Rimba racer Characters

After my recent chat with Wau Animation founder and executive director Usamah Zaid Bin Yasin just  before Visual Arts Expo 2015, we sat down with some other Malaysian based animation houses to see what they were up to and how the industry is faring in Malaysia the region.

This time it’s Glue Studio’s turn to be under the spotlight. They are the makers of Rimba Racer, the animated series currently airing on TV3 in Malaysia, MediaCorp Suria in Singapore and Nickelodeon India.

Miles from Rimba Racer
Miles the mechanic, the character that the writer of this piece plays
FULL DISCLOSURE: this writer voices one of those “colourful characters”: Miles the grumpy owl mechanic and mentor to the main character Tag, however this was recorded for the as-yet-unaired English language version of the show, so for the moment, my presumably stellar voice acting career is on hold.

The Interviewees

In case you’re wondering just what Rimba Racer is,  the animated series features a colourful cast of animals racing cars against each other.

I sat down with “Joe” Azizul Hakim, Director of Animation and Voice Director for Rimba Racer and Charukphong Anuvong, Illustrator, Motion Graphics and  Video Editor to talk about Glue Studios, the show’s genesis, their influences and when I might be able to hear my own dulcet tones on TV ;). Both are key members of the Glue Studio crew and have been with the studio since its very beginning.

Glue Studios

Like a good amount of people in the animation and creative industry, both Joe and Charukphong are geeks with great interests in movies and animation.

Joe himself was inspired by ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) (the Special effects house founded by George Lucas to handle the special effects on the original Star Wars), even before he got into computer animation. It wasn’t just the the movies itself that inspired him though, but how they were made.

“When I look at Star Wars, I just think of the people who made it. It was impossible to make that sort of thing back then but they made it work, through some of the dirtiest methods, it’s nothing fancy. It’s not just the art, it’s a combination of innovation and creativity, which is the basis of what everyone in the creative industry is about and just willing to not accept that it can’t be done…stubbornness  basically.” says Joe.

As for Charukphong, it was the anime Cowboy BepopAccording to him, there’s nothing more influential. Having grown up in an area with imports from Japan, the United States and Hong Kong, to Charukphong, Cowboy Bepop’s innovation was how it just blended all these separate entities and brings it to the western culture and they can accept it, just like that.

Cowboy Bepop Spaceport
Cowboy Bepop served as Charukphong’s inspiration into the industry

And for him, it’s reflected in what they’re doing with Rimba Racer. As he puts it “In a way, I do feel that our work on Rimba Racer itself is sort of something like that, because we are trying to strive for a universally accepted kind of story telling without having any really boundaries of culture.”