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The year was 1943...
"I've been having visions again, one of a machine, that process the world in ones and zeros. I fear camouflage has no effect on those who see the world in black and white."
The Chef in Episode 09, "Camouflage"
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Interface is a Surreal Horror web series created by Canadian YouTuber and animator u m a m i, whose real name is Justin Tomchuk. Umami is most known for his Thomas the Thermonuclear Bomb video, although Interface is his most celebrated series. In 29 October 2018, [adult swim] released two short animations made by Umami called "Open Wide Up" and "Stranger Danger" featuring Interface's co-protagonist Mischief.

The series, for the most part, follows two characters: "Blue Guy" , whose real name is Henryk Niebieski, a sharply-dressed middle aged Silent Protagonist, and Mischief, a pink serpentine creature with gigantic teeth and a clown nose that can transform itself into other forms. The plot vaguely follows both characters interacting with eachother as they explore a surreal Montréal. Intertwined with their story is that of KAMI, an absurdly powerful android powered by the mysterious "Cerebral Electricity" and created by Greetings Robotics Corporation as a mean to harvest the Cerebral Electricity from ghosts and spirits, and her creator "Mr. Greetings", the CEO of Greetings Robotics who seeks control the Cerebral Electricity, although he doesn't know if his cause is truly righteous.

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The plot is slow-paced and initially hard to follow, as most of the episodes carry a very surreal, psychedelic, almost dreamlike tone, with its bold and distinctive art style and strong sound design. However, Interface's episodes can be quite varied, frequently employing the Rule of Symbolism to expand on its themes and plot.

Interface can be found on Umami's youtube channel here. A seamless version of episodes 1-12 ("Part 1") can be seen here.


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Interface provides examples of:

  • Alien Sky: The skies in the present are shown to be orange, yellow, red or green. Episode 16 reveals this is not a purely stylistic choice, the skies were once blue.
  • Alien Sea: The sea is a blood red. Episode 21 reveals this was caused by the Philadelphia experiment.
  • All Myths Are True: Implied by Mr. Greetings describing ghost stories and myths becoming reality, courtesy of Cerebral Electricity.
  • Alternate History: The Philadephia experiment was not only a real event but it also caused caused Cerebral Energy, and entities using it, to become revealed and the entire world having a literal color change in 1943. Despite this, history is implied to remain more or less the same with the exception of the altered sky and increase of ghost sightings.
  • Arc Symbol: The static generated by the Cerebral Electricity. Once it appears, things get interesting.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The major theme of Episode 08 ''Watchful Eyes''. Blue Guy is in a hospital watching television showing creepy shifting faces with a red overlay, the phrase "SECURE Beneath Watchful Eyes" appears and the shifting faces start laughing with a distorted voice. Naturally, Blue Guy seems to be completely unfazed. Later, Mischief says to Blue Guy that the nurses might "keep you for themselves", implying they would turn him in to Greetings Robotics due to his apparent immortality.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Kami is the Anglicized version of the Japanese word '神' which are the spirits worshiped in the Japanese Shinto Religion. It is also sometimes translated as god. 神 is also written on her back.
  • Cool Plane: Episode 21 features P-59 Airacomet jet fighters that attempt to shoot down Mischief.
  • Creator Provincialism: Set in Montreal, Tomchuk's home city. Although later episodes switch it to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: In episode 12, KAMI is thrown by a Kaiju version of the Octopus Chef at the Mount Royal Cross which becomes red from the impact and KAMI stands crucified on it. (Implying her possible or future Physical God status)
  • Creepy Good:
    • Mischief's appearance and voice are certainly creepy and monstrous, but he usually has a friendly personality and shown to not have the desire to harm anyone.
    • One of [adult swim]'s shorts, "Stranger Danger", is set up as a parody of the Storm Drain scene from IT with Mischief taking's Pennywise's role. He instead gives the paper boat back to the boy, tells him to get some ointment to the small wounds in the face and recommends him to ask his mother to get him some tetanus shots, as he is worried of an epidemic.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Mr Greetings' eyes are completely shadowed in his appearances. In the UN speech, his eyes are completely hidden, and when he watches KAMI uploading Cerebral Electricty to the Mechanical Saccorhytus, his eyes only become colored at the end of the process, with the orange light coming from the screen.
  • Cool Airship: The Mechanical Saccorhytus, a giant airship with the face of a sleeping baby, alongside a massive brain that may or may not be organic, made by Greetings Robotics and used by KAMI, possibly used to hold Cerebral Electricity.
    • In Episode 12, the Octopus Chef matches the structure of a heart, implying that they are building the Mechanical Saccorhytus to be alive. The face from episode 9 might be it awakened.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr Greetings, the CEO of Greetings Robotics.
  • Cyberpunk: Every time Greetings Robotics is shown the series has a light shift to Cyberpunk, with futuristic and dark technology. According to Umami himself, Ghost in the Shell and Animatrix are major inspirations.
  • Dad the Veteran: Henryk fought in the Second World War, where he met his future wife after falling from a parachute into her town.
  • Driven to Suicide: First in Episode 11, where the Blue Guy contemplates in throwing himself out of a building, a little before Mischief found him. And in Episode 20, Henryk's attempted suicide results in the car accident that killed his late family.
  • Dystopia: The world looks weirdly dystopian: Every person and location looks next to lifeless and Greetings Robotics has a nigh-omniscient presence in many places in society.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Yellow Man from Episode 9 is seen in the UN background crowd at episode 3.
  • Extreme Doormat: Blue Guy is a passive character and goes along with what "Mischief" wants him to do and he has not yet spoken or shown much emotion.
  • Friendly Ghost: The Ghost that appears in episode 4 saves a little girl from a car accident and becomes her caretaker. KAMI later absorbs her and it is taken to the Mechanical Saccorhytus, where it is coldly studied and analysed by Mr Greetings. In Episode 20 learn that it is actually Henryk's daughter and the little girl her grandaughter. Mischief might qualify as one.
  • Fun with Acronyms: KAMI stands for Kinetic Autonomous Mechanical Interface.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The Chef is an octopus who switches between English and Japanese when speaking.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The full quote is invoked by Mr Greetings in Episode 12, as he's not sure if he became this trope or not.
  • Life Energy: "Cerebral Electricity" is a strange and apparently sentient energy that, according to Mr Greetings, "was not a foreign substance. It simply revealed for ourselves to observe, to understand." Considering how he talks about "ghost stories and myths [becoming] reality" and how KAMI is shown to be absorbing a ghost in episode 4, it seems to be linked with souls and spirits. Episode 21 reveals that the Philadelphia expirement caused Cerebral Electricity to be revealed to the world.
  • Lighthouse Point: First shown in episode 17 near Blue Guy's old home, he and Mischief later go to it in Episode 19.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Blue Guy's real name; Henryk Niebieski. Niebieski is a Polish word meaning "blue/azure" or "celestial", which fits as Blue Guy wears blue clothing, and appears to have a connection to Mischief due to Cerebral Electricity.
    • Mischief: Appropriate for someone/thing with a jokester-like persona.
    • KAMI: Kami are spirits worshipped in the Japanese Shinto Religion. They can be spirits of beings, the landscape, or forces of nature, and sometimes translated as "god". KAMI demonstrates godlike abilities, doesn't care about potential collateral damage, and the Chef's vision of KAMI indicates it may eventually become a full-blown godlike entity.
  • Mega-Corp: Greeting Robotics seems to have control of the Cerebral Electricty, which seems to manifest in many parts of society, the advertisements on television seem to show that the corporation has a presence everywhere. It has enough power to convince multiple countries and investors to create KAMI, and are able to make a speech in the freaking UN about it.
  • Mind Screw: The series practically runs on this trope, but special mention goes to Episode 5.
  • Monster Clown: Mischief has the appearance of a monstrous clown, although he is Creepy Good and quite friendly instead of malicious or evil. Episode 14 reveals he used to be a literal clown in circus called Percy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Episode 20: Henryk's grieving reaction to having caused the car crash that killed his late family.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Mischief, whose face resembles a literal Monster Clown.
      • In Episode 14, his eyes are open, looking creepier.
    • The Ghost has a horned skull for a face.
    • Mr Greetings is a Downplayed example, who is no less unsettling due to Creepy Shadowed Undereyes.
    • The shifting faces from KAMI and the Televisions. And from behind Mischief's face
    • The Mechanical Saccorhytus with the face of a sleeping baby. Extra nightmarish on episode 12.
  • Not So Above It All: A variation using weirdness instead of silliness — the Blue Guy may in fact be immortal.
  • Not So Stoic: Blue Guy seemingly reacting in panic due to Mischief suddenly transforming into a unicycle in Episode 13. Later in Episode 19, he plays the Harmonica before going to sleep.
  • Outdated Outfit: The series is set in a vaguely modern world, however, Blue Guy uses a two-piece blue suit and matching bowler hat not very different from what would be worn in the beginning of the 20th century. Justified as he is born in 1910 and doesn't seem to age
  • Overly Long Gag: Mischief eating a noodle.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Blue Guy, AKA Henryk Niebieski is a hundred years old, born in 1910
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The Chef becomes briefly gigantic in episode 12 as the attempts to fight KAMI.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The series runs on this trope, many actions and events happen purely for their symbolical value. Such as the Blue Man begin inside René Magrite's The Son of Man, the man hatching from the egg in Dali's Birth of The Geopoliticus Child having Mischief's trademark pink skin. Mischief offering an apple to Blue Guy while saying "The truth shall set you free" with the same apple from Episode 5 "The Son of Man", revealing the same paiting but now without the apple in the way, implying that whatever was "obstructing" Blue Guy's mind is now clear. Or in episode 12, KAMI spawning 8 arms like an Hindu god and crashing into a crucified position in the Mount Royal Cross when fighting the Octopus Chef, this implies her future (Or ongoing) transformation into a godlike being.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mischief's backstory resembles a lot of Dr Manhattan's.
    • Blue Guy is dressed similarly to René Magritte's painting 'The Son of Man'. Although this might be an obvious case of Rule of Symbolism.
    • A shot of KAMI's creation in Episode 3 seems reminiscent of a full-body prosthesis.
    • At Episode 3, Greetings Robotics created KAMI with partnership of the United Nations Counter-Terror Comittee, a few letters away from United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.
    • The Philadelphia experiment's aftermath causes the ocean to turn red like Third Impact and even slowly expands across the world, complete with glittering specks floating upwards.
  • The Stoic: Everyone.
    • Most human characters shown in the series seem to be soulless and emotionless, in an almost hypnotic state. The crowds of people in Montreal seen in Episode 2, and the UN audience from Episode 3, seem lifeless.
    • Blue Guy is also very stoic through the series, however, he has shown some Hidden Depths. He seems to be more self-aware of what's going in the world then other human characters and has a desire to appreciate art, as it is implied his desires led Mischief to take him into the Museum.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In Episode 18, Greetings Robotics uses their cerebral energy-powered robots to fix the building KAMI partially destroyed in Episode 4. Through all the series we've seen multiple advertisements and propaganda protraying Greetings Robotics positively, and later they set Mischief and Blue Guy as wanted criminals.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The Blue Guy is this. He is briefly scared when he first sees Mischief and then he quickly simply accepts its weirdness. When he start to wander around with Mischief, he simply accepts the weirdness happening around him, this might be because he's over a hundred year old Immortal and he has Seen It All
  • Was Once a Man: Mischief used to be an American sailor before the Philadelphia experiment destroyed his body and transformed into his current body.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mr. Greetings is doing everything he can to "fix" the world since the Philadelphia experiment, even if his methods involve forcibly capturing or killing entities that have done nothing wrong.
  • Wham Episode: The conveniently named "Revelations". Mischief reveals that the family from episode 4 and the end of episode 11 was actually Henryk's late family and the little girl saved by "The Ghost" is his great granddaughter, who is still alive.
    • Episode 20: "The Ghost" was actually Henryk's daughter, and he caused to accident that killed his family. Mischief says that he was near the accident to experience a mortal sin and that it is "Supper time!"
  • Wham Line: From Mischief in Episode 8: Ah, so that's your name Henryk Niebieski, born... 1910?
    • From Episode 11: "Three passed from old age, and two were killed in that tragic car accident, you think they're gone [...] Your great grandaughter survived! It's only now that I drew the connection."
  • Wham Shot: During Mischief's monologue in Episode 11, he seems to absorb the Cerebral Electricity from the family in the car crash. Mischief's mouth also opens, revealing shifting faces similar to KAMI's, which actually was foreshadowed in Interface's trailer/1000 subscribers special. This seem to indicate he's not as benign as he seems to be.
    • A few of them in Episode 20:
      • Henryk's daughter dies, and the cerebral energy that comes out of her takes the shape of a hand, becomeing "The Ghost" first seen in episode 4
      • After her death, Henryk is Driven to Suicide and tries to be run over by a car. The car is actually that of his late family, causing the car accident from episode 4.

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