There are only five episodes remaining to Futurama's sixth season, and we managed to see a lot of them at the show's Comic-Con panel. Including the entirety of an insanely funny anime segment!
According to the Futurama producers, every season of the show ends with a "last episode ever" type episode — just in case the show never comes back. This year around, to change things up, the "last episode ever" episode will be the penultimate installment of the season, and then there'll be one more episode, in which the show comes back from the dead.
And apparently the show comes back from the dead in three forms: as a Japanese animation show, as a black-and-white Max Fleischer cartoon, and as a 1980s video game. The "sizzle reel" the producers showed us at the end included some tantalizingly beautiful snippets of the Fleischer and video game segments — including some Betty Boop stylings and a Dig Dug sequence! — but we also got to watch the entire Japanese animation segment.
It would be hard to summarize the entire anime segment, which was a complete Futurama story in which the team becomes the Action Delivery Force and fights a slew of space shrimp who communicate by dancing. The space shrimp worship a comet, which is accidentally destroyed by humans, so they launch an armada of corncob-shaped ships to destroy Earth. And all of the humans' attempts to communicate with, or do battle against, the dancing aliens fail horribly. Meanwhile, there are great old-school anime touches, like the rainbow vertical stripes showing each character's dramatic reaction to something.
Suffice to say that there is naked Doctor Zoidberg (who is "medical crab with lesson") and the overdubbed-in-English dialogue is fantastic, and anime Leela is a thing of total beauty. Oh, and Fry and Bender can combine into a fighting robot, only not really. Hermes also does a weird battle transformation, after which he does some bookkeeping. I kind of don't want to give away all the weird surprises in this segment, but suffice to say it's one of the funniest things I've seen this show do in ages. Oh, and there's the amazing line, "We thought we were so smart, with our science and our dancing."
We also saw some snippets from the "All The President's Heads" episode, where the Professor licks the head of George Washington. Someone says, "You can't tongue the father of our country." And then the whole crew goes back in time to 1775, where they're randomly wearing tricorner hats. They need to find where the Continental Congress is happening, and Bender and Fry are exasperated at the idea of searching building-to-building — until the camera pulls back and we realize there are only two buildings, for miles around.
There was also a bit of footage from "Fry am the Eggman," in which Bender adopts a weird giant bug creature, Mr. Peppy. We see Bender attempting to play catch with Mr. Peppy, who tears Bender's arm off. And then the Professor realizes that this creature is actually Bonus Vampirus, which is a scary monster.
And then we also saw some footage from this season's "last episode ever" — which is actually the penultimate episode of the season, as we mentioned earlier. Bender gets overclocked, and experiences a kind of singularity in which he becomes a virtual god who can practically see the future — and meanwhile, Fry and Leela are trying to figure out what their future is. And in the footage we saw, Bender is massive and dispassionate, unmoved by his former friends and their problems. He gives a very Dr. Manhattan-esque response to Fry, basically saying it's impossible for Fry to understand his lofty perspective.
The actual Futurama panel was incredibly upbeat and super entertaining — David X. Cohen was excited to unveil a new free iPhone app, the Futurama Head ina Jar creator, whcih allows you to customize your own head in a jar, create a head museum and share it with your friends.
In the clips, we caught a glimpse of Scruffy, the little-seen character who was originally supposed to be killed in every episode, like Kenny on South Park. And the producers said we'll see a lot more of Scruffy next year. I'm not sure if the producers were joking when they said that Scruffy gets a notary license next year, which makes him a much more exciting character.
The panel concluded with a bizarre, thrilling "cartoonist smackdown" between Matt Groening and Peter Avanzino, in which they both had to draw Bender within a short period of time. Groening drew five doodles with his left hand ( as a handicap) including a few Benders and a Popeye. Avanzino drew a fantastic sketch of Bender acting out the final act of Shakespeare's Hamlet, which was a wonder to behold. And then Groening signed Avanzino's picture.