In the mid-1990s, multimedia computers and the Internet were all the rage. In 1993, Japanese company Tsuburaya Productions exploited this popularity with a TV series called Gridman, where the protagonist transformed into a superhero and entered cyberspace (actually, a miniature set) to fight computer viruses (actually, actors in foam and rubber costumes) created by a loner with the assistance of a "computer world demon" named Kahn Digifer.
The next year, American company DiC Entertainment (defunct on December 6, 2008) bought the rights to Gridman and built a new series named Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, set in a Californian city, around the fight scenes. The plots remained largely the same, with the protagonist transforming into the same superhero (named Servo in the adaptation) to fight the "Megavirus monsters" created by a loner named Malcolm Frink, with the assistance of an artificial intelligence named Kilokahn.
As years passed and the world became more and more connected, the general idea of the series remained captivating, however, the execution showed more and more cheesiness. In particular, the American series appeared to justify hurting loners, showing the only loner with traits of a sadistic psychopath and inviting the audience to cheer whenever he got harmed or humiliated. To rectify this, I started writing my own reboot of the series as a fanfiction (which you can read in English and in Italian), turning the stereotyped antagonist into a more complex protagonist, with the traits of an antihero.
Chapter 17 of the fanfiction is a turning point in the story, inspired by what Tsuburaya Productions had planned for the second season of Gridman, which would have probably been adapted for Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad. For this reason, and also to improve my skills at animating characters with 3D Studio Max, I decided to make a short film out of it, and release it on Youtube.
In some ways, this short is more realistic than the series used to be. Besides playing Malcolm, I actually made the drawings which Malcolm made in the story. The voice of Kilokahn (an artificially intelligent program) is actually generated by a software (Cepstral) in the video. Everything you see on a screen in the short, was actually displayed on a screen in reality. And of course, the cyberspace (a computer-generated environment) is actually done with CGI here.
To prevent it from ever getting dated, I decided that the best setting for it was not "our" world, but a parallel universe where computer technology evolved in a slightly different way, and which could be best described as "the near future, as imagined in the 1990s". For this, I inserted many references to nonexistent future versions of products and brands that were current in the 1990s, but are abandoned now, and I associated old brands to new, futuristic products that cannot, and will not, ever be released.
In the universe of this story, computer technology is similar enough to ours to let viewers know what they are looking at, but different enough to feel weird and produce a feeling of "wait, this is impossible". I have produced several artwork which can be seen in the video for a few fleeting seconds, and now they are released here. Clicking on a picture will open it in full resolution.
VRML is still a great way to create 3D content for the web that can be experienced on computers or Android-based mobile devices. With a head-mounted display and stereoscopic drivers, it can even be experienced in virtual reality!
Would you like to know more about VRML or create 3D web content? These books may be exactly what you are looking for.