Rocketsheep Studio, the local filmmaking outfit best known for the MMFF entry Saving Sally, has been working with the NCCA on an online animated series. It’s called Heneral Tuna, and it follows the adventures of an alien cat from the planet Mingming who has been sent to Earth to conquer it. The titular general ends up in a typical Filipino home, where he is exposed to the daily happenings of a multigenerational Filipino household.
The series is part of the Filipino Values Program, an NCCA initiative to harness the arts in order to promote Filipino values. Guided by research into what values Filipinos deem most important, the project began production in August of 2020.
The resulting series is seven episodes long, with each episode running about three minutes. Each of the episodes dials in on one of the values identified by the research. Voiced by Manny Angeles, the main character (named ‘Muning’ by the young girl that found him) is a rambunctious presence looking for angles of attack and hidden munitions, all the while slowly being won over by the care shown to him by the family that took him in.
Avid Liongoren, who directed the aforementioned Saving Sally, heads up this project as well. Carlo Vergara, best known for his graphic novel Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, is credited with the script for the first episode. Also listed in the credits are comics creators Rob Cham and Kevin Raymundo, and writer Charlene Sawit-Esguerra.
Rocketsheep, which has always produced work that’s a little off-kilter, brings an intriguing energy to a project that in other hands might be written off as corny. In the very first episode, there is a tinge of strange tragedy in the main character, who apparently grew up on a planet where the children are left to fend for themselves, and the elderly are abandoned to die on their own. This, of course, is in contrast to his new family, who mistake the conquering alien hero as just another cat, and nurse him back to health following his disastrous crash landing.
The first episode premiered on Kumu and the FDCP channel on October 15. New episodes premiere every Friday at 7PM.