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Element Wars is an American animated anime-style web series and media franchise created by Laura Long for Digital Spider. It is Digital Spider's first series to be created by a woman. The show is set in the fictional world of Residuum, where a species of humanoids called Elements train to become warriors to protect their world from outside threats. The series was announced at the Digital Spider-owned convention DSX in December 2012.

The first season of Element Wars, subtitled Volume 1, first released on July 18, 2014 on Digital Spider's website. The series became a viral hit, and a second season was put into production. The second season, Volume 2, was released in July 2015. The series has ran for six volumes and a total of 66 episodes.

The series has developed a broad fan base and has been critically acclaimed for its anime-style design, music, voice acting, characterization, and LGBT themes. The series received the Webpocket Award for Best Animated Web Series in 2014 and 2016; it was also nominated in 2017 but lost to Rooster Teeth's RWBY.

Volume 2 has been dubbed in Japanese and broadcast in Japan by Animax, in association with Sony Pictures Japan. And in the United States, the first three seasons were broadcast on Infinity Network in 2018.

Development

"The idea for the show was to sort of create an alternate Earth centered around elements while still having a "human" feel. I also wanted it to have an anime feel while still having a Western animation style."
- Laura Long

Laura Long worked on the development Element Wars for two years, beginning during the production of Digital Spider's miniseries Dude Overboard. Digital Spider co-founder Matt Fullett stated, "After the company's done with Dude Overboard, we'll start working on your show."

Long and Fullett announced the series at DSX 2012.

Voice cast and characters

Main article: List of Element Wars characters

Web series

Main article: List of Element Wars episodes

In the fictional world of Residuum lives a species of humanoid creatures called Elements. These creatures train to become warriors to protect their kingdom, Atlantis, from outside threats. The warrior trainees, when they finish training, mostly join a team of warriors known as the Treasure Force, lead by an Element known as Diamond.

The Treasure Force's enemies are mostly made up of Elements from the outside kingdoms of Aqua and Pyro, whose governments are against the Atlantic people due to a war rhat occured long ago known as the Kingdom War.

Release

Following the series' announcement at DSX in December 2012, the trailer was screened in May 2012.

After the trailer was screened, the series' first season, called Volume 1, was released in July 2014, and the series became a viral hit. The volume, Volume 2, was released on Digital Spider's website and became the first volume of Element Wars released on YouTube.

International releases

Element Wars has been distributed in Japan by Sony Pictures Japan since 2016, following the release of Volume 3. A Japanese-language dub has been broadcast by Animax.

Volumes 1 and 2 of the series have been distributed on home media in the United States and Canada by Sony Pictures Entertainment and in Australia by Namesake Entertainment. Volume 1 was distributed on home media in the United Kingdom by Perspective Home Media.

Manga

Element Wars

From May to September 2017, an Element Wars manga series was published by Shibogo. The comic was written by manga writer Yuri Ikozu and illustrated by manga artist and former anime director Izunobu Kabe. The manga series is a loose continuation of Volume 4, centered around the current lives of Ruby, Coal, and Sapphire after fighting in the Crystal War in the Northwest Region of the kingdom of Atlantis.

The series was translated to and published in English in December 2017 by Mangazoom.

Element Wars: Apocalypse

Element Wars: Apocalypse is a manga book published in December of 2018. The comic was witten by Yuri Ikozu, co-written by Makuzo Kokoshiba, and illustrated by artist Isoju Nosozuka.

The comic is loosely based on the events of the Element Wars Volume 5 episode "Apocalypse" in which the Elements go to war with a new species known as Gargoyles which evolved from Elements. Thusly, racism breaks out against Atlantic citizens made of stone due to the Gargoyles having the ability to transform into stone. Two stone Elements, Dark Stone and Hardrock, have to defend themselves from racism.

In March 2019, Apocalypse was translated to English and published by Mangazoom, and received positive reception from American readers due to its anti-racism themes.

Music

All of the music of the series has been composed by American music composer Miles Banker. The theme songs were also composed by Banker, with his sister, Pandora Banker, doing the vocals for the theme song and various other songs.

Voice actors also do the vocals for songs that their characters sing.

Volume 1 Soundtrack

No. Title Length
1 "Long Live the Elements" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:02
2 "Sunlight" (feat. Pandora Banker) 2:58
3 "Doomsday" 3:39
4 "Heat of the Sun" 2:08
5 "Residuum Run" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:30
6 "Atlantis Fever" 2:43
7 "Halfway" 3:51
8 "Takedown" 2:54
9 "Values" 3:03
10 "The Last Stand of the Enemies" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:22
11 "The Diamond You Are" (feat. George Lanes) 3:48
12 "The March" 4:09
13 "The Royals" 4:07

Volume 2 Soundtrack

No. Title Length
1 "Long Live the Elements" (Volume 2 Remix) 3:02
2 "Runaway Element" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:39
3 "The Element of Surprise" 2:53
4 "Within a Single Blink of an Eye" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:24
5 "The Heavy Tools" 3:01
6 "The Big Bang" 4:04
7 "Attack" 3:57
8 "The Deal" 3:40
9 "Shutdown" (feat. Pandora Banker) 4:04
10 "Someday" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:12
11 "The Reopening" 2:58
12 "Fear the Worst" 4:02
13 "Marked" 3:22
14 "Metals" 1:59

Volume 3 Soundtrack

No. Title Length
1 "Long Live the Elements" (Volume 3 Remix) 3:09
2 "Invasion" (feat. Pandora Banker) 4:09
3 "Principles" 4:56
4 "Prediction" 2:53
5 "None" 3:21
6 "Decided" 3:26
7 "Topaz" ("Contact" Remix) 4:00
8 "Out of Town" (feat. Marie Mehn) 3:57
9 "Caught" 3:32
10 "Secrets" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:47
11 "Identities" 3:20
12 "Say You Need Me" (feat. Halle Bryce and Lincoln Lee Smith) 3:01

Volume 4 Soundtrack

No. Title Length
1 "Long Live the Elements" (Volume 4 Remix) 3:07
2 "Nowhere Left for Us" (feat. Halle Bryce and Jenny Longwood) 3:32
3 "The Human Eye" 3:52
4 "Aftermath" 2:59
5 "Hanging" 3:03
6 "The Big Bang" 3:28
7 "Real Life" (feat. Hannah Artola and Anna Xiao) 4:04
8 "Side Slide" 4:10
9 "Dawn" 4:09
10 "Nighttime" (feat. Lincoln Lee Smith) 3:33
11 "Doomsday" (Volume 4 Remix) 3:43
12 "Who You Are" (feat. Jeneigh Brown and Alice Fourth) 3:49
13 "Shaken" 4:22
14 "Sunset Over Pacificus" 3:10

Volume 5 Soundtrack

No. Title Length
1 "Long Live the Elements" (Volume 5 Remix) 3:09
2 "Sunset Over Pacificus" ("Return" Remix) 3:10
3 "Run Like the Wind" (feat. Pandora Banker) 2:59
4 "Downfall" 3:27
5 "Take Control" (feat. Pandora Banker) 4:00
6 "Evolved" 3:52
7 "Slow Motion" 3:47
8 "Side" 2:57
9 "The Element of Life" (feat. Pandora Banker) 3:02
10 "Text" 3:03
11 "North" 2:22
12 "Stalked" 3:20
13 "Islanders" 3:11
14 "Trainwreck" 2:58
15 "Axe" 3:22
16 "Lights" 2:01
17 "Green" 2:58

Volume 6 Soundtrack

Other media

Element Wars: The Video Game

An Element Wars-based video game, Element Wars: The Video Game, was developed and published by Digital Spider for PC and the PS4.

The game's development was led by Laura Long and Element Wars supervising director Angela Suji.

Comics

In 2019, it was announced that comics of Element Wars would be published by Marvel Comics. The comics were written by Bobby Lenwood Jones and penciled by Gordón Fiertes.

Reception

Critical response

The pilot's first screening at DSX 2014 was very successful, receiving positive reactions and reviews from attendees. The series has a 7.9/10 rating on IMDb.

The show's LGBTQ themes have also been lauded, most notably because of Ruby and Emerald's lesbian relationship.

Associations with anime

"We are glad that Element Wars will be the first American anime production to be distributed in Japan."

Matt Fullett, executive producer/co-founder of Digital Spider

Lincoln Lee Smith (Coal) stated, "We were afraid that Element Wars would not be successful due to the fact that we're combining anime with Western animation and viewers may end up thinking that this is offensive or it looks bad or something of the sort." Discussion website Junkread has listed the topic of whether Element Wars is an anime as #9 on Top 50 of fandom battles you should never join.

LGBT themes

Element Wars is heavily centered around gender and sexuality classifications, which Gwen Foxham of Newsime called "a spectacular addition".

"Element Wars has an incredibly heavy focus on LGBTQ+ themes," says Miller Wu, a member of FanPizza's news department. "This heavily affects the show because it helps [to] build character. That is probably the strongsuit."

Ken Itotu, creator of Vale High, says he got his inspiration for Lin Shi from Ruby's "lesbian" behavior.

Fandom

Element Wars has a large, active fandom. Public interest in the series measured by Junkread vastly outstripped that of other series by Digital Spider in June 2017, which Evan Jared of FanPizza News called "obvious evidence that Element Wars might even beat the Steven Universe fandom."

Moviepack co-founder Antonio Gueres said, "It is true that over 71% of the emails sent to Digital Spider are confirmed fans of the show."

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Webpocket Awards Best Animated Web Series Element Wars Won
Netwards Greatest 2D Animated Series Element Wars Won
2015 Greatest Vocalist Pandora Banker Nominated
Greatest 2D Animated Series Element Wars Won
Genre Coins Best Science Fantasy Cartoon Element Wars Won
Best Cartoon Music Duo Miles Banker and Pandora Banker Won
2016 Webpocket Awards Best Animated Web Series Element Wars Won
Genre Coins Best Science Fantasy Cartoon Element Wars Won
Best Cartoon Voice Actor Halle Bryce Nominated
2017 FanPizza Best Animated YouTube Series Element Wars Won
Netwards Greatest Voice Actor Lincoln Lee Smith Won
Greatest Content Creator Laura Long Nominated
2018 Webpocket Awards Best Animated Web Series Element Wars Nominated
Streamy Awards Best Animated Series Element Wars Won
International Academy of Web Music Great Music Composition Miles Banker Won
2019 Webpocket Awards Best Music Composer Miles Banker Nominated
FanPizza Best Short-Format YouTube Animation "The Big Clash" Won
Digital Spider
People Founders (Jim Scotter · Matt Fullett · Mark Baylaker) · Casey Casehaven · Ben Morgom
Productions Series Future Run · Human Offline · Element Wars · Power of the Mutants · Letz Pl-A · Mandrake Premiere
Films The Five-Day Man · Minute No. 5 · Shred of the Documents · Runaway #5
Short films Love Struck · Troublemakers Again
Events DSX
Marathon Monthly
1990s Kachān (1999)
2000s Power Z! (2000) · Gughal (2001) · Dream-ZOOM (2002) · Ēkuba Tales (2003) · Shuju X1 (2004) · Kingpin (2005) · Dark Dragons (2006) · Sibu Rises (2007) · Hydro (2008) · Mekuma (2009)
2010s Black Stack (2010) · Sukama: Gold (2011) · Kasuzo! (2012) · Super War Force 7 (2013) · Red Eye Hero (2014) · Night Runner (2015) · Kasuzo!: The Official Manga Anthology (2016) · Element Wars (2017) · Fox Number Five (2018) · Kumo-Zubishi: Endgame (2019)
2020s Paradox Man (2020)
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