TV

Killer Robots In High School! Cartoon Network’s Robotomy

Premiering this Monday on Cartoon Network, Robotomy, a new series from World Leaders Entertainment, the company behind Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers, tells the coming of age story of 2 killer robots and their adventures during those formative high school years. MTV Geek had a chance to sit down with the folks from World Leaders along with series EP and co-creator Michael Buckley & Director/Co-EP Christy Karacas to learn more about the series.

MTV Geek: Hey guys, please tell us about Robotomy. Who are the main characters? What’s their story?

“Robotomy” is about Thrasher and Blastus, two teenage best-friends who happen to be killer robots. They just want to fit in, be popular, find love, shoot old people into space – you know, typical teenage stuff. The problem is they live on the planet Insanus where feelings are bad and destruction is fun. Their teachers at Harry S. Apocalypse High are determined to turn them into interplanetary conquerors, or to destroy them in the process. In this regard, it’s not much different than your typical American high-school.

Thrasher is cautious, thoughtful, and kind – all horrible flaws for a killer-robot. He’s also painfully aware of the insanity around him but can’t do much about it other than sigh and say something sarcastic. His best friend, Balstus, however, is always looking for a way to take advantage of craziness. He’s impulsive, melodramatic, and arrogant, (and a bit of a criminal) but deep down, he is the more sensitive of the two spending much of his free time learning to jazz dance and doing latch-hook rugs.

MTV Geek: Aside from Thrasher and Blastus, who else rounds out the regular cast?

Weenusis, who is sort of their McLovin – only sweet, bi-polar and a complete psychopath. Maimyis is the unattainable love interest for Thrasher who would rather tear off his face than give him the time of day. Megawatt is the school’s spoiled, good-looking, rich kid who shows off his latest upgrades whenever he can. Tacklebot is the head jock and bully who uses his vicious wit and muscles to tear people apart. There’s Dreadnot their sadistic teacher and coach of the Mutilationball team, and Principal Thunderbite; an enormous floating skull who despite his terrifying appearance is really a sweet mother hen to his students, when he isn’t dismembering them, that is.

MTV Geek: So, since we all write what we know, can we assume that the idea for the show originated through personal experience, or is there more to it than that?

Michael Buckley: Three years ago, CN came to me and asked me to put a show together for them. It didn’t take me long to figure out who I wanted to help me – Joe Deasy has been my friend and writing partner for 16 years – he’s really hilarious and clever. So we sent over 5 ideas…and they hated all of them. Then six months later they called and asked us to try again… they hated all those. Then another six months passed and guess who’s on the phone, again? So, Joe and I sat down and realized we were sending things we thought CN would want rather than something we really wanted to do ourselves but we never thought they’d have the guts to do a show we’d actually want to watch let alone produce. To be honest we were a bit irritated with all the back and forth – so we sat down and said “let’s send them something they would never want just so they will leave us alone!” So we came up with Robotomy a show about killer robots going to a super-destructive high school – sort of like Superbad meets the Transformers meets WWE. We were sure it was way-too violent and obnoxious and smart and guess what – they loved it!

MTV Geek: World Leaders, you also produce the Venture Brothers, which we’re more than happy to see is still going strong. While Robotomy sounds like it has some humor and edge to it, it’s aimed at kids. How is developing a show like this different from something for Adult Swim?

World Leaders: You’d be amazed at the similarities and differences. First off, the way Cartoon Network is blending its Adult Swim identity (look, feel, attitude, etc.) with its core kids programming is totally brilliant to us. As you can tell, Robotomy is very much a partnership between the network’s kid’s side and Adult Swim.

Although there are rules for Adult Swim (S&P still keeps their eye on us), we are able to push a number of boundaries. It’s easier to make smart, adult humor with a TV-14 rating, product mention, and parody. It’s much harder to make smart, teenage humor when those tools are not as readily available to you. Even though Robotomy is meant to skew older than a lot of the fare on the network, we have to produce the show knowing that younger kids could easily end up watching it. It must be appropriate for a broad age range.

MTV Geek: The style of animation is very different from Venture, much more in the vein of Super Jail or Adventure Time. Do the same animators from Venture work on this? How did the look of the series originate?

World Leaders: Yes, the styles are very different and require a different set of skills. Venture Bros is animated by the team that animated Batman. They understand perspective, anatomy, and real-world physics in animation. Robotomy is animated by the team that animated Chowder, where the emphasis is on the humor of the movement and timing, squash and stretch, etc. We have some overlap between the Robotomy and Venture teams in New York, though it was difficult because both shows were in production at the same time and ultimately, Christy’s art style is very unique. It was challenging to have designers draw organically versus the very clean polished lines that became so popular during the last ten years.

Christy Karacas: As far as the look and the feel of the show-I’d have to say everything sci-fi, everything robots, and everything rock and roll. Inspiration for the color in the show for me personally was Paul Klee, Katsuhiro Otomo, and florescent lighting.

Robotomy takes place on a planet of killer robots, so we thought of Killglobe as a planet in constant chaos. We chose to emphasize everything violent and destructive: spikes, missiles, lasers, and all kinds of weapons cover everything on the planet. The sky is in a perpetual state of ’dusk’ from all of the smoke, burning and destruction. Craters, landmines, and carcasses litter the landscapes.

The robots come in all shapes and sizes and were very fun to design. The color palate is also a big part of the look of the show. We really wanted to create a bold, fresh look that said something about the world. We chose to be minimal with the amount of colors to emphasize the detailed line work, and also decided to stay away from bright primary colors and focused on colors that were always in between primary colors. For example, yellow always looks greenish/yellow, red always looks reddish/brown, blue always looks bluish/green, etc… We accented the scenes with sharp, bright ’pop colors’ that gave the feel of glowing neon light and finally added vertical reflections to the floors and some additional gritty texture to the backgrounds as well.

MTV Geek: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us and best of luck on the series!

Robotomy premiers this Monday, October 25th at 8:45/7:45c For more on the series visit the official site on CartoonNetwork.com http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/robotomy/index.html

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