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[DVD] Animation Review: Clarence – Dust Buddies

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Welcome to Clarence’s world where everything brims with life, aberration and eccentricity. Focussing on the daily life of Clarence Wendell and his two best friends Jeff and Sumo, this trio of musketeers spontaneously embark on kooky adventures to fulfil the time. 

Created by former Adventure Time storyboard artist Skyler Page, CLARENCE is an animated series that is flourished with absurdity and idiosyncrasy like no other. Bearing similar traits to other mainstream animations, it would be no surprise if viewers expected Clarence to be another cloned series from Cartoon Network. 

However, unlike many of its rivals that tends to fuse reality and fantasy, Clarence revolves around Clarence’s adventures in everyday Aberdale, Arizona. Mixed with the spirit of the ’90s and modern times, Clarence should be applauded for its blend of dialogue, comedy and dynamic interaction between the characters.

Despite a majority of the episodes being character-driven and outlandish in its narrative delivery, the events that take place in Clarence is rather natural and likeable. A blast to the past — Clarence is refreshingly quirky and a lively experience that will strike a chord with fans of all ages. Casting our memory back to the magic of childhood, we are constantly reminded of poignant times when things used to be simple. From riding bikes to playing arcade games, the show plays out relatable events that the audience can connect with, triggering strong vibes of nostalgia.

If you haven’t already geeked enough over Clarence, the show also plays tribute to popular pop-culture such as Disney’s Tarzan and JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. As expected from a show that has a leading protagonist who is a geek in his own dorky manner, these pop-culture references fuels the element of the imaginary whilst still maintaining the naturalistic setting.

For an animated series that has a young target audience, one would think the art direction could have been friendlier (not that kids would really care). At first glance, the art direction and character design is unanimously unattractive which will no doubt detract older viewers from the series. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Clarence has no integrity or quality content.

Fronting the show is Clarence, a chubby, fun-loving 8-year-old optimist. Voiced by Skyler Page and Spencer Rothbell, the show’s approach to character design will prove that looks can be deceiving. With a highly vivid imagination that has no limitations, the way how Clarence views the world from his rose-coloured glasses is exceptionally positive. Whether Clarence is stuck doing house chores or finding a $1 coin, Clarence always appreciates everything that he has in life, and will often share his good fortune with his best friends.

Although Jeff and Sumo’s eccentricity levels are beyond normal standards, their characters are surprisingly on the same wavelength as Clarence’s. Regarded as the most intellectual one out of the trio, Jeff is best known for his calculating mannerisms and ‘cube-shaped’ head teeming with knowledge and rules. Sumo, on the other hand, is the most spontaneous member of their group, whom often takes drastic measures to solve problems.

Both of these sidekicks’ personalities may clash from time to time but their loyalty towards Clarence never wavers. Together, the three musketeers – Clarence, Jeff and Sumo – plunge into the unknown every day, knowing that great times lie ahead of them. In essence, the show may not look aesthetically appealing but that doesn’t stop the show from doing what is best, and what it wants. 

Overall: CLARENCE is ultimately a celebration of childhood that sends the audience on a nostalgic trip back to memory lane. Inspiring viewers of all ages to become their own person, and to enjoy everyday of their lives, Clarence is surprisingly filled with quality entertainment that will naturally strike a bond with viewers.

 Rating: 8/10

CLARENCE: DUST BUDDIES (DVD) IS NOW ON SALE. YOU CAN VIEW MORE INFO ON MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT’S SITE [HERE]
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