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.
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Archives for: November 2004, 11

Thursday, November 11, 2004

05:10:47 pm , 253 words, 1281 views     Categories: Mind Game

Yuasa speaks

Fish skeleton extension cordThe current exhibit at the Intercommunication Center in Shinjuku is a retrospective of the Nonsense Machines created by Maywa Denki, a two-brother art unit modeled on the electrical appliance microcompanies that were a hallmark of 60s Japan. (company site) In addition to the exhibits, there will be a series of talk events. The last one is entitled "Cartoonist and director and electrician's poem" and will feature Mind Game creator Robin Nishi and director Masaaki Yuasa. It will be broadcast live on the internet December 18 @ 18:00, Japan time. I'm not sure how Yuasa got involved in this, but it's easy enough to see the affinity between these surreal objects and Yuasa's equally surreal and mad design world. I'll summarize afterwards.

An extra soundtrack CD was added to the two Mind Game DVD box sets to add some purchasing incentive. Reportedly Seiichi Yamamoto recorded hours and hours of music for the film that never made it in for lack of space, and some voiced interest in seeing some of that released; ask etc.

An interesting item that sheds some light on Yuasa's open approach to the film: We know about the possibility of the actors being replaced in the dub, but one of the prizes being offered to Japanese purchasers of the DVD is the opportunity to record a scene from the movie with YOUR face in the role of the character in question - an amusing development that makes you realize Yuasa really meant what he said about a the film being a "work in progress".

Thursday, November 11, 2004

05:05:33 pm , 517 words, 2155 views     Categories: Animation, Animator, Director: Yasuhiro Aoki

Tweeny Witches #26

The latest episode of this series was again done by Yasuhiro Aoki, who continues to raise the stakes and go to the next level with his intensely assertive directing. His episodes are the most satisfying to me personally because in each one you get a clear sense of him trying out new techniques and attempting to push the boundaries of his abilities a bit further. There's no feeling of stasis, of knowing what to expect. He grabs you by the lapels every time, never lets go, and knows exactly where he wants to go. That sort of extremely tight directing is what I like to see people do in anime, and I haven't seen many others up to his level recently. I look forward to seeing his episodes (and the rest) in widescreen, as they were produced. (they've been snipped to 4:3 for broadcast)

Incidentally the order of the Kimagure Robot episodes was different from what had been announced previously, so here is the actual order of the eps on the site for anyone who's curious who did what. As it turns out, all three of Aoki's episodes will be contained in the second batch being posted in a few days.

1 Yoshiharu Ashino 芦野芳晴
  Tweeny Witches - chief director
  Azuki-chan - animation director, character design
2 Yasuyuki Shimizu 清水保行
  Arjuna 6 - director, storyboard
  Christania - animation director
  Spriggan - animation director
3 Chie Uratani 浦谷千恵
  Toshizo Hijikata - director, storyboard, animation director, character design
4 Masahiko Kubo 久保まさひこ
  Hakkenden OVA 11-13 - key animation
  Paranoia Agent 1 - key animation (Maromi)
  Virus Buster Serge op animation
5 Yumi Chiba 千葉ゆみ
  Azuki-chan 2, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 36 - key animation
6 Yasuhiro Aoki 青木康浩
7 Yasuhiro Aoki 青木康浩
8 Yasuyuki Shimizu 清水保行
9 Yasuhiro Aoki 青木康浩
10 Nobutake Ito 伊東伸高
  Dai Guard 22 - storyboard, animation director
  Yamamoto Yoko 17 - storyboard, director, animation director
  Hiwou Senki 10 - storyboard, animation director

Yasuhiro Aoki Filmography


  Sailor Moon R
    7, 12, 18, 42: key animation


  Sailor Moon S
    6, 11, 16, 21, 34: key animation


  Sailor Moon SS
    6, 13, 18, 24, 36: key animation

  Slayers Movie
    key animation


  Rurouni Kenshin
    9: animation director, key animation
    14: animation director, key animation
    22: storyboard, director, animation director, key animation

  You're Under Arrest
    11, 19: animation director


  Eternal Family
    key animation


  Ah My Goddess Movie
    key animation


  Cyborg 009
    32: key animation

  Earth Girl Arjuna
    11: key animation


  On a Moonlit Night
    key animation


  Animatrix: Second Renaissance & Beyond
    key animation


  Steam Boy
    key animation

    opening: key animation

  Tweeny Witches
    2, 8, 14, 20, 26: storyboard, director, animation director
    1: storyboard (w/Yoshiharu Ashino)
    6, 18: storyboard

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

05:00:24 pm , 484 words, 9805 views     Categories: Animation, OVA

Little Twins

July 1992: 25 min. movie (end of summer)
July 1992-Oct. 1993: 12 direct-to-video/rental episodes
Sept.-Dec. 1993: All 13 episodes broadcast on TV Tokyo

Little Twins is a short series that was produced ten years ago by Oh Production, the studio that produced Gauche the Cellist ten years before that. Oh Pro was one of the main animation supports of the World Masterpiece Theater for the first few years of its existence, when Takahata and Miyazaki were working there, and then focused on work for Ghibli after T & M made that their base of operations. Between the two they took several years to create their own self-produced Gauche as the studio's calling card.

This series is essentially inspired from the Gnomes world, with little people with pointy hats and realistically portrayed animals. Many of the same staff who were involved in Gauche were involved in this series, including veteran animation director and Oh Pro co-founder Kazuo Komatsubara (Nausicaa, Galaxy Express 999), here the character designer, who helped see the earlier project to completion; and Toshitsugu Saida, Oh Pro's most famous animator, here the animation director, who was the character designer and main animator of the earlier classic. This series shares with Gauche the same soft, etched look and calm, storybook atmosphere. It's one of the studio's most distinctive productions. Numerous interesting figures were involved, including art director Tsuchida Isamu, who was previously involved in another similar show with Komatsubara, Memol in the Pointed Cap; Takashi Nakamura, who animated the op/ed; and Manabu Ohashi, who in the movie provided "special animation" similar in style to that he provided for Junkers Come Here immediately afterwards, plus a nice sequence in the first winter episode. Apparently it was technically a Toei production, because Kimio Yabuki, who thirty years earlier was assistant director on Little Prince & the 8-Headed Dragon, was here as the producer. The movie even boasts a truly spectacular bit of animation at the climax, a strangely out-of-place, ultra-detailed portrayal of a house falling apart, which was probably animated either by the studio's representative, Koichi Murata, or by Masahiro Ando or Shigeto Tsuji, two of the studio's main animators.

There are 3 episodes for each season, plus the movie between summer and fall. The order seems arbitrary: The OVA version started with summer; the rental version started with winter; and the TV broadcast started with spring.

Creator/Supervisor: Isamu Tsuchida 土田勇
Chief Producer: Kimio Yabuki 矢吹公郎
Chief Director: Toshio Hirata 平田敏夫
Character Design/Chief Animation Director: Kazuo Komatsubara 小松原一男
Key Animation Supervisor: Toshitsugu Saida 才田俊次
Opening/Ending Animation: Takashi Nakamura なかむらたかし
Art Director: Mariko Kadono 門野真理子

Storyboard: Jun'ichi Sato 佐藤順一
Director: Yorifusa Yamaguchi 山口頼房
Special Animation: Manabu Ohashi 大橋学
Key Animation: Koichi Murata, Kin'ichiro Suzuki, Masahiro Ando, Eiichiro Nishiyama, Junko Ikeda, Kazutaka Ozaki, Eiko Miyamoto, Toshiaki Komura, Shigeto Tsuji
村田耕一 鈴木欽一郎 安藤正浩 西山英一郎 池田淳子 尾崎和孝 宮本英子 小村敏明 辻繁人

Storyboard/Director: Toshio Hirata 平田敏夫
Key Animation: Kin'ichiro Suzuki, Manabu Ohashi, Ikuko Ito, Eiko Miyamoto, Satoshi Nishimura
鈴木欣一郎 大橋学 伊藤郁子 宮本英子 西村智

Storyboard/Director: Osamu Inoue 井上修
Key Animation: Ikuo Ayaki, Takao Yamazaki, Tadao Yamazaki
礼木幾夫 山崎隆男 山崎唯文