- "The Happy Tree Friends Action Adventure Series"
- — Official Happy Tree Friends website
KA-POW! (also known as Happy Tree Friends Ka-Pow! or Happy Tree Friends Action Series KA-POW!) was the spin-off of Happy Tree Friends. Compared to Happy Tree Friends, KA-POW! was more action-packed and fast-paced with animation done by Ghostbot. This spin-off's star characters were Flippy, Buddhist Monkey, and Splendid, though Mole and his associated short, Mole in the City, originally a DVD extra for the Happy Tree Friends: Overkill DVD, were included on April 10, 2009. On a related note, the two early Buddhist Monkey shorts, "Enter the Garden" and "Books of Fury", originally DVD extras for Happy Tree Friends: Second Serving and Happy Tree Friends No. 3: Third Strike respectively, were also retroactively considered as part of KA-POW! since 2009. The playlist consisting of episodes from this spin-off is also known as Rock 'Em Sock 'Em on the official Happy Tree Friends website.
On the official Mondo website, KA-POW! is considered as a separate channel from Happy Tree Friends.
History[edit | edit source]
In 2006, at San Diego Comic Con, Kenn Navarro saw artwork by Ghostbot director Brad Rau depicting his own take on Flippy. The artwork was part of a Happy Tree Friends art contest in the convention. Kenn Navarro loved the design and made him wonder about a potential story exploring Flippy's past. It took until 2008 for Kenn Navarro to consider bringing the concept into reality, as the Happy Tree Friends show was needing something new at the time. A teaser video revealing this concept and the KA-POW! title was posted on August 27, 2008. The final product of the first concept was a full animated show, which at the time (September 2, 2008) was only W.A.R. Journal, originally going to be called Flippy's War Journal or Flippy's Flashback. W.A.R. Journal was styled after old-school pulp comics like Sgt. Rock. The premise of this show was to show the nastiness of war which shaped Flippy's character. With such a different direction compared to Happy Tree Friends, the creators were able to create new characters. Originally, Flippy would be accompanied by four more teammates before the number was trimmed to two, Mouse Ka-Boom (originally a rhino character) and Sneaky, because it worked better with the story and timing. In addition, there were plans where there would be episodes without Flippy in them, which was why the W.A.R. Journal title was used instead of either Flippy-related title. Flippy's first (and only) enemies in W.A.R. Journal were The General and his Tiger Army, who were originally designed as a futuristic army in the vein of classic James Bond villains. Originally published on the official Happy Tree Friends website, W.A.R. Journal was then uploaded on MondoMedia's YouTube channel on September 10, 2008.
The next short in KA-POW! marked the return of Buddhist Monkey after having starred in two shorts. The short was "Three Courses of Death" (September 23, 2008), which introduced Char Siu. Buddhist Monkey was supposed to face off against more ninjas, but the creators felt that he needed something new and different. Char Siu's design, which was themed around the dim sum cuisine, was based on the original script for the episode which depicted Buddhist Monkey fighting in an outside market, which brought out ideas for potential villains, like one themed around food and cooking utensils. The idea of the giant crab as Char Siu's weapon was brought up by Ghostbot director Alan Lau. How it was defeated by Buddhist Monkey ("hot hands" technique) was actually a late-production idea suggested by Warren Graff. Another addition to Buddhist Monkey introduced by KA-POW! was a brief peek into the titular character's past showing his younger design and his master, who was originally a typical frail and old sensei before he was changed into the bigger and lazier character. "Three Courses of Death" was later uploaded on MondoMedia's YouTube channel on September 27, 2008.
For the third short in KA-POW!, the creators decided on Splendid as the next focus character. While the creators were still working on W.A.R. Journal and Buddhist Monkey, Kenn Navarro asked Roque Ballesteros (previously worked on Mole in the City) to do a rough sketch of Splendid for promotional purposes as he had yet to receive a KA-POW!-exclusive design. This design would be refined to give him a broader chest and his wing flaps like in Happy Tree Friends, though said older artwork was also recycled for merchandising, particularly for the Kickstart the KA-POW Revolution! campaign. Work moved into designing Splendid's arch-enemy, Splendont, who was originally considered for the Happy Tree Friends TV series but the creators never got to use him in an episode. Splendont would be given a goatee a la Spock from the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", which itself was how the first episode for Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad got its name, but the creators decided against it for indirectly making Splendid look too silly. Another idea was to riff off Bizzaro for sharing the same design theme as he is the exact opposite of Superman, the inspiration for Splendid. In the end, the creators settled on the simplicity and visual of reverse colors a la The Flash and Reverse-Flash. Aside from Splendont, the creators also added additional characters serving as Splendid's allies based on the Super Friends. At the time, their names were not known and their only appearance was in the end of "Mirror, Mirror". This was all done on purpose to leave their identities as a surprise to the viewer. The end of the episode also showed the logo for the show, which was designed by Creative Director Dean MacDonald after Kenn Navarro was amazed by his shield design which was only used as promotional art. Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad was released on the official Happy Tree Friends website and MondoMedia's YouTube channel on November 18, 2008.
In 2009, the three KA-POW! episodes were re-released in HD. W.A.R. Journal was the first, having been re-released on January 30, 2009. "Three Courses of Death" and "Mirror, Mirror" followed on February 6, 2009 and February 24, 2009 respectively. On March 19, 2009, not only was the Buddhist Monkey short "Enter the Garden" re-released in HD format, but it was also officially considered as a part of KA-POW!. The same also applies to "Books of Fury" (April 3, 2009) and Mole in the City (April 10, 2009). These six episodes were given a promotional video under the name Ka-Pow! Beta, released on MondoMedia's YouTube channel on January 20, 2010.
Starting on April 19, 2011, when the Happy Tree Friends show was in the middle of a hiatus, the KA-POW! channel published a promotional video titled "Kickstart the KA-POW Revolution!" which included a link to the Kickstarter project page. Visitors would be able to fund from as little as $1 to about $5,000 (or more if the visitor wanted) and then get the perks from the appropriate funding tier in addition to the finished episode(s). The project target was $24,999 and the deadline was May 30, 2011, but in the end only $2,966 was reached, rendering the project unsuccessful.
Nothing else significant related to KA-POW! happened since then, aside from Kenn Navarro eventually revealing the names of Splendid's allies in Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad, who are Wonder Wanda, Webster, Tick-Talk, and Man-O-War, in 2016.
Characters[edit | edit source]
Mouse Ka-Boom and Sneaky
|Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad|
|Mole in the City|
List of episodes[edit | edit source]
The following table lists all KA-POW! shorts by release date. In the case of older shorts being considered as part of this spin-off, they are listed by the HD re-release date.
|"Operation Tiger Bomb"||W.A.R. Journal||September 2, 2008 (Mondo)|
September 10, 2008 (YouTube)
January 30, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
January 31, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
|"Three Courses of Death"||Buddhist Monkey||September 23, 2008 (Mondo)|
September 27, 2008 (YouTube)
February 6, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
February 7, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
|"Mirror, Mirror"||Splendid's SSSSSuper Squad||November 18, 2008 (original)|
February 24, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
February 25, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
|"Enter the Garden"||Buddhist Monkey||October 14, 2003 (DVD)|
May 25, 2007 (YouTube)
March 19, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
March 20, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
|"Books of Fury"||Buddhist Monkey||August 3, 2004 (DVD)|
June 17, 2008 (YouTube)
April 3, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
April 4, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
|"Mole in the City"||Mole in the City||October 4, 2005 (DVD)|
March 15, 2008 (YouTube)
April 10, 2009 (Mondo, HD)
April 11, 2009 (YouTube, HD)
Kickstart the KA-POW Revolution![edit | edit source]
On April 19, 2011, a promotional video titled Kickstart the KA-POW Revolution! was uploaded on the official Happy Tree Friends website under the KA-POW! category. Styled after USSR propaganda posters, the video and Kickstarter page explained that Mondo Art Department (abbreviated as M.A.D.) wanted to create more KA-POW! episodes, but lack of budget prevented them from doing so. The FAQ section also brought up this issue under the question "Even after the Kickstarter expenses, that still looks like a lot for an episode?", which also addressed the reason behind the Happy Tree Friends show's hiatus at the time. As a result, this project was made. To further attract fans, Mondo made it so that funding on higher tiers would allow fans to influence KA-POW!'s production, from merely deciding which star character would receive the episode up to becoming the Executive Producer of the new episode and being mentioned in the credits as such.
The tiers were as follows:
- PROTESTOR LEVEL: Required a minimum pledge of $1 or more. Backers for this tier would receive The Digital Download Pack consisting of laptop and mobile wallpapers, avatars, and a Ka-Pow Revolutionary Membership certificate.
- SOLDIER LEVEL: Required a minimum pledge of $29 or more (plus $6 more for international backers). This tier was split into three categories based on the show's star characters Flippy, Splendid, and Buddhist Monkey, functioning as the project's voting system. The character with the most votes would have his episode made if the project were successful. In addition to The Digital Download Pack, backers for this tier would receive an exclusive T-shirt bearing the character they voted for, 3 Ka-Pow Revolution propaganda postcards, an 11x17 Ka-Pow Revolution propaganda poster bearing the character they voted for, and the "SOLDIER" title on the Happy Tree Friends website.
- OFFICER LEVEL: Required a minimum pledge of $199 or more (plus $6 more for international backers). In addition to the ability to vote and previous tier's rewards, backers would have their names on the credits of the new episode, access to behind-the-scenes movies, access to the sneak preview of the episode before it would go live, and a digital HD download of the episode. As for the poster, it would be signed by Kenn Navarro himself. The backers' title would be shown as "OFFICER" on the Happy Tree Friends website.
- DICTATOR LEVEL: Required a minimum pledge of $4,999 or more. Backers for this tier would directly influence episode production like naming the episode and be recognized as the Executive Producer on the credits. Because of this, unlike the SOLDIER and OFFICER tiers, there was no voting system. This also influenced the rewards, allowing these backers to supposedly receive exclusive T-shirts, postcards, and posters (all posters signed by Kenn Navarro) of all three star characters. In addition to the previous tier's rewards, backers would be able to access behind-the-scenes art and other media during production (not just movies), have production meetings with the production team as the Executive Producer, receive the entire Happy Tree Friends DVD catalog (Happy Tree Friends: Overkill, Happy Tree Friends - Winter Break, and Happy Tree Friends Complete TV Season One), receive original production art/sketch from the new episode framed and signed by Kenn Navarro, and an exclusive 24''x24'' fine art painting on canvas featuring the KA-POW! character of the backer's choice by Kenn Navarro. The backers' title would be shown as "DICTATOR" on the Happy Tree Friends website.
The project's goal was $24,999 and the deadline was May 30, 2011. If the pledge reached double the goal, an additional episode would be made starring the second most voted character. If it reached triple the goal, then all three star characters would get new episodes. Unfortunately, by the end of the deadline, only $2,966 was reached, rendering the project unsuccessful.
References[edit | edit source]
- KA-POW! on Happy Tree Friends
- Rock 'Em Sock 'Em on Happy Tree Friends
- "Notes from the W.A.R. Journal", a Happy Tree Friends news post on Mondo
- "Buddhist Monkey Business", a Happy Tree Friends news post on Mondo
- "A SSSSSplendid Life", a Happy Tree Friends news post on Mondo
- https://twitter.com/ChainKnuckle/status/789876144870785024 ChainKnuckle: Their names are Wonder Wanda, Webster, Tick-Talk and Man-O-War. (October 23, 2016)