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, 28

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

08:53:04 am , 672 words, 3357 views     Categories: Animation

Genga books

A while back I was asked if there were any good collections of key animation that could be bought online. A lot of books have been put out, but most of those went out of print very quickly, and to find them now you'd have to buy them second-hand from an auction site like Yahoo! Japan Auctions. Here's a few that are still in print:

Denno Coil
GITS: SAC (1) (2)
Guren Lagan (1) (2) (3) (Movie)
Eva 1.0

There are actually plenty of others for recent TV series, but the ones above are among the few that are of interest from an animation standpoint. The Denno Coil book I recommend wholeheartedly. It is very big and, needless to say, contains lots of great animation work by some of the best animators in the industry, much of which I was seeing for the first time in the raw. Genga books are really great for getting a better sense of how it is that animators differ from one another, as looking at the actual drawings immediately makes it obvious how different animators differ in terms of line and form. My only beef with the book, and with all genga books that I've seen actually, is that they don't name the animator for each shot, so you're still left guessing. I haven't gotten the Guren Lagan books yet, but there was tons of great work in there, so I'm very tempted to.

Out of print but good if you can find:

A whole slew of Eva books
Nadia
FLCL
Dead Leaves
Takaaki Wada

I have the Wada book, and it's a very nice book. Books focused on one animator like this are wonderful, and I wish more were available. There's nothing better for learning how to identify an animator. The Nadia book, like most of Gainax's books, is quite nice and contains the time sheets for the more complicated shots, which is very nice. The only problem again is no attributions.

You can also find a ton of books if you search for 原画集 gengashu (key animation collection) on Yahoo! Japan Auctions. Unfortunately, most of the results are for bishojo-type adult books or for TV series of little animation interest, as "gengashu" also happens to be the generic term for art book, so you really have to search hard to find anything of interest. But fanzines collecting key animations by good animators are indeed put out every year, and you can find these at Comike, which is presumably where most of the items up for sale here came from. Hiroyuki Imaishi, for example, has long been known for putting out genga collections of his own work, and he seems to still be doing it, having hit at least volume 10 so far. Would be nice to see these collected and published for real and available on Amazon. You've got the fans now, Imaishi. You can also find collections for older series like Vifam and Gundam Z made by avid fans, as well as collections of genga by younger animators like Fumiaki Kota. I'd particularly like to get the book of the latter's key animation, as he's one of the more interesting younger faces. I'm sure there's a ton of other good little collections like this, as this is merely a sampling of what I found upon quick perusal. (just remember you have to be in Japan to bid on most of these)

Vifam
Gundam Z & ZZ
Bubblegum Crisis
Hiroyuki Imaishi collection no. 9
Re: Cutie Honey op/ep 1 (also published by Hiroyuki Imaishi himself)
Fractal (genga by Kota Fumiaki, Toru Yoshida, et al. on various shows)
Fumiaki Kota

I should also mention that the Roman Album books for the Ghibli films contain a smattering of genga. (although not by any means a large number - that is something Ghibli should rectify by putting out genga books like Gainax does) One thing I really liked on the Kemonozume DVD box set was a collection of genga that you could click through. I wish this would be done consistently for series with good animation.