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.
July 2006
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Archives for: July 2006, 11

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

09:19:24 pm , 527 words, 1151 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Movie, TV

Looking forward to Tokikake

I see that Mamoru Hosoda's Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The girl who could travel time) is hitting theaters in Japan in just a few days. Initial reactions seem good, and I'm looking forward to it. As a full-length, non-franchise feature based on a solid story, and not a featurette, a promo short, or a TV episode - unlike the various items Hosoda has directed in the last few years, which have all been wonderful, but have all been very 'minor' and seen mostly by die-hard fans - this film will probably finally bring Hosoda some well-deserved recognition. It seems like a film that might go some ways to filling the big shoes left empty by the absence of Isao Takahata from the stage now that Ghibli seems to have turned their back on their formula of alternating fantasy Miyazaki films with more realistic outings - a formula I thought lent the studio such a good balance. It won't be quite the same thing, of course, but Hosoda is a new voice for a new generation, and I think he'll be able to connect with a lot of viewers.

I sampled a few new shows, and was particularly hopeful about a new show from Telecom entitled Muteki Kamban Musume featuring Kazuhide Tomonaga doing animation, but was not terribly impressed. Telecom has the people to make the interesting movement, they just need someone to create some interesting stories so that the animation will actually have an impact. Like all the other studios out there these days, it seems they feel they have to base their shows on mediocre manga to attract viewers. Their previous effort using an original story had promise, but didn't live up to that promise for whatever reason, even though it felt like a good direction, so perhaps they gave up on that direction in despair. Angelique was interesting for being a new show mostly done by women. It was only missing a woman director. Content-wise it barely held my interest for a moment. I enjoyed ep 13 of Ouran High School Host Club, directed by chief director Takuya Igarashi. The stylistic resemblance to Mamoru Hosoda was even more striking than in the first ep, and there were interesting animators spicing things up, including op/ed animator Norimitsu Suzuki and Takaaki Wada. The sequence before the title was likely done by one or the other of these two. I liked the feeling of weight in the movement there. Clear effort went into making it look like each part of the body was moving in a different vector. As a movement it felt great. Whoever it was, they stood out big time, without being flamboyant. They stood out because the movement was incredible, not because the drawings were idiosyncratic. Even the short shot of the rabbit walking in front of the door stood out. I've never seen a stuffed rabbit walking, but after seeing that shot, I'm sure that's exactly what it must look like. In that sense it reminded me of Masahiko Kubo's animation of Maromi in ep 1 of Paranoia Agent, which literally brought Maromi to life as a living and breathing stuffed animal. A satisfying ep.