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: July 2009, 27

Monday, July 27, 2009

02:45:44 pm , 443 words, 1618 views     Categories: Animation, Animator: Yoshinori Kanada

More Kanada

As people digest the news, we're seeing more posts and things about Yoshinori Kanada's recent passing, and as I expected, that includes more videos being uploaded covering his work. A nice new video was just uploaded containing extended clips from five key series Kanada worked on in the late 70s, in chronological order: a clip from an episode of Gaiking (1976), a clip from the same episode of Zambot 3 (1977) I mentioned yesterday, a clip from ep 2 of Daitarn 3 (1978), and a longer and better-quality clip from the ep of Don De La Mancha (1980) that I linked. It gives a good slice of some of his best work of this period, and shows his evolution over the years towards even freer forms and richer and wilder movement. One example is the background animation. Birth is rightly famous for its scads of lively background animation. In this sequence of clips you gradually see background animation becoming more and more prominent, culminating with the full-fledged background animation of Don De La Mancha. It wasn't long after this that Urusei Yatsura began broadcasting, and a young Masahito Yamashita picked up Kanada's torch and created some of the wildest background animation sequences of this era. Kanada was probably one of the first ones to make an art of background animation, to turn a background animation sequence into a platform for showing off his animation skills, and to really go crazy with the animation. You feel watching the sequence that he was having as much fun animating it as it is for us to watch. I also like that the clip covers just the TV work he did over this period, as I find Kanada's work more lively in the TV format. His movie work is good in that it's more worked, but it's also more constrained and less spontaneous.

Someone also uploaded the Kanada episode of the NHK TV program Anime Yawa, which is great if you understand Japanese. (no subs) Guests include Takashi Murakami and Hiroyuki Kitakubo. Takashi Murakami talks about Kanada's influence on him, showing one of his art books in which stills from Kanada's work are juxtaposed side-by-side with Murakami's paintings. I like Murakami's positing that single stills of Kanada's intricately gnarled fire dragon or other effects can be taken apart and still stand on their own legs for their abstract beauty and the latent energy they emanate. That's an aspect that seems to have been inherited, consciously or not, by animators like Shinya Ohira - the compelling paradox of animation that is beautiful art in motion as well as frame-by-frame (in an abstract sense quite apart from the question of resemblance to a deliberately designed character).