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: June 2007, 19

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

07:35:25 pm , 707 words, 3209 views     Categories: Animation, Denno Coil, TV

Denno Coil #6

So we're already up to episode 6. Time flies. This episode struck me as one of the more talky ones. It felt like the cyber nerd in Iso took the fore. It felt a little strange not seeing the continuation of the previous episode, or any of the other characters, since the previous ep climaxed with that sequence of Isako and the boys. Instead it diverged to delve into the origin of Sacchi, which was interesting enough. The quality of the animation and directing felt the most subdued and least striking of all so far. Feels like we're gear-shifting around a corner. Was a little lonely not having Toshiyuki Inoue there to regale us with his delightful moves, but the man is only human after all. Asking him to provide that sort of quality in every episode is asking a bit much even of the perfect animator.

The animation here was a good contrast with Honda's. It didn't have the ruffled lines and interesting posing of Honda's work. Ayako Hata was the animation director. I've been interested in her work since she animated a bit in Mamoru Hosoda's Tokikake that caught my eye for its nice nuance and feeling for low-key everyday acting - the bit where Makoto eats the purin in front of the fridge. The guy who animated Densuke's lovable birdseye waddle for the ending was there in this ep - Yoshikazu Honma, as well as Ei Inoue and Kazutaka Ozaki. I enjoyed hearing more from Akiko Yajima AKA Kyoko, and wish her character would be given more opportunity to take part in the action so I could hear more from her. Ditto for Densuke. He was right there but didn't do much, so I wish they had given him an opportunity or two to ham it up. He's such a nice character.

Watching this ep I got to realizing just how much of a tightrope act this situation is, with all of the events in the world of this anime hinging on the characters wearing the glasses. Basically, just take the glasses off, and it's all over. So far Iso did a great job of not making the audience feel that invisible wall. Interesting how it was only in the extreme circumstances here that Fumie and Yasako would even have though to take off their glasses.

Learning how the whole concept of the denno/cyber world is financed by the different national ministries was the most interesting development of the episode for me. Here the names were changed from ___-sho or ministry to ___-kyoku or office, though they are presumably parallels for the real-world Japanese institutions of the Transportation Ministry, METI, MEXT, etc. Without this setup, the whole denno world was interesting, but it felt like I didn't understand something important about how it was run, by whom, for what purpose. It felt like just a playground for the kids. Linking the concept up to governmental institutions makes it more intriguing. Fumie's comment about 'tatewari gyousei', or what you might simply call government overcompartmentalization, was amusing. I will be interested to see how the relationship between the different ministries, and their respective territories, comes into play in terms of how the cyber world is run in the coming episodes.

The sequence where Fumie and Yasako were testing out the parameters of Sacchi was amusing and convincing. It's scenes like this showing the kids finding ingenious ways of lifting up the corners of acceptable behavior beyond the watchful eye of the adult world, as kids would do in this one, but within the context of the denno world, that are the most fun to watch because they ring true. It's pretty impressive that Iso has been the one singlehandedly responsible for coming up with all of the ideas in this series, and particularly for writing the script of each episode. For someone who prior to that was just an animator (albeit an amazing one), that's a hell of a storm of imaginative concepts in a very different realm of creation. For a relative beginner writer, there are a lot of interesting threads being tied together convincingly, and satisfyingly fleshed-out characters interacting in a believable fashion, all of it leavened with a great light touch of humor.