If you’re a fan of the original Donkey Kong Country animated TV series, then you’re in for a treat.
Clocking in at under ten minutes, this animated short is jam packed with four original songs and serves as a cast reunion for many members of the Donkey Kong Country animated TV series.
I must admit I’ve never seen the show, but I love playing as King K. Rool in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. King K. Rool has no accredited voice actor for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, so when I heard Benedict Campbell’s voice in this short, it took a bit of an adjustment, but after a while I couldn’t picture anyone else voicing him. While I’m on this topic, I must applaud Campbell’s range. I have no idea if he sings in the show, but he sings almost the whole time in this short and he absolutely kills it.
This short takes place after the events of a similar fan animation by the title “The Curse of the Crystal Coconut.” That said, the story of this short is largely self-contained.
The short opens on a Kremling ship, presumably K. Rool’s, at night. General Klump (Adrian Truss) proposes a toast in memoriam of the ten-year anniversary since King K. Rool’s disappearance.
We pan below deck where K. Rool (Benedict Campbell) strolls though his lair. He’s within earshot of the chatter above and takes to his throne. Across the room sits a Donkey Kong dummy with several swords sticking out of it.
He decides it’s time to make his grand reintroduction. After a spooky announcer sets the stage and green fog trails into the ship’s cabin, K. Rool launches into “Shanty of a Crooked King.” This song serves as his hook to rouse his old Kremling crew.
It works. After some nostalgia of the good life they had under K. Rool’s rule the Kremlings are willing to follow orders. K. Rool delivers his plan to take over Kong Island in the song “Tip the Scale.”
“Tip the Scale” evolves as a track. The Kremlings plunder Kong Island and set it ablaze. K. Rool spells out “Miss me?” with a few bananas in Kong’s otherwise empty banana hoard. This prompts Kong to swing from vine to vine up to the top of a volcano.
K. Rool is waiting for him with TNT barrels and the stolen hoard of bananas behind him. The climax and conclusion of the track end in a fight between Kong and K. Rool where Kong must jump from rock pillar to rock pillar in order to reach K. Rool. Once he does, K. Rool blasts a hole through his chest with a cannon ball-sized round.
Once the dust settles, however, its revealed that K. Rool never left his lair at all and all of this has been a fantasy playing out in his head. His Kong dummy now has a gaping hole in it, though.
Before the credits roll, K. Rool can’t contain his maniacal laughter and his crown falls off of his head. His lair is ablaze (likely from getting carried away with acting out the plundering of Kong Island) and the painted portrait of himself behind his throne is consumed by smolders leaving only his eye, before it gets consumed as well.
I’d like to start with just how perfect the metaphor of the ending is. Even though this short ends on an anti-climatic note, it gives the viewer and inside look as to how consumed K. Rool is by this fantasy. He is so engrossed that he even went out of his way to create Kremling dummies to “witness” his ingenious plan.
Wanna know the funny part? I don’t even like bananas!-King K. Rool
Next, I’d like to talk about the music. “Shanty of a Crooked King” is a fantastic hook. Complete with some dirty, chunky production, it’s hard not to bob your head with this diabolical dude. It ends with a rap, and a well-written one at that.
“Tip the Scale” is on a whole other level. It ramps up the intensity before resulting in the climax of the short in a cinematic way. The way his plan is laid out is full of fun easter eggs too if you’re quick with the pause button.
Finally, I’d like to talk about the mid-credits scene. The decision to make this short serve as King K. Rool’s unofficial character reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is genius. It earns it too. The entire short King K. Rool makes character choices that are 100% in-line with his character. Pair that with the voice actor from the original show and you have a recipe for perfection.
Final Score (5 out of 5 stars)
This is how you do villain songs properly. And it completely makes sense for King K. Rool, the spotlight hog that he is, to have two song instead of just one.
As a fan of stories where the viewer is allowed to witness a character’s decent into madness, this hit all the right marks for me. No notes. I look forward to the sequel, should this short receive one.
Last time I talked about Nintendo parody animations, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to write about them again for a while. I’m so glad that’s not the case because the level of detail, love, and care that went into this short is immense and I’ll be smiling the day it reaches the one million view milestone.
It’s likely no secret by now that I’m a huge advocate for independent animation. If you think something’s gone under the radar that you’d like to see a review of, you can find me over on the Boss Rush Discord.
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