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 2006, 17

Friday, February 17, 2006

07:30:08 pm , 630 words, 1623 views     Categories: Animation, Misc

Sunset Blvd.

Weird how just seeing a sunset can be revitalizing when you're starting to feel like a pile of sludge on the inside. It helps you get outside of yourself for a moment. Is there anything more hackneyed than a photo of a sunset? Yet why is there this urge to want to capture a beautiful sunset in a photo? To stop time, perhaps.

I don't know how long I've been waiting for Iso's new project to be announced, so I have to say that I'm excited about this. I haven't looked forward to anything this much in a while. It's good to have that feeling back. I guess I'm addicted.

I wonder how long Iso has been warming this project. A number on the drawing would seem to suggest it was drawn six years ago. I know he's been working on it for several years, but I didn't think it went back that far. If so, it seems like he might have gotten involved in RahXephon to get a sense of what it was like directing, as a warm-up for what was to come. In that sense it will be interesting to look back on Childhood's End when the project is complete, to see how much was hinted by the episode and how he evolved.

Up until now Iso has been an animator, and a truly great one, so I have to confess that part of me is concerned to see him going to directing. I have confidence it will be worth the wait, but the animation fan in me finds it hard to give up Iso animation. It will definitely help if the animation turns out to be everything I would expect it to be for the directing debut of Mitsuo Iso. Considering how many people he influenced, and the long span of production, I'd hope that there should be no problem getting the obvious big names onboard.

Only six episodes left in Noein. Have to admit I'm going to miss the show. They really put the effort into making the animation as interesting as possible within the difficult confines of TV anime, something few shows have bothered to try to do lately, so it's going to be a shame to see it go. In each episode you could expect at least one bit of interesting animation - 18 had Hiroshi Okubo; 17 had more Matsumoto; 15 had Utsunomiya - and all that in addition to the occasional explosion like 12 bringing them all together, which honestly would have been entirely sufficient. (Even 16, a recap, advanced the story in an interesting way while providing some good new animation by Kishida, Ryochimo et al.) That was a wonderful thing for the "congregation", but I'm sure it'll have just the effect they're hoping it does, imbedding itself as a memory of something different and interesting in the young people watching it now, unaccustomed to that sort of thing, perhaps awakening a few to the path of animation.

It seems I was right all along in suspecting that Kishida has been in there laboring over the layouts throughout the show, uncredited. It was particularly clear in episode 1, with all its wonderfully handled extreme perspective shots. There's a certain sense of unity in the compositions that can only come from having a single layout man there to keep things straight, like in Heidi or Gamba, and I can't think of any other show in recent decades where that's been attempted. Kishida has surely come as close as humanly possible as it is in this day and age to accomplishing that feat. In every single episode I could feel Kishida's hand, either in the layout or animation. It's a level of devotion you rarely see in a TV show these days, and clearly it attracted a good staff.