this is very boring, and un interesting for anime fans, nor for fans in general. Aimed for kids aged 6-10 years old, but as far as the kids goes, they are busy watching anime on youtube, or busy playing the latest MMORPG in the market. Seriously, this formula is very old, and will only work, if you live in the late 90s, just like I. Broadcast media dosen’t get it do they?

Uninteresting for anime fans, maybe, but you'll be surprised at how few anime fans there are in this country. I’m a geek-ciple of all things cool and awesome myself, for good or ill. If we are as many as we think we are then our presence would translate to ratings and networks would be tripping over their own feet to churn out products for us geeks. But the kind of anime we like are niche products. If we had a population as large as the US then niche shows would still be profitable. Unfortunately, we’re a small country. Now, uninteresting for fans in general? Untrue. Again, we go back to ratings. People are watching the show. Broadcast media does get it. They get it very well indeed. And they are rewarded with ratings.

The humor in the series is good.

Thanks. The funny thing is most of us in the show share a nasty sense of humor. Not at all for minors. We constantly have to pull ourselves back to make our gags airable.

This cartoon is okay. Not ground breaking, nor very interesting enough to talk about as far the community is concered.

Comparing it to the well-established Western and Japanese animation industry, sure, it's not ground-breaking. But when you consider that this is the only Pinoy animated show that's actually showing success (the only Pinoy animated show, for that matter), not talking about it is retarded. It's the springboard for the mainstream Pinoy animation industry—not just an industry of artists merely doing labor for foreign projects. This is where it all starts: Pinoy artists and writers as creatives. ABS-CBN and the Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa group is at the forefront of this new frontier. We're showing potential producers out there that yes, Pinoy animation is now a viable product. We have proof. So go make your own cartoons. Let the competition begin. Because innovation best comes from competition. Let GMA make their own Mulawin or Darna cartoons. Let this industry blossom, by Jove.

Filipinos are good animators, unfortunately, there isn’t any one that has a good story to tell. Story, is the only key needed for the market to succeed. You just have to wonder, if they can ever get out of the vicious cycle of “Anime (Cartoon) are for kids” mindset.

You have to wonder if people can ever get out of the vicious cycle of "if I don't like the TV show, the writers must be stupid" mindset. Writers, especially TV writers, are hired guns. We are commissioned to write stories. If our bosses don't like the stories we write, we won't get paid. That's why a lot of us write stories we don't really like writing. You seem to think we are intellectually inept. You'll be surprised at how many Palanca awardees write bakya stuff for TV. TV writers write what the bosses think will sell. The bosses are bosses because they're usually right about what sells. In our spare time, however, we talk about Franz Kafka and Satoshi Kon like every other geek.

Super Ingo is no different from the previous works. It will go down in history for being “that” cartoon made by Filipinos.

What previous works? The Capt. Barbell/Panday/Darna animated series back in the eighties? Those were abortions that shouldn't have seen the light of day. Urduja and Dayo? Those didn't sell well. If we’re successful, we will go down in history for being able to prove that mainstream Pinoy animation is profitable. Therein begins the industry. But I’ve already talked at length about that.

Also, I can give you better screen caps if you want.


  1. I get your point here squid. I hope this project ignites a competition amongst the enthusiasts. When it picks up (more than what it is already now), others would jump in and strive to outweigh the other then everything good will follow after that.

    More power squid and to your team.

  2. That's what we're hoping for too. Thanks for visiting these parts.