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Seth Kearsley reveals Kingdom Hearts Animated Series Pilot Animatic



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kirabook

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Not sure it would've panned out that way. KH does have a pretty popular manga that pretty much everyone enjoys (though I think there are some detractors). You don't really see any fandom wars over what the manga did vs the game except people wanting more humor and Kairi from the manga in the game.

I feel like the show would've resulted in the same relationship. Maybe. But I guess that entirely depends on exactly how much it deviates from the game, which the manga doesn't do TOO much.
 

Launchpad

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  1. "WASTING "SIMPLE & CLEAN (REMIX)" ON A STUPID/RANDOM RACE UP THE STAIRS IN THE CAVE OF WONDERS!? WTF!?
  2. The fight music in Agrabah being some generic crap instead of using the actual Agrabah fight theme.
  3. The animation was a complete trainwreck.
  4. The idea of Sora "being a hero" and having him come to that realization in the span off 11 minutes is weird.
It was an animatic for a pilot, not a finished product. It was made by one guy who had to draw everything and had deadlines to meet-- pilots are often constrained to 11 minutes or less, they're meant to pitch the concept, and that involves hastened exposition many times. Your critique is the only thing that's a trainwreck, sorry.
 

MATGSY

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People are speculating how this show could have changed the course of the games if it had been picked up, but just imagine the impact on the fandom.

In one corner you have the show-only fanatics. In the other you have the game purists. And in the middle you have the people who enjoy both and others who just want the flame wars to die down.
AKA business as usual for the Sonic fandom.
 

Zackarix

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Not sure it would've panned out that way. KH does have a pretty popular manga that pretty much everyone enjoys (though I think there are some detractors). You don't really see any fandom wars over what the manga did vs the game except people wanting more humor and Kairi from the manga in the game.

I feel like the show would've resulted in the same relationship. Maybe. But I guess that entirely depends on exactly how much it deviates from the game, which the manga doesn't do TOO much.
Believe me, if the story of the TV show was even a fraction as unfaithful to the games as this pilot is it would be divisive among fans of the games, even if it was great in its own right. Like how FMA 2003 was considered one of the greatest anime of all time until a second adaptation that was closer to the manga came out, then suddenly people were claiming that it was bad and citing its unfaithfulness to the source material as one of their main reasons. Or how fans of the ASOIAF books were nitpicking even the smallest changes the show made long before the divisive ending.

The existing KH manga and novels aren't comparable for a few reasons. One, they're relatively faithful with all divergences being minor. More humor and Kairi being better written doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. And two, they're obscure enough that only dedicated fans hungry for more are seeking them out. A TV show would be prominent enough that you'd have viewers who never so much as glanced at a PS2 entering the fandom through it.

The only times I've seen an adaption that took liberties not lead to friction with fans of the original is either when the source material was obscure enough (such as short stories) that there weren't enough huge fans to kick up a fuss, or things like comic books, mythology, and old classic books that have been adapted over, where you have to accept that there are a ton of variations instead of One True Version. And even then...
 

Face My Fears

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It was an animatic for a pilot, not a finished product. It was made by one guy who had to draw everything and had deadlines to meet-- pilots are often constrained to 11 minutes or less, they're meant to pitch the concept, and that involves hastened exposition many times. Your critique is the only thing that's a trainwreck, sorry.
"Hastened exposition"? OK, but going off of what was shown, there was basically no story except dark creatures called heartless came from "no one knows" and somehow Riku works for Maleficent and wants to go back home. Oh and Sora has the keyblade from the start with no explanation, except that he's "destined to wield it"... yet has it already. Also, the two most egregious things were the music which he had access to all: 1) he wasted "Simple & Clean (Remix)" and 2) he wasted time looking for a generic anime fight song than just use the Agrabah fight theme.

Just because it's a pitch concept doesn't mean that the story being told had to be so messy. It had 11 minutes, but if this wasn't based on a game that we all know, there wouldn't have been anything special about it and honestly very forgettable. So honestly, I can tell why DISNEY executives passed on this. There just wasn't anything special about it that really stood out. The KH1 intro was about 3 minutes long and that catches your attention right off the bat without a single word of exposition.

So I'm sorry if you didn't like my critique, the animation was the least of my concerns with this. And yes, even though I know it was one guy that had to draw everything, that doesn't negate that I think the animation in this is bad. Whether it's a pitch, rushed project, one man drawing with a 10 minute deadline or whatever, that doesn't negate the objective fact that some/most of the drawings are not good. My main problem really was that the magic and mystique of the KH1 story was lost and/or not even captured in this pitch.

If it were me pitching this in 11 minutes, I would have done the following:
A-Plot: Sora on Destiny Islands | B-Plot: Donald and Goofy getting Mickey's instructions to "find the key"
  1. DISNEY Castle - Donald and Goofy find Mickey's note - emphasis on "finding the key".
  2. Sora, Riku and Kairi hang out on the island. Sora/Riku fight - build the rivalry.
  3. Riku expresses his desperation to leave the island. Sora/Kairi show concern that he is too obsessed.
  4. Riku mentions a rumour of "a door" hidden on the island and leaves. Mentions that he "may have to find a key".
  5. Donald and Goofy become frantic and rummage all over the castle to prepare. They wonder about where to look first or who might have the key. Donald suggests Traverse Town, as it's a place where "lost things end up", so if the key's lost they can find it there and Goofy can say "like your pants, Donald?" Then Donald throws a fit.
  6. Sora/Kairi talk about leaving the island together or staying on the island together - but whatever they do, it will be together.
  7. Riku finds the door and opens it.
  8. Donald and Goofy look up at the sky. They notice a star flickering. Donald comments that darkness is taking over another world.
  9. The storm hits the island. Sora goes to make sure Kairi and Riku are safe.
  10. Sora finds Kairi dazed, then she merges with him. Sora is confused.
  11. Sora finds Riku - who makes his speech about the door being open. While Sora tries to grab Riku from the darkness, a heartless attacks him, Sora goes to defend himself and the keyblade appears. Riku notices and gets jealous.
  12. Darkness swallows them both and Destiny Islands.
  13. Donald and Goofy load up the Gummi Ship - its sensors inform them that another world has been submerged completely by darkness. Goofy wonders who is behind this.
  14. Cut to: DISNEY villain silhouettes and then pan up Maleficent's body up to just her smirk. The end.
 

Zackarix

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If it were me pitching this in 11 minutes, I would have done the following:
A-Plot: Sora on Destiny Islands | B-Plot: Donald and Goofy getting Mickey's instructions to "find the key"
Your pitch wouldn't have even gotten to the script stage. One of the requirements of this pilot was that it had to show what a typical episode would look like. It's supposed to be episode seven, not episode one.
 

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"Hastened exposition"? OK, but going off of what was shown, there was basically no story except dark creatures called heartless came from "no one knows" and somehow Riku works for Maleficent and wants to go back home. Oh and Sora has the keyblade from the start with no explanation, except that he's "destined to wield it"... yet has it already. Also, the two most egregious things were the music which he had access to all: 1) he wasted "Simple & Clean (Remix)" and 2) he wasted time looking for a generic anime fight song than just use the Agrabah fight theme.

Just because it's a pitch concept doesn't mean that the story being told had to be so messy. It had 11 minutes, but if this wasn't based on a game that we all know, there wouldn't have been anything special about it and honestly very forgettable. So honestly, I can tell why DISNEY executives passed on this. There just wasn't anything special about it that really stood out. The KH1 intro was about 3 minutes long and that catches your attention right off the bat without a single word of exposition.

So I'm sorry if you didn't like my critique, the animation was the least of my concerns with this. And yes, even though I know it was one guy that had to draw everything, that doesn't negate that I think the animation in this is bad. Whether it's a pitch, rushed project, one man drawing with a 10 minute deadline or whatever, that doesn't negate the objective fact that some/most of the drawings are not good. My main problem really was that the magic and mystique of the KH1 story was lost and/or not even captured in this pitch.

If it were me pitching this in 11 minutes, I would have done the following:
A-Plot: Sora on Destiny Islands | B-Plot: Donald and Goofy getting Mickey's instructions to "find the key"
  1. DISNEY Castle - Donald and Goofy find Mickey's note - emphasis on "finding the key".
  2. Sora, Riku and Kairi hang out on the island. Sora/Riku fight - build the rivalry.
  3. Riku expresses his desperation to leave the island. Sora/Kairi show concern that he is too obsessed.
  4. Riku mentions a rumour of "a door" hidden on the island and leaves. Mentions that he "may have to find a key".
  5. Donald and Goofy become frantic and rummage all over the castle to prepare. They wonder about where to look first or who might have the key. Donald suggests Traverse Town, as it's a place where "lost things end up", so if the key's lost they can find it there and Goofy can say "like your pants, Donald?" Then Donald throws a fit.
  6. Sora/Kairi talk about leaving the island together or staying on the island together - but whatever they do, it will be together.
  7. Riku finds the door and opens it.
  8. Donald and Goofy look up at the sky. They notice a star flickering. Donald comments that darkness is taking over another world.
  9. The storm hits the island. Sora goes to make sure Kairi and Riku are safe.
  10. Sora finds Kairi dazed, then she merges with him. Sora is confused.
  11. Sora finds Riku - who makes his speech about the door being open. While Sora tries to grab Riku from the darkness, a heartless attacks him, Sora goes to defend himself and the keyblade appears. Riku notices and gets jealous.
  12. Darkness swallows them both and Destiny Islands.
  13. Donald and Goofy load up the Gummi Ship - its sensors inform them that another world has been submerged completely by darkness. Goofy wonders who is behind this.
  14. Cut to: DISNEY villain silhouettes and then pan up Maleficent's body up to just her smirk. The end.
Good fanfic!
 

The_Echo

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Just because it's a pitch concept doesn't mean that the story being told had to be so messy.
Yeah actually that's exactly what that means.
It's a quickly-put-together vertical slice meant to represent the breadth of the prospective series.
You don't show this to the general audience, you show it to studio execs. Had this series been picked up, this pilot would never have aired because it's not written to be placed within a longer narrative.
Seth needed to establish the world of KH, the main heroes and villains, their respective goals and character arcs, and wrap it all up in the formula of a typical episode. And he was rewriting from a script that had already been prepared by someone else.

That's not gonna come out polished to a mirror sheen. And frankly, with the amount of stuff he had to cover, it went pretty damn smooth.

Also, the art/animation is literal storyboard sketches. So cool your jets on the art. This video is like step 1 of 500 before a proper episode is made.
 

Muke

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So I'm sorry if you didn't like my critique, the animation was the least of my concerns with this. And yes, even though I know it was one guy that had to draw everything, that doesn't negate that I think the animation in this is bad. Whether it's a pitch, rushed project, one man drawing with a 10 minute deadline or whatever, that doesn't negate the objective fact that some/most of the drawings are not good.
But fact of the matter is that this critique is conpletely unnecessary and has no merit because no part of thos was about the "animation" or the art at all. Thatβ€˜s like critiquing a storyboard for an anime for not looking good and having off-model characters

Anyway, I actually thought it was okay enough. If the Disney+ series is real, I donβ€˜t know if I want it to be 2D or cgi, but probably 2D to distinguish it more from the series - maybe true to Nomuraβ€˜s art?
 

Launchpad

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"Hastened exposition"? OK, but going off of what was shown, there was basically no story except dark creatures called heartless came from "no one knows" and somehow Riku works for Maleficent and wants to go back home. Oh and Sora has the keyblade from the start with no explanation, except that he's "destined to wield it"... yet has it already. Also, the two most egregious things were the music which he had access to all: 1) he wasted "Simple & Clean (Remix)" and 2) he wasted time looking for a generic anime fight song than just use the Agrabah fight theme.

Just because it's a pitch concept doesn't mean that the story being told had to be so messy. It had 11 minutes, but if this wasn't based on a game that we all know, there wouldn't have been anything special about it and honestly very forgettable. So honestly, I can tell why DISNEY executives passed on this. There just wasn't anything special about it that really stood out. The KH1 intro was about 3 minutes long and that catches your attention right off the bat without a single word of exposition.

So I'm sorry if you didn't like my critique, the animation was the least of my concerns with this. And yes, even though I know it was one guy that had to draw everything, that doesn't negate that I think the animation in this is bad. Whether it's a pitch, rushed project, one man drawing with a 10 minute deadline or whatever, that doesn't negate the objective fact that some/most of the drawings are not good. My main problem really was that the magic and mystique of the KH1 story was lost and/or not even captured in this pitch.

If it were me pitching this in 11 minutes, I would have done the following:
A-Plot: Sora on Destiny Islands | B-Plot: Donald and Goofy getting Mickey's instructions to "find the key"
  1. DISNEY Castle - Donald and Goofy find Mickey's note - emphasis on "finding the key".
  2. Sora, Riku and Kairi hang out on the island. Sora/Riku fight - build the rivalry.
  3. Riku expresses his desperation to leave the island. Sora/Kairi show concern that he is too obsessed.
  4. Riku mentions a rumour of "a door" hidden on the island and leaves. Mentions that he "may have to find a key".
  5. Donald and Goofy become frantic and rummage all over the castle to prepare. They wonder about where to look first or who might have the key. Donald suggests Traverse Town, as it's a place where "lost things end up", so if the key's lost they can find it there and Goofy can say "like your pants, Donald?" Then Donald throws a fit.
  6. Sora/Kairi talk about leaving the island together or staying on the island together - but whatever they do, it will be together.
  7. Riku finds the door and opens it.
  8. Donald and Goofy look up at the sky. They notice a star flickering. Donald comments that darkness is taking over another world.
  9. The storm hits the island. Sora goes to make sure Kairi and Riku are safe.
  10. Sora finds Kairi dazed, then she merges with him. Sora is confused.
  11. Sora finds Riku - who makes his speech about the door being open. While Sora tries to grab Riku from the darkness, a heartless attacks him, Sora goes to defend himself and the keyblade appears. Riku notices and gets jealous.
  12. Darkness swallows them both and Destiny Islands.
  13. Donald and Goofy load up the Gummi Ship - its sensors inform them that another world has been submerged completely by darkness. Goofy wonders who is behind this.
  14. Cut to: DISNEY villain silhouettes and then pan up Maleficent's body up to just her smirk. The end.
This whole post would be amazing if you later came forward admitting it was satire.
 

Rydgea

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Fun fact!!!

Animatic =/= animation. Animatics are often static and only there for blocking/storyboarding purposes.

This. And. Even though I know it's a natural part of the process, it's still bizarre to see something of this quality (again, standard for animatic) when it is associated with Disney Animation. I'm loving all the meme-producing stills coming from it though. πŸ˜‚

Jokes aside, I do appreciate the work that went into this, especially to make the KH series it's own thing.
 
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kirabook

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Face My Fears, didn't someone link you in a previous thread on what an animatic is and its purpose? I remember you apologizing for jumping to conclusions about the art style. What has changed since then?

Here's some other Disney projects where they use animatics to sketch out scenes/concepts, but even these are technically in a more advanced stage than this KH animatic since they're for actual scenes and not just a concept.

As someone mentioned, you'd be hard pressed to find the initial animatic/storyboards originally pitched to show what an entire show/movie will be like. They're rough, just like this one, only shown to a board room hoping to get thumbs up to continue and make a real pilot episode next. You'll find a lot of completed pilot episodes though whether they made it or not, (which this is technically not)

They all gotta start somewhere.
 

Alpha Baymax

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I never thought this would see the light of day. Honestly, it's better than I expected.

I interviewed Seth years ago. On this very site. I feel like, if I recall correctly, he said he WASN'T going to inundate it with disney cameos because he didn't want to replicate the movies. So, like, Aladdin and the like wouldn't have appeared as more than a background character.
That's an unusual choice to make especially when House of Mouse was a thing back when this was a pitch.
 

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I never thought this would see the light of day. Honestly, it's better than I expected.


That's an unusual choice to make especially when House of Mouse was a thing back when this was a pitch.
Yeah but House of Mouse operated in a fairly unique way. It was just a collection of shorts that were unified by having them being watched in a comedy club by Disney characters.

Seth wasn’t wrong for deciding to keep Disney characters in the background. It allows him to focus more on the core cast. We already have the films and the games to experience the film plots, anyways.
 

AegisXIII

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Yeah but House of Mouse operated in a fairly unique way. It was just a collection of shorts that were unified by having them being watched in a comedy club by Disney characters.

Seth wasn’t wrong for deciding to keep Disney characters in the background. It allows him to focus more on the core cast. We already have the films and the games to experience the film plots, anyways.
That has been my whole feeling since the beginning of the series. It feels weird to retell the stories. It seems better to continue where they ended. The worlds that did that in kh3 where the ones that felt the most organic.
 

Elysium

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But fact of the matter is that this critique is conpletely unnecessary and has no merit because no part of thos was about the "animation" or the art at all. Thatβ€˜s like critiquing a storyboard for an anime for not looking good and having off-model characters
I believe they said in their last post that the look of the animatic was the least of their concerns.

Personally, I thought it looked bad like most American TV animated series, like W.I.T.C.H., Big Hero 6, etc. As for what its animation may have looked like in a finished product, it's actually the exception rather than the rule that Western animated series aren't eyesores (Avatar: The Last Airbender and two or three of the Disney-based series are all that come to mind as being exceptions), and I wouldn't have expected this to be different. The only reason this would've had for existing in my view is gifting the world more David Gallagher as Riku and Maleficent's interaction with the other characters. :D I wonder if they would've even included Ansem SOD at the end?

I wouldn't have expected this to last more than one season of, what, around 25-30 episodes if it had been made. What was interesting is they wouldn't have used much of the basic Disney characters, really only the villains--maybe one world-related character might appear once in a while? I always assumed this would've been a straight re-creation of 1's story and didn't see the point.
 

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I feel like the only entry friendly TV story that COULD be told would be a re-hash of KH1. Since creating a show based on Union or Foretellers would push away new and casual fans.
 
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