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: April 2005, 10

Sunday, April 10, 2005

02:03:07 pm , 276 words, 3154 views     Categories: Animation

Speed Grapher #1

Hisashi Mori and Hiroyuki Okuno, the two figures responsible for one of the more unusual creations of recent memory, Samurai Seven #7, are credited with "design works" on this new series, which makes a promising beginning with this first episode. The flat look of the animation will be familiar to anyone who has seen Mori's past work, particularly his stint as animation director/character designer for Mamoru Hosoda's 2000 film Children's War Game. Hosoda's latest film also reportedly shares a similar feeling due to the similarly-inclined animation directors involved. The basic stance seems to be to focus on the form - outline - of a shape rather than its inner details, in order to get more movement out of every moment, which is something Masaaki Yuasa was already doing as far back as his early Shin-chan work. Hosoda mentions that shadows were not used in order to enrich the colors of his film, but obviously this tactic also helps to focus on movement over detail. Not all of the animation is up to par in this first episode, but much of it is, and overall it makes for a more compelling approach to the animation. Hopefully Mori will be doing some actual animation in the series. He's too interesting an animator to relegate to mere design work.

In addition to these two figures, the character designer of the series and director of the episode, Masashi Ishihama, has a lineage stretching back to Hakkenden, FLCL, Jin-Roh and even Yoshinori Kanada's episode of Popolo Crois. The directing is convincing, and there's a refreshing feeling of distance and aloofness in the pacing and framing that sets it apart from similar fare.