Creative Animation Studio Calabash Helps Craft Look Of Attention-Grabbing Ad For Nintendo 3DS Yo-Kai Watch

“In Your Face” Blends Live Action And 3D Animation In A Wonderfully Weird Spot Boasting Over 2 Million YouTube Views.
CHICAGO, IL – 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.

calabash_logoDirected by Mark Kudsi of production company Sibling Rivalry, New York, the ad, entitled “In Your Face,” has been viewed over 2 million times on Nintendo’s YouTube channel.

“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 scene, 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.”

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