Next Club Meeting: December 21, 2019, at the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club located in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We usually meet on the fourth Saturday of each month (except when holidays or conventions coincide). The meetings are free and open to the public. Join us for a day filled with anime.

This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Toothless Steals the Times Square Ball


HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Watch the official 'Toothless at Times Square' clip for How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World, an animation movie starring Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill and Craig Ferguson. 
In theaters February 22, 2019. 
What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. In this next chapter, Hiccup and Toothless will finally discover their true destinies: the village chief as ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, and the dragon as leader of his own kind. As both ascend, the darkest threat they’ve yet faced—as well as the appearance of a female Night Fury—will test the bonds of their relationship like never before.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Trailer for "Artemis Fowl"


Disney’s ARTEMIS FOWL
Directed by Kenneth Branagh and based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, ARTEMIS FOWL follows 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance. The film stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, with Josh Gad, and Judi Dench. Judy Hofflund and Kenneth Branagh are producing with Angus More Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Conor McPherson. 
Disney’s ARTEMIS FOWL releases in U.S. theaters on August 9, 2019!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

360 Google Doodles: Back to the Moon

BACK to the MOON
- Shortlisted for the Academy Awards -
Back to the Moon” is probably a short you’ve seen via Google Doodles. It can also be viewed interactively in 360 degrees via VR if you have the technology to do so. It was created to celebrate the artistry of French illusionist and film director George Méliès whose famous black-and-white movie “A Trip to the Moon” ends with the Moon getting a black eye from a rocketship. The short is a bit difficult to watch on a normal screen because it’s meant to be viewed in 360 degrees. The story follows an illusionist through scenery mixing familiar magic props with film magic as he meets the queen of hearts and an evil alien. The mix of effects is ingenious to watch.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Late Afternoon | Irish Short Film Trailer

LATE AFTERNOON
- Shortlisted for the Academy Awards -
Late Afternoon” is a short by the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of the Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner). It is about an elderly woman named Emily who seems constantly lost in her thoughts about her past. Her mind keeps drifting between the past and the present with nothing seeming to anchor her anywhere. Every time Emily “dives” into the past, the linear makeup of herself disconnects into short lines and shapes until she reaches her past destination. Emily also has no neck to further symbolize her floating disconnected head. It’s a beautifully animated short that’s a bit heartwrenching if you’ve ever have had an elderly loved one in a situation like Emily’s.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

On the Academy Award Shortlist: Weekends


W  E E K E N D  S
- Shortlisted for the Academy Awards -
Weekends” is the story of a boy who commutes between his recently divorced parents, summarizing life for the family over the course of several months interspersed with the boy’s dreams. While the boy looks content on the outside, his surreal dreams show how he actually feels about the new arrangement on both sides. We get to see the hardships and fears living in a broken family as well as how that family slowly learns and adapts to the new reality. The boy’s dreams are strange and scary but understandable given his situation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Google Spotlight Stories: Age of Sail

A G E  of  S A I L
- Shortlisted for the Academy Awards -
Age of Sail” is a short from Google Spotlight Stories about an old sailboat captain who sets himself adrift in the ocean hoping to end his days at sea. However, his are plans derailed when a teenage girl suddenly falls off a passing steamer, forcing him to change his plans after he reluctantly rescues her. The gruff, brash captain is brilliantly voiced by Ian McShane of Lovejoy and Deadwood fame, rattling off sailing jargon with ease. The animation is an odd combination of 2D and 3D CGI where features are drawn on 3D CGI figures mapped onto a 2D plane except for the ocean surrounding the characters. Despite the dark premise of the captain trying to die alone on his last sail across the sea, the story is quite inspirational as the he tries to muster some of his passion from the old days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

AND HAVE A VERY SPIDEY-CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Stealing Baby Jesus - Angela's Christmas


ANGELA'S CHRISTMAS
A trip to church with her family on Christmas Eve gives young Angela an extraordinary idea. A heartwarming tale based on a story by Frank McCourt.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Unbelievable Gwenpool Holiday Special!


G  W  E  N  P  O  O  L
Unlike the usual holiday stories, this one’s not even close to a silent night. And all our super heroes know that kicking bad-guy butt and attending the hottest party of the year is the only way to truly celebrate.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

First Trailer for MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL


MEN in BLACK : INTERNATIONAL
The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Return to the World of the Dark Crystal


Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
We've got your first look at the new Gelfling characters in the upcoming Netflix series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. It is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal. There will be ten episodes and the series will explore the world of Thra created for the original movie. 
RIAN
BREA
DEET

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Anime Viewing Schedule for December 22, 2018

A N I M A T R I X   N E T W O R K
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Wood Dale Public Library
Baby, it's cold outside! Watch anime inside to stay warm!

Main Meeting Room, 10:15 am to 5:00 pm
10:15 - 11:05   Planet With 7-8
11:05 - 11:55   Karakuri Circus 5-6
11:55 - 12:45   Hinamatsuri 9-10
12:45 - 1:10     Club Meeting / Announcements
1:10 - 2:00       Megalo Box 10-11
2:00 - 2:50       S.S.S.S. Gridman 5-6
2:50 - 4:40       Lu Over the Wall (Feature Presentation)

All anime presented are fan-subtitled unless otherwise noted.
 
Don't miss the exciting anime series: Karakuri Circus and S.S.S.S. Gridman
ANIME DESCRIPTIONS ARE BELOW

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

All Female Spider-verse Sequel Planned

Sony Chief Teases Spider-verse Sequel
With Silk and Jessica Drew
[Source: Syfy] Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may have just opened in theaters, but Sony already has grand plans for its budding franchise, having already announced a direct sequel and all-female spinoff.

During a recent chat with Vanity Fair, Sony chief Amy Pascal revealed more details about both upcoming projects. For one, the direct follow-up will focus on a budding romance between Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), which wasn't included in the current film due to pacing reasons. The sequel will be written by David Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984) and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos (Avatar: The Last Airbender). 

In terms of the spinoff, Pascal let slip that Gwen will be joined by fan favorites like Cindy Moon (Silk) and Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman). Since Peni Parker (voiced Kimiko Glenn) is also introduced alongside Gwen in the first film, it is unclear if she'll also appear in the spinoff as well. Lauren Montgomery (co-director of Batman: Year One) is in talks with to helm the feature, with Bek Smith (Zoo) writing the screenplay.

There is a much larger plan for all of these Spider-People, though. “There’s a world in which everything comes together,” Pascal told Vanity Fair. “But that’s not something we can talk about yet.”

What that means in anyone's guess, but it would be wickedly awesome if Sony decided to adapt Dan Slott's "Spider-Verse" arc from 2014, in which the Spider-People faced a nearly unstoppable threat in the form of the soul-sucking Inheritors. This storyline brought together some of the coolest Spider-related characters in the Marvel multiverse like the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius brain in Peter Parker's body), Spider-Monkey (who could be a good foil for John Mulaney's Spider-Ham, just FYI), Spider-Man 2099, and so many more. 

“What I love about this movie, honestly, is that there’s so many different spider people,” Jake Johnson, who voices Peter Parker in Spider-Versetold SYFY WIRE recently. “There’s Spider-Gwen, there’s Spider-Ham. I like that Miles is the lead. I also like the old school Peter Parker.”

Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Never-Ending Man: The Miyazaki Documentary

GKIDS and Fathom Events began streaming an English-subtitled trailer on Tuesday for their screening of the Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao) television documentary special. GKIDS and Fathom Events will screen in more than 500 United States theaters on Thursday, December 13 and Tuesday, December 18. All screenings will be English-subtitled and at 7:30 p.m. local time. Tickets are on sale via GKIDS' website.
Documentary Shows Hayao Miyazaki at Work

GKIDS describes the documentary:

In 2013, film director and animator Hayao Miyazaki suddenly announced his retirement at the age of 72. But he couldn't shake his burning desire to create. After an encounter with young CGI animators, Miyazaki embarked on a new endeavor, his first project ever to utilize CGI. But the artist, who had been adamant about hand-drawn animation, confronted many challenges. The film even faces the danger of being cancelled. Can an old master who thinks he's past his prime shine once again? This program goes behind the scenes over two years as Miyazaki overcomes struggles to create his short film using CGI.
The documentary premiered on NHK TV in Japan in 2016, and it debuted on the NHK World channel and website with English subtitles in 2017. The Japan Society screened the special in New York in September 2017. 

In the program, Miyazaki reported that he wants to return to making an anime feature film, after retiring from directing feature films in 2013. The documentary shows Miyazaki working on "Kemushi no Boro" (Boro the Caterpillar), a planned CG short for the Ghibli Museum. 

Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki revealed in August that Hayao Miyazaki's upcoming Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (How Do You Live?) feature film will open in "about three or four years." Suzuki also noted that the film has been in production for two years, and that the studio is doing things in the film that it could not do before. 

Miyazaki himself had stated in October 2017 that he would need three or four years to complete his action-adventure fantasy film. Miyazaki derived the film's title from writer Genzaburō Yoshino's 1937 masterpiece of the same name. He added that this book is a story that has great meaning to the protagonist of his film. Yoshino's book centers around a man named Koperu and his uncle, and through Koperu's spiritual growth, it discusses how to live as human beings.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Star Trek: Discovery - Season Two Trailer

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
Discover the next adventure. Watch the official trailer for the highly anticipated second season of Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres Thursday, January 17, 2019 on CBS All Access! 

Release Date: January 17th, 2019

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kit Harington vs Toothless Funny Scene


Discover Kit Harington and Toothless’ long-lost audition tapes.

From DreamWorks Animation comes a surprising tale about growing up, finding the courage to face the unknown…and how nothing can ever train you to let go. What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic adventure spanning their lives. Welcome to the most astonishing chapter of one of the most beloved animated franchises in film history: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. 

Now chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, Hiccup has created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance of female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must leave the only home they’ve known and journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. As their true destines are revealed, dragon and rider will fight together—to the very ends of the Earth—to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Trailer for "Watership Down"


WATERSHIP DOWN
Time for a new generation of kids to be traumatized by rabbits...
BBC One’s star-studded new adaptation of Watership Down uses Richard Adams’ bestselling novel as its source to bring an innovative interpretation to the much loved classic. Adapted for the screen by Tom Bidwell and directed by Noam Murro, this tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits as they flee the certain destruction of their home.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Mortal Engines - Extended Look


M  O  r  T  a  L     E  n  G  i  N  e  S
Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head. 

Mortal Engines is the startling, new epic adventure directed by Oscar®-winning visual-effects artist Christian Rivers (King Kong). Joining Rivers are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies three-time Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who have penned the screenplay. Visual effects are created by a Weta Digital team led by Ken McGaugh, Kevin Smith, Luke Millar and Dennis Yoo. The Universal and MRC adaptation is from the award-winning book series by Philip Reeve, published in 2001 by Scholastic.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meeting Spider-men from different dimensions


Leap into the Spider-verse!
Someone is stealing the life-force from Spider-men of alternate realities. It's up to one Spider-man to unite the others against this deadly foe! Time to meet them all...
          Spider-Man (Peter Parker) 
                    Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara) 
                              Spider-Girl (Petra Parker) 
                                        Spider-Man Noir (Peter Parker) 
                                             Spider-Ham (Peter Porker) 
                                                Spyder-Knight (Peter Parker) 
                                             Spider-Man (Miles Morales) 
                                        Blood Spider (Peter Parker) 
                              Web Beard (Captain Peter Parker) 
                    Webslinger (Peter Parker) 
          Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Alita: Battle Angel - Official International Trailer


ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL - "RISE"
From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Villainess - Officiial Trailer


The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo)
The story of a ruthless female assassin named Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin), who from an early age has been taught to kill. She becomes a sleeper agent for South Korea's intelligence agency, who promises her freedom after 10 years of service; however, two men from her past make an unexpected appearance in her life, bringing out dark secrets from her past. 

The Villainess is a 2017 South Korean action thriller film directed by Jung Byung-gil, starring Kim Ok-bin.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sci-Fi Short Film "Seam"


*  S  E  A  M  *
"Seam" by Rajeev Dassani and Elan Dassani In the not-too-distant future, a tenuous peace between humans and remarkably humanlike “machines”—some don’t even know they’re not real—is tested when synthetics begin spontaneously exploding. A military-led search for these unwitting suicide bombers begins, sending a terrified machine woman and her human partner on the run. An Arab refugee woman tries to find her way to safety in the aftermath of a massive war. That war was with our Machine Creations. She discovers that she is a suicide sleeper bomb, embedded in the human population years ago, and has lived without knowledge of what she actually is. Her soldier husband must now help her get to the Machine Homeland, deep within the Arabian desert, before its too late, hunted by human forces who believe she is a spy bringing vital information to the enemy.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to DUNE


Ultimate Guide to Dune
Many consider DUNE to be the greatest Sci-Fi series ever written. Frank Herbert's Masterpiece spans over the course of five thousand years, contains dozens of main characters, and explores the human condition in a way that no novels have before. Join us as we cover all 6 books in this 7 part series!






Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ultraman Coming to Netflix - Official Trailer


U L T R A M A N
The larger than life legend who defined a generation, now returns to usher in a new one. All new Ultraman, streaming only on Netflix, starting April 1st, 2019!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Official Trailer for CAPTAIN MARVEL

Here is the trailer for CAPTAIN MARVEL and it is glorious! Watch for yourself and believe. 

CAPTAIN MARVEL

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Trailer for "REPLICAS"

R  E  P  L  I  C  A  S
After a car accident kills his family, a daring synthetic biologist (Reeves) will stop at nothing to bring them back, even if it means pitting himself against a government-controlled laboratory, a police task force, and the physical laws of science. 
Opening in theaters on January 11.
Replicas” stars Keanu Reeves (“John Wick,” “The Matrix,” “Speed”) and Alice Eve (“Marvel’s Iron Fist”, “Before We Go”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”), directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.  “Replicas” also stars Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) and John Ortiz (“Silver Linings Playbook”). 

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Hollow - Official Trailer

THE HOLLOW
"Three teens join forces to find a way home after waking up in a strange realm filled with magic portals, perplexing puzzles and vicious beasts."
Adam, Kai, and Mira wake up in a high-ceiling room with no doors or windows, but a single vent near the top. They have no memories of who they are. The only items with them are small slips of paper with their names on them and a typewriter. To escape, they use the typewriter to type "help", which causes four bricks to move forward and act as ledges leading to the vent. As the room begins filling up with green smoke, they make their way up to and through the vent, eventually winding up at an exit that leads to a forest. Mira discovers that she was able to translate an owl's hoots. After escaping the underground bunker, the trio continue to walk through the forest, ending up at an electrified fence. They search for a switch to deactivate it and soon find an abandoned cabin. Inside, there are science equipment, a satchel they take, and three cages seemingly torn apart by their ex-captives. Shortly after, they encounter three "Devil Dogs" that begin to chase them. Running towards the fence, they see the deactivation switch for the fence and use keys found in the satchel to make their escape. Not far from the fenced area, they are trapped at the edge of a cliff with the creatures quickly digging their way under the fence. The three meet someone who they call the "Weird Guy". After they ask for help with the magic word "please", he creates a portal in which they fall through. On the other side, just before passing out, Adam blearily sees two menacing figures with horns speaking in a foreign language discussing what to do with the trio.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

'Best Partner Ever' - 2017 Graduation Film


"Best Partner Ever"
A timid little witch chose a puppy with a totally opposite personality from her as her partner, and began to go through conflicts with the constant trouble maker puppy. After some incidents, they got to cooperate each other, and they recovered their relationship again.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

POKÉMON Detective Pikachu Live-Action Movie


POKÉMON Detective Pikachu
In Theaters May 10, 2019
The world of Pokémon comes to life! The first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character in the first-ever live-action movie based on the iconic face of the global Pokémon brand—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and most successful media franchises of all time. 

Fans everywhere can now experience Pikachu on the big screen as never before, as a talking detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other. The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon characters, each with its own unique abilities and personality. 

The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. 
WTF! It talks!!!!
“POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” also stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) as Tim; Kathryn Newton (“Lady Bird,” TV’s “Big Little Lies”) as Lucy, a junior reporter following her first big story; and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“Godzilla,” “The Last Samurai”) as Lt. Yoshida. 

Directed by Rob Letterman (“Goosebumps,” “Monsters Vs. Aliens”), the “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” creative filmmaking team includes two-time Oscar nominated director of photography John Mathieson (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “Gladiator”), production designer Nigel Phelps (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies”) and Oscar-winning editor Mark Sanger (“Gravity”). Visual effects are by Moving Picture Company (“Wonder Woman”) and Framestore (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”). 
Why does Pikachu sound like Deadpool?
Launched in 1996 to overwhelming response, the Pokémon brand is a global sensation that now encompasses a robust video gaming fandom with over 300 million units sold worldwide; the Pokémon Trading Card Game available in 11 languages with more than 23.6 billion cards shipped; an animated television series in its 21st season that is available in more than 160 countries; and over 20 animated films; as well as books, manga comics, music, toys, merchandise, and apps, including the wildly popular Pokémon GO, that has been downloaded over 850 million times and is enjoyed across the globe by fans of all ages. 

“POKÉMON Detective Pikachu” is set for release on Friday, May 10, 2019.

Friday, November 30, 2018

New Star Wars Animated Delights


STAR WARS: Galaxy of Adventures
Join Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Yoda, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and more in Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures, a new series of animated shorts celebrating the galaxy far, far away! Visit Star Wars Kids at http://www.starwarskids.com. 

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures is a series of animated shorts designed to reimagine and add new details and life to scenes longtime Star Wars fans know and love. Specifically tailored to kids, the shorts blend vibrant animation with classic sounds and dialogue from the original Star Wars films, for a mix of old and new that proves dazzling for fans of all ages. 

The shorts begin with a look at Luke Skywalker's life on Tatooine, then take us to Darth Vader's menacing adventures. Luke and Vader get two one-minute shorts each, while the remaining two are devoted to the adventures of R2-D2 and Chewbacca. You can check them all out below.






This is clearly just the beginning, and the Star Wars Kids channel has already started adding features like "Fun Facts" videos focused on specific characters. So, if you have a young fan in your life and you want to immerse them in a galaxy far, far away, now's the time to get into it.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

‘SpongeBob’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dies at 57

Stephen Hillenburg
(1961 - 2018)
Creator of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’
[Source: Variety] Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the megahit Nickelodeon cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Monday. He was 57.

The cause of death was ALS, which Hillenburg revealed he had been diagnosed with in March of last year.

“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”

Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, with an emphasis on marine resources. He then became a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute (now the Ocean Institute) in Dana Point, California. This interest, combined with his artistic talent and love of the sea and its creatures, led him to write and illustrate stories as teaching tools with characters that would later become the denizens of SpongeBob’s home, Bikini Bottom.

He began his animation career in 1987, pursuing a degree in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia and earning his Master of Fine Arts in 1992.

That same year he won an award for Best Animated Concept at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for his animated short “Wormholes”, which went on to be shown at various international animation festivals. From 1993 to 1996 he would pursue work in television as a director and writer on Nickelodeon’s series “Rocko’s Modern Life.”

From there, he began to work full-time on writing producing, and directing on the animated series that would eventually become “SpongeBob SquarePants.” The first episode aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999 and the series commenced its full run on July 17 of that year. The series has aired nearly 250 episodes to date. It appealed not only to children but older viewers as well, with college students even organizing viewing parties for the show.

The series has won both U.S. and British Emmy Awards, Annie Awards, and ASACP Awards and has been dubbed or subtitled in more than 60 languages, including Urdu, Azerbaijani and Maori.

Hillenburg also wrote, produced, and directed “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” which was released in 2004 and went on to gross over $140 million worldwide. Hillenburg then wrote the story for and was the executive producer of the sequel, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” in 2015.

Hillenburg — or Steve as he was known to family, friends, and fans — was born August 21, 1961, at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. After leaving the military, his father, Kelly N. Hillenburg, Jr., became a draftsman and designer for aerospace companies. His mother Nancy taught visually impaired students.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg (nee Dufour) and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg, his wife Isabel, and nieces Emma and Hazel.