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|Season 6 episode|
Broadcast season 8 episode
|Written by||Aaron Ehasz|
|Directed by||Peter Avanzino|
|First air date||8 September, 2011|
|Special guest(s)||Stephen Hawking|
"Reincarnation" is the one hundred and fourteenth episode of Futurama, the twenty-sixth and last of the sixth production season and the thirteenth and last of the eighth broadcast season. It is the fourth segmented episode. It aired on 8 September, 2011, on Comedy Central. Futurama is reconceived in three alternate animation styles: classic black-and-white, old-school videogame, and Japanese anime.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Production
- 3 Reception
- 4 Additional Info
- 5 References
The Galactic Entity speaks of the concept of Reincarnation to the viewing audience at home.
Act I: Colorama
- Animated in the style of a 1920s cartoon.
Professor Farnsworth discovers a comet made of diamondium, the hardest substance in the universe, and sends the crew to gather diamond dust from the comet's tail to polish a doomsday device. Fry sneaks onto the surface of the comet and finds a large gem, which he hopes to give to Leela as an engagement ring. Fry plants the Professor's doomsday device on the comet and brings Leela to the balcony of the Planet Express building, thinking the resulting explosion will dislodge the gem and send it flying to land on her finger. It instead splits the comet in half, with one half flying towards the sun and creating a rainbow, and the other half flying into the rainbow and creating an entirely new color. Leela marvels at the beautiful sight, depicted entirely in grayscale. Before Fry can propose to Leela, the comet crumbles to dust that falls onto the Planet Express building, crystallising and trapping Fry and Leela in a giant diamond. One billion years later, an alien proposes to his alien girlfriend with a ring containing the diamond in which Fry and Leela are trapped.
Act II: Future Challenge 3000
- Animated in the style of a 1980s video game.
Using the debris from the diamondium comet from the previous segment, Professor Farnsworth creates a microscope lens powerful enough to find the smallest unit of matter, which is depicted as a single black pixel. The Professor forms a scientific equation explaining the mysteries of the universe from this single unit, only to become depressed upon realizing that there are no further scientific questions to answer. Fry cheers him up by saying that he has yet to solve why the laws of the universe are what they are and not something else, thus giving scientists a reason to keep looking for answers about the universe.
- See also
Act III: Action Delivery Force
A race of gelatinous aliens who can only communicate through body language is angered by the destruction of the diamondium comet, which they worship as a god, and attack Earth in retaliation. The Planet Express crew attempt to relay a message of peace, but cannot communicate with the aliens properly due to both the humans' and aliens' inability to understand the other's language. Fry and Bender try to do a dance of peace but are unsucessful, so Doctor Zoidberg successfully persuades the aliens to leave by shedding his shell and performing an intricate dance universally symbolizing peace, which is depicted as Zoidberg merely standing still while the camera pans across his body (apparently he was moving so fast normal eyes couldn't keep up with the dance).
- See also
The title was originally "Resurrection", but it was changed to "Reincarnation" in the process.
The episode was for some time thought to be the 'series finale', but the announcement of the upcoming seventh production season proved otherwise.
During June 2011, Countdown to Futurama released six items of promotional material for the episode: reused concept art of Bender in Fleischer style from The Beast with a Billion Backs on 10 June, concept art of Nibbler in Fleischer style on 11 June, concept art of Fry in anime style on 12 June, part of the storyboard from the anime segment showing a battle between a robot and a wizard on 13 June, concept art of Leela and Bender in anime style on 14 June, and a video clip featuring the crew in anime style on 21 June.
On 15 June, David X. Cohen announced in an interview that "Reincarnation" was one of his favourite episodes of the broadcast season. He also said that they had licensed actual existing music to fit the different sequences - jazz for the Fleischer one, actual anime scores for the anime one, and videogame music for the videogame one - and that the anime segment would be screened on the 2011 Comic-Con.
During September 2011, Countdown to Reincarnation released eleven items of promotional material for the episode: two promotional pictures from the videogame segment and two promotional pictures from the Fleischer segment on 2 September; one promotional picture from the anime segment, the Countdown to Futurama video clip, and part of the storyboard from the anime segment showing Bender and Fry dancing on 6 September; the AWN promotional picture and a video clip featuring the crew in Fleischer style on 7 September; and a concept-art set in Fleischer style and part of the storyboard from the Fleischer segment showing Amy, Fry, Leela, Zoidberg, Bender, and Hermes holding a vacuum hose on 8 September.
On 3 September, Entertainment Weekly released a video clip from the Fleischer segment.
On 7 September, the Fleischer segment, the video game segment and the Anime segment were revealed to be named 'Colorama', 'Future Challenge 3000' and 'Action Delivery Force', respectively.
- Crew in Fleisher style.jpg
The first promotional picture.
"Reincarnation" aired 8 September 2011 on Comedy Central with 1.482 million viewers. Prior to its broadcast, a few previews had risen. Salon's Matt Zoller Seitz exclaimed that the episode was a must watch for Futurama fans and encouraged fans to 'set their DVRs now', while IGN's Robert Canning gave it 8.5 (great).
Reviews of the episode continued in a similar positive fashion, with The A.V. Club's Zack Handlen giving it an A rating, highlighting that the episode managed to '[pay] homage to trio of different styles without missing a beat or coming across as self-indulgent'. Nick McHatton from TV Fanatic said the episode 'brought Futurama's season to a close in a wonderfully hilarious and original way' and gave it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
This episode was named #25 on IGN's list of top 25 Futurama episodes.
- This episode is among the few one-word titled media.
- This episode is also among the Futurama media featuring its title within the story.
- The title and title caption of "Reincarnation", the last episode of Season 6, echo those of the season's first episode, "Rebirth", in style, font and animation.
- The title caption for the episode being the same as the title also happens with "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
- This episode marks the second time that Futurama pays tribute to Max Fleischer. The first part of The Beast with a Billion Backs, which also had some Walt Disney influences, marked the first.
- This is one of four episodes of broadcast season 8 to be broadcast in production order. The other three are "Fry Am the Egg Man", "Cold Warriors" and "Overclockwise".
- All three segments feature a joke on the limitations of their respective mediums. Colorama invents a color in a black and white world, Future Challenge 3000 describes perfect resolution in a low resolution world, and Action Delivery Force shows a highly complex dance too fast to be seen in a low frame rate world.
- The high scores of the day reported on by Morbo and Linda are:
- This is the second segmented episode of the second run. The Beast with a Billion Backs, which also features characters in two dimensions, is the second film. "2-D Blacktop", which, too, features characters in two dimensions, was originally supposed to be the second episode of its broadcast season.
- The recycled location shot in the "Action Delivery Force" segment is Kinkaku-ji.
- Zoidberg does not have any lines until "Action Delivery Force".
- The main Futurama characters only appear in other animation styles, making this one of three episodes in which none of the main characters appear, the others being "Naturama" and "Saturday Morning Fun Pit".
- The anime segment was originally the second act, with "Future Challenge 3000" serving as the final act. This was swapped late in production in response to the positive reaction the anime segment received when it was first screened at Comic Con.
- According to the commentaries the sub-title of "Action Delivery Force" says "Doctor Crab's Amazing Dance"
- Diamondium, which first appeared in The Beast with a Billion Backs, returns.
- "Colorama" ends in Fry inventing a new color of the rainbow. In the earlier episode "I Dated a Robot" Fry describes seeing a floating ball with "every color in the rainbow, plus some new ones that were so beautiful I fell to my knees and cried". This is the set-up for a joke in which Amy says that Discount Shoe Outlet has "a college kid wear that to attract customers".
- The New New York Times makes its first appearance after being mentioned in "Attack of the Killer App".
- The concept of owls as pests is revisited.
- Curious Pussycat makes its sixth appearance.
- The idea of three stories revolving around the diamondium comet bears some resemblance to the "Meteor Shower Trilogy" of South Park (consists of "Cat Orgy", "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub" and "Jewbilee"), where a meteor shower provided the backdrop for three separate stories.
- Farnsworth says, "Movietone News, everyone!", a reference to a newsreel series of the same name from the 1920s.
- Nibbler crawls on the window's walk dressed like Swee'Pea from Popeye.
- Hermes says that the comet is lit up like a "smooth, refreshing Chesterfield". Chesterfield was one of the biggest brands of cigarettes in the United States during the early 20th century.
- In addition, the reference to Chesterfield is a spoof of the once-prevalent product placement and sponsorship by tobacco companies in television, radio, and film.
- Amy says "You're boopin' my Betty." This is a reference to the famous Fleischer creation Betty Boop.
- At one point, to get stronger muscles, Fry swallows mushroom jelly from a can. This is a reference to how Popeye the sailor used spinach to make himself stronger.
- Leela says that the new color is "totally different from any other color or combination of colors". This reflects the fact that all colors can be created as a combination of Red, Green and Blue (RGB).
- At the end, Bender busts out of the screen and says, "Ba-lap-ba-lap-ba-lap-That's all you get, jerks!", a parody of Porky Pig ending Looney Tunes cartoons by bursting out of a drum and saying, "Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks!"
Future Challenge 3000
- Bender's "swearing" is written onscreen in a manner reminiscent of Q*bert.
- When Farnsworth analyzes the log, he makes references to the lyrics of "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea".
- The Atari arcade game Tempest can be seen when Farnsworth zooms in on the log.
- When Hermes tells everyone to get back to work, the crew digs underneath the Planet Express building. This is a reference to the arcade game Dig Dug.
- Viewed under Farnsworth's microscope, the neutrinos and gravitinos appear as aliens from the video game Space Invaders.
- The newspaper announcing the last Nobel Prize Ever appears much like the ones in the Atari game Paperboy.
- The scene in the bar is a reference to the 1983 arcade game Tapper (also known as Root Beer Tapper).
- Farnsworth jumps over a barrel and slaps the points he earned for doing so, another Donkey Kong reference.
- When Farnsworth sadly walks back to Planet Express references the Super Mario series. Warp pipes appear, as well as clouds ripped from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
- The aliens from the video game Galaxian, which was designed to compete with Space Invaders, appear in the news report.
- When Bender punches Fry, he resembles the wire-framed boxer from the original arcade version of Punch-Out!!.
Action Delivery Force
- The main themes from Voltron and Gatchaman are featured as well as Robotech.
- Amy's costume resembles the outfit of the title character from Sailor Moon.
- Hermes being portrayed as a samurai may be a reference to Samurai Jack, in which Phil LaMarr, the voice of Hermes, voiced the title character.
- Bender's design uses a "V"-shape headcrest. Similar designs are used by many mecha across anime. His frequent transformations also reference a number of transforming-robot anime, most prominently Transformers.
- Professor Farnsworth's outfit, particularly the coat and glasses, resemble that worn by Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. His posture in some scenes, such as resting his head on his steepled fingers, and leadership of a team charged with intercepting alien attacks continue the similarities.
- One of the aliens wears a mitre.
- Bender and Fry combining in Fusion-Dance transformation sequences calls out the later Dragon Ball Z arcs as well as Dragon Ball GT, in which pairs of characters frequently use the Fusion Dance to become more powerful.
- The space robot Zagtar looks extremely similar to the title character from Voltron.
- The music during the space battle is "Alien Attack" from Robotech. Much of the music during the "Action Delivery Force" segment is derived from either old anime or parodies thereof.
- Amy's line about the enemies not speaking "English" references the localization strategies of many early companies to bring anime over, who tended to adopt a strategy of removing all things Japanese from the shows. These localizations were generally ham-fisted, as the series were made in, and frequently obviously set in, Japan.
- Earlier in the segment Fry says the word "English" in his own voice, and was not overdubbed like Amy.
- During the space battle, a same shot is used twice. It references many early anime that often used sequences several times to save money and production time.
- The characters all have four fingers and a thumb, instead of the usual three fingers and a thumb.
- Fry and Bender's "Super Dance Squad" mode is reminiscent of both Dance Dance Revolution and the "game" played by Shinji Ikari and Asuka Langley in the Neon Genesis Evangelion episode "Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!".
- Zoidberg's stationary "faster than the eye can see" dance spoofs the action sequences in many early and low-budget modern anime, especially those featuring samurai battles. To save money, these battle sequences used still frames of the characters sliding across the screen over single-colored backgrounds highlighted with "motion lines". Advanced uses of this technique show the characters moving in repeated arcs as if running, though carefully framed to only show on the characters' upper bodies (which coincidentally omits moving parts such as the legs).
- Japanese locations 金閣寺 (Golden Pavilion) and 皇居 (The Imperial Palace) are presented as American locations, the Rockefeller Institute, Central Park, and Omaha Nebraska the second time the Golden Pavilion is destroyed. This is in reference to localizations of anime adapting out Japanese cultural references.
Galactic Entity: A wise man once said that nothing really dies. It just comes back in a new form. Then he died. So, next time you see a lowly salamander, think twice before you step on it; it might be you. Stand by for "Reincarnation".
Fry: Oh, it's just that I love Leela something awful. Do you think a space dame like her would ever marry a two-bit low-life delivery boy like me? And also, I have bad posture some severe financial problems?
Bender: Have you tried gettin' her pregnant?
Fry: Gosh, yes! I've tried and tried! But, so far, I only got Amy pregnant.
Amy: Watch it, you stumble bums! You're boopin' my Betty!
Leela: Is my eye playing trick on me?
Future Challenge 3000
Farnsworth: How do you people do it? How do you go on knowing there's nothing more to know?
Fry: I watch TV. It's the next best thing to being alive.
Farnsworth: And, now that I've found all the answers, I realise that what I was living for were the questions!
Fry: That stinks, Professor. Too bad the universe made it turn out that way and not some other way. I wonder why it did that.
Stephen Hawking's head: Probably magnets.
Action Delivery Force
Leela: What is that box, you old witch?
Farnsworth: Ha ha ha ha! I'll never tell you! It's a deep space emotion detector.
Fry: Zoidberg, a diplomat? The list of things I've heard now includes everything!
Hattie: Kajigeru desu! (カヂゲルです!) ("It's a kajigger!")
Amy: Professor, I have analyzed the movements of the aliens with this movement analyzer.
Farnsworth: That device was a gift from my ancestors. Go on.
Amy: It seems their movements are a form of language, rather than speaking J—
Transition Announcer: ENGLISH!!
Amy: —like us, they communicate through dance.
- Albert Einstein (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Bernilla
- Bubblegum (cameo, unknown moment)
- Calculon (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: The Evil Wizard (cameo, 15:11)
- Professor Farnsworth
- Debut: Fry's cuckoo
- The Galactic Entity
- Debut: Gigatron
- Debut: God 1 and God 2 (mentioned in speech only)
- Hypnotoad (deleted scene)
- Igner (cameo, unknown moment)
- LaBarbara (cameo, unknown moment)
- Larry (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: Leela's finger
- Monique (cameo, unknown moment)
- Nibbler (cameo, 2:44)
- Nine (cameo, unknown moment)
- Petunia (cameo, 16:30)
- Mayor Poopenmeyer (cameo, unknown moment)
- Roberto (cameo, 11:13)
- Sal (cameo, 11:13)
- Slurms MacKenzie (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: Sparky
- Stephen Hawking's head
- The Transition Announcer
- Walt (cameo, unknown moment)
- Wernstrom (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: Zagtar (cameo, 15:08)
- ^ Cortez, Carl (01 September 2010). "Exclusive Interview: 'Futurama' Co-Creator David X. Cohen Blows out the 100th Episode Candle and Talks about the Season Six Finale". iF Magazine. Retrieved on 01 September 2010.
- ^ "So that’s one three-parter, and the other will be a really mind-blowing one, which will either be the very last, or second to last episode we broadcast – probably the very last. It’ll be most likely presented as a special that’s kind of outside the timeline of the series, again being an abstract episode like the 'Anthologies of Interest,' where we will see the Futurama characters in three different animation styles. Futurama itself will be reincarnated in three different styles." — Cohen, David
Zalben, Alex (22 June 2010). "Exclusive: Futurama Creator Spills on Special Last, Last Episode!". UGO. Retrieved on 22 June 2010.
- ^ 'Futurama' Producer David X. Cohen Talks Holiday Special
- ^ "'I also have to mention our season finale this year, which is scheduled for the beginning of September. It’s called “Reincarnation” and asks the question what if our show was reincarnated in different animation styles. So the first one is a classic black-and-white cartoon, then we have Futurama as an early ’90s video-game pixilation animation, and the third section is done in Japanese anime style. We will screen the anime portion at Comic-Con this year. Our supervising director, Peter Avanznio, did an amazing job of redesigning our whole world in three distinctive styles for just one episode. We even used jazz for the black-and-white section, licensed actual videogame music and anime scores for the episode." — Cohen, David X.
Cohen, David X. (16 June 2021). Cohen Spills the Beans on Futurama's New Season. Retrieved on 16 June 2011.
- ^ Futurama Writer/Co-Executive Producer Patric Verrone Filmnut Episode 505
- ^ Back to the Futurama
- ^ "cyber_turnip" (18 August 2011). "Topic: Futurama News during the 2011 Futurama run" Page 11. (PEEL.) Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
- ^ 'Futurama' goes Roaring '20s retro in finale -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
- ^ a b Seitz, Matt Zoller (07 September 2011). "The "Reincarnation" of "Futurama"". Salon. Retrieved on 09 September 2011.
- ^ Gorman, Bill (09 September 2011). "Thursday Cable Ratings: 'Jersey Shore' Rises & 'Burn Notice,' 'Suits,' 'Project Runway' Rise Too + 'Wilfred,' 'Futurama,' 'Louie' & More - Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved on 11 September 2011.
- ^ Canning, Robert (08 September 2011). Futurama: "Reincarnation" Review. (IGN.) Retrieved on 08 September 2011.
- ^ Handlen, Zack (08 September 2011). ""Reincarnation"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 09 September 2011.
- ^ McHatton, Nick (09 September 2011). "Futurama Seaon Finale Review: "Reincarnation"". TV Fanatic. Retrieved on 09 September 2011.
- ^ Cohen, David. Commentary for "Reincarnation" on Volume Six, disc 2.