Even though I haven’t been active, I thought I would make a Top 7 list. I had to think about a concept for this list that isn’t me ranting or even making (many) potshots. Here’s a fun one that I thought about. If you saw the title, you know what this is going to be about.
I’ve had lists about people who should get their documentaries, but I never had a list about people who could have their own animated works. If you think about it, there have been people who got the animated treatment with their own movies or series. Here are a few names that come to mind: Jackie Chan, Rodney Dangerfield, The Olsen Twins, and Louie Anderson. Bonus points if you know the names of the shows and movies I was referring to. That’s not even counting people actually showing up as themselves in an animated work in a regular capacity or guest starring in something such as Howie Mandel in Bobby’s World (which he co-created and voices Bobby and the character’s dad, too), several celebrities in The Simpsons, former child rapper Romeo in an episode of The Proud Family, and even veteran Japanese pro wrestler Minoru Suzuki showed up in an episode of One Piece! Life is weird like that. Part of me wondered how this could work with people I’ve heard of or know. It’s fun to imagine what it would be like if they had their own little animated works about them.
I won’t ramble too much, so here are my guidelines for this list:
-These are real-life people who are still alive.
-None of these people have an animated movie or series about them (obviously).
-This is all based on personal opinion, so don’t freak out about my opinions.
-Here’s the biggest twist of this list…None of my choices involve people who have been in previous Top 7 lists before! This is going to be all new even though some of my picks involve people who’ve been in my reviews in the past.
If I didn’t have that last addendum for my rules, then here are my honorable mentions involving people who have been in one of my Top 7 lists before who would have awesome animated series or movies about them…
-Sunshine Machine (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper)
-Ronnie Martin/Joy Electric
-Megumi Hayashibara (as herself and not as the characters she’s voiced)
Before I get to the list proper, I’m going to answer a question some of you might have. No, the picture I use as the icon isn’t supposed to be an anime version of me. Nice try.
WARNING: Some clips have strong language.
Alright, who are some people that could have some intriguing animated works about them?
7: Ibrahim Hamadtou
This guy should get a documentary, but an animated movie or series could be very powerful. Whoever thought I would put a table tennis (or ping pong) player on a list like this? Hey, I like to be creative with these lists. This is Egyptian table tennis player Ibrahim Hamadtou. He is a three-time silver medalist in the African continent in table tennis competitions. If you look really closely, you would realize that Hamadtou has no arms. Sadly, he lost both of them in a hazardous train accident when he was only ten years old. However, this double amputee decided to craft his unique style of ping pong playing by using his mouth to hold the paddle and serving the ball by kicking it upward on the table before striking. I discovered this talented player by accident when I was looking at various clips from the previous Paralympics (see, I DO occasionally watch sports!) when I saw the table tennis matches, and my mind was blown. There are people with two arms who aren’t as good as he is. The fact that Ibrahim Hamadtou could hold his ground and win competitions with just his mouth and feet to operate in this game is inspirational. If you disagree, then you’re just an ableist POS. If Hamadtou had an animated work, I could see this as a rotoscoped sort of project like a realistic version of A Scanner Darkly or have a seinen anime sort of feel. Parasports needs to get more attention and his story could be very empowering to so many people who could watch it.
6: Britney Cooper
Here’s another surprise for you! I’m putting a cricket player on a list at the same time, too. I didn’t even pay attention to anything from that sport until I watched and reviewed Fire In Babylon. Since I have a habit of having geographically-specific interests, the Caribbean cricket scene got my attention after being inspired by the history of the West Indies team becoming powerhouses in the sport. I then checked out the Caribbean Premier League and eventually the Windies women’s team where I heard about Britney Cooper. She has been a batter for the Windies women’s team, the Trinidadian women’s team in domestic cricket play to represent her home country, and became an inaugural player for the Barbados Royals this year in the brand new Women’s Caribbean Premier League. Cooper has been with the Windies international team since 2009 and she contributed to helping her team win the 2016 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 to give them their first world championship. I have never heard of a cricket animated work, so maybe Britney Cooper can be a part of one where it could be her exploits with her current teams or maybe she could start a fictional in-universe one where they can conquer the sport. The level of originality would be limitless and could be quite novel. Cooper is definitely talented and a very polite individual, so I know she won’t be some kind of diva if this idea were to happen. I hope she gets more championships whether internationally or locally.
5: Maz Jobrani
Now for something involving a profession that has been covered on a Top 7 list before: Comedy! I’ve put two stand-up comedians on my Non-Actors Who Should Try Acting list with Russell Kane and Aamer Rahman before, but this example involves someone whom I’ve heard of a lot longer. In the late 00s, I saw the Axis of Evil comedy special on Comedy Central which featured comedians of Middle Eastern descent which were very timely given the post-9/11 world and Islamophobia that sadly happened in America. The person who headlined that special was the Iranian-born, California-raised Maz Jobrani. This guy was really funny and his observational humor criticizing racism was on point. His opening bit about the difference between Iranian and Arab accents was hilarious (Jobrani can get away with that joke, not me) and his “I am Persian, meow!” quote when he switched from an American accent to an Iranian one had me in stitches. Interestingly enough, he’s been involved with mainstream works such as having a bit part in 13 Going on 30 and The West Wing, but sadly his biggest role outside of his stand-up work (I wish I was making this up) was playing Jafar in the Descendents movies which means he got to be that sorcerer villain in a live-action setting 4 years before the Tunisian-Dutch actor Marwan Kenzari did in the 2019 Aladdin remake. However, if there was an animated thing, I swear it would not be like those cash grabs. I could see this being an animated sitcom, but with better humor and more relevant subjects. Maz Jobrani does have a healthy mix of covering heavy subject matter with lighthearted material and mixing it up in a coherent way. Maybe he can make fun of his acting roles in little potshots or stealth gags. If you ever get the chance to see the Axis of Evil special, then I would strongly recommend it. I think a Jobrani animated series could work with the right writing and presentation.
Here’s an example of someone with a profession that should be no longer a surprise to anyone who’s been following this blog for the past few years. I’ve got an indie pro wrestler for this list. And where is she from? Preston, Lancashire, ENGLAND! The BritWres fandom has struck my film review blog yet again. This is none other than the Unbreakable one and the First Lady of North West Strong: Rhio! This woman has really been putting in work not just in the UK, but she recently went to Japan to hone her craft. Rhio has been very accomplished in her in-ring journey so far since she’s a 2X PCW Women’s Champion, record 3X Tidal Women’s Champion, former Tidal Open Champion (she’s the only woman to hold both Open and Women’s titles simultaneously), and she became the first Black woman to win Progress’s Revelations of Divine Love tournament which was also the first time in UK wrestling history where two Black women were in the finals where she defeated Mercedez Blaze. Fridge Brilliance about the last example: This was a rematch from the first Everything Patterned show at Resurgence which is also how I first heard of her. Rhio having her own animated thing would be sick and she would certainly kick more butt than Sailor Moon, She-Ra, or Mulan if they got into fistfights, that’s for dang sure! I could see her taking out other heroines with The Dreaded End, Purple Haze, the Invasion of Privacy, or a good old-fashioned sleeper hold. She has a great mix of sheer power and technical wrestling skills in her arsenal. Before people give me guff about putting a pro wrestler on here, I have to let you know she has a legit background in taekwondo and karate, so shut up. Maybe this could be an action/adventure thing going on where she pummels and submits some bad guys by herself or the occasional team-up with her North West Strong teammates. There could also be a scene where she can pull up in a purple motorcycle after a big fight and it could parody the Purple Rain album cover/movie poster by Prince. If NWS doesn’t want to be animated, she could lead her own team of fighters called Eminence Force. That would be really cool and I think Rhio would be a good role model as opposed to fictional characters or even some other real-life people in and outside of pro wrestling.
P. S. To all you smarks out there, she isn’t to be confused with the inaugural AEW Women’s Champion Riho from Japan. Get it right! Oh, great…now that match has to happen at some point. 😛
3: The Go! Team
England scores another entry in this Top 7 list, but this time, we’re going all the way to Brighton for this example. Why not have a whole band have their own animated adventures? The Go! Team is a band I first heard of during my college years and I was impressed by them mixing so many genres with their own fun brand of experimental music. Most of the members play at least 2 instruments each, incorporate samples in their music, and the vocals range from singing, rapping, and double-dutch chants. I can think of no other band who sounds like them and that’s a huge plus in my book. This sextet (don’t let the picture fool you) has made so many quirky songs and albums. I could see this being a psychedelic atmosphere with some surrealism or witty comedy at times. The Go! Team had a tiny bit of mainstream attention when their music video for “Milk Crisis” (side note: this should’ve been an anime theme song!) was featured on Cartoon Network in the late 00s and their song “Get It Together” was on the soundtrack for LittleBigPlanet. Both examples will be featured here and I know I will trigger some memories with at least one of those songs with you if you’re knee-deep in CN programming or if you’re a gamer. They even made multiple documentaries and they seem like fun people to hang around. I would like to pick their brains about how their creative processes work by how they mix so many genres together to make something completely new. For me, The Go! Team represents the fun side of avant-garde music with their boundless creativity and atypical usage of traditional instruments. If you have their current line-up or some past members, an animated series with them would also destroy the Deggans Rule which would be a major bonus since the band doesn’t strike me as ticking boxes by having a mix of men and women or having Black and Asian members.
2: Lauren Mann
Spoiler Alert! This example and my #1 choice involve people who have been featured in previous reviews. Going on the topic of music with The Go! Team in the previous example, we’ll have another musician with Lauren Mann. This is also a bit of a geography break since she’s Canadian. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, but currently based in Pender Island, British Columbia, Lauren Mann has been making music for over a decade as either a solo artist or with her band The Fairly Odd Folk. Does that name sound familiar? I featured her band in my review of the documentary The Journey to Where the Ocean Meets the Sky. She’s a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter who makes some amazing tunes. Lauren usually writes more acoustic music, but she has also experimented with light electronic instrumentation like the omnichord and some chamber pop backgrounds with her band. I think an animated series involving her would be something understated, but still magical at the same time kind of like a happier Haibane Renmei, Studio Ghibli works, or something along the lines of what Cartoon Saloon has done with their movies. This is a huge compliment from me if everyone could pull that off. She could even score the music herself which would be a treat. Interestingly enough, she’s collaborated with people such as Aaron Marsh from Copeland and her band got to open for Rusted Root (the “Send Me On My Way” band, if you remember). Lauren actually has one thing going for her with this Top 7 list that no one else can say. She is the only person whom I’ve met in person before when I saw her play live at the final Cornerstone Festival and at a different show later that year. Having people I know on a Top 7 list is a rarity, so this is a big deal whenever I feature Lauren Mann or others. Congrats, Lauren! I hope you like this idea and maybe that animated series or movie could happen sometime!
1: Warren Banks
The Nigerian Kaiju is FINALLY on an Iridium Eye Top 7 list! About god blessed time it happened (that’s a sentence I never thought I would say prior to watching Everything Patterned)! Some of you might recognize that name from my review of the BritWres short film/cinematic match You Are Cordially Invited, which also makes him the 3rd person from that project to be on a Top 7 list after Chuck Mambo and Kanji. I know you’re all going to ask this, and yes, Warren deserves a documentary, too. This guy is super talented in the ring by doing power moves, high-flying action, and straight-up tekkers in his repertoire. Keep in mind, this guy is 6’5″ and is a total hybrid of different styles instead of being a slow giant or only a body guy. Outside of that, I like his presentation of being an intelligent person and not giving in to stupid racist gimmicks or undertones. After I saw Everything Patterned, I became an instant fan of Warren and I’ve seen a lot of his matches from different UK-based federations online. He’s really been getting attention by main eventing multiple shows and at one point holding three different championships (Wrestle Island, RCWA, and APEX) at the same time! If Warren got his own anime, then it needs to be an action-packed Shonen type of series full stop. Where do you think he got the term “kaiju” from for his nickname? He’s a massive anime and tokusatsu fan. He mentioned growing up watching Dragon Ball Z (fun fact: His Superman Punch is called the Super Saiyan Punch!), Gundam Wing, and Outlaw Star on Toonami back in the day, and isn’t ashamed of his fandom. Anime fans who are reading this…You’re welcome! Shoot, he was even spotted wearing a My Hero Academia shirt during a promo at Progress with his 87 teammate “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson! Speaking of which, this would mean TWO 87 members have a #1 spot on an Iridium Eye list after the fact. Yeah, it would be amazing just seeing him beat up some bad guys with a few Bullet Vehicle Spears, Guillotine Chokes, or Meter Burn Knees to name a few. Maybe he can have some supernatural powers like shooting ki blasts or summoning a kaiju (think Godzilla or Mothra) for his most powerful attacks. Does Madhouse, Sunrise, or Bones want to give me a call to make this happen? Seriously, Warren Banks is the real deal and I want this guy to succeed in BritWres and beyond and maybe his own anime could be an actual thing. I want to see more positive representation either way and I’m happy that he’s been pursuing this path instead of being a lawyer like his parents wanted him to be (yes, he has a law degree!). Warren deserves the best in his career.
P. S. Two people who have trained him in his wrestling journey have been his fellow mate from Milton Keynes Gene Munny (who also co-starred with him in You Are Cordially Invited and was in Theatre of Wrestling) and Eddie Dennis! Oh, what a connection I have made with the things I’ve reviewed…
Here’s a bonus clip involving an excerpt from an interview with Mekz/Wrestlemaniac UK. It’s very insightful and inspiring when Warren talks about his wrestling journey, struggling with anxiety, trudging through law school, and his experiences living in a Nigerian family who emigrated to England.
So what do you think? Which real-life people do you think would have awesome animated movies or series about them? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
All photos and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.
The anime avatar picture is customized and is from Avachara.
The screenshot of Ibrahim Hamadtou of Tim Allen’s mugshot is from YouTube.
The screenshot of Britney Cooper is from YouTube.
The screenshot of Rhio is from Demand Progress and is property of Progress Wrestling.
The screenshot of Maz Jobrani is from YouTube.
The picture of The Go! Team is from PRS for Music.
The screenshot of Lauren Mann is from YouTube.
The screenshot of Warren Banks is from Demand Progress and is property of Progress Wrestling.