Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Les séries de notre enfance": It's Out!


I meant to tell you about this yesterday, but didn't get the time: The lavish, 208-page French book that goes behind the scenes of the DiC studios - loaded with rare art, in-depth articles and never-before-seen interviews - was finally released in France yesterday and can be ordered directly from the site of the publishing company. (I'll let you know if I come across other web stores to order it from - so far, Amazon doesn't seem to have it in stock. The book's writers have been talking about hopefully getting it released to a wide range of web stores, but perhaps this will take off more during the next few weeks.) UPDATE (November 16): It's now also available from the French Amazon.

As you might have noticed in the news column to the right, I've already linked to the publishers' pre-order site for the last few weeks; but now that the book is officially out, I thought a last plug would be appropriate (at least it will be the last until I receive it myself). One thing I haven't mentioned properly before - aside from the delayed release date - is the change to the final cover (above) just a few weeks ago. I personally think it's a vast improvement over the first draft... it really tells you much more clearly what the book is about. (The only small weakness I can think of, perhaps, is that the drawing of Penny has been flipped from the first cover version... so that now, her communicator watch is actually on the wrong wrist. But that's so nit-picky I'm not even gonna mention it. ;)

To quickly recap what this book is all about: "Les séries de notre enfance: Ulysse 31, les cités d'or, Inspecteur Gadget..." (directly translated: "The series of our childhood: Ulysses 31, The Cities of Gold, Inspector Gadget ...") is a fan project written and compiled by two extremely dedicated DiC fans named Maroin Eluasti and Nordine Zemrak. They've spent the last 5 years researching the history of the DiC cartoon studios: gathering background information, interviewing as many as possible of the folks working there, collecting rare artwork like model sheets, cels, development sketches and publicity art... all with the goal of eventually publishing a book dedicated to DiC, and particularly dedicated to its golden age in the 1980s. (Note the focus of the title: It's probably no coincidence that the three cartoons mentioned by name are arguably DiC's all-time most memorable ones.) A few months ago, Zemrak and Eluasti started a Ulule project to raise money for the publication of their love letter to DiC, and succeeded with flying colors in the beginning of September. Their fan-funded book has since been moving rapidly through production (accompanied by a number of great Facebook teasers both before and after the fundraising was completed) until the release on November 14.

So here's what you get: For DiC fans of all languages and nationalities, the book will consist of 65% (or more) images - rare production art, vintage cels and promotional material related to all of DiC's most famous shows. For those who understand French, there's also 35% text, consisting of detailed background info and in-depth interviews also related to DiC's famous series. Either way, the book ought to make a very interesting experience for any fan of 80s cartoon shows. I still have a hope there might be an English-language edition someday... but as I said earlier, that will most likely be completely dependent on the success of this French edition. So if you're a fan, and if you like this initiative, it might be a good idea to buy a copy now rather than wait for a possible English edition far into the future. Buying the French-language version will probably increase the chances of getting an English-language version.

Anyway, I'm hoping for the best of luck and the best of sales for this book. And most of all, I'm hoping it lives up to expectations! It should reach my mailbox (or nearby post office) any day now...

27 comments:

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    1. But... I'm too cheap! TT_TT

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  2. By the way, I found this Wikipedia article that apparently has info about the new series. You might want to look at it before it dissapears --
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadget_Boy_(2013_TV_series)
    Yeah, I'm calling bullsh*t.

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    1. Yep, I've seen it. A hoax if I ever saw one.

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  3. Wow. I've just spent the last 2+ hours reading all the entries on this AWESOME blog and just staring in amazement and all the cel's you've posted. I REALLY want the series remastered now. This french book looks amazing as well! For years I've been just as passionate about another Dic series as you are about Gadget, "The Littles". I'm absolutely fascinated by any and all animation information and such I can find on this series and just alot of the american series that were outsourced to japan. I love to find the more "animesque" scenes in Gadget, Littles, etc. I hope somebody will take scans from this book or an english version will be available. :)

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    1. Hi, sorry about my extremely late answer here, and thank you very much for those nice compliments about the blog! :) I agree completely with what you're saying about the cels... it would be fantastic if the series could be restored to look anywhere near the quality of these beautiful images!

      Have to admit that "The Littles" is one of the many DiC shows I haven't watched yet. Over the past few years, I've gradually started checking out a few other DiC cartoons from the same era... mainy "The Mysterious Cities of Gold" and "Ulysses 31", which I both found pretty good. Maybe I'll get to "The Littles" eventually. It was produced just around the same time as Gadget, so I'm guessing much of the creative team was the same. :)

      And yeah, many of the American cartoons outsourced to Japan do have a unique feel which makes them interesting. The outsourcing part is one of the things that fascinates me about Gadget, too: The fact that the show mixes styles and traditions from several countries (chiefly France, America and Japan) into something new. I especially love the "Japanese" appearence of Penny, who I think is a great example of how the Japanese design sensibilities mashed with those of the French.

      When it comes to the French DiC book, it might be worth mentioning here that "The Littles" is not one of the series that gets the biggest coverage... that honor goes to Ulysses 31, The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Inspector Gadget (who get 34, 26 and 26 pages, respectively). Many of the shows from later in the 80s get 2 or 4 pages each. However, "The Littles" does get 8 pages of coverage, with some very nice-looking model sheets and cels and a few vintage production photos stuffed into its chapter. Probably, the text part contains interesting information as well, but of course I couldn't understand that part.

      Yes, let's hear it for an English-language edition of the book! :) I'm not gonna be sharing scans myself, since I want the book to be as successful as possible and hopefully warrant being translated and released in other languages and countries. It wouldn't surprice me if there's already a ready-made audience waiting for a book like this in English! :)

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    2. "The Littles" was a pretty fun show. I have the complete series on DVD. It also has some really good Shuki Levy music, and I know many of the creative team members behind "Heathcliff" and some from "Gadget" worked on the show (the second season from 1984 had that "Heathcliff" look and feel to it.) The first two seasons were entirely animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, with the third season having assistance from Studio Gallop.

      They even had their own evil "doctor" or sorts, Dr. Hunter, except he was a regular scientist bent on capturing the Littles, though he did have some cool modern technology, and he was voiced by the late Ken Samson (the guy that voiced Rabbit of "Winnie the Pooh" in the late '80s and the '90s.)

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  4. I just found some new info on Dr. Claw/Dr.Gang: http://www.backintoys.com/t856-da-inspecteur-gadget-le-visage-du-dr-gang

    It looks inrtusting at the very least.

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    1. Weelll... I don't think I'd call that information "new", as that action figure was released in 1992 and the drawing by Bruno Bianchi further down was first published in a magazine in the mid-80s... and both of these incarnations of Claw have been circulating online for many years. Also, I think it's open to debate how canon either one of them are. I definitely don't consider the 1992 action figure canon... first of all because it was released years after the show ended and without the involvement of several of the creators; and secondly, because it looks awful! It feels like something DiC and the to company just threw together to make a quick buck.

      The drawing, though, is more interesting to me, as it was drawn by Bruno Bianchi himself (the show's co-creator, director and character designer). Not sure how canon that is either, but it's definitely a funny take on the big "Who is Dr Claw" question. ;) I might feature it in a post later on.

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  5. Hello friend! I wanted to congratulate you on your great blog on the world of INSPECTOR GADGET, you try very interesting topics, I have a blog but it's in Spanish, here you can see curiosities and everything about Gadget

    you can look at it and comment

    http://adelante-gadgetoblog.blogspot.com.es/

    thanks and congratulations for your work on this blog

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    1. Thanks! :) It's nice to hear that you find my topics interesting, I usually try to write about and showcase stuff that I haven't seen elsewhere on the web, so compliments like this are very much appreciated! :)

      Nice to see that other people are also blogging about Gadget:) I don't understand Spanish, but I looked at your blog through Google Translate. Some of the topics were interesting, like your observation that the clothing shop Suiteblanco is apparently doing more Inspector Gadget products right now. Maybe it all has a connection to the show's upcoming 30th anniversary, as you say; especially considering that Cookie Jar has already announced a new TV series as part of the anniverssary celebration.

      I also liked your observations of in-jokes in the Gadgetinis episode; and the mention of Brian Lemay (though a bit puzzling that you didn't also link to the Inspector Gadget section of Brian's site, he has loads more designs and information posted there).

      A few other things:
      -Some factual mistakes in the first post: The series had 86 original episodes, not 83. Also, Bruno Bianchi was not the only creator of Gadget; he co-created the show together with Andy Heyward and Jean Chalopin (who was also the original founder of DiC).
      -I appreciate that you posted my YouTube video of Inspector Gadget's original commercial bumpers in your "INSPECTOR GADGET: Anuncios durante y después de la serie (1984-Actualidad)" post, but I couldn't help noticing that your description underneath the video was a direct translation of my own YouTube description of it. ;) I personally think it would be a nice touch if you credit people you quote from... the way it is now, it looks like you wrote that entire bit about the bumpers yourself, while in reality, it's just a translation of my words. (Not to be rude or anything, just saying. I do my best to credit everyone I quote here.)

      Interesting that you're Spanish, by the way... I've gotten the impression that Inspector Gadget had quite a successful run in Spain. When I look on sites like todocoleccion.net, for instance, all kinds of vintage Inspector Gadget merchandise pop up! Gadget must have been a big hit there back in the day.

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    2. Hola Amigo!! gracias por tu respuesta, me parece un buen y fantástico blog el que tienes, al igual que tú yo también intento innovar y buscar mis propios temas que no sean de otra web, agradezco mucho tus comentarios, el primer tema es verdad que tiene errores pensaba corregirlos lo antes posible, en cuanto al video de cortinillas de Inspector Gadget extraído de tu canal de You Tube es cierto que es una traducción de tu descripción, y no era por nada malintencionado si no que al leerla pensé que no podía ser mejor explicada, y no me habia dado cuenta de que faltaba la fuenta, al igual que tú a mi me gusta citar a los autores originales ya que es obra suya, ¡pero lo estoy arreglando!, como bien has dicho es posible que esta salida de productos de SuiteBlanco tenga que ver con este 30 aniversario, lo que no sabia es que iban a hacer una nueva serie del INSPECTOR GADGET!! me encanta aunque a mi la secuela de Gadget y gadgetinis me gusto creo que como la serie original no puede ser superada, Si quieres puedo poner un enlace en mi blog de tu blog sobre el Inspector Gadget, así mis lectores (que son pocos)podrán y descubrir mas curiosidades en tu blog ¿que te parece?, a mi también me gusta visitar Todo colección.net es una web fantastica y sí cada vez van saliendo mas productos de GADGET, hace poco compré un pack descatalogado y precintado de la primera temporada del Inspector Gadget (En españa la 1ª temporada solo tuvo los primeros 25 episodios y más tarde la 2ª temporada los demás restantes)
      estaba buscandola desde hace tiempo y la he comprado totalmente nueva, En España Gadget ha tenido una gran importancia al igual que otras series,ha sido un éxito total en su época, actualmente siguen emitiéndola en algunas cadenas, fue una de las series mas originales que he visto, ha diferencia de sus países de origen aquí en España tanto la serie original como otras adaptaciones han mantenido la misma voz que en la original del Inspector Gadget, Sophie y el Dr.Gang

      un saludo espero tu respuesta!

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  6. Hello Friend! Thanks for your answer, it seems a good and fantastic blog you have, like you I also try to innovate and find my own issues other than web, really appreciate your comments, the first item is true that thought has errors correct them as soon as possible, in terms of video Inspector Gadget drawn curtains of your YouTube channel is true that it is a translation of your description, and it was not anything malicious to read it unless you thought it could not be better explained, and I had not realized was missing from source, like you I like to cite the original authors as it is his work, but I'm fixing!, as you say it is possible that this product out SuiteBlanco have to do with this 30th anniversary, I did not know is that they were making a new series of INSPECTOR GADGET! although I love the sequel Gadgetinis Gadget and I think as I liked the original series can not be beat, if you want I can put a link on my blog to your blog on Inspector Gadget, and my readers (which are few) may and discover more curiosities in my blog what do you think?, I too would like to visit all colección.net is a great site and yes every time it exits GADGET more products, recently bought a discontinued pack and seal the first season Inspector Gadget (In Spain Season 1 only had the first 25 episodes and later the 2nd season the other remaining)
    I was looking for it in a while and I bought brand new, Gadget In Spain has been of great importance like other series, has been a huge success in its time, now still emitting it in some channels was one of the most original series I have seen, has opposed their home countries here in Spain both the original series and other

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    1. Hi again! Sorry for my extremely late answer here, I didn't mean to leave you hanging for so long! No hard feelings about the Youtube channel description, I had thought that you probably wrote it in a rush. :) I appreciate that you corrected it.

      Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Gadgetinis series. On one hand, I think it's the best reboot that's been done of Gadget until now; on the other hand, there are many things about Gadgetinis which annoy me. Like the portrayal of Dr Claw: he's no longer scary, rather pathetic - he even has a mother who scolds him! Sigh...

      Feel free to link to my blog, I take it as a big compliment! :)

      I agree that there's something very original about the Inspector Gadget series. Even though it's inspired by many other TV series and movies (like Get Smart and the Pink Panther films), it combines all these inspirations into a unique mixture... a very quirky and entertaining mixture.

      I noticed that the English-language version of your comment (probably from Google Translate?) cut off a bit at the end, so I translated the last part of the Spanish comment myself and got this: "...has opposed their home countries here in Spain both the original series and other adaptations have remained the same as in the original voice of Inspector Gadget, Sophie and Dr.Gang". So you mean that in Spain, all reboots and revivals of Inspector Gadget have had the same Spanish actors as the original series? I wish it had been that way with the American-language versions!

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  7. Hola amigo!! yo también he tardado en responderte, perdona. continuando con lo hablado, si aqui en España las voces originales de la serie original del Inspector Gadget se han mantenido, e incluso el actor de doblaje del Dr.Gang también aparece en las adaptaciones cinematográficas pero poniendo voz a el Jefe Quimby, el es un actor muy reconocido aqui en España. se llama Pepe Mediavilla y también pone voz a Morgan Freeman.ahora mismo en mi blog estoy haciendo un especial de la pelicula INSPECTOR GADGET 2 que cumple 10 años, en respecto con la anterior pelicula esta si mantiene alguna de las caracteristicas originales de la serie, a mi en principio me encanta, la primera pelicula me parece muy absurda, además estoy investigando sobre los atrezzos de la pelicula y muchos de ellos se han puesto en subasta para los fans asi como el Gadgetmobile, el sombrero gadget y más

    saludos y espero tu respuesta!

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  8. Hey dude, how're you holding up?

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    1. Hey there! I'm holding up pretty well, thanks for asking. :) Although I'm certainly busy right now! My studies are more intense than ever, which is part of why I haven't done any blogging in a long, long time now. (I do have some plans for the blog in the future, but right now there's no way of telling exactly when I'll get to them.)

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    2. Good to know you're still alive :)
      BTW, I emailed DHX media asking about the new Gadget series, but I haven't received a reply :(

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    3. Yeah, I haven't heard much news myself either. I've been asking on the Facebook pages of both DHX Media and Cookie Jar Entertainment, but nothing. I did at least get a short answer when asking about it on Teletoon Retro's Facebook page (seeing as Teletoon is one of the production partners on the series). I asked them if they knew when the new Inspector Gadget series would start airing, and they said (on March 7): "We have no details on this right now since the series in still in development, but if we have any news we will share it here!"

      So it sounds like the series is still in the development phase, and hasn't yet entered full production. I'm beginning to think that I may have jumped to conclusions when assuming from earlier press releases that the new series will definitely start airing in 2013. Perhaps this proves not to be true. All the press release really said was, "Cookie Jar Entertainment is celebrating Inspector Gadget’s 30th anniversary with the launch of a brand-new series with its Canadian broadcast partner TELETOON. The series will again revolve around the iconic bionic bumbling detective.", and then: "Hirsh says that the company is expecting to pre-sell Inspector Gadget, What Do People Do All Day? and Dr. Dimension Pants at the [MIPCOM] market." I assumed from the sentence "...celebrating Inspector Gadget’s 30th anniversary with the launch of a brand-new series..." that this meant the series would start airing sometimes in 2013, even though the press release doesn't explicitly state that. Of course, it MIGHT very well debut within 2013... but there's also a possibility that the press release was more of an industry message targeted towards networks which might want to buy the series before it enters production. I think that's what "pre-sell" means, anyway. Maybe the 'celebration of the 30th anniversary' simply means that the series will go into full production sometimes during 2013... and it might end up actually airing later than 2013. But of course, all of this is just theorizing on my part. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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    4. Hey, Man of Mesteri -- I'd like to submit an essay I wrote if you're interested. http://manga-in-a-bottle.deviantart.com/art/Inspector-Gadget-An-Essay-338168906

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  9. I noticed the cover uses the Shingo Araki unit designs for Gadget, Penny and Brain. As I said, I imagine Araki was animation director on those five episodes and also animated several scenes personally in addition to the other animators in his unit that could draw well in his style (though the second half of "The Pharaoh" had a different animation director - it looked like the one from "The Infiltration.") I could also tell Araki animated the first five minutes of the pilot, from the opening scene of the winter olympics up to the end of the MAD Yodeler sequence.

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    1. Yep, the cover does use the Shingo Araki unit design style. It seems that the authors/designers of the book really love Araki's work on the series, as a lot of the animation drawings reproduced in the "Inspecteur Gadget" chapter are from his episodes. However, I don't think there's any way to tell if Araki "personally animated" this and that scene in the episodes done by his animation team (I've noticed you spreading such information several places online, and I'm not sure where you're getting it from). From my understanding, an "animation director" - while doing some of the animation himself (perhaps just key frames) - is also responsible for supervising his team of animators so that the animation, as well as the visual look and feel, come out consistent. In that respect, there's no easy way to tell which scene was animated by Araki and which scene was animated by some of the animators working under him. Case in point: In the book, while showcasing an underwater scene from "Bermuda Triangle" in the form of animation drawings, the authors credit "Araki Production" with the animation. So what I'm getting at is this: When you watch a scene with the Gadget characters drawn in Araki's style, it MIGHT be animated by Araki personally, but it might just as well be animated by one of the animators working for Araki Productions (after all, part of the job description for Araki's animation team would be to draw and animate in his style).

      By the way, I'm wondering if Araki also had a collaborator working with him on the animation direction. At one point, the book showcases some cels and animation drawings from "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper", with the caption: "Visually one of the best episodes! It benefited from very nice animation signed Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno." (Translated with the help of Google Translate.) Several web sites also mention that Araki often collaborated with Michi Himeno, with whom he co-founded Araki Production; so perhaps credit is due to Himeno as well for the distinctive look of the Araki unit episodes. (Himeno is not listed in Inspector Gadget's on-screen credits from what I can tell; but that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't involved.) In any case, I agree that the animation seen in "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper" is very, very lavish.

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    2. Also: Up until recently, I, too, thought that Shingo Araki had directed the animation in that first part of the pilot episode (I still haven't seen any proof that Araki *personally* animated all those scenes - why would he necessarily have done that?), but the "Les séries de notre enfance" book seems to be saying something else. There is a section about the pilot episode early in the Inspecteur Gadget chapter, and one sentence reads, "Contrairement à la légende, Shingo Araki ne réalisera qu'une séquence de ce pilote." Which, when put through Google Translate, comes out somewhat like this: "Contrary to legend, Shingo Araki will not realize [direct] a sequence of this pilot." Interestingly, Araki Production is listed as one of the studios in the pilot episode's credits, but Shingo Araki is NOT listed as one of the animation directors. The two animation directors listed are Harry Love and Philippe Landrot. So maybe Araki DIDN'T direct any animation in the pilot episode. Of course, the animation in that opening part of the pilot looks pretty much EXACTLY like the animation in, say, "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper", so that statement in the book does make things confusing. But perhaps someone else directed Araki's production team for this one episode? I'm thinking that the pilot was probably produced on a tight schedule, and the animation directors had to use several different teams of animators simply to get it finished on time. So perhaps Harry Love and Philippe Landrot stepped in and directed the Araki animators here, and these animators - already accustomed to Araki's rounded and cartoony drawing style from previous productions - simply drew the Gadget characters in this style? This is only a theory, but I tend to trust the French book since it appears to be very well researched... and it does sort of make sense to me that if Araki didn't work on the pilot himself, then at least his team of animators did.

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    3. Interesting; I have a feeling Araki Production was tied into Telecom/Tokyo Movie Shinsha or something, as I see they were somewhat of a "support studio." Maybe TMS actually outsourced to them, like there were a few "Tiny Toon Adventures" episodes where TMS actually had a few other Japanese studios involved (Mook Animation did one episode credited to TMS, for example.) The animation in "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper" had a great combination of being cartoony and highly-detailed. One example is when the clock factory collapses, there is a hint of cartooniness (like the hands and Roman numerals popping off the clock face on springs) and realism (like the way the tower falls over shortly after with lots of dust and debris.) Then when the heroes and the Clock Maker emerge from the destroyed factory they're dazed and walking in a very funny manner, with Gadget's hair being messed up and his clothes a bit damaged.
      I am wondering if maybe Araki animated the stock footage the show often took from his unit, like that one shot of the Gadget Van changing into the Gadgetmobile (also used in the intro), the close-up of Gadget reading one of those exploding messages, etc. They often would be used in other TMS episodes ("The Old Man of the Mountain" even used a brief Araki clip of Gadget speaking into his Top-Secret Gadget Phone), though I do recall the Gadgetmobile clip showing up in a Wang episode ("Smeldorado"), which was a bit odd, as Wang/Cuckoo's Nest typically would come up with their OWN stock footage for the show on occasion.
      I know Shingo Araki also worked on "Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats" in the first season, but I am not sure what episodes his unit did, as unlike Gadget, "Heathcliff" usually had more simpler designs.
      Too bad Shingo Araki never worked for "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Animaniacs," both of which had some really good-looking Tokyo Movie Shinsha animation (they also both used Wang a lot, but at least they did a better job than they did on Gadget!)

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    4. To wile-e2005

      The opening for Gadget was done (Directed and Sakugaed) by Kazuhide Tomonaga at Telecom 100%, as for The Coo-Coo Clock Caper, the animation director for the episode was Toshihiko Masuda (Araki did the timing sheet) and the episode was 99%-100% done by Telecom (Araki Pro had nothing to do with the episode), as for the key animators for the episode, I can spot out that almost the whole "Tower Crumble" scene at the end was sakugaed (doing most if not all of the drawings him or herself) by Yoshinobu Michihata, the only scene in that scene that was not done by Michihata was when Brain frees Penny witch that scene was animated by Sawako Miyamoto, but almost the whole "Tower Crumble" scene was sakugaed by Yoshinobu Michihata.

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    5. That's pretty good at identifying who animated that. Like I said, the Araki unit at TMS/Telecom was very talented.

      I am also wondering who animated the entrance of M.A.D. Agents Dick and Squirt in their Anubis costumes in "The Phraraoh," dancing up and stealing the sarcophagus while Brain pretends he is an ancient Egyptian statue (Brain then doing his Anubis imitation a bit later was fun, too.)
      Then there is that Hotel Mario-esque animation of Gadget reading the message that TMS used a lot too. It was first used in "The Pharaoh," not surprisingly, but didn't begin to show up outside of the Araki-style episodes until "The Japanese Connection."

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