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Animation / Manivald

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He looks this way for most of the film.
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Manivald is an animated short co-written and directed by Chintis Lundgren, adapted from her web comic Manivald and the Absinthe Rabbits. It is a joint production of Lundgren's studios, Chintis Lungreni Animatsioonistuudio in Estonia and Adriatic Animation in Croatia, and the National Film Board of Canada.

The short depicts the 33rd birthday of the title character, a well educated, yet unemployed Manchild fox who lives with his well-meaning but stifling single mother and doesn't do much with his life beyond hanging out with her and practicing the piano. Tensions between mother and son slowly reach their breaking point when they find themselves in a Love Triangle with Toomas, a sexy, adventurous handyman wolf called in to fix the washing machine.

The short is currently being developed into a series for an unnamed US network. In it, Manivald will have moved in with his friend Tilt the Hedgehog, who, unbeknownst to his conservative wife Hilda, is a cross dresser and runs a gay bar. Meanwhile, Manivald's relationship with his mother is "going to get worse."

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A year after the short premiered at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2017, the characters of Toomas and the drunken rabbit appeared in the intro animation for the screenings of the 2018 Festival.

The short can be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo and Amazon Prime.

Tropes appearing in Manivald

  • The Alcoholic: True to the title of the comic on which the short is based, the piano-playing rabbit in the traveling band is seen constantly swigging absinth. At the end, he passes out, drunk, and Manivald, after taking a swig himself for confidence, invites himself to take his place.
  • Bi the Way: Toomas beds both Manivald and Manivald's mother. He's also married to a woman.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Manivald finally grows a spine and leaves his mother... only to discover that the man he just had sex with has a wife and family and wants nothing to do with him anymore, meaning he has nowhere to go. However, it's implied that he makes friends with the traveling musicians and that they'll help him out. Meanwhile, Manivald's mother is left lonely and upset at home.
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  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The title character is highly educated, but severely unmotivated and unambitious, not helped by his enabling mother.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: After his... misadventure with a cheating wolf handyman, Manivald stops being a spineless Manchild and moves out of his mother's house.
  • Coming-Out Story: It's implied Toomas is Manivald's first love.
  • A Degree in Useless: Manivald is shown to have masters degrees in everything from Russian Poetry to Theoretical Geography, yet is unemployed.
  • Closet Key: Toomas makes Manivald blush upon sight.
  • Disappeared Dad: Manivald's father is nowhere to be seen.
  • Fan Disservice: Mother putting her dentures back in after having sex with Toomas. Try not to think too hard about that one. If you really don't get it... 
  • Fur Is Clothing: Manivald wears boxer shorts under his fur. He still has socks, for some reason.
  • Female Gaze: Being an artist, Manivald's mother coaxes Toomas into striking various sexy poses so she can draw (and later sculpt) him.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Why Manivald is so reluctant to leave his overbearing mother. As he later realizes when he leaves her, he has nowhere to go and no way of supporting himself.
  • Hot Men at Work: Toomas.
  • Imagine Spot: Manivald has an extended one when he and Toomas are in his room, in which the two of them have a romantic countryside getaway, followed by Toomas bridal carrying him into a cottage where they have sex.
  • Line Boil: Not only on the characters, but the backgrounds as well, a result of each one being a six-frame loop, done as a stylistic choice.
  • Male Gaze: Manivald gets a good look at Toomas's butt as he reaches over the washing machine to fix it.
  • Manchild: Manivald, full stop. He's about to turn 33, has no job or ambitious and still lives with his mother.
  • My Beloved Smother: Manivald's mother enables him to stay and home and remain dependent on her.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Before he learns that the opposite is true as well (see above), Manivald is clearly unhappy being completely dependent on his mother well into his thirties, not doing anything fun or adventurous.
  • Really Gets Around: Toomas. He sleeps with Manivald, then Manivald's mother, and is later revealed to be married.
  • Rule of Three: The traveling jazz band makes three appearances throughout the short. First, when they pass by Manivald's bedroom window as he's practicing piano, leading to him trying to pick up on their tune before his mother walks in; second, when they pass by in the opposite direction after he has sex with Toomas, which gives him a slight self-confidence boost; and third, after he's left his mother and joins them in the park to play with them.
  • Running Gag: Socks. It's the only gift Manivald's mother gives him on his birthday (each pair is even labeled with what age he received them) and all he has with him in his suitcase when he leaves. All this despite neither of them ever wearing socks.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Inverted. Mother has a cigarette when she thinks she's missed out on having sex with Toomas. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, her son is currently having sex with him.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Manivald's afore-mentioned Imagine Spot ends with a cork popping on a champagne bottle, white bubbly liquid flowing en mass. A few seconds later, we see Manivald and Toomas under the covers in his bed. It doesn't exactly take a genius to figure out what happened.
  • Tantrum Throwing: When Mother thinks that Toomas has disappeared before she can finish sculpting him, she passive-aggressively knocks over her unfinished sculpture in frustration.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Manivald, Toomas and several other male characters are naked, while Mother and Toomas's daughter wear distinctly feminine accessories, such as pears or a bow.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Manivald's default expression, emphasizing both his innocence and anxiety.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Mainivald blushes during his Imagine Spot when Toomas winks at him.
  • Tranquil Fury: Being so naturally quiet and awkward, Manivald walking out on his mother simply has him putting his knife and fork down while eating his birthday cake, packing two suitcases and calmly leaving without a word.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Manivald and his mother eating his birthday cake in awkward dead silence after he catches her in bed with Toomas.
  • Your Cheating Heart: After bedding both Manivald and his mother, Toomas is revealed to have a wife and two children.

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