From the US-China currency war presented as a rap battle... to "Cablegate" portrayed as a throw-down between Uncle Sam and Julian Assange, Taiwan's Next Media Animation team doesn't throw any punches.
Their videos have become a new form of political cartoon for the digital age - provocative, punchy and usually with a hard-hitting point. And even though this animated Assange doesn't look exactly like the real deal, that's OK. The animators are usually fogiven. Since their retelling of Tiger Woods' car crash went viral in late 2009, they've churned out a never-ending stream of video hits.
It's the brainchild of Next Media, the Hong Kong-based company with wildly popular tabloid papers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Next Animation works out of the same building as the Apple Daily in Taiwan. A staff of some 300 programmers, animators and actors mixing current events with rather creative dramatizations.
At the helm is billionaire entrepreneur Jimmy Lai. He has built a reputation for a paparazzi publishing style... and for being willing to provoke Beijing. I recently spoke to the maverick media tycoon in Hong Kong. He insists Next Media Animation is not just the future of funny news, but conventional news as well since you need "the image to make a news story."
About 30 minutes before the show, pro- and anti-government protesters started to converge in Cairo's Tahrir Square. It started out with opposing chants. But we had a bad feeling it wouldn't stay peaceful.
Then the rock-throwing started. Just as quickly, we heard that it stopped... that some protesters embraced each other and knelt in prayer.
But that changed when a group rode in on horses and camels. From that moment on, we were monitoring a very fluid situation full of dramatic confrontation, though no military intervention.
As of this posting, it is still unfolding.