We live in a time when most people forty years old and younger were brought up adoring media that was designed to function as toy commercials, childhood companions, and near-religious texts at the same time. When I saw Michael Bay's Transformers movie in theaters all those years ago, I felt like I was seeing a lifelong friend who I revered with almost holy levels of affection "transformed" into a crass series of explosions, butts, and exploding butts. It is still the worst time I have ever had in a movie theater. Any enjoyment I may have derived from the mindless popcorn charms of the film was destroyed by my own expectations.
This is the story of a whole generation of kids, now in early or mid adulthood, seeing the faces of brands they'd grown to love changed into something else. The Lion King, Pokemon, Thundercats, Mario, She-Ra, and Sonic are just a handful of other 20-year-old-plus franchises that have just received, or are about to receive, total make-overs that may be appealing to new audiences, but have left at some prior fans cold. It doesn't have to be that way though. It's possible to make everyone happy. Dotemu is proof of that. Their fresh takes on Wonderboy, Windjammers, and Streets of Rage have been nearly universally praised, even when adapting to new mediums and greatly altering character designs.
I reached out to Cyrille Imbert, CEO of Dotemu, to ask for their thoughts on 2D vs. 3D animation, retaining the spirit of a franchise without bringing its dated baggage along with it, and a lot more. Here's what he had to say.