What does an overly competitive mom and uncontrollably flatulent boy have in common? Both are featured in the bizarre scenarios brought to animated life by Calabash, the animation studio led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, in the wacky new spot for Nintendo’s 3DS game Yo-Kai Watch created by agency Leo Burnett, Chicago.
“The client wanted the animation to be both funny, attention-grabbing and authentic to the original Japanese animated TV show,” Brejcha says. “How our animation integrates with the live action is more inventive and complex than one might expect, so there was a great deal experimentation involved as we explored different ideas.”
The spot presents two seemingly normal scenarios, but then adds a ‘Yo-Kai’ spirit (character) to the mix, causing havoc. In one scene, a mom playing friendly game of basketball with her kids suddenly turns ultra-competitive as the spirit of Blazion, represented by a crazed, distinctly "anime” face, overtakes her. In another , a boy in an elevator becomes uncontrollably flatulent after a pretty girl enters (represented by a wave of animated green smoke and a sweaty, embarrassed face) thanks to the Yo-Kai spirit Cheeksqueek.
For Henry, the biggest challenge was coming up with ideas and designs that would translate in the context of the spot, but also stay true to the Yo-Kai brand.
“Japanese animation uses well-established conventions, but it can also be extremely inventive,” Henry notes. “We had a considerable amount of creative freedom, but always measured against the animated show and a vast wealth of other anime examples to keep it authentic."
Led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, Calabash is the Chicago, IL-based animation production studio known for its award-winning animation for the advertising and entertainment industries. Calabash Animation is perhaps best known for their creative character animation and development of some of America’s most beloved brand icons. In addition to it advertising working, the company has also produced several acclaimed short films, including ‘’Stubble Trouble,’’ which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002.
Click here to watch the Nintendo 3DS Yo-Kai Watch spot “In Your Face”
Click here for more info about Calabash:
Client: Nintendo/Yo-Kai Watch videogame
Project: “In Your Face” (:30)
Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, IL
Animation: Calabash, Chicago, IL
Creative Director: Wayne Brejcha
Executive Producer: Sean Henry