I’ve written about adult-oriented animated shorts for quite some time now. Until recently, I felt that I was the only one who knew or cared about this type of animation. There have been many great triumphs in mature animated storytelling recently. One of them was how Love, Death, and Robots brought underground media into the home. If you loved Love, Death, and Robots and can’t wait for Season 2, then here are some animated shorts to tide you over until then.
[***Some of the shorts will contain cartoon sex and violence and may not be appropriate for all viewers].
Ilya Naishuller is one of the best directors you’ve never heard of. He was the mastermind behind the world’s first POV action film, Hardcore Henry, and his directing talents also translate into animation. Naishuller always has a unique point of view whether it’s a story told in the first person, in one long take, or in reverse. I hope to see more animated content from him because he never pulls punches.
Me!Me!Me! hit the internet several years ago like an atomic bomb. The bright colors, addictive soundtrack, dancing girls, and vague hints at a larger story captured the imagination of anime fans. Even viewers who aren’t into anime’s explicit sexuality marveled at the brilliant and bizarre music video. The short is another affecting cocktail of sex, violence, and science fiction.
Believe it or not, this is a student film from the graduating class of Denmark’s The Animation Workshop. The Backwater Gospel depicts the arrival of a mysterious undertaker who spreads fear and paranoia through a small town. The art direction is incredible– part 2D, part 3D, and disturbing as a whole.
Bloody Bunny was one of the first topics I ever blogged about for this site. The animated short can never get enough exposure. It’s an amazing use of cell-shaded animation, killer fight choreography, and a kickin’ soundtrack.
Directed by Erick Oh, Heart tells a surreal epic about covetous behavior. The characters barely have any distinguishable features and not a word of dialogue is spoken. And yet the animated short speaks to the heart of humanity.
In Bacchus, a woman bored with the repetition of adult life, follows a mysterious masked stranger and engages in a colorful orgy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bacchus’ director, Rikke Alma Krogshave Planeta at last year’s Annecy International Animation Festival. We discussed the desire to see more mature animated content and the challenges animators face in terms of commercial viability. I hope that the success of Love, Death, and Robots will allow more projects like Bacchus to find funding and distribution.
Kaizo Trap spoke to the gamer in me. The whole short is made to look like a “tough as nails” side-scrolling platformer. The glitch-hoppy soundtrack sells the action and easily makes it into my music playlist. The short follows a young woman’s quest to rescue her boyfriend when they are sucked into a retro-video game platform.
I’ve been following James Lee’s animation since his mega indie hit, Tar Boy. While I could have easily put Tar Boy on this list out of nostalgia, I feel that his best work has been some of his more recent stuff. Overwatch Noir displays Lee’s improved use of mixed-media and limited color palettes.