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Happy Tree Friends
HTF Opening Sequence

Creators

Aurbey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro

Release

1999-Present (Internet)
2006 (TV)

Official Website

http://www.mondomedia.com/channel/HappyTreeFriends

Happy Tree Friends is an American flash cartoon created and developed by Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo, Kenn Navarro and Warren Graff for Mondo Media. The show is cited as an early example of a popular internet phenomenon achieving a cult following.

The series is composed of cute forest animals with extreme graphic violence. Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental events of bloodshed, pain, dismemberment, and/or death. At one point, the warning "Cartoon Violence: Not recommended for small children, or big babies" was given on the official website.

The episodes last from 1 to 7 minutes. In 2006, a television series featuring longer episodes aired. A spin-off called Ka-Pow! premiered on September 2, 2008.

History Edit

1999: Beginning Edit

While working on Mondo Mini Shows, Rhode Montijo drew on a piece of scrap paper a character who would later become Shifty. He then drew on a spreadsheet poster a yellow rabbit that bore some resemblance to Cuddles and wrote "Resistance is futile" underneath it. Rhode hung the drawing up in his workstation so other people could see his idea, and eventually the idea was pitched to and accepted by the Mondo Media executives. In 1999, Mondo gave Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Kenn Navarro a chance to do a short for them. They came up with a short named Banjo Frenzy, which featured a dinosaur (an earlier version of Lumpy) killing three woodland animals, a rabbit, squirrel and beaver (earlier versions of Cuddles, Giggles and Toothy) with a banjo. From there, Mondo gave them their own internet series, which they named Happy Tree Friends. They got new writers and animators to work on the show.

2000 - present: Success Edit

After its internet debut in 1999, Happy Tree Friends became an unexpected success, getting over 15 million hits each month, and being shown at film festivals.

Encouraged by the show's success, its creators have released four DVDs (First Blood, Second Serving, Third Strike and Winter Break) containing the episodes shown on the website and others that have not been released. A collection consisting of the first three DVDs and five bonus episodes, Overkill, has also been released. Two episodes, Stealing the Spotlight and Ski Ya, Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya!, were originally only available on the Winter Break DVD, but are now on YouTube and the Happy Tree Friends website.

Mondo Media CEO John Evershed attributes the success of the series to animator Kenn Navarro. "He had a clear vision for that show and he's just a brilliant animator. He has created something that is pretty universal. I envision kids watching Happy Tree Friends 20 or 30 years from now the same way that they watch Tom and Jerry now. So really it's Kenn Navarro."

Video game Edit

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