After three decades, The Simpsons still manages to surprise us. The long-running series is known for its experimentation, sometimes taking surreal turns. But just when we thought it might have run out of ideas, it delivered a stunning Halloween makeover that may have been inspired by a fan's idea.
The Simpsons is famous for its Halloween specials, and the 2022 offering is a triumph. One of the instalments in the latest Treehouse of Horror compilation gave the Simpsons a fully blown authentic anime makeover. Fans have been in awe since the moment we got early glimpses online – in fact, it seems the idea might even have been inspired by a piece of fan art (for some pointers for your own work, see our character design tips).
The Simpsons' anime makeover is a tribute to the Japanese manga series Death Note. Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, the original series follows a teen genius who discovers a notebook that grants the user a supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages.
In Treehouse of Horror XXXIII, it's Lisa (naturally) who receives the Death Note (or Death Tome, as it's called in the episode). Fans have been delighted at anime Homer and Marge, and more.
A million ways to die in the Death Tome. pic.twitter.com/6NLSHNEWSNOctober 31, 2022
Manga fans will notice that the anime Simpsons look very true to the original style of Death Note, and that's clearly thanks to the involvement of the Korean studio DR Movie, which animated the segment. It worked on the Death Note anime series itself as well as titles such as the Matrix prequel The Animatrix and Justice League.
Fans have also been delighting in some of the details revealed in the short glimpse. Not just the main Simpsons characters who turn up in the anime style, but we can also catch glimpses of an anime Disco Stu and the identical twins Sherri and Terri Mackleberry and more. Some fans are even already saying that they'd like to see a whole series of a film in the anime style.
pic.twitter.com/j8zCG4a4jsOctober 25, 2022
"This is exactly what I want when a western cartoon reference anime. I always get annoyed when the style is usually half-assed, ever since I was a kid," one person wrote on Twitter. "I really want to see more episodes in this style, like a spinoff. Or just more episodes done in different animation styles! Doesn't only need to be treehouse episodes," another person wrote. "I would 100% watch a Simpsons anime done in this style," someone else said.
Was the Simpsons Death Note parody inspired by a fan?
Interestingly, we've come across a piece of Simpsons fan art that was shared on Deviant Art (opens in new tab) way back in 2007 proposing a Simpsons/Death Note crossover. Created by Canadian artist Nina Matsumoto, the idea got attention because two years later Matsumoto, who goes by the name Space Coyote on Deviant Art, was invited to create a full 15-page parody for a Bongo Comics Simpsons Halloween issue.
The piece, titled called Murder He Wrote, won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Short Story. Her original story had some differences – for example, Bart rather than Lisa received the note.
Incredibly, The Simpsons continues to come up with creative ideas after more than 30 years turning out seasons based on a deceptively simple premise. Treehouse of Horror XXXIII aired on Fox on October 30 and on Hulu the next day.
Death Tome was the second of the three segments. The other two pieces are a tribute to the 2014 horror film Babadook starring Marge and a Westworld parody. If you're looking to upgrade your TV to watch the special, don't miss the chance to save $730 in Best Buy's best early Black Friday LG TV deal. You can see more TV deals below.