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 2008
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Archives for: April 2008, 09

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

12:48:48 pm , 619 words, 1777 views     Categories: Animation, Misc

Still watching

Just a few comments on the new season after having seen a few episode 1s. By far the most impressive so far has been Bones' Soul Eater (no relation to Soul Taker), directed by the always reliable Takuya Igarashi. Directing was great and solid throughout, but more than anything, with first Sword of the Stranger and now this show, Bones show they really understand action animation. This episode 1 was packed with more stellar animation than I've seen in an episode in a while, from tip to toe - an amazing one-man opening by Yasuhiro Irie, yet another one-man ending by Norimitsu Suzuki, and between the two, two nice fight sequences, one by Nakamura Yutaka, and one I presume to have been by Norimitsu Suzuki, who dominates the proceedings with this double-whammy of action scene + ending. The sublimely rendered explosion in the ending, in particular, sent the fx nerd in me into nerdgasms. I'll be following the show, if just to see how far they can maintain this quality, but also because it's obvious that they're focusing squarely on something that they are proving to be better at than any other studio at the moment - action. I presume we'll be seeing action from Irie, and I noted a woman animator named Kazumi Inadome credited as the main animator, so perhaps we'll be seeing action from her, or at least a good amount of regular animation. Once again I'm left to wonder about the nature of the "main animator" role that is a staple of Bones' shows. Few other studios use the role, so it's something unique to Bones, and it clearly is a major part of their MO that speaks to how they approach and conceive their shows. I like the way there's a sort of 'guiding spirit' animator for each of their shows. It shows an appreciation of and respect for the role of the animator.

Other than that, I was happy to note three new shows directed by women, which is more than I can recall seeing in any season before. Takamitsu Kondo had the simple characters of the kids' show Pipopa going through some nice kinetic action. Ichiro Itano was back with Blassreiter, a new series about CGI motorcycles/robots that was more watchable than I'd anticipated. Gonzo's Aegis was a wan and late take on D&D parody, but was nonetheless watchable, and had a nice section of craziness by Itsuki Imazaki. I don't like his work that much because he seems nothing more than a Yoshinori Kanada epigone without bringing anything new to the mix, but he's sure enthusiastic about it. And hard to believe as it may be, Shoji Kawamori is back with yet another re-hashing of Macross. And it was watchable, with considerable effort put into the first episode technically. It seems to closely follow the pattern of the original show. Not part of the new season, but the last episode of one of last season's shows, Dragonaut, had a nice bit by Toei animator Tatsuzo Nishita, and this episode (and show) was a strong effort overall from Torapezoid's Manabu Ono. I'd like to see him team up with Susumu Yamaguchi again someday for something. The new xxxHolic series by Tsutomu Mizushima didn't do anything new for me, though here's hoping for Yasunori Miyazawa. Finally, for the last of what I'll bother to mention, JC Staff's Nabari no Ou left a mildly nice impression for the vigor and looseness of drawing of some of the action (Ken Kato?). Felt like young staff giving the action a nice go. Most of the rest of the credits this season are dominated by names I've never heard of, so I feel really at sea.