Vancouver-born animator Pearl Low is fundraising for a magical new show

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      While they’re now living in Los Angeles, fabled land of movie magic and endless highways, Pearl Low made a name for themself in Vancouver’s art scene. 

      From publishing an artbook in 2016, to catching media attention as part of #BlackArtGastown in 2018, to painting Precious Fruit as part of Vancouver Mural Festival in 2020 and adapting two Bailey School Kids books into graphic novels, Low has had no shortage of professional success.

      Their career really skyrocketed after they worked as a story artist on the animated short Hair Love, which scooped an Oscar in 2020.

      Since then, Low’s built on their success by founding the independent animation studio Orange Blossom Studios. And the team’s first planned project is currently fundraising until February 29.

      Wheels & Roses, billed as “an animated Sailor Moon meets roller derby coming-of-age story,” fuses magical girl anime tropes with the trappings of a high-octane sports show. Protagonist Sahara can’t use magic, but that’s not going to stop her from strapping on her wheels. 

      “The concept for Wheels & Roses came to me in about 2019,” Low explains in a video. “The show is like a sports anime with a magical twist. Sports anime really lights a fire in my spirit, and magical girl shows basically raised me—so I thought, why not put the two genres together?”

      At the time of writing, the Kickstarter has raised just over $60,000 of its $90,000 USD goal, from almost a thousand supporters, with the hope of creating a fully-realized pilot episode of the show.

      With bubbly cell-shaded character art, dreamy backgrounds, and a conscious centring of queer, Black, and Brown kids, Wheels & Roses looks gorgeous. And when it’s the next big Stephen Universe-style hit that marries cartoon conventions with heavy anime influences, we’ll get to say it was born in Vancouver.

      Check out more about the project here.