Hello everyone and welcome to a rather quick bite of some Food for Thought. Today we’ll be getting a sneak peek at a TV series project in the making: Urbance. Directed by Joël Dos Reis Viegas, senior director at Steambot Studios, Urbance is all about turning the crumbling dystopia trope on its head with flashy, vibrant colors and a strong style that definitely has powerful visual appeal. In fact, while its status may still be up in the air, there is a lot for one to get excited about — I mean just take a look at this concept art.
So why should one get excited about a project like this coming to life? (Read on to find out of course!)
First of all, Urbance is undeniably an exciting visual treat. With its style and color-scheme it literally adds a new look on the “dystopia epidemic” that has swept recent media. Besides the flashing colors synced up to a catchy beat as seen in Urbance’s stunning trailer, Joël Dos Reis Viegas deserves kudos for his character designs: they’re bold and stylized, almost reminiscent of say Tetsuya Nomura (Yeah I see those belt buckles and tiny waists) but in a way that works for its vibrant setting.
There also appears to be some good ol’ fashioned fighting going on — what with the turf-war and gang aspect of the show, with rival gangs vying for dominance and against a mysterious police-force that works to actually fuel the hate between rival groups. So it’s right up the typical dystopia people-struggle alley, but with (hopefully) well choreographed encounters and artistic flair.
Secondly — if there’s another thing exciting about Urbance is its cast of characters that have a strong showing of POC and that’s always something to be rather happy about. Then again, race isn’t the issue at stake in this dystopian world but gender — still, it doesn’t hurt for POC representation (Quite frankly, we need it).
At a glance, this show — if serialized — certainly looks to be good eye-candy for those willing to wait for something new to hit the airwaves.
Of course, the proposed show isn’t without its problems, or rather, what looks to be potentially a problematic addition. As taken from its website, the main driving force behind Urbance is an all-out war between men and women with heterosexual sex prohibited due to a “viral genetic disease”. Ruled by hate and anger for the other sex (With the assumption that they blame each other for the disease), men and women are separated and join rival gangs that work against one another.
Amongst this chaos are two teens, Kenzell and Iesya who “will fight adversity and defy all the rules in order to live their love and restore peace”.
It’s an idea that is fairly fresh–but that could be potentially problematic in its own way. A few films and plays have already toyed with the idea of “heterophobia” as a way of examining or redefining “homophobia”; a plot-point that I believe only exacerbates the situation but hey, it’s like when someone thinks it’d be cool to write up some “reverse racism” instead of actually talking about “racism “as a topic. How it plays out in Urbance could either be utterly brilliant and provide perspective on issues of gender identity and “normality” that could be enlightening or struggle with a rather touchy concept.
Anyway — as there still remains little-to-no information other than the pretty pictures set up on the website–it’s tough to say whether Urbance will go down the long-and-unfortunate road of “why role reversals don’t always work” or in the run of shows that are utterly brilliant in art form and story. Of course… Good art isn’t always a good indication of good story (*Cough* Legend of Korra *Cough*), but I do believe that Urbance is worth a glance, if only to appreciate the artistic merit of its single trailer and the possibilities for a brand new animated series on the horizon that seeks to add color to the tried and true, crumbling dystopia trope.