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Web Animation / Little Runmo

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"I sometimes wonder, at what point in a pit do you actually die?"
"After two years of slowly chipping away at this thing, it's finally here. Follow Runmo, as he discovers the meaning of life."
— The video's full Youtube description.

A surreal animated short film created by Gooseworx which follows Runmo, the protagonist of a platformer game, as he goes on adventure to discover the meaning of life. As the short goes on, numerous tropes associated with video games are played out, constructed, deconstructed, reconstructed, and put in ways that offer quite a compelling new view.

The short can be viewed here.

Little Runmo contains examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: Both the Dring King and the Temp King qualify, as they are both large fat royalty sitting on a big throne, the Temp King replacing the Dring King when the latter dies. The first one threatens Runmo and sends his soldiers after him. The other one just eats him.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Meatball Man, coming in from the background as Runmo tries to get some extra lives. We never find out if he would've actually killed Runmo, however, because he turns around and bolts faster than ever before at about the halfway mark.
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  • All for Nothing: After finally passing that spiked obstacle that blocked his way in the beginning, Runmo cheers, proceeds forward in glee, and falls off the map, as apparently the entire world no longer exists past the first obstacle.
  • All There in the Manual: A seemingly unnamed section of the cast of characters are all given names during the silhouetted Curtain Call in the credits.
  • An Aesop:
    • Delving too deep into what's behind your life(s) might reveal things you wish you didn't know.
    • Greed, whether born out of desperation or not, can have dire consequences.
  • Anti-Villain: Grobletombus Marble Eyes only shows himself after Runmo tries to claim an illegitimate life from Jumpmo's carcass, a crime against the concept of life itself. Creepy and crazy as he may be, he doesn't seem actively malicious.
  • Art Shift: When Runmo tears the head off of his predecessor, the animation looks markedly different from Gooseworx's usual art style, being done frame-by-frame rather than through tweening. This is because this part wasn't animated by Gooseworx at all, but instead contributed by fellow web animator Zeurel.
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  • Berserk Button: Though it inflicts a kind of Tranquil Fury, do not violate the rules of nature, as far as Grobletombus is concerned. Later in the same sequence, colliding with a set of Spikes of Doom similar to the one from the very beginning makes him bellow in rage before seemingly exploding.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Grobletombus, being a higher entity, follows a strange moral code. If someone is to commit a crime against life itself, Grobletombus will destroy the entire universe as a consequence.
  • Bottomless Pits: And what’s under them.
  • Crapsaccharine World: On the surface, it’s a jolly, colorful Sugar Bowl setting with upbeat piano music. Under the surface, the setting shows its true gloomy form.
  • Critical Existence Failure: After shutting down the machine that turns lives into sludge, Runmo immediately checks on the previously healthy (albeit obese) Dring King. There's nothing left of him but B O N E S.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: A very light and colorful story about a cute little video game character desperately clinging to what few lives he has in a vast underground industrial nightmare.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: The Dring King is constantly drinking liquefied one-ups. After Runmo turns off the machine supplying them, he goes back to the room... where a disembodied voice helpfully points out he's been reduced to B O N E S.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: The Bonekeeper is a weird rendition of the Grim Reaper, with really long winding arms, a floating head, and no dialogue. However, he’s just doing his job, carrying the bodies of the Dring King and the Temp King and buying chips at the vendor. He never directly threatens Runmo, and is content in his work.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Grobletombus Marble Eyes, The god of the Concept of Life. He comes out of nowhere, speaks in riddles and Ice-Cream-Koans, and then makes the very same mistake Runmo made in his first life.
  • Exact Words: The Gastric Giveaway's prizes on the Wheel of Fundus; One of the prizes is Death. But the important distinction of who dies is never made.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: The titular character, along with the Little Dangers and Pikit, have Xs in their eyes.
  • Expy: The design of the Little Dangers is reminiscent of many Mooks found within the Super Mario Bros. series, namely the Spike Tops.
  • Fat Bastard: See Adipose Rex above.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the very end after the Curtain Call, a small distorted face appears briefly on the black screen.
  • Glass Cannon: Though Grobletombus is capable of destroying the entire universe, he also dies to a column of spikes similar to the one Runmo encounters at the start of the video.
  • Gonk: The Meatball Man looks ridiculosly ugly with actual human face photoshopped on a vaguely meatball thing.
  • The Goomba: The Little Dangers fill this role, being common enemies found throughout Runmo's world that are easily defeated by being jumped on.
  • Hope Spot:
    • During the Gastric Giveaway game, the wheel momentarily lands on a 1-Up... only for it to turn back to the acid space.
    • The same segment also has an inversion in that it seems Runmo is about to lose his very last life as he spun and got Death... but then, the one to suddenly die is the Temp King instead.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Grobletombus 'punishes' Runmo for violating the laws of life by completely destroying and remaking the universe, in such a way that the latter tumbles into an endless abyss just when everything seems to be back to normal again. Forever.
    "Blunders such as this have steep consequences..."
  • Mooks: Aside from the aforementioned Little Dangers, the Glorgs fill this role for the Dring King.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Two examples: the first being the Meatball Man who ventures to the Uncanny Valley with his photo-realistic facial features. The second is Grobletombus Marble Eyes, who operates on a whole new medium.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Runmo's fears of The Meatball Man seem primarily related to not knowing what will happen once he reaches the bridge, let alone if he reaches the three extra lives at the other side. Either way he doesn't have the nerve to find out.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The main function of the factory is to process the spent lives of Runmo, all so the Dring King can have his sludge martinis.
  • Punny Name: Dring King. As in, drinking.
  • Put on a Bus: Pikit was dragged down into the underground factory by Runmo, hides in a living trash can with Runmo, and is never seen again.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: It appears using your predecessor's head as an extra life counts as one, as reality quickly falls apart and the God of the Concept of Life comes around to chastise the one responsible.
    Grobletombus Marble Eyes: Oh me, oh my. It appears a crime has been committed, a crime against the very essence of life itself... and blunders such as this... have consequences.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Runmo does when when he's halfway through The Meatball Man's room, notably moving faster to get out than he did to get as far as he did.
  • Sequence Breaking: The entire plot is kicked off when, upon Pikit's musings, Runmo slides down the side of a Bottomless Pit in such a way that he forks off into a side tunnel leading to the main facility itself.
  • Signpost Tutorial: A living signpost named Pikit gives a tutorial to Runmo, telling him that falling into pits will kill him. However, he later goes on a tangent about wondering where in the pit do the victims actually die, kicking the plot in motion.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: One of the minor characters is Lombi, a haggard minimum wage cashier who sells concessions at the morgue.
  • Spikes of Doom: A wall with alternating spikes on each side is the primary obstacle for Runmo in the overworld. And, as it turns out, an eldritch reality-warping god.
  • Speaking Simlish: The speaking characters talk in this manner.
  • Stealth Pun: "Wheel of Fundus".note 
  • Video-Game Lives: The main plot centers around Runmo preserving his few remaining lives, along with finding some extra ones.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Runmo discovers the truth about his world by jumping into a Bottomless Pit. Granted, he grabbed onto the wall as he was descending (which lead him to the underground factory), but still.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The Temp King has a very short reign due to being killed off by his own game show.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Pikit's ultimate fate is never revealed within the animation, but according to a tweet by Gooseworx, he is the large floating board near the top of the void scene, indicating that he met the same fate as all the other characters.
  • Womb Level: After getting Eaten Alive by the Temp King, Runmo finds himself on a parody of a game show, and is forced to spin the Wheel of Fundus, where every bad spin either raises the stomach acid level or kills the Temp King.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The arrival of Grobletombus is marked by a purple shockwave that dissolves the world around it. This is probably the reason Runmo ends up plummeting off into the abyss at the very end.


Video Example(s):


Little Runmo

Runmo meets The Meatball Man.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (30 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScrewThisImOuttaHere

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