Thursday, August 7, 2014

Full-Figure Version of New Series Picture With Gadget, Penny, Quimby, Brain... and Apparently the Gadget Mobile

Low-res, I know, but much better than nothing:

After seeing the first teaser animation for the new series yesterday, did you think that was all the news I had for you at the moment? No sir-E! A few minutes before that discovery, I actually also found the above image... but being short on time (as can happen when you're on vacation), I decided to prioritize the animated footage. But hey, that means today's post can focus on the group picture!

We are of cource looking at a full, or at least fuller, version of the image I posted back on July 11. The version I posted then had better resolution, but was obviously cropped, as shown by Brain's ears popping up in the lower right corner. The current version of the motive is sourced from a PDF press kit from France TV - you'll have to download the PDF to your harddisk to open it - which was released online at Annecy Replay 2014 sometimes in June to sum up the June 11 press conference by France Télévisions at Mifa (The International Animation Film Market) at the Annecy festival. In other words, yes, the same press conference where the animated teaser clip was first screened. Gee, seems I just can't stop talking about that.

But let's talk about the image! Finally, we get to see the full-figure versions of Penny and Chief Quimby, and not least, what I think is the first really representative image of Brain. His color looks much better here than in the photo from the Chronicle Herald article - not as dark, and closer to the original fur. Generally, Brain's design keeps growing on me, though it still leans a bit too much towards a realistic dog. But I'll wait and see how he works in animation.

Penny's high-heeled, red boots look good, I think, matching the color of her skirt and also signaling that she's older than in the original series. Gadget's rocket skates seem fine, with a sense of fun to their design. Chief Quimby is looking a bit slimmer than I expected, but overall good, and I like his wardrobe. Judging by his pose, the Chief seems to be slightly anxious at the sight of Gadget... perhaps in fear of being blown up by an unexpected, top-secret message? (I do hope that Quimby's suffering in the new show WILL be mainly connected to the self-destructing messages, as in the original. I do not need a reprise of the over-destructive relationship between Gadget and Colonel Nozzaire from the Gadgetinis series, which took the violent aspect much too far and made Gadget's unintentional hurting of Nozzaire more frustrating and annoying than anything else.)

I have to make one more remark on Quimby, though: how frikkin' short is he supposed to be? Look at the height difference between him and Gadget, and Penny for that matter. I actually thought he was sitting when I saw the cropped version of this image earlier. In the original show, Quimby was almost as tall as Gadget, coming across as a normal-height adult. The height difference between him and Gadget in the new series seems extreme enough that he could have been a child (though on the other hand, Gadget's legs do seem really long in that picture).

(And needless to say, we're ALL extremely frustrated that DHX's new Gadget design didn't revive
the stylish mustache in this model sheet. Don't keep it in, fans! Voice your anger!)

Again, I'll reserve judgment until I see the new design animated. I'm sure the designers had their reasons to go for such a short and small Quimby, but not quite so sure yet if I agree with them.

And before I forget -- the Gadget Mobile. Yeah, that car probably has to be Gadget's new vehicle, seeing as it's so prominently displayed in the background. To be honest, this is the design I like the least of everything I've seen so far. The car doesn't look nearly as cool or unique to me as the original model, neither the Gadget Van mode nor the Mobile mode. I'd really like to know more about what the new car can do, though... for instance, does it have transformation modes?

Cel setup with the Gadget Van from the episode "Curse of the Pharaoh" 

Original model sheet of the Gadget Mobile. Could the
police car model be hiding inside the new car?

Rounding off, here's a snapshot of France TV's press kit presentation, from double-spread 26 (or page 47) of the PDF. Note that the Inspecteur Gadget series is listed under "Achats", meaning "Purchases". (Many other series in the kit are sorted under 'Development', 'Production' etc.)


  1. Please, please, please don't suck...

    1. Hi there Elise (or MangaBottle;), long time no see. :) I was actually wondering the other day how you might be feeling about all these news. What do you think of the animation, designs and plot details revealed so far?

      By the way, sorry for never replying to you about your Inspector Gadget essay. Believe it or not, I actually found it and read it even before you posted the link here, and I meant to write a full, proper feedback comment on DeviantArt, but me being me, I somehow didn't get around to it. But I wanted to tell you that I found it, overall, a very interesting essay, even if I didn't agree with everything in it. It's great to see someone write seriously about Gadget like that. :) Maybe one of these days I'll find the time to knock up a more detailed comment.

  2. What a missed opportunity... this reboot is obviously going to be a complete failure without Gadget's mustache. :P

    Quimby does look small, did he shrink with age? Maybe the perspective is making him look small since he's standing behind everyone... not to mention he is kinda scrunching down as well. There is a Nozzaire-esque PLEASE DON'T HURT ME vibe going on, hopefully these writers won't be as twisted as the ones who wrote all the unnecessary torture scenes into Gadgetinis.

    The car is probably the only thing I have a outright negative opinion on. I'm all up for new takes on the Gadgetmobile but this isn't doing it for me. It's too boring and generic looking.

    1. Yeah, I mean, how hard can it be?? :P Gadget with a mustache = what everybody wants. Gadget without a mustache = pissed off fans. Add to that, I'm still mulling over the fact that the new voice actor will not sound like Gary Owens. Can't they get ANYTHING right?

      You might be on to something regarding the perspective in the image... maybe Quimby is not quite as short as he seems to be. The height difference still feels somewhat extreme, though.

      "There is a Nozzaire-esque PLEASE DON'T HURT ME vibe going on, hopefully these writers won't be as twisted as the ones who wrote all the unnecessary torture scenes into Gadgetinis."

      You know, Jean Chalopin himself is credited as either the sole writer or the co-writer of every single Gadgetinis episode. Sigh... (Still, who can say for sure if the Nozzaire/Gadget dynamic came from him or someone else.)

      I'm certainly hoping the same as you regarding Quimby. In the original series, he clearly liked and admired Gadget despite being occacionally annoyed by his clumsiness. That dynamic had much more charm than any later twist or reinterpretation.

      I think our opinions on the Gadget Mobile are pretty much in sync. ;) I'm reserving final judgment myself, but right now I'm thinking: Why redesign the car like that? Why not just use the original design, if they can't do better than that? The really weird part is, this new car design sorta reminds me of Disney's Herbie. Is that intentional, I wonder? And does that hint towards this new Gadget Mobile being, in some way, a living character? I really don't want that - certainly not after the horrors of both live-action movies plus "Biggest Caper Ever" and (shudder) "Last Case". I much prefer the Gadget Mobile to be an actual car, albeit enhanced with cool gadgets and transformation functions.

      (That said, I think even the transformation functions should have their limits. In the original series, the transforming Van/Gadget Mobile is cool because it makes SENSE. We believe that this vehicle can change from van to police car, just as we believe that Dr Claw's M.A.D. jet can change to a car and a submarine. In Gadgetinis, the transformation abilities of Gadget's car are so over-the-top and wacky that they lose a lot of the charm and believability.)

    2. So much improvement! Where's Gary Owens when we need him? He's the only one that can salvage this train wreck!

      Chalopin must've been going though a disgruntled phase or something? Bianchi was there too so it's anyone's guess. Why would they even get rid of Quimby in the first place if they lacked the ability to create something equal or better? I never understood the constant barrage of assault towards Nozzaire, I think it goes to prove that removing Quimby as Gadget's boss was a god-awful idea. They had no idea how to fill the void left by that relationship so they just went for tired unfunny violence as filler.

      Originally the chief was usually stern and calm except for when he was angry at Gadget for being a pain. It feels kinda out of character for him to look all nervous and frightened... but I guess I can chalk it up as them just throwing random character models together for a promo picture. Only reason I can think of for making him short is to diversify the heights of the characters more which would still be redundant since his round body shape already made him easily distinguishable.

      Please... no more making the car into a sentient being... We have actual interesting characters who the writers can focus on and develop, there's no reason why the car must be part of the cast. The talking cars only exist to be a dispenser of cheap one liners and when played seriously only leads to drivel like 'Last Case' where the car becomes a massive plot tumor and sucks attention away from any real story being told. I want to feel emotions about the characters themselves and not their mode of transportation.

      Can't we just have an awesome looking police cruiser in the same vein as the original Gadgetmobile? Every incarnation of the car post-original series has been actively trying to resemble the Gadgetmobile as little as possible, are these people even fans of the original? Do they hate the original car & van designs that much? I don't get it. Maybe the Herbiemoblie will have some interesting tricks of it's own that might change my opinion of it? I do hope as well that they put some thought into the transformations and gadgets in the new series to make them somewhat believable. You can tell little planning went into Gadgetinis by how lazily they shoehorn anything into existence that fits into whatever plot point they felt like writing at the expense of logic and sense.

    3. EPIC!! DHX should just, like, hire you as lead character designer for their new series! :D And certainly also as the voice director, so that you could hire back Gary Owens and not least Mona Marshall, the one and only true Penny.

      "Chalopin must've been going though a disgruntled phase or something? Bianchi was there too so it's anyone's guess."

      Actually, come to think of it, a possible good guess here could be Andy Heyward. Yeah, I know... unlike every other horrible Gadget revival from the 90s and 2000s, Gadgetinis was at least not produced at Heyward's DiC, but rather at Saban International Paris... but Heyward *was* one of the executive producers on Gadgetinis and also initiated the development of it, before Chalopin or Bianchi became involved. So maybe some of the chief creative decisions had already been made - by Heyward or others - prior to Chalopin writing the series and Bianchi producing and direct it. That doesn''t seem too unlikely, given that the reboots Heyward produced at his own company - "Gadget Boy", "Last Case", "Biggest Caper Ever" etc. - were all riddled with incredibly bad taste and terrible creative decisions. Plus, "Inspector Gadget's Last Case" (which DiC did produce by themselves) was obviously developed concurrently with Gadgetinis, as seen in the matching lead character designs. ("Last Case" was at one point intended to be a movie lead-in to Gadgetinis, but I'm sure that was before both the movie and series was finished, as there are obvious differences between them as well.)

      "Why would they even get rid of Quimby in the first place if they lacked the ability to create something equal or better?"

      Even if I personally agree, such a question becomes very speculative. I'm sure the people in charge of the decision must have thought that this type of boss-relationship would be funnier, wackier or at least in some way more entertaining than in the original series, or they likely wouldn't have done it that way. In fact, "wackier", "sillier", "more cartoony" are all itting terms to compare the Gadgetinis series to its original source material. I get the feeling that the Gadgetinis crew genuinely thought this would improve upon the humor in the original, or at least put a fun, updated spin on things.

      "It feels kinda out of character for him [Quimby] to look all nervous and frightened... but I guess I can chalk it up as them just throwing random character models together for a promo picture."

      Yeah, it does feel out of character for the original Quimby. In a way, I kind of share that hope you're presenting about "random character models", but I have to admit I aIso really doubt it. ;) This is clearly a picture chosen to advertise the new show, and I doubt they would have used it if they didn't feel it was properly representative for the characters. In my eyes, the posing of Gadget and Quimby probably IS saying something or other about their relationship... though how the relationship is handled remains to be seen, of course.

    4. Regarding Gadget's car: You're summing up nicely both my thoughts on the car in general and the massive problems with "Inspector Gadget's Last Case"; which to this day remains the worst animated Gadget production I have ever seen. In fact, its god-awfulness is topped only by the live-action movies. The only reason I can see for producing such a crap feast of a script, with Gadget's car as a main character, would be the notion, "Talking cars are cool" (or alternately, "Talking cars sell toys"). This of course has been proven time and time again in animated productions - for instance with Pixar's "Cars" franchise (sigh) - but a talking car has NOTHING to do in Inspector Gadget. It just doesn't fit the concept.

      "I want to feel emotions about the characters themselves and not their mode of transportation."

      This. Yes. Exactly.

      I will say, though, that DiC's remakes of Gadget's car in the early 2000s seemed like a commercial choice rather than a creative one. Obviously, the talking car idea originated with Disney's 1999 live-action movie. When direct-to-video animated films were produced in the wake of that movie's success, the talking car was ported over there as a tie-in with the movie. An absolutely terrible decision from a creative viewpoint, but I can actually (sadly) see their commercial-driven motivations for doing it.

      (What I still cannot see is their motivations for putting together a script as mind-boggingly awful as "Last Case"... but that's another story.)

      Anyway, of course I'd also love to see the classic police car return. But I think at the same time, I'll try to keep an open mind about the new Gadget Mobile. We know nothing about it right now except for the one released picture... and it being in the background should hopefully signal that it will not be a main character in any way. And as you say, maybe it will have some interesting features and functions.

    5. Just to clarify one thing about about my Gadgetmobile rant when I was asking all that "Are these people even fans of the original?" stuff: I wasn't intending that towards the creators of the new series so much, it was mostly directed towards the live action films where the trend of lousy Gadgetmobiles took hold and infected everything to follow. I was a bit irritated while writing that comment and I didn't mean to come across as hating the new car or insulting the people behind it before giving it a fair chance.

      I probably come off as hating Gadgetinis as well for how much I like bashing it. Really it's more frustration because I feel like it had potential but it was bogged down by over-prioritizing formula and mediocre humor. "Why would they get rid of Quimby if they couldn't do better?" was more of a flippant question, and product of previously mentioned sour mood. I could already guess they were bored of exploding messages and wanted to try something new and I don't really blame them for that. If they really wanted to they absolutely could have made a series faithful to the original -only Gadgetinis wasn't meant to be that. Yet that's what I keep judging it as which I now see might be the wrong way of looking at it since it was so clearly differently intentioned from the original. They even change Gadget's rank from Inspector to Lieutenant to further set apart their new version of Gadget from the old.

      Now that I think about it, with all the radical changes that were brought about in Gadgetinis the show might have suffered from not being different /enough/ from the original. I wish it had abandoned the reliance on formula which could have freed it up to go in that 'wackier, sillier, cartoonier' direction it ventured to go in. I got the impression they wanted to give Nozzaire some character development what with him going to therapy and trying to get along with Gadget. If only the status quo could have buggered off and allowed even a slightly positive shift in Nozzaire's and Gadget's relationship to make the show more bearable. The only major thing I remember being afforded any continuity was when Penny made artificial stomachs for Fidget and Digit and then they were seen eating in subsequent episodes. So they /were/ willing to break status quo... but only for something exceedingly pointless. An episode that I actually don't hate which was (very) loosely built on continuity from the original series was "Face To Face To Face" with the return of The Chameleon, as far as Gadgetinis goes I'd say it was one the better episodes... well best of the worst anyway.

  3. The new car looks a bit like a Fiat 500. I recently took one of the "Color Your Own Fiat 500" pages from the "Great Big Promotional Book" and recolored it in the style of the classic Gadgetmobile for a "Gadget Remake" fan fiction I was writing.

    And yes, I *kept* the "talking car" aspect, but used it in new ways--there was a scene where Penny, about to storm the Scolex building, produced Uncle John's sidearm from the pre-Gadget days. Shocked and horrified, Gadgetmobile dissuaded her from using it, and offered instead a dart gun with knockout darts.

  4. For the car, I agree with Nicholas Tosini, it looks a bit like the Fiat 500.

    I once sketched a Gadgetmobile by imagining what if it was the 3rd-generation Pontiac Firebird(1982-92). The classic Gadgetmobile could had been a long lost cousin of K.I.T.T (Knight Rider). ;-)