4 or 5 years ago, when I thought I was the coolest thing to happen to the 8th grade, my friends and I followed Newgrounds animations--the Madness series in particular--with kiddish glee. I remember the aptly named Madness Apotheosis came out, the incredible feat of flash muscularity that was the final zombie rave scene, and I remember thinking "wow, krinkels should just stop here, because everything else will surely be downhill from here, or a needless retread". How wrong I was.
The series has had it's ups and downs since then (the overly cliched hollywood fifth episode being my least favorite, but still impeccably animated and with great sound fx), but one thing that seems to be consistently growing, is Krinkel's animation, not just with the pyrotechnics, but the actual story and atmosphere of the Madness World itself. First the introduction of Sanford and Demos, endlessly creative violent deaths and uses for weaponry, showed that Krinkels could fit so much action on the screen the episodes required multiple viewings just to get it all down. Then the plot itself, which was never the strong suit of the cartoon, starting making a little more sense with each episode.
The culmination of all these tireless improvements has resulted in Madness 10. Coming back to the site out of boredom several years later, I expected the cartoons to feel embarrassingly childish, and most have--but when I watch madness 10 I was in awe. Easy the best episode in the series, for it's creativity, but more importantly, for it's thematic undertones.
The world itself is being tortured to insanity, mutated and tampered with like a hacked computer. With the end of the world impending, and Hank transformed irreversibly into a deformed, most likely mute monster, the unwavering sense of mission of the two protagonists--and their badassery-- has reached record levels. They battle agents of both bloods with a zealous determination, and I'm quite serious when I say that I empathize with the heroes, and that they themselves no longer know what they're fighting for; perhaps never knew in the first place. The action has transformed from pictographic slick finishing moves to a kind of feverish dance. But still Krinkel's manages to keep a hierarchy of skill level and almost a strange realism to injuries. Bloodless blows by Hank are still clearly enough to incapacitate agents, leaving the viewer to imagine what kind of internal bleeding must be happening to the poor guys. The agents possessed by the 'dark flame' retain an animosity extended from the continuity of previous episodes, and all the tenaciousness and lack of regard for life as an enraged bull ape.
This is all heightened by Cheshyre's musical scoring, which is tense and fast-paced. And when the three note synths hit, right at the moment Sanford displays ingenuity with the bar door system, the effect is sublime. Krinkels' trademark humor is here as well, with the rock paper scissors, and the deus ex machina clown endings we've long since come to expect from our dearly beloved animator.
Had Krinkels chosen to end the canon with this episode, I could hardly complain. But he has decided to leave himself with the impossible task of continuing the series, and therefore living up to his incredible 10th episode. Judging from his increasing sense of vision, there is no doubt we're in good hands.
Resurrecting a classic
The concept of Super Mario Bros Z is relatively simple; just mash a popular cartoon with an even more popular video game character, but the content in each episode is so profoundly original and well-thought-out that anyone who bashes on this series a) did not actually WATCH any of the episodes b) took the animation at a low face value or c) is a complete dumbass. SMBZ rings with genuine humor, plot, and craft. In episode 7 storyline is intricate and engrossing. The humor is well placed and actually funny. And the fight scenes, though a little repetitive at times, are fresh with new choreography just the same.
What amazes me the most though, is the wide variety of sprites in the series. How the hell did you find all of those action sprites for an 8 bit mario?? Anyways, excellent job
Just like your other flash.
Awesome. Just like Ms. Friedman always tells us
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