Moonlight Fox (2020) (YouTube Short)

Gonna try something a little different with our latest review…

Moonlight Fox is a character created by Jordan Gibson. From what I understand, the character is inspired by the Tokusatsu genre in Japan (Godzilla and the Power Rangers would be the most famous example to those of us who are unfamiliar), but particularly inspired by the Shōwa era within that genre. There’s also a late 70s early 80s manga/anime vibe pulsing through the marvelous design.

Back in January, a studio named Smallbu Animation Studio decided to create an opening animated sequence to a Moonlight Fox cartoon. Unfortunately, the cartoon is not real but this intro certainly (and thankfully) is:

I’m deciding to review it because it works so well, and I re-watch it a few times every couple of days. Sure, it’s only 7 seconds long BUT what an excellent 7 seconds it is!

First off, let’s talk about the design. I’ve hinted at Gibson’s design of Moonlight Fox in my intro, but let’s take a closer look. The costume is SLEEK, with only two colors and the utility belt plus weapons. The look of the mask holds great mystery, and let’s praise that cape! Overall, just a design that really pops.

The combination of seeing him run, flip and stand dominant (to that music too!) in such a wonderful sequence is quite wondrous. The animation of his movement plus the cape’s is so fluid and dynamic, and the entire thing has some killer composition. I have seen some big-budget studio work that doesn’t reach the level of precision that this short does.

Also, I love love LOVE that it looks like it was created on film. If you don’t know what I mean, watch the piece again; You’ll see little black specs occasionally appear throughout, as well as a subtle “flicker”. MOST things produced nowadays for both theater and tv are made digitally, which is just easier. BUT, it really bugs me when productions are trying to create something within an era but don’t make it look like it was actually made within that era. Yes, it’s a nitpick of mine, but whatever, I like what I like. The Aviator and the Lighthouse did it gloriously, using different film stocks, lenses and lighting techniques to convey that we were in a different time period while watching those works.

They made us FEEL like we were there.

Smallbu’s ambitious attempt to give their piece those specs and that flicker thankfully solidifies that this could’ve been discovered from an animation studio’s vault in the late 70s/early 80s and for that, I am ever so grateful. Feels like I’m there, man.

My only issue with it is that it isn’t a real show that we could watch. That gives me many sad emojis. Booooooooo. As I mentioned on Twitter, I’d watch THE HELL out of it.

Anyway, watch the short. And then watch it again. Follow Jordan Gibson and Smallbu Animation Studios. Show them love for something they made with even more love.

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production and has been published both online and in print for Los Angeles City College’s award-winning Collegian newspaper. He is also a news writer at DC Comics News. Jose is on Twitter and Instagram, and is also currently writing his first short novel.

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