Arts and Entertainment

The rise of the Scottish Ninjas

Scottish Ninjas creators Rob Mullin, Philip Branesky, Casey Faber of Redmond, Beau Obremski and Dean Shimabukuro pose for a photo during the Sly Studios premier of the Scottish Ninjas pilot at the Kirkland Eagles Hall on March 26. - Matt Phelps/Kirkland Reporter
Scottish Ninjas creators Rob Mullin, Philip Branesky, Casey Faber of Redmond, Beau Obremski and Dean Shimabukuro pose for a photo during the Sly Studios premier of the Scottish Ninjas pilot at the Kirkland Eagles Hall on March 26.
— image credit: Matt Phelps/Kirkland Reporter

What do you get when you mix two Kirkland guys, a Bellevue Community College computer class, samurai swords, kilts, guns, one "stoner" and alcohol? An adult cartoon - and that is not a joke.

But Beau Obremski and Rob Mullin are swinging for the funny bone with their creation "Scottish Ninjas," which is an animated series they are pitching to the adult cartoon network [adult swim].

"We sort of think of ourselves as garage band animators with high hopes," said Mullin.

The two friends premiered "A very Scottish pilot," March 26 at a packed Kirkland Eagles Hall for friends, family, media and fans.

"This is where the 'Scottish Ninjas' would hang out," said Obremski, 29.

Since the premiere they have submitted a proposal to [adult swim].

The [adult swim] cable channel, which shares air time with the Cartoon Network, has grown in popularity with such oddball shows as "Aquateen Hunger Force" and "Robot Chicken."

"All the shows are done on the cheap by just a couple of guys," said Mullin, 40.

The well produced and professionally animated show is about three drunken Scottish brothers, Finn, Lachlan and Aidan, whose father trains them to be ninjas. The three "Scottish Ninjas" come to the United States to fight crime and drink beer. The villain in the pilot is a gun toting crazy man loosely based on actor Charlton Heston called the Executioner.

The two friends describe the show as a mix of "Kill Bill Vol. 1," "Braveheart" and the irreverent comedy of "South Park." The content is definitely not for children as it contains gratuitous violence, swearing, references to drug use and sexual innuendos. Mullin's own son has not seen the show, which has been one of the toughest parts of the project for him.

"He is pretty upset that he can't watch it," said Mullin. "But it is not for kids."

Both Kirklanders said that their families have been really supportive of the project despite the adult nature.

The idea originally came from Mullin, who has a rich Scottish heritage.

"Originally it was a shtick I used to do when I was into sword fighting," said Mullin. "I have a good grounding in the Celtic arts."

Obremski, who is not Scottish, does all the animation for the project, while Mullin does most of the voices. The two friends co-write and produce the project.

"I have two loves, Hurling and Scottish Ninjas," said Mullin, who started the Seattle Hurling Club.

The two friends met at Bellevue Community College during an animation class for Web design. Mullin began joking and talking about the concept and Obremski, who is a freelance animator, came to class one day with some rough sketches of what the characters might look like. From there they put together a Flash trailer and posted it online.

"I had forgotten about it," said Obremski. "People started asking me about it and asking where they could get it."

The two friends decided to make a pilot with the idea and garnered the help of five other people including Philip Branesky, Dean Shimabukuro and Nate Zimmer of Bellevue and Casey Faber of Redmond to put the project together. One of those people is Christian Marcussen, who lives in Denmark. Marcussen is a composer who has done music for popular video games such as "Time Splitters" and "Operation Flashpoint."

"This was built in Kirkland and spawned on the internet," said Mullin. "A lot of the people who have helped put this together have volunteered their time."

The project has taken three years from that first original concept at Bellevue Community College.

"We would work on it at lunch at the Olive Garden," said Obremski.

Mullin and Obremski recently attended the Seattle Comicon, which is an event for Sci-Fi and comic book lovers that travels the country. The two friends promoted the show in a "guerrilla" type advertising campaign.

"We handed out 500 post cards and by the end of the event we had people recognizing us and our shirts," said Obremski.

The two friends have produced the show out of Sly Studios, LLC, a company they created to market the show.

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