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.
December 2004
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Archives for: December 2004, 29

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

07:10:33 pm , 391 words, 1770 views     Categories: Animation, Indie

On watching the animation battles

Found an interesting connection. I knew Nobuhiro Aihara had a start in commercial animation, but I spotted his name in the credits of Gauche the Cellist of all things on a recent re-watching. Love the guy even more now. Wish a DVD of his works would be released. I just got to rewatch Memory of Red alongside his animation battles with Keiichi Tanaami, and was again pleasantly struck by the incredible contrast in style. You see Aihara's origins in classical animation in his work, abstract though it is, in his ability to create intricate movement that excites as animation, whereas Tanaami's work is clearly the work of a painter, who expresses using sharp, staccato images presented boldly. Their erotic preoccupations are brought to the fore in Fetish Doll, which prominently features the finger-in-ear motif that also made an appearance in this year's animation action, Animactions!!!!, which I also had a chance to see. I think the latter could have been a more impressive piece if worked a little bit more in the studio afterwards to add some effects to the ghostly afterimages, but as it is it's an exciting and inspiring experiment. It was filmed with 5 different cameras, so theoretically you can see it unfolding differently each time. The earliest battle in the set, Scrap Diary, was in black and white, and represents a return to the fundamental movements: up-down, rotating, sliding, etc, which were the only givens at the beginning. Without the distraction of color, the eye becomes attuned to the visual richness created by their differing styles - the speed and weight of the brush strokes - as they intertwine on the screen. I found Landscape perhaps the most inspiring personally as a stimulating study of memory, of the landscapes seen for an instant from a moving train or car, never to be seen again; how these are remembered by different persons, and how they change in the mind with time. This boundlessly rich 30 minutes of visuals was all made in the last two years, so it's comforting to know that there are still people making this sort of down-to-earth analog animation these days - though it also seems to represent a nostalgic, bygone age, namely that of these now nearly septuagenarian master animators, whose art seem the most youthful of any of the independents I've seen working today.