I love nothing better than browsing through the internet, searching for the most compelling animated shorts available. One of the best places to find the internet’s top animators is at Newgrounds.com, as long as you sift through ridiculously obscene pointlessness…
It was late one evening on Newgrounds that I happened across Tarboy. Written and animated by James Lee with the music written and performed by his wife, Hania, Tarboy is a story within a story; an action-packed, emotional and often humorous piece of brilliance stuffed into a convenient 6-minute package. I kid you not, in terms of delivery Tarboy outdoes quite a few feature-length films I’ve seen.
I’ll level with you here; it’s about robots. The story begins with a little robot boy being told a bedtime story by his grandfather until the bedtime book (Adventure bot) is tossed away and the legend of Tarboy begins with the line: “Want to hear about a real hero?”
I don’t want to ruin the plot because you’ll get more from watching Tarboy than reading my words that could never do it justice. However, I’ve still got to sell it to you, right???
It’s a story about power, corrupt authorities, revenge and revolution. There are philosophical concepts surrounding the very idea of Tarboy. It twists and turns as good as any psychological thriller that Hollywood has ever fed us and, of course, it has some incredible music to back up the perfect animation.
I’ll be honest here; I’ve just downloaded the soundtrack so I could be a little biased but Hania Lee is definitely talented. I must say that I was a little disappointed that only one track has vocals, but it’s a soundtrack, not an album looking to get into the charts. The mix of Jazz and industrial style works so well with the animation that I think Tarboy would suffer greatly without it. Many animations and even films would still work without the accompanying music; in some cases, the music ruins a film (I’m looking at you Watchmen).
Such great care has been taken to find the most suited tempo and sound for each scene in Tarboy that the music heightens the viewing experience. I would probably go as far as saying that the music is as much a part of the animation as the characters are.
Ok, so I’m beginning to realise that this is not so much a review of Tarboy as complete and utter adulation… you’re probably wondering where all the negatives are going to come into this? Well, I’m sorry, but the only negative is that the sequel can’t come sooner. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with Tarboy at all. They only had 6 minutes to showcase something spectacular and James Lee hit success square on the head. Tarboy is beautiful, enlightening, addictive, and I urge you to check it out and share it with all your friends.