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Western Animation / Gold Digger: Time Raft

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Gold Digger: Time Raft (a.k.a Raft of Time or just simply The Movie) is a OVA based on the Gold Digger comic book series by Fred Perry. It was completely produced and animated (hand-drawn animation, to boot, though drawn on a tablet PC) by Fred himself, who took animation classes and did intensive reference reading and viewing to make sure it was done right. The project started in 1999, and the video was initially released in parts and sold through the Antarctic Press store or at cons. Eventually, the whole thing reached completion in 2010, and all three parts were compiled into one full movie. To date, it's the one of the only fully major animated productions for the Gold Digger series (not counting the uncolored shorts on YouTube set to music).

The plot is based on the pilot story of the comic book series, which sees archeologist/scientist Gina Diggers and her adopted were-cheetah sister, Britanny Diggers, on an expedition to locate the fabled Time Raft which, just as its name implies, can take the user through time. However, they discover the raft is guarded by a dragon named Dreadwing, who has his own plans for the raft. Gina's arrival presents him the perfect opportunity to activate it.

Gold Digger: Time Raft has the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Sorta, at least animation-wise. When Fred started doing it, he had to cheat a bit on a few of the action sequences, since obviously they take a lot of time to animate. When the full movie was completed, earlier action scenes now had extra parts to give more context. The movie was also given a proper opening.
  • Affably Evil: Dreadwing introduces himself to the Digger sisters this way, seating the two at a banquet hall and speaking politely while drinking tea. (They hope it's tea, anyway.)
  • All Women Are Lustful: This is early Gina after all; the main reason she wants to find a time machine is to go cruising for dudes in history.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the comic's pilot story. It's also the only major animated adaptation so far of anything of the series.
  • Animesque: As with the original comic, it has elements of anime in its art/animation style, such as the speed lines and certain facial expressions.
  • Art Evolution: As the OVA was released over a span of twelve years, this became apparent as Fred took the time to improve his animation. This is especially noticeable in the smoother frame rate of the third part.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: A few characters appear in the intro who don't actually appear in the OVA.
  • Brains and Brawn: The dynamic between Gina (the brain, leading the two where to go and ultimately delivering the final blow to Dreadwing) and Britanny (the brawn, who uses her strength to protect Gina) is very much implemented here.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Britanny, after Tark and Mesha manage to knock her out in their fight. Due to using up so much power fighting them, she's reduced to her human form for 24 hours, to her chagrin.
  • Characterization Marches On: The original version of the story had Cheetah provide an Infodump of her backstory to Gina, since she apparently did not know how or why Britanny had been adopted until then. In the OVA, this is changed to a wordless flashback while Brit reminds her sister that she asked to go to where she was found after this mission, reflecting the much closer bond the sisters evolved during flashbacks in the series.
  • Creator Cameo: Fred himself voices Gina's computer.
  • Disney Death: Britanny, who takes a blast of fire-breath head-on during the climax against Dreadwing. Luckily, it just scorches her fur and simply knocks her out.
  • Domestic-Only Cartoon: Animated entirely in the U.S. by Fred Perry.
  • Foreshadowing: Before the battle with Dreadwing, the elves tell the sisters that he only fears one individual: a powerful mage, against whom that the dragon hopes to use the Time Raft as an advantage. Later, as Dreadwing is being sucked into a time hole created by Gina, he realizes that she is the mage he's been fighting against, who had likely set up events so her present self could use the raft to defeat him. Also serves as a Continuity Nod to all the history that was built up in the comic itself between the start of the OVA's development and its completion.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Britanny manages to avoid being killed in the climax by Dreadwing only because she's in her were-cheetah form.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Time Raft itself, of which Dreadwing is so protective, is used against him by Gina to defeat him.
    • A comical example with the elves: Mesha uses a charm spell on Tark in order to get the sisters to help them. However, as the spell displays what one desires at the moment, Gina sees a major hunk, while a famished Britanny instead sees a giant fish holding a container of milk. Tark is forced to deactivate the spell before she literally devours him.
  • Irony: Dreadwing had the means to activate the Time Raft—a remote control—the whole time he was sitting in his lair, but never bothered to look for it. Gina winds up finding it in their fight and uses it against him.
  • It's Personal: Gina to Dreadwing after he supposedly kills Britanny.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Gina has an energy shield to protect her from magic attacks. However, since it runs on an energy pack, she can't rely on it too much. Mesha has her own magical shield. It's a bit more resilient, though not strong enough against Dreadwing.
  • Made a Slave: Tark and Mesha were forced to become Dreadwing's servants, so they aid him despite knowing the catastrophic threat to all of time if he activates the Time Raft. Luckily for them, the Digger sisters are more then willing to help stop him. Dreadwing likewise intended this for Gina in order to get the raft functional after his deceit was eventually discovered.
  • Mundane Solution: How is Dreadwing defeated? By Gina finding the remote to the Time Raft and making a time hole with it.
  • Mundane Utility: Britanny asks Gina what she wants to use the Time Raft for when they find it. Gina responds that she plans on going through time and looking up history's cutest guys, such as Casanova and Adonis.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: When the three episodes were edited together into The Movie, certain music pieces were replaced with different ones. Most of the music remained the same, though.
  • Shout-Out: As with the comic, Gina said "Jinkies!" in part 3.
    • In part 1, Gina says she hopes to make Lara jealous by finding the Time Raft.
  • Super-Speed: Britanny. Not surprising, as she's a were-cheetah. The OVA shows that she can increase velocity past even her usual high speed, as needed.
  • Tempting Fate: As the Digger sisters make their way through the cave entrance toward the Time Raft, Gina lays out the plan for acquiring it. Britanny points out a concern:
    Britanny: Mmm, what about...monsters?
    Gina: (with a look of slight befuddled dread): What monsters?
    (They suddenly hear roaring and turn to see four-legged rock beasts coming their way)
    Britanny: Those monsters, genius!
  • The Gunslinger: How Gina defends herself with an energy blaster when she has to. This takes place before the invention of the plunger gun that she normally uses in the comic book series.
  • Voice of the Legion: Dreadwing talks with a bit of reverb in his voice.