Christie Caracas has recruited the legendary Anime House Studio 4°C for a new special - Ballmastrz: Rubicon.

There aren't many shows on TV like Christy Karacas's Ballmastrz: 9009, which airs tonight at midnight on Adult Swim and has a new 22-minute special that will be available to stream tomorrow on HBO Max

Ballmastrz: Rubicon, the special will be available on 9009's Game of Thrones. The story continues, but with a whole new look and feel. The original series was animated by Titmouse in the US and won a lot of praise, including a competition screening at Annecy in 2019. But for his new special, Caracas wanted to do something different, so he recruited the legendary Japanese anime House Studio 4°C to deal with animation and anime royalty Takashi Nakamura (artists of Nausica and Akira in the Valley of the Wind) as animation director.

The involvement of 4°C gives Rubicon a retro look and feel that fans of 1970s and 1980s anime should fall in love with. The show's humor is still there, and the voice actors are the same, but Rubicon feels like an old VHS tape passed between friends before the Internet existed, and its appeal there

Prior to the release of the special, we caught up with Caracas and talked about the show's origins, his Trans-Pacific partnership, and its history. We discussed the possible future of the franchise.

Can we talk a bit about the origin of Ballmasterz - where did the idea come from and when did you start working on it-

I was working on Superjail and Adult Swim was asked to pitch them a new show. There was no super-jail cancellation or anything, but they were starting to think about the next show. 1 thing I knew for sure at the time was that I didn't want the next one to be like Superjail. As much fun as that show was, it was a very hard job.

I wanted to try something different, but anime always seemed to be good at incorporating different styles and approaches. It is also often based on manga, which usually has a single creator. I think that is one of the reasons why it is so good, is that they are often true to the work of the original creator when adapting the book, rather than Star

What were some of the shows and movies that influenced the development of Ballmastrz-

At that time I was back in anime. I loved anime when I was young, but I didn't keep up. At that time, Kill la Kill had just come out, and I was also playing ping-pong. I looked at them and said, "I've never seen them go crazy like this in a while."I was so excited that it reminded me of how much I love anime.

Ping-pong made me think about sports anime and sports cartoons, and in the West, we have a lot of sports movies, but I think I've always been a big wrestling fan and I loved science fiction movies from the 1970s like roller ball, so I think it's a good idea. All teams are different gangs Oh it all came together, I will not say easy, but it came together very fast. I still didn't fully know what it was, but I drew some pictures and threw it.

One key to my pitch was that the ball was alive in the sport. Recall the movie "Major League" - when I was a kid, I saw a Major League poster, and baseball had a face to it. So, as a child, I thought I was going to watch anime baseball characters for some reason, and when I finally saw the movie, I was..."Where is the ball?-"At Ballmasterz, I was going to bring the ball to life and have my own personality. What if you did not get along with your ball - that's where the idea of Ballmastrz came out.

You talked about the tendency of anime studios to respect the style and vision of their creators. How do you describe your style-

I think of my show as an experience; you're riding this kind of wild ride. The visuals, sounds and music are all very important to me and I want people to immerse themselves when they are sucked into this world and forget about their daily lives. I love building the world. Today, when you look at adult anime, there are many script-driven things. It is presented like a sitcom.

The live-action shows that are admired today are often things that do something completely different. Something like Fleabag where the character breaks the fourth wall, it felt so fresh when you first saw it. Not enough animation shows break out and do something different. It feels like every 10 years, the show will come and make a big change, but then everything will be very similar again for a long time.

You got to work with the legendary Japanese Studio 4°C for this special. How was the relationship born-

I had a great relationship with Titmouse and Chris[Prynoski] for years and it was great at Ballmastrz, but because of this special, I wanted to do it in a real anime studio. I had a colleague who worked in Japan and we started talking and asked him to start looking on my behalf. When he told me that studio 4°C might be possible, I couldn't believe it. This is a studio that played mind games. This is one of my favorite studios in the world. Many of these anime studios have been backed up for years, so I was worried too. But we got lucky and they told me that they had a slot and I would work with Takeshi Nakamura...This guy worked with titles like Akira and Nausicaä. It was crazy. One big drawback was that all this went down during Covid, and I did not get to visit the studio.

What was the production like-

I would serve boards and rough, and then they would serve things back really quickly. Despite the time zone and Covid, there was really no disconnect and everything went smoothly, but I was so nervous about working with them. I had just turned to thumbs up the board but I thought these should be the craziest boards I've ever made. I did all the rough design and everything, but I redesigned everything anyway. The specials take place in space and I've always thought of doing it like Macross or Gundam Missile porn, but Nakamura suggested that you might want to go for something kind of retro and cute. At first, I thought it was crazy, but then I saw some early art and I thought it was great. So my board was crazy, but we pulled back a bit and I love the way it came out.

Ballmastrz is episodic, so what prompted him to do this one-off special-

The original show was an 11-minute episode, but for a special 22 minutes I wanted to make this feel like an anime or OVA. The series always took place with the idea of setting the 3rd season or additional films. So in the special, I can't feel like it was just built on something else you can see it Self-contained I feel like you were their sole purpose was to set something else get a movie from a big franchise and you end the movie "Of course." No, I want people watching this to want to see more, and I'm planning a lot of other stories that haven't been put in yet. We hope that if there are more, we can continue to tell those stories.