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.
April 2007
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Archives for: April 2007, 02

Monday, April 2, 2007

04:01:25 pm , 634 words, 1364 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Movie, TV

Misc viewing

Hisashi Mori took a stab at designing in two shows in recent years, so I've been curious to have a look at his work as designer to see how it might compare to his work as an animator. In Samurai 7 it seems like he must have designed some of those bizarrely shaped villagers, as it's rare to see such strange shapes in characters in anime. In Speed Grapher he animated a bit with a crazy dentist who had a very strange design that looked Mori from the hilt, so I assumed he must have designed him as well, and that was indeed the case. Mori also designed two other "euphoria" forms, the rubber guy in ep 1 and the diamond lady in ep 6, though he didn't animate them like the dentist so in the final product they retain none of the flavor of his lines. Mori's got a very unique line, and given the look of the rest of the series it's not really a suprise, but it still strikes me as a bit of a waste. Ebihara designed the vehicles and Okuno the props.

I watched the GITS SAC movie after reading that Masayuki Yoshihara had been involved. I'm always curious to see what the results will be when someone who I know to be a great animator applies his animation-based talent to a rather different type of creation. In the best cases they can turn into truly great directors. There's something about that grounding in animation that seems to make a big difference in the level of dedication brought to the task, the knowledge of how to manipulate the various details of the screen to achieve the best effect, and how to make the animation the vehicle of the story. Watching the film, the one section that stood out as feeling quite nice with great timing, textures, framing and pacing was the section around the sniping, which, no surprise, turned out to be the section directed by Yoshihara. It stood out quite starkly and made me wish I could see a whole film done in that tone.

The first ep of Gainax's new show Guren Lagann was just as hopped up and impressive as I'd expected, the animation throughout fun and full of nice typically Gainax jumpy movement, the textures and colors and effects on the screen highly worked in typical late Gainax fashion, and of course the ep full of the crazy cutting and directing of Imaishi. I'd expect nothing less of Imaishi. It was tremendously fun and well done, though on the other hand there wasn't much that surprised there either. They're clearly adhering to a time-tested formula, like the recent remake of Gaiking, though with more of a wink and a nudge. The real surprise was to see animation by Hisashi Mori in the opening. Does this mean we can hope to see some animation from him in the show itself? He animated the transformation in the middle, which seems to kind of suggest that if they let him do that, they might have him do some of the robot action in the show itself. Or so I'm hoping. It would make sense, because of course Mori started out as a mecha guy. The action here reminded a bit of the action he drew in Big O ep 15. He's made amazing progress in the last few years, so it would be great to see how he'd handle a big chunk of mecha action now. It would definitely blow away the mecha stuff he'd done before judging by the bit in the op. I'm impressed that they had the guts to call in Mori. I don't know why, but he isn't credited, though there isn't a doubt in my mind that it's him. And so the barrage of spring shows begins.