ANIME FANS IN THE NEWS!It's time once again for my very, very, very occasional feature, "Anime Fans in the News", where I showcase fellow anime enthusiasts who have had some kind of impact on society at large.
Meet Mike Dobson, a freelance Canadian animator with an extensive resume, including working as an assistant animator on children's cartoons such as Little Bear, Rupert, Pippi Longstockings, Anne of Green Gables, and more, as well as working on animation aimed at a slightly older audience, like the Teletoon Detour series Sons of Butcher and the live-action/animated hybrid film Osmosis Jones.
Mike Dobson also has his own animation studio, Evil Clown Animation, whose main purpose seems to be trying to shop around to animation production companies a character concept called Siobhan (pronounced "Shabon"), a scantily-clad, nimble, athletic warrior lady who seems to have cut from the same cloth as Aeon Flux, except in a swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting rather than a cyberpunk dystopia setting.
He posted a four-minute-long Siobhan pilot animation at YouTube. You can also see various other clips on his YouTube channel, including one where he boasts about Siobhan being a feminist hero, and another one where he talks about the general hand-drawn animation process (he neglected to mention one crucial part of his own personal creative process, but I'll get to that later).
In the description for Siobhan at YouTube, Mike Dobson talks about wanting to capitalize on the niche popularity of anime by blending the elements that make anime popular with a westernized animation style.
"As well, Japanese animation (anime) has gained a significant hold on the world animation-viewing public. There is still a vastly under-exploited North American film and TV industries response to the stylistic elements that have made anime a success.
Siobhan takes the best elements of the North American and Anime filmmaking traditions and molds them into cult classic material. The result will shock and entrance the animation-viewing public. We can make a character that the world will hear about."
Eh, looks like crude fanart. Siobhan doesn't really stay "on model" from shot to shot, and I doubt that's intentional like the way John Kricfalusi does it. Also, the stylistic elements don't remind me of any of the sorts of anime I watch, though I suppose that's largely because the most violent sorts of things that happen in animes like Ichigo Mashimaro are pillow fights.
But that's all neither here nor there.
Dobson also mentions his future hopes for Siobhan:
"Siobhan is an adult animated series concept with strong potential for videogame, comic and merchandise tie-ins"
Well, looks like Dobson will have to put his Siobhan merchandising plans on ice for a while as he'll be taking a hiatus from his animation career that will last up to fourteen years.
From CityNews Toronto:
"A Toronto animator who runs a company called "Evil Clown Animation" has been convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl and could face a 14-year jail sentence.
Thirty-seven-year-old Michael Dobson was found guilty of four counts of sexual interference after having a five-month relationship with a 13-year-old girl in 2002.
"It took a lot of courage for this young woman to come forward with these allegations. She spent most of her teenage years dealing with this court case and these incidents," said Crown Attorney Cara Sweeny.
"I know that she is relieved and pleased to have some closure in this matter, and that's certainly what this verdict is for her."
Currently the legal age of consent in Canada is 14 years old. Dobson met the young girl when she was only 12.
Despite her youth, the judge took note of her maturity.
"This young lady is 13 going on 19. I don't condone his behaviour in any respect. I found she was precocious beyond her years," he said during his ruling.
Dobson will be sentenced on May 18th."
The CityNews article doesn't mention this, but Global National mentioned that the sex acts occurred within the animation studio itself. So, evidently, one technique that animators can use to relieve stress is to diddle twelve-year old girls under the drawing table.
You do have to wonder how much of this Siobhan character is based on his lolita-esque girlfriend. Maybe the judge is right and the girl really is "precocious beyond her years" in more ways than one.
The most important question is, should they ever make a live-action Siobhan film, who would direct? Roman Polanski or Victor Salva? Maybe Gary Glitter and Michael Jackson will do the soundtrack? And Jeffrey Jones can make a special appearance as the tentacle monster.
EDIT (2:30 p.m.): Somewhat predictably, the prosecution isn't seeking anything even close to the maximum sentence.
From The Toronto Star:
"While I don't condone his behaviour in any respect, I found that she was precocious beyond her years," Gans said as he rejected a Crown motion to have Dobson assessed for pedophilia or other sexual illnesses.
She had in her makeup "more of the punk rock/Queen St. crowd than her years would suggest," he said.
Gans said Dobson was guilty of "abject stupidity" but there was no evidence of mental disorder.
Dobson denied having sex of any kind with the girl. The judge concluded it was his word against hers and "There were too many gaps in his recitation of events."
A prosecutor said she would seek a jail term of up to two years.
Dobson's lawyer will ask for a conditional sentence, often served as house arrest."
I guess Mike Dobson doesn't want to be anyone's "bitch" in the general population of a federal prison.