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Ratboy Genius is honestly the best web series that I've ever watched. The music is incredible, the characters are lovable, and the plot is indescribably creative. I don't often get emotional when it comes to videos or television, but Happyman On The Red Planet and George really made me look at how sad it's meaning really is, the collapse of trust and friendship between siblings after they have crashed on the Red Planet. If you want to see something that'll really make you think, watch EVERY video that Ryan Dorin has made, not just Potato Knishes, and don't judge it on the visuals.
When I was a kid, I used to make up characters with strange names that I found catchy, strange abilities and relationships to each other, and a world that had rules that were different than the real world, for them to live in. I'm sure a lot of people did; after all, how else did we get stories such as The Smurfs?
Ratboy Genius shows some of that childlike whimsy and imagination, and it comes from the mind of an adult 30-something - classically trained pianist Ryan Dorin. That Ratboy Genius is created entirely by one person is very clear, as is the fact that it's created by a musician; Ryan does all visuals, animation, storytelling, and music. It's the music that's the true standout here, as all of it is entirely original and both fitting with, and setting, the mood for each scene.
That this is personal is clear from the whole production. Characters have odd yet catchy names like Ratboy Genius, Summer Solstice Baby, Happyman and Little King John. These sound like names a little kid would think up simply because they're fun to say. They're also non-descriptive; Ratboy Genius doesn't do much to indicate high intelligence. Though he lends his name to his surrounding areas: Ratboy's Kingdom and Lake Genius.
I realize it's cliche to say this when anything strange is encountered on the internet, but I'll say it anyway because I believe it's true: I think Ryan Dorin is autistic. In one video where Summer Solstice Baby calls her captor, Little King John, a "crazy dumb jerk" in rhyme with the dialog, he forewarns us that the video should be rated "PG-7" for language that "polite children" shouldn't hear. He also sells "music for kids" on Bandcamp, which is a mixture of cutesy tunes and relaxing piano pieces. Plus, he puts idiosyncratic detail into some aspects more than others. When characters play the piano, their fingers hit the exact appropriate keys - as numerous real-life pianists have noted. Being an actual musician, Ryan probably believed this detail to be important. The story also appears to veer into whatever Ryan's interests are at the time: one series involves Minecraft, and recently as of this review, he's done a story based on an Indian fairytale.
It's weird, it's idiosyncratic, but it's not random; this is clearly one man's personal imagination brought to life.
Ratboy Genius details the adventures of lovable hero Ratboy Genius, his loyal comrades, and his beautiful girlfriend Little Summer Solstice Baby (whose face heightens the bar of beauty standards).
Ratboy Genius will charm you from the start, with his inspirational transformation from 2D to 3D, his Bart-Simpson-esque wardrobe and the smooth dulcet tones of his voice. The episodes are filmed in high definition and the realistic characters are rendered in industry-standard animation software. Definitely a sight to behold.
Accompanying these epic journeys are background melodies that dance upon the listener's ears. Tunes such as "Abraham Lincoln" and "Potato Knishes" are unforgettable pieces that belong in any music-lover's library.
If your life is lacking something, you might just need to watch Ratboy Genius.
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