“Children of the Night” is a fan animation project that has been in the works for over a year now by the two animators, Richard Sirois and Jordana G. A number of teasers and previews later, we now have the finished project uploaded on YouTube. While the original sketches and vocals have convinced us that an excellent animation was in the works, does the final product live up to that expectation? Check out after the page break for my full review on the animation.
The idea behind “Children of the Night” should be a familiar one to anyone who has watched the movie Hocus Pocus. The main focus is the song ‘Come Little Children’ which is sung by the witches in the movie to lure children away for the purpose of stealing their souls and live on forever. A beautiful song, yet used for evil intentions by the witches. The theme of darkness and magic carries over into the realm of MLP:FiM and becomes the basis for the animation created by ‘Duo Cartoonist’. Could this be the best fan animation of the year to date? Let’s dive deeper and find out:
The animation starts with a narrative by a cloaked mare that explains the backstory of a quarrel between Princess Luna and Princess Celestia over Luna desiring to create her own colony. Shortly after, the meat of the video begins with Luna singing a rendition of “Come Little Children.” The entirety of the video appears to take place during a time before the Mane 6 we know and love; however, those characters aren’t to be missed as the real stars of this video are both Princess Luna and her children of the night. Luna leaves her palace up in Canterlot to visit the children within the town below. As the children across town abruptly wake from their sleep, they begin to soar into the sky with Luna and fly around towards the moon. The video finally concludes with sights of the empty children’s beds and a Princess Celestia looking up in distress. Luna stares out into the night sky as the animation comes to a close. While the entire story certainly is an abstract concept of Luna sharing her night with the children in town and giving them hopes of a better future, the literal meaning has much to be desired. Did Luna just kidnap a bunch of kids in the night against their will? A question many might scoff at as nonsense, but it certainly wasn’t addressed well in the animation to prevent such a thought. However, making the assumption that the kids weren’t entirely happy with their lives in the beginning makes the story more palatable. This being a music video, it’s hard to really consider the story a major focus, but I will say from an abstract perspective, it’s certainly a great experience.
Many fan animations have come into existence since the birth of MLP:FiM; however, few have lived up to the original quality standards of the show itself. Certainly it’s always difficult to come close to a show that has paid staff who spend many months around the clock perfecting every pixel shown for just a period of 22 minutes. Children of the Night without a doubt meets and exceeds the show’s standards of quality in animation. The attention to detail is extraordinary and shows that an insane amount of effort has gone into making sure everything is nothing short of perfection. I’ve watched the animation numerous times and have yet to find any form of criticism against it. Everything is in there from the dust spectacles lit up from the moon’s light to the shadows in the clouds as Luna performs aerobatics that not even the actual show has done before. The hair moves very fluidly and the movements of each pony are taken into careful consideration. The teardrop from the Lauren Faust statue near the beginning perfectly sums up my reaction to the animation done in this video. A job well done!
Kate Covington is the name who can be attributed to the beautiful vocals you hear singing ‘Come Little Children’, an excellent song that is justified as such by an amazing singer. Nothing short of professional voice work can be said to describe her singing. Though we already got a taste of her singing long before the animation was finished, the song still leaves me in goosebumps every time I listen. The only other voice work done in the video is by the filly narrating the story (voiced by Sarah Williams) within the beginning which is also up there with the high quality of professional voice work done in the video but not quite at the same level as the singer. Rest assured though, both still rank up very high as far as voice work goes. The song fits with the animation beautifully and I can’t imagine another song that would be suitable instead. Both the intro music for the story cutscene (done by David Larsen) and the credits (done by Uriel Sandoval) fit very well and add to the overall ambiance of the animation. Audio, spot on!
Many brony videos have come and gone in setting the stage for other great brony videos to rise up and share their place at the top. Children of the Night is a video that I can gladly say sets itself up as the new standard in fan animation music videos that others will have to compete with. Aside from my concerns about the actual story, both the animation and audio stand tall to create an experience that no brony, or anyone else for the matter, should miss out on. Go watch the video if you haven’t already, no amount of describing will fit as a placeholder for the actual product. Here, I’ve even embedded it below; you have no excuse.
STORY – 8 / 10
ANIMATION – 10 / 10
AUDIO – 9 / 10
FINAL – 9 / 10
UPDATE (7/30/2013): In light of some new information on the story of the video, I’ve gone ahead and updated my review a bit while also raising the Story score. Thanks LS!