Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
August 2004
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Archives for: August 2004, 21

Saturday, August 21, 2004

12:45:36 pm , 357 words, 4107 views     Categories: Animation

Turn A Gundam #1

It was interesting to watch this episode while referring to Tomino's storyboard. I almost got the feeling like I understood better what Tomino was trying to do while looking at the storyboard, unhindered by distractions such as the animation in the finished product. That's not as strange as it may sound. Tomino is a famed storyboarder in Japan, probably holding the all-time record for number of episodes storyboarded. At the time this series started airing the count was 586 episodes storyboarded (992 if you count all episodes in all series on which he was the chief director).

After a long period of inactivity and depression, Tomino apparently got a second wind around five or six years back, deciding to get back into productivity full-time. First he took a warm-up dive with Brain Powered, then he went all-out with Turn A, and he finally hit his stride with the recent Gainer. It was good to see that he hadn't lost his touch after all that time. I can't say there's anything new there, either, but it's just as good as his old stuff, if you like that, and you've got to respect his ability to churn it out like that. It was a Tomino episode through and through, with the nonstop flow and camera-style shot framing that has always distinguished his work. If no mecha appear in the episode (aside from the opening sequence), it should be taken as a demonstration of his long-standing averment that you could take the robot out his work and it wouldn't make any difference: to him the essence of the work has always been the human drama. This episode shows the extent to which his time working with Takahata must have influenced his approach. It feels more like World Masterpieces Theater than robot anime. He used to chafe against the label of Yoshiyuki "robot anime" Tomino, but he seems to have come to accept it as his fate, and continues to stride on ahead with his own very particular brand of filmmaking within the confines of the genre. Honestly, by now, I wonder if he could do anything else even if he wanted to.