A. Quinton — Jan. 3rd 2014
For several years now I’ve been hearing about Guardians of Luna, but my attempts to learn about it were continually rebuffed by the project’s Flash site. I’m a web developer. I… I don’t like Flash. But lately I’ve received enough email about it that last night I decided to give the site time to load so I could properly check it out, and hopefully answer three key questions: what is it, who made it, and how can I watch it? It turns out that finding concrete answers on anything to do with Guardians is more difficult than condensing water out of desert air, but what details I could find were very enticing.
What is it?
Guardians is a tale that pits werewolves against humans in a steampunk-ish modern fantasy setting featuring ancient curses, spirits trapped between the Earth and the moon, and a city called Steelhenge that gets fucked up by werewolves every time there’s a full moon. There’s a quasi-mystical element to the story that I initially worried was too close to the school of werewolf fantasy where the werewolves wear beads and Protect Mother Earth, but I was reassured and then intrigued by the world-building entries in the site’s “Journal” section. The writing is articulate and hints that a lot of research went into building the project’s foundations. The art leans pretty heavily on an anime style, which isn’t really to my taste, but the character concept art is solid – I particularly liked the design for Kahn, the “Gurrn tribe’s warrior chief”. Oh, and there are some werewolves that are 20 feet tall. And were-dragons, probably! That’s a double-whammy.
So is Guardians of Luna a self-contained web series? A serialized series geared for broadcast TV? A stand-alone film? After several hours of research, I still can’t tell you. I’d settled on “TV series”, but then I noticed that the company handling the animation of the project, Cybergraphix Animation (warning, another Flash site) lists Guardians in their Projects section as a “1 X 80′ feature coming 2013”. So for now, I can confidently tell you that Guardians of Luna is… animated. Long enough that you’ll want to have a snack. And coming soon(-ish)(?)
Who made it?
What’s hooked me despite the frustrating lack of coherent details is the super solid list of names attached – two of them were responsible for hundreds of hours of entertainment I enjoyed in the 90’s. Writer / creator Avi Melman has assembled an impressive team to deal with the screenplay: author Michael Reaves (who also wrote for Disney’s Gargoyles and Batman: The Animated Series) and author Mallory Reaves, who co-wrote a novel with Neil Gaiman, adapted an Eisner-nominated manga series and happens to be Michael’s daughter. These are people who know how to tell an engaging fantasy story! Nozomu Tamaki is creating the Guardians of Luna manga, which also seems like a good thing – I don’t know anything at all about manga, but Tamaki’s work seems very highly regarded.
The roster of voice actors is promising, too: Twilight (no judgements) alums Kellan Lutz and Booboo Stewart, rapper and yo-dawgger Xzibit, Fringe‘s John Noble, Tron-escapee Bruce Boxleitner, Jaleel White (who I’ve almost forgiven for voicing Sonic), Daisuke Suzuki and Sachiko Hayashi (who might actually be Sachiyo K).
How can I watch it?
Here’s the most frustrating part: I don’t know, and the web site won’t tell me! Werewolf News reader Sam (whose email is one of several that motivated me to check Guardians out) emailed Melman a while back, and learned that American production company FUNimation has picked the series up. The logo on the web site bears that out, but what does that actually mean? Will the series be available for purchase on DVD / Blu-ray directly from FUNimation? Are they looking for a network or another big media company to air it? The two most recent posts in the site’s News section date from 2012 and are about hoodies, and the official Twitter feed and Facebook page are very excited about the full moon and not much else. That’s cool, but when can we watch the thing you made?
Worst case scenario: it never gets released, and we’re stuck with some terrific ingredients and some wallpaper images sized for your PS Vita. Best case scenario: Avatar: The Last Airbender and Akira had a baby, and that baby is a giant botanist werewolf on a motorcycle.