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, July 17, 2006

09:43:10 pm , 434 words, 3493 views     Categories: Animation, Animator: Yoshinori Kanada, TV

Kanada revisits Gaiking

from Gaiking #21Yoshinori Kanada is back on TV again for the first time since ep 6 of the new Popolo Crois, which I wrote about long ago. This time he's Saburo Togakushi instead of Isuke Togakushi, and he's animated a bit at the end of the new op for Toei's Gaiking, a remake of one of their own classic giant robot show of the same name of 1976. It's not by chance. Kanada spent the 70s cutting his teeth on giant robot TV shows, and in fact he did a lot of animation throughout the original Gaiking that remains among his most well regarded work of his early period. Many of the animators who are now working on the new Gaiking count Kanada as one of their major influences, so it's full of meaning to have him here doing animation in this op now, exactly thirty years later.

Keisuke Watabe of Studio Hercules did some decidedly Kanada-esque animation recently in ep 28, and indeed the entire 'studio' was present in the ep. Ken Otsuka has been a major force behind the show as one of the mecha ADs, as he was on Bones' Eureka 7. He also storyboarded both 13 and 28.

Among the animators working on the show whom I wouldn't normally have associated with Kanada is Takaaki Yamashita, the man behind the animation side of most of Mamoru Hosoda's early work. After doing the book scene in 13, I noticed he was also in 21 and 28. 21 featured two minutes of excellent work at the end, and in 28 the main female enemy seems to have been animated by the same person throughout, judging by the style, and I have to wonder if Yamashita wasn't the one behind these sections. Or perhaps his protege, Tatsuzo Nishita. I've never associated Yamashita with such vigorous movement, so I can't be sure, but the level of minute detail put into the movement where first Gaiking's hand and then body breaks through the wall of stone, pictured above, was thrilling and the work of a great animator trained in the sort of through-conceived movement I associate with Yamashita and with none of the other animators listed here. Also, the loose, slightly wobbly lines are something I associate with Yamashita. The whole section was quite nice. The last half of 28 was also quite nice overall. It was like the Hercules version of ep 13.

Mitsuru Obunai was among the members credited under Studio Hercules, though I'm a bit confused as to his present location, since he's currently acting as the main animator on UFO Table's new show Coyote Ragtime Show, where he's done some good through brief work so far.


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