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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Monday, October 26, 2009

12:54:21 pm , 366 words, 3264 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Music Video, Animator

Charles Huettner short film yay

Cool beans. Charles Huettner, the guy who made a fan-made music video for Animal Collective's awesome song Water Curses that knocks the stuffing out of the boring official music video (and a great official one for DM Stith to another awesome song - he always animates awesome songs, which is better than making an awesome video to a song that sucks), says he's working on his first ever full-fledged Animated Short. Looking forward to that. He says he's got no schooling or much experience in 2D animation. And I friggin love his two music videos. How messed up is that? So I'm looking forward to it all the more. Some of the most refreshing animation I've seen has been from the unschooled. I think schooling can be good and bad. Charles talks about the process for making his great music videos on his blog too. Worth a read. And I love all the random crazy experimentation and stuff on his Vimeo account.

I watched the second episode of Trapeze and it was way better than the first one in my opinion, or at least better. They did a great job of focusing on the guy this time and digging deep into the root causes of his problem. Very funny and psychologically probing. Original script is really funny with its suggestive phrases, and kudos to translators of fansub for doing a good job conveying those in English. Though it's interesting how the whole basis of the story - his getting a permanent hard-on supposedly as some kind of post-traumatic reaction to his wife leaving him - seems undermined by the way the real-life doctor dude felt the need to interject to point out that such a thing in fact never has psychological roots. But whatever. At least they're honest! And you know what I'm warming to the use of real-life actors. They do it much more copiously here than in Kemonozume, so it feels like a different strategy, and I find that in this case it actually serves to make you relate to the character more. Who can relate to a drawing? I like that they're doing animation that kind of rejects itself at the same time.

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5 comments

huw_m
huw_m [Member]

Cool beans indeed, great stuff - looking forward to Charles Huettner’s short film. It sure doesn’t seem like schooling matters all that much for animation…The vision and drive has to come from within, like with all art, and everything that gets taught is the technique needed to accomplish that (seems that art schools function as creative networks more than anything - that and giving people the time and technical resources to make things)

I know what you mean with Kuchu Buranko being a little bit underwhelming, but it’s still a million times better than anything else that has come out lately, and I feel quite lucky to be able to watch a prime time animation of this quality. Those characters are not really to my liking either - They look like Gyagu Manga Biyori characters, but not as…funny. That’s a good observation about the Live Action faces making you relate to the character more…Hadn’t really thought about it, but it does. I must admit to liking the directing in the first ep a lot more than in the second, really good use of sound and visual cues to convey emotions. Too bad that the animation is a bit lax - I wonder why that is. I would have thought there’d be plenty of talented people interested in helping out someone as amazing as Kenji Nakamura, but there could be a million reasons…

10/26/09 @ 20:35
Ben [Member]  

I’m sure schools have provided a lot of talented people with the resources to get better at what they do naturally. But as you say, you’ve gotta have something inside longing to be expressed to begin with; school should just help push you along. I’ve seen a fair bit of animation that’s technically polished but seemingly without any real raison d’etre.

About Trapeze, I think maybe it’s because the animated faces don’t do anything for me that I latched onto the live-action faces. It’s too bad. The faces in Mononoke were pretty interesting. You’re right about the Gag Manga Biyori comparison. They feel almost deliberately badly drawn. I’m sure a talent like Takashi Hashimoto could draw people better than that…

Another thing that concerned me was that the humor of the show felt a little bit overcooked. The whole sexy nurse injection schtick in each episode just makes me uncomfortable rather than making me laugh. But luckily there are plenty of more subtle moments of intelligent humor throughout, particularly in the directing. The material is a refreshing change, but I doubt it would be half as interesting if it were directed by someone else. Also, the look of the show (the art direction) is interesting, but I can’t help but feel that Mononoke was a bit more convincing in terms of the overall look of the show.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to knock the show. I’m enjoying it, and as you say it’s a far sight better than anything in a good while. I’m going to watch it and love every episode. We’re definitely spoiled - we can just sit back and be regaled with a brilliant show like this. Christiaan made a good point - we should count our lucky stars that every once in a while a watchable show like this or Kaiba or whatever will even manage to get made in an industry like this…

I was also wondering about the animation. It’s curious that they’re not bothering to do anything particularly great with the animation. Maybe it’s a conscious thing, and they want to try to carry the show through the directing alone? It actually didn’t bother me too much this time around that there wasn’t any particularly good animation. Kenji Nakamura is a good enough director that he can still make a show work great without great animation. There are so many interesting things going on with the directing that it doesn’t feel necessary. I assumed it was intentional, and they just didn’t want to put that much effort into the animation, but perhaps it’s more of a scheduling/budget thing, or they weren’t able to find many animators… who knows.

10/27/09 @ 00:32
christiaan
christiaan [Visitor]  

Its stylistic for sure. Like Mononoke had that opaque paper door cue, Trapeze has a cardboard cutout lifesized nurse doll and other various flat cardboard extras and standins. I’m imaginging if there were extra funds or resources they were put into actors or an after project party fund. Did anyone see Patalliro in Irabu Ichiro? I am totally on board with this show and its talented staff. One large vitamin injection for me please!

10/28/09 @ 01:31
Andrew Cunningham
Andrew Cunningham [Visitor]  

Have you watched Cencoroll? An OAV written, directed, and animated by one talented newcomer sounded right up your alley…
This season is pretty empty. Have my eye on Dulalala next season, though; same people that did Baccano, which is hard to beat.

11/07/09 @ 08:30
Ben [Member]  

Andrew -

Thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten to check Cencoroll out. I just did, so I’ll write my thoughts. And I’ll give Dulalala a shot when it starts, thanks for the heads up.

11/14/09 @ 16:54