10 Fantastic Animated Shorts You MUST Watch!

SCRAMBLED

In this short, a sentient Rubik’s cube insists that a woman waiting for a train fixes it’s puzzle, but she doesn’t seem to have the patience, and the cube tries to keep her attention.

What I love about this short, is that it’s a gentle reminder about remembering the simple charms of traditional practical toys like the Rubik’s Cube, but it doesn’t shun the merits of mobile gaming either, because it shows how digital gaming principles can be applied to physical challenges.

It’s a cartoon that’s also about not giving up on hard tasks once they get tough, and how rewarding it can be to finish them. It’s easy to abandon a tricky challenge once it stumps you, but it takes will power to avoid the temptation of quitting.

The cherry on top has to be how adorable this rubix cube is! The animators give it a vivid cute personality using it’s very own cubes, plus the fact that this little thing sets out to be solved by train station customers gives it a sweet purpose.

OUT OF SIGHT

A little blind girl has her handbag stolen, and her loyal dog tries to chase after the thief. Using her imagination and keener senses, the girl tries to find where her pet has ran off to.

The magic of this short is how it empowers a visually impaired child, giving blind kids validatation by showing how they can overcome limitations. The way the little girl creatively and smartly feels or smells her way around is very clever.

At one point, she even pretends to be a witch, and pretends that a stick is a wand to help her recognise her surroundings. Oh and the fact she’s pushing her comprehension of her surroundings to find her dog is so adorable.

THE ACORN PRINCESS

In a tiny treetop village of thumb sized people, Princess Cornelia and the Flower Prince are set to be married under order of Cornelia’s father King Oak, but his majesty doesn’t know that these two are actually gay and taken.

I adored the hell out of this cute cartoon. It’s a super endearing short about parental acceptance and the hardships of coming out of the closet to parents. We end up falling for it’s innocently charming characters under a few minutes, as we hope with all our hearts that they can be with their other halves.

At the same time, the supportive friendship between Cornelia and Flower is beyond heartfelt, as they both hope that the other can be with the one they truly love. Great friends look for each other, and that’s these two.

As someone who identifies as bisexual, there’s nothing more validating than seeing an animated short that challenges tradition, all while giving LGBT+ people our very own queer fairytale.

BLACK SOUL

This paint on glass animated short is about an old lady teaching her grandson about his ethnic roots, and the history of Black Canadian slavery.

It’s gorgeous art style is like looking at lush historic paintings coming to life. Each scene transitions into eachother with vivid brush strokes, creating this dream like tone for the imagery. It’s like the paintbrush is part of it’s journey through time, and a character in it’s own right.

The short documents Canadian black culture with deep sincerity and raw realism, never glossing over the harsh truths of Canada’s role regarding the opression of black people and indiginous Americans.

At the same time, the short boldly celebrates the accomplishments of black society; as well as the iconic figures that fought for their freedom and rights. It shows the scars of the past, but also holds up black achievements with pride.

The idea that all of this history is being told to inspire the next generation of a Montreal black family, is what makes the short even more profound to me, because the grandmother is trying to keep mother Africa alive in her grandson’s heart, and that’s a really powerful message.

THE WISHGRANTER

A little creature is responsible for granting wishes for a wishing fountain, but he finds his job too mundane to perform. Then, one night, two people end up wishing for love at the same time, and he suddenly finds himself taking on the role of matchmaker.

The creature itself is easy to relate to, because most of us have been in boring jobs that we wish would get exciting for just one day, and seeing him being enthusiastic about bringing two people with the same wish together is so dang cute.

The fact these two people seem genuinely about being single is what makes us root for the wishgranter to succeed. His efforts to play cupid are always foiled or work on the wrong person, which makes things very tense, but that’s why we don’t give up on him.

But it’s how the creature eventually succeeds in helping grant the wishes of these two lonely people, that makes the short a true story of compassion.

WINGS

Wings is the story of a mouse who loves feathers and wish it could maybe fly into the sky. When the mouse rescues an injured bird, it nurses the winged creature back to health, and the two become close friends.

This short has a charming Ghibli-esque cute innoncence to it, right down to the animation style. The ticks and quirks of both characters being very reminiscent of Miyazaki’s trademarks.

I also love how the dialogue consists of realistic animal sqeaks or chirps, leaving the animation to do most of work of conveying the characters thoughts or feelings, which inspires some very intelligent and vivid character movements.

The bond between these two creatures is adorable too. It’s a friendship founded upon mutal affection and loyal support. The fact that the bird loves the mouse enough to help it’s dream of flight come true by the end, is the icing on the cake of all this wholesomeness.

SAM’S STORY

This animated short is about Sam, who is being pressured to dress and play as a girl, with only their brother supporting their male identity.

It’s a gorgeously animated cartoon that trans people will immediately resonate with, because it mirrors the same beats that most trans folks face while growing up.

The short empathetically humanizes the trans experience with loving care. What trans people want more than anything is validation and acceptance, something that Sam yearns for; which is hard in a world that insists that they fit a box.

But the most moving and powerful part of this the animation, is a twist in the end that I refuse to spoil. You’ll understand why I’m keeping it a secret once you watch it.

SPACE STALLIONS

In this colourful homage to 80’s action cartoons, we are introduced to the intergalactic heroes known as the Space Stallions. It’s a short that pays loving tribute to retro animated series, while also comically exaggerating their campy overtones and hammy melodrama.

You can tell that the animators are having lots of fun spoofing shows like He Man and Thundercats, because the short parodies these shows’ eccentricities, but there’s also so much love behind the humour too. It’s very obvious that the comedy is coming from affectionate nostalgia and a genuine passion for retro animation.

It’s a shame that it’s just a short, because I think it’s entertaining enough to deserve to be an actual television series! I’d totally tune into this cartoon if it was real haha!

THE HOUSE OF SMALL CUBES

This Japanese animated short is a beautiful tale of an old widowed man who lives in a world of rising waters, and he has to keep building new floors for his house to keep up. While the premise may seem dystopian, this cartoon finds a tone that’s somehow both melancholic and bittersweet.

When the old man ends up diving down each floor his house one day, memories come flooding back, as he gets a rush of nostalgia that return him to a simpler time; when he had a family to keep him company.

Most stories that chart a life cycle tend to be be straight foward, but the timeline of this short results in a more backwards structure that’s charmingly history-driven. However, it’s also a little emotionally difficult for the old man to re-experience, because all these loved ones are no longer with him or nearby.

It’s a short that deeply sympathises with widowed pensioners, but also celebrates the rich history that our lives can end up creating over time.

HEDGEHOG IN THE FOG

This Russian cut out animated short features a hedgehog trying to meet up with his bear friend, but ends up getting lost in the fog. The film manages to be both laid back and charming, yet also melancholic and creepy.

It’s art style looks uncannily realistic, but still quite beautiful in a strange sort of way. The fog also creates this mysterious otherworldly atmosphere that challenges the Hedgehog’s perception. The hedgehog is very eager to meet his friend, and scared of possible dangers; yet also curiously enchanted by the fog’s mystery too.

There’s something deeply existential about this short as well. You see, the Hedgehog’s whole worldview is being challenged by his experience in this misty weather, as he grows uncertain of his vague surroundings, and contemplative thoughts race inside his head.

Hedgehog in the Fog will both entrance and haunt you at the same time. It’s a wonderfully weird short that I highly recommend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: