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
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
 << < Current> >>
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Who's Online?

  • Guest Users: 6

  XML Feeds

free open source blog

Archives for: April 2008, 30

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

12:42:56 pm , 483 words, 6680 views     Categories: Animation, Movie

Naruto movie

Just some notes about the latest in the seemingly now permanent stream of Naruto movies. The fourth film was directed by Hajime Kamegaki, and comes across as more lightweight and slapdash than the dramatically more solid-feeling second film by Tensai Okamura, not that this necessarily matters in the context. The drawings felt a little more uneven, too, with less effort put into smoothing things over than the earlier films. As usual, they clearly put less effort into the drawings in the first half hour, and released all their energy in the final half.

I didn't recognize as many animators this time around, though Shinji Hashimoto was there again, and his shots were as usual easily identified. I wonder how he came to be a regular in the movies. I was surprised to see old Topcraft animator Tsuguyuki Kubo here as an animation director. He remains very active after 40-some years. Ex-Topcraft animator Tadakatsu Yoshida was there too. Masahiro Sato and Hidetsugu Ito from Stranger were here as animators and animation directors. There were definitely spots here and there that had a unique touch to the timing or drawing, but I couldn't really identify much. It felt like rather than big patches by one person there would be these little scattered shots by lots of people. For example, a random lone shot of Rock Lee running out of the smoke towards the camera and hitting three guys was quite nice. The extended action scene that occupied the central part of the film felt like the highlight, although a lot of different people seem to have had a hand in it, and I didn't recognize any of the styles at work. It feels like a lot of the new, young faces from the TV series may have gotten to handle the actions scenes in this film. I also wonder what the significance is of the way they divide the key animation credits into six or seven large chunks.

My main catch from this film was Hiroshi Masuda, who was the FX animation director. The fire effects in the film were throughout wonderfully rendered and immediately announce him as a great new FX specialist alongside Takashi Hashimoto, Hideki Kakita, Shuichi Kaneko and the like. The explosions struck me as having the same style as Hashimoto's explosions in Baron Omatsuri. He also worked as FX animation director on Shin-Ei's latest Doraemon film that was released just a while back, so I look forward to seeing that. It's interesting to see how new approaches to allocating the work of handling the drawings continue to be devised in Japan to improve the overall quality of films. This sort of character/FX allocation of work in the western style didn't exist until a few years back, with the notable exception/anomaly of Sanrio Films' Sirius and Florence, where Mikiharu Akabori was the FX animation director to character AD Shigeru Yamamoto.