Tim here. One of the most important events in animation in all of 2015 happened this week; it is important to stress that this doesn't mean it's also one of the best things. But the first new piece of animation from living legend Ralph Bakshi in almost 20 years is certainly worth spending a moment with, though now that I've seen the 22-minute Last Days of Coney Island – currently available for rental on Vimeo, where it just had its world premiere – I can't really claim that I want to stretch that moment out too long.
The film finds Bakshi, whose 77th birthday was October 29, returning to the territory of his most characteristic works from the early 1970s, including Heavy Traffic, the infamous race relations fable Coonskin, and his groundbreaking debut, Fritz the Cat. That is, it's a story about the New York City of Bakshi's battle-hardened memories of youth, involving deeply wearied souls scratching their way through an apocalyptic vision of the '60s counterculture.
The new film has clearly defined characters in the form of explosively violent Shorty (Omar Jones) and the hapless-in-love Max (Robert Costanzo), and it even has something that looks pretty clearly like a plot, though you have to work pretty diligently to carve it from the energetic blast of frenzied activity that makes up the film (it's a condensed version of a feature Bakshi has been trying to make since the '90s; it was shortened without losing any content).