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: March 2005, 19

Saturday, March 19, 2005

12:05:17 pm , 375 words, 2165 views     Categories: Animation


Shinji Hashimoto talks about how he's been going in a different direction from Shinya Ohira since Hakkenden, and you can sense this in the breadth of his work over the last decade, but seeing his latest creation only confirms the deep-rooted spiritual kinship that sets both of these animators apart from the pack. One of the things that makes Shinya Ohira's work so cathartic is precisely its shock value. It wakes us up. Just as we're dozing along to the same flatline of sleek visuals, along comes this spike of a heartbeat that shows us everything we haven't been seeing all this time - everything that is possible in animation but that isn't being done in what we've been sitting through, sound asleep to the possibilities. It's as eye-opening as a bucket of cold water. Hashimoto's section in S. Champ. 26 had that effect on me today, and it was a sheer delight to see that he was given free reign to do what he does best in a way that was dramatically well integrated. It was the return of Kid's Story. If for nothing else, I compliment the director on his choice of animators. There were two energizing jolts in this series: the first one from Yuasa a few months back, and the second from Hashimoto just now. Both were effectively integrated and 100% unsullied. I salute the good sense that could see the dramatic potential and visual appeal of throwing in this sort of animation in such an unusual context. What would be even better than the occasional shot in the arm such as this would be some major projects headed by these animators who are obviously among the most interesting creators working in Japanese animation today.

One thing I noticed in Kid's Story was that the method was still not perfected, in that the key animation by Ohira could not be integrated as is. An outline had to be traced. This becomes clear when you look at his original keys. Thus what we saw was still not 100% pure. Here it looks like we're seeing Hashimoto's drawings in the raw, and that wonderful texture that's so different from what we've just been looking at is part of what gives it its unique impact and beauty.