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: March 2007, 03

Saturday, March 3, 2007

05:58:34 pm , 840 words, 960 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Movie, Animator

Hiroyuki Aoyama & Telecom & TokiKake

I remember in episode 11 of Kemonozume wondering whether Tadashi Hiramatsu or Hiroyuki Aoyama had done that action sequence, and apparently it was Hiroyuki Aoyama. I didn't think Hiramatsu that likely a candidate, as action sequences aren't really his thing, but I wasn't at all familar with Aoyama except for the avant he did for episode 5. It was great, but didn't seem that similar to the style of animation I was seeing in the action sequence in question (except maybe for one or two of the shots of the midair jump that do indeed have that same flavor). I've heard a rumor that the mystery figure behind the climactic sequence in Mamoru Hosoda's One Piece movie, which I wondered about in this post, might be Aoyama, though I haven't been able to confirm this. Stylistically it seems like it might be a fit, as there's a bit of similarity to the feeling of that Kemonozume avant. But who knows. The rumor seems to have arisen due to the fact that Hosoda talked about the scene having been done by "saiko no/the best animator", and then Aoyama was announced as one of the ADs of Hosoda's next film.

Aoyama is a Telecom animator. I remember seeing his name in Farewell to Nostradamus and some Doraemon movies, among other places, even as far back as Akira. I'm not too familiar with his work, but from what little I've seen he's truly a great animator. He's got that Telecom vibe of creating dense and nuanced realistic movement that at the same time feels very good using lots of drawings. Actually, Aoyama is apparently now freelance. In an interview during the making of TokiKake he seems to have been itching to leave Telecom over the last few years to be able to try different kind of work from the kind of work he was limited to doing at Telecom. He says he spent a week animating the smoke where Luffy walks towards the camera dodging those arrows near the end of the Baron movie as a favor to AD Chikashi Kubota, co-AD of Hosoda's latest film alongside Aoyama, and presumably that's what led to him finally leaving Telecom to work on TokiKake. (Unfortunately he doesn't mention anything about having done the later bit.) He must presumably have been tapped for those two great Kemonozume sequences because he was close at hand at Madhouse. It's interesting how Telecom seems to have lost a number of their good animators just in the last year or two, with Shojiro Nishimi and now Hiroyuki Aoyama leaving the studio.

The Kemonozume avant must have been done either right after Aoyama had completed his work on TokiKake or near the end, and it seems like it's a good foretaste of the sort of nuanced low-key acting we're going to see from him in Hosoda's film. He apparently focused on the classroom scenes in the first half of the film. He's animated and storyboarded before, but I'm not sure how much ADing he's done. Hosoda always manages to get people who are great at creating nuanced and rich animation for his animation directors, first and foremost Takaaki Yamashita. And now Masashi Ishihama, who apparently handled the later parts of the film around the climax. I was wondering how he'd gotten involved, but I remember now seeing his name in the Digimon movies, and he confirms in an interview that that is how it came about. He was doing something at Pierrot when he was invited by Fumihide Sai to come to an animation meeting for the first Digimon movie, where Yamashita invited him, and the rest is history. He apparently did the part where Hikari is running around looking for Koromon, and in the second movie the part right before Taiichi enters the PC.

Ishihama was originally just going to draw animation again, but wound up one of the ADs. I was surprised to learn that Ishihama started out at Oh Production. He's been freelance for a number of years now, at least since ROD. Hosoda's films have always been balanced out by the best freelancers out there. Ishihama also talks about how he felt lucky with his part because the burden of his job was alleviated by the fact that so many great animators were working on that section... Looking over the list of animators again gets me salivating - the usual suspects like Hisashi Mori, Takaaki Yamashita, Tatsuzo Nishita, and also Norimoto Tokura, Hitoshi Ueda, Takaaki Wada, Akira Takada, and even Ryochimo and Yasunori Miyazawa. I was originally a little disappointed that Yamashita wasn't the AD, which is a first in a Hosoda feature, but on second thought it will be even better to be able to see him do some concentrated work as an animator. Seeing his work in Kemonozume got me hungering for some more. I'm hugely in love with his work. For some reason we even see Yasuhiro Nakura as one of the assistant ADs. The DVD for Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo comes out on April 20.

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