Review- Unfiltered, The Complete Ralph Bakshi

My post about Bakshi's rant on determination reminded me to post my review for the latest retrospective on his work. My review for "Unfiltered, The Complete Ralph Bakshi", originally appeared in Hi-Fructose Vol. 8. Here it is in unedited glory:

Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi

Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi

Buy It at Powell's Books

When I think of Ralph Bakshi, I think about that "very special" episode of Diff'rent Strokes where Dudley was molested. Bakshi's cartoons provoke my sleaze alert in the same way Robert Crumb's gritty cartoons do. His pictures were weird, naughty, and completely unlike anything else out there. Doubtless that many video store clerks had a hard time figuring out where to shelve these subversive gems.

"Unfiltered, the Complete Ralph Bakshi"sets out to be the definitive retrospective of the acclaimed animation director. Indeed, the nearly three hundred-page hardcover is loaded with evidence of each stage in this animation juggernaut's career. As artist's reference alone, the book is worth the forty-dollar asking price. Chris McDonnell's layouts are gorgeous and the reproductions of Bakshi's sketches and character designs are fantastic. This isn't just a picture book though. Every chapter is loaded with personal anecdotes and contextual history of an industry full of brass and swagger. Reading it, you can almost hear the raspy voice of a wizard narrator, shuckin' jive. Also of note is a brilliant introduction by Quentin Tarantino, who gives us a lesson in Blacksploitation films and the part Ralph Bakshi played in the genre.

I'm amazed at the depth of influence presented here and how far this man's vision made it into the mainstream. If you thought Ralph Bakshi was only about weird rotoscoping and pantless cats, this book will make you think diff'rent.

-Joshua Ellingson, for Hi-Fructose Magazine