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: August 2006, 05

Saturday, August 5, 2006

11:33:09 pm , 470 words, 1820 views     Categories: Animation, Animator, TV

Miyazawa in xxxHolic

One of the reasons I like Tsutomu Mizushima is that he's a director who knows a good animator when he sees one, and he can be relied upon to make an effort to mold whatever work he is doing around the animators he has available in order to get the best possible work out of them. For example, he actually went back and added a few more shots to the storyboard of the transformation in the parlor in the xxxHolic movie after he learned that Shinji Hashimoto was going to be animating it, just so he could get a few more shots out of Hashimoto. For the ending of the xxxHolic TV series he managed to drag some nice animation out of Kise Kazuchika, who seems so reluctant to do animation these days. In Hare Nochi Guu he got the guys responsible for the tastiest animation at Shinei - Masami Otsuka and Yuichiro Sueyoshi - to do another fantastic ending. In the latest ep of xxxHolic, #18, we can see a lot of wonderful work from Yasunori Miyazawa, along with his old Shinei mainstay Futoshi Higashide. Here we see not the manic movement of the opening scene of the movie, but more Miyazawa's genius for creating amazing otherworldly forms, and his very unique approach to color. He uses only a few simple patches of color overlaid sparingly over a few organically pulsating shapes to create a mezmerizing, almost psychedelic texture on the screen. It almost reminds me of Faith Hubley. The effects and colors in the shot where the larva explodes at the end of Dead Leaves were similar in feeling to his work here. There is also a section with various monsters that reveals a side of his genius I haven't seen before. We pan across a fascinating procession of inventive and appealing monster designs emerging out of the beautiful tangle of Miyazawa's characteristic line splayed masterfully across the screen. Miyazawa isn't just a good mover; he clearly has a wild imagination just waiting to be tapped. I'm delighted that Miyazawa is getting the chance to lay down a lot of work in a TV series instead of having to hold out for the occasional scene in a movie. His style seems well suited to TV work, allowing him to experiment and evolve by trying out a lot of new and interesting ideas rather than spending a lot of time to hone a small bit of animation. He also did a short but very sharp shot in 12 that was more in the vein of what he was doing in the opening of the movie, pushing it to new heights even, as if to test the limits of the concept of character, to see how far it is possible to push an outline and still remain that character.


Related: Yasunori Miyazawa