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: February 2005, 13

Sunday, February 13, 2005

12:07:53 am , 615 words, 2941 views     Categories: Animation, Animator

Norimoto Tokura

I've been reading a recent interview with Ichiro Itano that goes into considerable detail about his past work, more than I've seen anywhere else. It's full of interesting anecdotes about his early days, like the way he got in trouble for constantly drawing limbs flying on Gundam, or the way he got personally recognized once by Tomino when he drew every drawing in a shot at full 24 frames, and the director of that episode got mad at him and changed it back to regulation limited, and he went behind the back of the director and changed it back, and the director got pissed at him in the screening room in front of Tomino, but Tomino loved what Itano had done and told him to ignore the director, calling him a "nobody" in memorable Tomino fashion. At the other end of the scale, he talks about his most recent work, the flight sequences for the Ultraman movie remake, which was so successful that he's currently doing the same for the new TV series. He comes across as extremely confident about the knowhow that his new team has built up since they started out with the impressive flight action in Macross Zero. He feels he'll soon be able to take on Hollywood. Itano has an amazing memory, is very talkative and seems to just exude energy. He's the kind of person for whom the word karisuma animator was made.

The surprise of the interview was when he mentioned just about my three favorite animators, Shinya Ohira, Shinji Hashimoto and Satoru Utsunomiya, lamenting the fact, as I often have myself, that there's nobody in the industry with the good sense to step in and get some situation set up that would put the incredible talent of these people to use by putting them at the head of some interesting projects. Anything rather than having Shinya Ohira drawing waves in The Prince of Tennis because they don't want him touching people. In the same sentence he included one figure I'm not familiar with, Norimoto Tokura 戸倉紀元. That got me curious. If he's good enough to stand comparison with those three, then I probably want to see his work. Upon a bit of investigation, it turns out he's been involved in many of the big Hashimoto/Ohira projects. He was in both eps 1 and 10 of Hakkenden as well as Kid's Story. I ran across one citation that noted a similarity between the film he worked on in the omnibus Ai Monogatari (which tellingly featured Masaaki Yuasa as an animator) and the only films on which Ohira and Hashimoto have had total creative control, their episodes in the OVA series Twilight Theatre. So for reference purposes, here's a list of some of his work as an animator, though I know nothing of his style and don't know anything specific about what he did.

1986
   Saint Seiya 5, 9
   Windaria

1987
   Mister Ajikko 47, 52

1988
   Char's Counterattack
   Dirty Pair OVA 4

1989
   Gosenzosama Banbanzai 2, 3, 6
   Ranma TV 3

1990
   Maroko
   Hakkenden 1
   Devilman OVA

1991
   Gundam F91

1992
   Tekkaman Blade 31, 36

1993
   Moldiver 2
   Ai Monogatari (AD)

1994
   Hakkenden 10
   Metal Fighter Miku 2, 5
   Ta-chan 33

1995
   Slayers Perfect movie

1996
   X

1997
   End of Evangelion
   Vampire Hunter

2001
   Metropolis

2003
   Captain Harlock 1, 3, 5, 6
   Gungrave op, 1, 5, 7, 12
   Last Exile 3, 7, 15
   Animatrix: Kid's Story
   Bomberman Jetters 52

2004
   Paranoia Agent 1, 13

2005
   Aquarion op