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LamB – The future is only potentially beautiful

So on 16th Mar, CDS was invited to attend the sneak preview (a misleading name, since they pretty much screened the entire show) of the much anticipated, mostly local production, Animax supported, LamB. We have made many entries about it in the past, so I shall not elaborate about it. It is a production full of big names and talents: most importantly, IFS for character design and Peach Blossoms for animation.

However, I’m not going there to praise or wax lyrical about them. Though the cocktail was great. I’m here as a critic and after watching the preview, I’ve got plenty to critic about.

Only event photo I took. It was kinda crowded then and thus all the nice standee pictures were obscured by 3D people. From here onwards, it will be press pictures only.

LamB has potential. Immense immense potential to be a great show, a great representative of Singapore production, a great viewing experience. It boasts a multitude of stars from Click Five + Simple Plan for music to even more stars for voice acting. And of course, our Singaporean contribution for character design and animation.

LamB chops play along~

Yet for all its talents, LamB failed to impress. That is not to say LamB is a bad show. In fact the premise and the setting of the show is extremely promising and worth further exploration. IFS’ character design is gorgeous. The songs great. But in the end, it was a let down. It promises but it fails to deliver as it should. How shall I list the flaws?

Eve is not flawed. Eve is hawt. I shall be spamming most Eve screenshots.

Let me bring forward my two main criticism. Firstly, story. The concept for LamB is an interesting concept. Something that has real potential for future development and philosophical discussion. This being a multi-platform story, you need to read all the webcomics or mobile visual novels to get the full story. That worked very well.

Criminals and convicts aren’t imprisoned in physical prisons or put to death but instead, they walked around hawtly naked save for a laminated suit that removes their free will and make them completely dependent on their master. Issue of crime and punishment, emphasized repeatedly in earlier promos and checked. Planet Earth was destroyed by pollution, forcing humans to abandon the planet and colonize elsewhere. They then have to find new ways to greenify the new desert planet. Environmental issues, check.

Guess what. Despite the potential for a deeper theme, we get a romance story. Both earlier issues was barely touched or built upon. There were plot holes aplenty, the climax illogical and worse of all, the ending was adrupt and sudden. As I said, not that the story was horrible. Just that it could use so much more editing and polishing.

Yes, Eve is hawt.

Secondly, animation. When they mentioned that flash animation will be used, my first thought had been Gacha Gacha. Luckily, it is much better than that. That said, the animation could really, really used a lot more work. There were times when the animation really impressed. It was smooth, consistent, beautiful. For the rest, it was just chunky and amusingly unnatural. Having spoilt by beautifully and intensively animated anime such as Kannagi or any Kyo-ani animation, watching a show that is probably around 2-3 frames per second is just poor. 3D can work well with 2D characters, but sudden change in style for flashback is just cheesy.

The music video for Simple Plan in comparison, was way better in quality. Apparently, the studio was given 3 weeks to do the animation for the 3 mins+ MTV and also 3 weeks to do the animation for the entire 1hr show. Obviously the MTV had better quality. This also highlights an issue of priority. The press materials said that production of the entire show took 10 months. Only 3 of those weeks were on animation?! Then what did they do for the other 9 months and 1 week? Only marketing?

Eve… HEY! That’s not Eve!

Other more minor criticism would be how poorly the music was utilized. They felt randomly inserted (like as departmental store music) and did nothing to enhance or create atmosphere. The voice acting needed more work. Perhaps they should consider hiring actual voice actors. I would like to have more freebies.

Having said all these, LamB is a good effort by all involved. Not there yet but plenty of effort points awarded. The Animax guy was right when he said that this is not an anime, it would not be able to meet those standards of anime. Ok… No harm dampening expectations before the screening. But with a bit more time and funding for polish and quality check, LamB would be an excellent animation to represent our local and international talents. Issues that could easily apply to most of our local animation projects. What we need is more time and more fundings.

For what LamB is now, our local animation industry would have a long long way to go. If you got Animax on your cable, go watch it. If not, you can always hope Okto screens it in the future. Hopefully with a small degree of support, more local animation production with better financial support might arise.

Nice poster you get for attending the sneak preview. 2 free posters to be given away if you post your comments here. (Only if you can meet up directly) No more posters left to give away!

7 Responses to “LamB – The future is only potentially beautiful”

  1. - Evil_overlord

    hmmm. All things said you could have expected that SG animation production in particular should be given more time to properly polish up their stuff. 3 weeks for an hour long production is hectic, to say the least and is rather inaqedate for something expected to be feature film quality.

    A harsh lesson learnt, i hope.

  2. - tueac

    and i tot it will be promising… but 3 week for a 1 hour animated series is just stupid… that is like the doing a poly project…

  3. - KC Komicer

    Of course, to be fair, it was supposingly way better than Sing to the Dawn which took longer to produce and cost even more. And if this had been a poly project, it would have scored over the roof scores. It is good but it is also disappointing precisely because it had so much more potential if given just a bit more time and funds.

    And tueac, email me so that I can hand you one of these awesome LamB posters next time we meet.

    Well, 3 weeks to produce it or not, I am still catching this film.. I’ve seen the trailers am I was quite impressed with the graphics.. Well, thats not enough till I see whether the storyline is good or not.. ^^

  4. - Mantoro

    3 weeks…sadness. I am betting the animators are sad and if given another chance to do this again, they will ask for more time and better editing and will give it their hearts worth of effort into it. Feel this whole thing had better potential. A sequal maybe?

  5. - Avast

    Think the headline should be “The future could’ve been beautiful”. ;-)

    Was it three weeks? I’m sure production started way before that but maybe they took three weeks to piece everything together. For a high-definition production, the visuals sure looked grainy. Must have been done on purpose for effect, but hardly the way to promote an HD show.

    KC Kornicer -> “And if this had been a poly project, it would have scored over the roof scores.”

    Of course, storyboarding was done by Soejima (of Last Exile fame). Ironically, this being a Flash animation, good storyboarding helped even more.

  6. - KC Komicer

    At least, the figure of 3 weeks was something I heard. As for the grainy visuals, it might be due to resizing of the given-to-press pictures. It was kinda grainy too when watching it on the big screen, but I assume that was because the animation was made for a small screen in the first place.

    I stand by my choice of word of “potential”. It contains much potential that was not ultilized. 0ne used “animated wayang kulit” to describe the animation. It felt quite appropriate to me. If you view it from that point of view, the show is actually quite unique and acceptable.

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