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Angry Birds Mystery Island’: New Look, New Characters, New Fun

On the latest Rovio series, Titmouse, with help from Snipple Animation and Yearim Productions, finds the right visual bridge between the property’s 3DCG films and flat 2D games, with layered depth and lighting that makes the action pop while maintaining some cartoony plasticity and feel; now streaming on Amazon Kids+ and Prime Video.

In 2009, Rovio Entertainment released a mobile game featuring angered birds launched via slingshots at equally angry green pigs in an effort to eliminate all the pigs from the makeshift battlefield. The game, aptly named Angry Birds, became an award-winning success; it was an instant hit, though few could have imagined how huge the property would become in the following years. 15 years later, Angry Birds has become a massive franchise, with nine comics, two films and a third on the way, dozens of various game versions, as well as 10 animated series.

Angry Birds Mystery Island, the latest TV show adaptation within the Angry Birds universe, is written and directed by Eric Rogers, known for animated kids’ series like S.M.A.S.H!, Polly Pocket, and Skylanders Academy. Mystery Island, which has released 8 of its 24 Season 1 episodes, follows three new hatchlings – Mia, Rosie, and Buddy - plus a foreign-exchange piglet named Hamylton, who have been stranded on a deserted island. Each day, the gang hatches a plan to get off the island but are thwarted by unexpected twists and turns. They face extreme weather, challenging obstacles, and newfound creatures along the way, often solving one mystery only to reveal another. 

The island tests the group of four constantly, but only by passing these tests, overcoming their differences, and going deep into the heart of darkness can our heroes find a way back to the life they once knew. The series is available to watch on Amazon Kids+ and Prime Video.

Check out the trailer:

“This franchise is kind of like Star Wars, Marvel, or Star Trek in the sense that it began with an earlier generation,” says Rogers, speaking to the longevity of the property. “Those kids who are watching Angry Birds now as a show, it’s their parents who are the ones that first discovered this world as a game. And, as we've had this opportunity to expand that universe, those parents see this on their screens and trust what we’re putting out there. They remember how fun it was and now are having fun engaging with their kids. There's this awesome bridge between generations with this brand and not every brand has that going for them.”

Produced by Rovio Animation, Rovio Entertainment and Amazon Studios, the 2D series is animated by Titmouse, whose team has found a visual aesthetic for the show that, according to supervising director Alex García Muñoz, serves as a bridge between the 3D-animated films and the ultra-flat 2D mobile game. 

The animation – done by Titmouse with help from Snipple Animation and Yearim Productions –includes a lot of depth, from the lightning that shoots across the sky, to the way objects shine in the brush, and even the dust floating in the air. The animation technique gave particular shots in the series a lot of layers that cause the images to look like they could pop out of the screen. 

“It was an interesting challenge because Angry Birds has two extreme animation poles: the very high-end 3D of the films and the original game’s very flat 2D animation,” states Muñoz. “Rovio has explored both and, for this series, we landed somewhere in the middle. We wanted to fill the gap after the second film and the mandate for that sent us in an art direction that would push the tools and the scope of the project as much as it would allow.” 

He continues, “The idea was to get as close as we could to the level of depth of the films without making it a 3D show. It was a big effort, crafting the layouts and the shots so that we were deviating from cartoony camera choices. We were looking at classical film for our inspiration in terms of shot choices, and we were pushing the boundaries of what lighting can do while keeping all the benefits and the plasticity of 2D animation when it came to performance, storytelling and humor.”

To accomplish the lighting style, the animation teams started by creating all the backgrounds in 3D, which would later be painted in 2D. Both Harmony and Animate were used to come up with effects and character animation, with tones, key lights and highlights pursued on both software. 

“Of course, there’s always limited resources and time, but I think the show really does an amazing job of accomplishing what we set out to do,” says Rogers. “Every time I see something come back in animation, I'm so wowed by what Titmouse is able to do. What Snipple and Yearim are able to do. They’ve all gone above and beyond what I imagined when I started putting words on the paper. A big tip of the cap to all three animation studios for leveling up what I saw in my head and making that a reality.”

During the compositing stage, the teams had the tedious task of making sure all the effects and lighting were integrated and consistent from shot to shot. On top of that, there were color corrections according to the changing seasons that would also influence changes in lighting. 

“It was a complex spaghetti of processes and software to put together the images in this show, but we had an amazing crew that was so skilled,” shares Muñoz, whose team consisted of animators like Invincible’s Justin Schultz and Oddballs’ Jen Paehr. “I have never before been surrounded by such a skilled crew or this kind of technical richness that enabled us to take on this challenge.”

Outside of having the skillset and technology at their disposal to achieve a unique Angry Birds animated style, Amazon and Rovio made it clear to Muñoz and Rogers that this series should increase the range of stories and genres that could be tackled in the Angry Birds universe. And upping the visual language was one of the ways to open those narrative doors. 

“It’s also why Eric had to create these new characters and take them to places we hadn’t been before with Angry Birds, in terms of drama and spectacle,” notes Muñoz. “We were told to think of this like a feature film.”

Rogers adds, “We were told by Rovio that these hatchling characters in the second film were very popular, and we thought it would be a good idea to take these characters and make them more tween-ish, make the stakes more real and give them rather emotional conflicts. We were always trying to find ways to push what ages 6 to 11 comedy could be. We also thought it would be fun to throw a foreign exchange student pig in there and change the narrative of that longstanding conflict between pigs and birds. Our characters are going to become a found family.”

And, of course, there are still some nods in the show to entertain the parents. As it turns out, classical movies inspired more than just the filming style. 

“We have so many movie references in this show, it’s hard to remember them all,” admits Rogers. “We have Jaws, The Hunger Games, Free Willy, Survivor… it would probably take half an hour to give you the full list.”

Just as Angry Birds’ reach expands to multiple generations, Muñoz notes the pop culture references in the film also showcase the generational gap on the production team.

“The animation team really pushed the anime references and not all of us understood,” says Muñoz. 

Rogers continues, “That was definitely me. I was always the one saying, ‘I don’t understand what that is.’ And one of the animators would go, ‘Well, Mr. Rogers…’ I also had to do a deep dive with TikTok as research for one of the episodes where the kids have a cellphone and they each waste time on the apps rather than trying to find a way home. It was my first time really looking at TikTok and now I understand why parents need to put a time limit on this stuff. It’s such a black hole.”

Still, Rogers retains his TikTok account and attests to the fact that production, despite all the challenges, was more like play than work. 

“It was hard, don’t get me wrong,” he says. “But it was so much fun and such a ride to see every step of the process and how good everyone is at their jobs and bringing this all together. Everyone took on the challenges of making this show with smiles on their faces, loving their work and being proud of their work. From me and Alex to our voice cast and casting directors and story artists and editors, this show is not what it is without every single person who's had a hand in it.”

As for the remaining 16 episodes of the show, it has not yet been announced when those will release, though Rogers says that “Amazon has a plan.” The rest of the details, however, are under wraps. But the team is eager to share more, perhaps even after Mystery Island is wrapped. 

“We know how the business works and sometimes that’s just not reality, but it would be a shame not to keep going with these characters,” says Rogers. “It’s been such a dream come true to play in this sandbox and we hope, knock-on-wood, that it continues.”

Victoria Davis's picture

Victoria Davis is a full-time, freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She's reported on numerous stories from activist news to entertainment. Find more about her work at