Oh, would you look at that? TODAY IS THAT DAY. Again. I'm narrowing my puffy eyes at a certain friend from elementary school who posted a link on Facebook, but how was she to know that Kiwi and I have had a troubled history that goes back several years? It's okay, Tammy. I forgive you.
A small group of you are privy to my off-site locked blog (est. 2001!), and may remember the day I posted about an animation I'd come across that had surely caused a spike in tissue stock for the quarter. It'll take some doing to find that entry, but I'll transcribe it here when I do. I vividly recall several of my friends saying they weren't able to watch "Kiwi" and had no idea why I was weeping all over my keyboard; I guess the link I'd posted had gone down from traffic before most could see what the fuss was all about. I also remember, however, that several good friends posted countless comments containing their most adorable YouTube finds to cheer me up, even without having seen the sad little video about which I was blubbering. Now, see, I really need to find that entry, 'cos you're gonna need those happy, fluffy distractions after you watch "Kiwi."
Notice I didn't say, "if you watch" it. Because you know you're gonna. And you won't feel bad about yourself afterward, since it's nothing like rubber-necking or Train Wreck Syndrome. It's a cartoon, at its base, and how can you be a bad person for watching a cartoon? No, the only reason you're gonna feel bad is because POOR KIWI AUGH.
From the maker of this short and, clearly, utterly unforgettable masterpiece: My Master's Thesis Animation, which I completed while I was at The School of Visual Arts, MFA Computer Art, in New York City. Created using Maya, After Effects, and rigged using The Setup Machine by Anzovin studios. If you would like to download there is a small version at my website: www.donysanimation.com. Damn. I'd have given this student his/her degree on the spot.
So shut up already! you're all saying. Let me see what has you sobbing like a three year old, when not even those brutal infomercials make you blink! Yes, yes, fine. A few words of advice, though: Don't read the comments left at the YouTube page before watching the clip. Go in blind and completely unprepared, as I was when I first saw this in 2006. I've already given you an enormous advantage by telling you that it made me cry; had I not said such a thing, you, too, would be staring at the incredibly cute little bird on your screen in mere moments and thinking, "Awwwww! This is adorable!" And then, just like mine did, your face would slowly contort into an expression that would be the offline equivalent of "WTF?!?" and then "OMG" and...well. You'll see.
All right. Secure a handkerchief. Join the club. Take the plunge. Watch "Kiwi."
...is it over yet? Can I stop hiding my eyes?
If you're among the people who don't understand what the hell you just saw, there is, apparently, a helpful site with some sort of FAQ here: http://www.isfat.com/happyjunk/kiwi.php. I for one had no problem absorbing its message - although "absorbing" makes it sound as though it was a slow and gentle recognition, rather than the slap across the face to which I'd rather liken it - but I've seen a lot of puzzled comments elsewhere, so if you're looking for insight, you know where to go.
I really ought to leave a note for the person who created this animation. Something that would convey how oddly and unexpectedly powerful s/he managed to make an under-three-minute-long MFA project. Because, really...I'd long forgotten about little Kiwi, three years later and having only ever watched it once; yet all I had to do was glimpse the freeze-frame on my Facebook news feed and it all came rushing back. That is the mark of something pure. Yes, it's something that made me cry, but not in the way that a commercial for the Humane Society or the Hospital For Sick Children does. It's...different. It's...just different. And it makes you think, in a very introspective way. It doesn't surprise me to see that "Kiwi" now has its own IMDb page. I haven't looked at the Discussion Boards yet, but I'm guessing, by the millions of views on YouTube, that there are a lot of people marvelling at this beautiful little wonder as much as I have.
By the by, if the original didn't quite accomplish the feat of wrenching a tear from your eye,
Quoting The Beatles is much more my style than referring back to Seinfeld, so I'll just leave you with the video, your tissues, and whatever you take from seeing that precious little bird, and will simply state: I can say no more.