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.
March 2006
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Archives for: March 2006, 29

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

05:25:56 pm , 689 words, 1612 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Indie, TV

Recent viewing

I wonder if there's any way of seeing more of Luis Bras's work? Some of his work was included on The Planet and it was easily among my favorite work on the disc, with its hand-drawn aesthetic obviously dating it to an older generation. Some parts were like an Escher drawing come to life, while others were line studies that reminded me of McLaren. It stood out as obviously of a different era and mindset from everything else on the disc - not to discount the more recent stuff, as some of it was really inventive. Nowadays people just wouldn't seem as prone to do anything so laborious by hand. Reading up on him reveals that he's made quite a number of films over the last few decades, and was even involved with the NFB in some manner. Norman McLaren springs to mind when you watch his films, and indeed they apparently met at one point. A few months back I noticed that Uplink also released what appears to be a continuation of The Planet - Animados Musicales. (clip) Which reminds me that I still need to see Mercano the Martian... Now if they'd release a DVD of Bras's work, that would just top the cake with icing.

A few weeks back I noticed Susumu "Gucci" Yamaguchi was going to be doing another Keroro Gunso ep, 102, so not having seen 21, I was looking forward to it to see how his work had evolved over the years since Outlaw Star. I checked out 101 just to get some frame of reference on the show's style, and was surprised how well done it was. Nothing extraordinary, but solidly crafted. Yamaguchi's early work was the epitome of youthful fervor, with crazy drawings and wild action like a cross between Utsunomiya and Imaishi, so I didn't think we'd be able to see his true flavor come through in a show like this. With the exception of one place where he put his all into a great action sequence full of laborious and thrilling background animation, which we don't see much of anymore these days, the ep didn't have quite the feeling of velocity in his early work, but it pulled you in the same way his old work did. The only name I recognize is Yasushi Shingo, who was in most of Gucchi's eps of Outlaw Star, so perhaps he did the good part. Gucci is the only one who's done solo eps like this in the show.

I was surprised that Kenji Nakamura/Takashi Hashimoto's Bakeneko wrapped up on only its 3rd ep, but on second thought, it makes sense in view of the astonishing work they did in those few eps. It's more surprising that this kind of work was shown on TV to begin with. It was a stylistic tour-de-force on the order of Cossette. The second ep wasn't done by the main team, so while similar on the surface it was lackluster and missing the other eps' spark of genius. With the finale (ep 11) we were back to the grin-inducing manic directing of ep 9, with a huge array of animators in tow to boot (33 KA), including Soichiro Matsuda, Kakita, Hashimoto, Yamashita Takaaki and his protege. Stylistic quirks were kicked into thrilling overdrive, wrapping up the story nicely. The kitty's movement at the very end was wonderfully nuanced and delightful, so presumably Yamashita. Elsewhere it looked like Akira Takada. I don't think anyone saw this one coming. Bravo Kenji Nakamura & Takashi Hashimoto. Encore!

Noein went out with an impressive bang in the last episode, 24, with all the major animators we saw throughout the series filling the ep with non-stop animated excitement. Not much else to say other than gokurousama! It was great to see Satoru Utsunomiya get a chance to do a lot of work here, as I remember hoping he'd get to. On top of that Matsumoto did a lot, but interestingly though there was a bit of action it was mostly low-key everyday life animation. Then Hiroshi Okubo did a lot of great action, while the now up-and-coming Ryochimo made a name for himself in no time short.