The Second World War was waged over six long years on every continent save South America and Antarctica. Seventy-some years later, the daily shifts of the European Theater's front lines can be tracked in under seven minutes, thanks to a mysterious, map-loving animator known variously as Emperor Tigerstar or Kaiser Tigerstar (the latter accounts for the helmet-wearing kitten gracing the upper corner of his World War I time-lapse).
The power-shifting colors (blue for Allies, red for Axis) are mesmerizing, as is a relentless timer ticking off the days between Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and VE Day, May 8, 1945. Royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod and audio samples ranging from Hitler and Mussolini’s declarations of war to Roosevelt's Day of Infamy speech add import.
I definitely felt like throwing some ticker tape around when blue triumphed, but mostly I was curious about this Emperor Tigerstar, who relied on such disparate sources as Chris Bishop's Military Atlas of World War II and Wikipedia to create this extraordinary record in Windows Paint.
Careful reading of his blog reveals a diehard history buff with a weakness for metal music, wholesome CGI movies, and statistics.
He's also a workaholic. His YouTube channel boasts a boggling assortment of map animations. This in addition to an alternate YouTube channel where he remaps history in response to his own "what if" type prompts. Somehow he finds the time to preside over The Blank Atlas, a site whose members contribute unlabeled, non-copyrighted maps available for free public download. And he may well be a brony, as evidenced by the video he was purportedly working on this summer, World War II: As Told by Ponies.
Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, let us hope that he makes good on his threat to make a universal World War II map animation. Could that be the secret project he's aiming to launch on January 1, 2014? I can't wait to find out.