Our Favorite Binomes

Sailor ReBoot!

Some of the most popular sightings of "Sailor Moon" are in the television series "ReBoot."

Cube top.  Squared-off.  8 corners.  90 degree angles...  Flat top.  Stares straight ahead.  Snake eyes.  Blockhead!
Capture courtesy of Sailor Scorpio.
Produced by Mainframe Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia, "ReBoot" is the most popular computer generated television series so far created. Starting in 1994, only 39 episodes were produced for a total of 3 seasons.

Towards the end of the series we find that some of the "binomes" appear to have a striking resemblance to our favorite sailor soldiers in "Sailor Moon." (Other Binomes have also looked like other famous celebrities and personalities.)

Binomes are the comic relief in "ReBoot"--intentionally ugly and always up to mischief. They are, "the ones and zeros" in the hierarchy of the land of Mainframe. Because of their low status some of them live in constant fear of being deleted while others pretend to be more important than they are--in the hope that they will not be crushed. Gee, we wonder why the child in all of us identifies with such sprites? ;)

Andy's scan 1
Andy's scan 2
Captures courtesy of Andy Lin-Minmei of SOS Toronto.

Binomes were developed to be animated & rendered easily but character builders found themselves driven to produce ever simpler-designs. The challenge was (with the fewest "add-ons" as possible) to model immediately recognizable characters with, what was most of the time, 3 blocks with poles! These limitations (both budget & design) created the most popular characters in the series.


All's Fair In Love & Ratings

Why ABC Dumped "ReBoot"

Animation television producers really admired Mainframe's determination to produce another season of episodes after being dropped by the ABC television network in the United States.

"ReBoot" was in its second season of episodes when ABC was sold by CapCities to the Walt Disney Co. When asked if ABC's Saturday morning would become completely supplied with Disney series, Michael Eisner (CEO of Disney) promised that they would remain completely open to all suppliers. Immediately, everyone in the business knew what this meant and within weeks "ReBoot" (which had good ratings & excellent critical acclaim) was dropped.

Towards the end of the third season (and perhaps "seeing the writing on the wall"), the show's producers & staff worked in "Sailor Moon" binomes. This culminated in a special tribute in Episode #38, "System Crash" (Part 3 of a 4 Part story) where we find that the world of Mainframe is collapsing. Its citizens are in a panic and are frantically scurrying about in futile efforts to save their world or avoid immediate danger.

In a valiant attempt, a Sailor Moon binome tries to use her magic wand to stop a building from falling. Surrounded by the other Inner Scout binomes, the Sailor Moon binome is about to succeed when some rubble crushes her flat--leaving only her hair sticking out. The other binomes (typically) become lost, dazed and confused! It's a funny, pathetic scene. (We especially liked the lighting.)


George Pal!

We are continually astonished at how so many CG animators are unaware of the works of the late George Pal.

Pal was one of the leading model animators of his day (the other being Ray Harryhausen). In Pal's work one won't see how model animation technically advanced to today's computer generated animation (that's because technically it's two different worlds).

But what one will see is how today's characters and stories can trace their lineage back to Pal's work. Everything in "ReBoot" has already been done (low-tech) decades earlier in George Pal's Puppetoon shorts. In one key short, "And The Tulips Shall Grow," you can note how model animation and today's CG animation share the same unique, bizarre challenges of character and story--uncommon to the flat 2D world.

The tools may have changed but the problems remain the same.

Since "ReBoot," Mainframe Entertainment has gone on to other projects, including "Shadow Raiders" (known as "War Planets" in the United States).

For more about "ReBoot" visit Joe Smith's mind-boggling "Unofficial ReBoot Home Page." (Have you ever feared that you were becoming obsessed with your favorite TV show? Well after a visit to this fan's site--you'll feel a whole lot saner! It's therapeutic! Our favorite feature has to be Joe's "Census Count" where he keeps track of every single inhabitant of Mainframe!)

Cube top.  Squared-off.  8 corners.  90 degree angles...  Flat top.  Stares straight ahead.  Snake eyes.  Blockhead!
Capture courtesy of Sailor Scorpio.
You may also want to visit the ReBoot Archive to see other image captures from the show.

Currently on Mainframe's site you can read up on their plans for "ReBoot: The Ride!" It's a simulation attraction proposed in conjunction with Imax (another Canadian company) which would use a scaled-down version of their projection system. The ride would utilize 35mm VistaVision at a hopped-up 48 frames per second projection. Imax is usually 70mm (with a VistaVision-like movement) projected at 24 frames per second. The "ReBoot" ride is to have a 14 foot high screen which will wraparound the viewer for 180 degrees. This is very similar to the projection system originally designed for a "Benny The Cab" ride planned for (but never built) at Toontown in Disneyland.

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