Well, it had to happen. After a 7-year hiatus from all-ages work, and focusing on his soon-to-be cancelled (and mediocre at best) preschool program, Mickey Mouse is back to doing shorts, and on the unlikliest of places... Disney Channel? That's right! He's on the network that's now infamous for airing teenybopper sitcoms that cannot be considered Disney anymore. Plus, aside from Phineas and Ferb, it's the only thing on the channel worth watching. In a generation that likes programming aimed at the lowest common denominator such as SpongeBob SquarePants, any of those Disney kid-coms, and any of those MTV reality shows, Is there anymore room for Mickey Mouse? The answer is a proud yes, and Disney has come to realize this. Perhaps my favorite short out of the series of new shorts is Tokyo Go. As a guilty-as-charged Japanophile, it definitely put a smile on my face.
Director Paul Ruddish, perhaps known for his work in Dexter's Laboratory and The PowerPuff Girls knows the Mickey Mouse character inside and out, you can tell he worked really hard to capture the essence of what Walt Disney originally intended when he first created Mickey in 1928. Plus, if this was an intent by Disney to celebrate Mickey's milestone 85th birthday, it's perhaps the best birthday present the company has ever given him. No doubt that it will let a new generation of kids become fans of the character, and renew interest in his franchise. Here's hoping if and when these shorts catch on, they lead up to a hand-drawn animated feature film someday. Disney needs to remember their roots, and help kids realize when people think of the Disney brand, they're not thinking of it as a competitor to Nickelodeon, but rather one of the oldest and most respected names in feature animation and family entertainment.