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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Friday, July 30, 2010

08:46:11 am , 169 words, 3508 views     Categories: Animation

Lei Lei @ TED

Chinese indie animation powerhouse Lei Lei (AKA Ray) has been busy the last few years since he made The Face, as witness the various videos he's uploaded on his Vimeo account.

One of those is a brief TED talk he gave in Shanghai a few months back. An inspiring statement of firm sense of purpose from one of China's most prominent and creative indie animators at the moment. Looking forward to seeing more strong voices like his emerging from the country, something with a perspective neither western nor anime-influenced, but personal and informed of the history of a different culture with a different baggage of history and outlook.

The animator as a one-man studio, animation as a form of personal expression to sort out ideas that float around in your head, not as a product, inspired by travels around the world and meeting people, sharing the experience of living life, and the vitality to modestly limit oneself to "at most 3 films a year". Brief statements of purpose worth sharing.

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4 comments

William Massie
William Massie [Visitor]  

Hey Mr. E, long time no comment.

Regarding the post, That is an interesting interpretation. I haven’t seen a lot of non Japanese asian animation but that seems like an interesting course, creating a unique “Chinese” style.

Judging by that great “What do you Want to see in Anime” post, I’m guessing you’re low on shows?

Well, I haven’t been looking at much. I looked at most of House of Five Leaves (BEAUTIFUL VISUALS), haven’t seen Tatami Galaxy yet.

I’ve mainly been wasting away the hot summer days with light stuff. A guilty pleasure of mine is Madhouse’s High School of the Dead, the animation is quite good in spots, if you can stomach the grindhouse content!

A-1’s Occult Academy grew on me. Hardly five star but charming. As usual, they have strong animation work in here, although the designs are a bit bland.

I’ve been catching up with old standby One Piece too. They’ve had some surprisingly good animation every now and then. Naoki Tate is essentially the show’s Norio Matsumoto.

Any episode that has his Animation Director credit is worth looking at. Along side him there are some other guys, Yoshikazu Tomita, Kenichi Fujisawa, Kenji Kuroyanagi, Hitomi Hasegawa, Naotoshi Shida, among others.

Ever since the 300s, there have been surprise episodes like that. You can seem em in the last three openings including the most current one. I recommend keeping an eye out on the straw hat crew if not too busy!

08/11/10 @ 21:16
Ben [Member]  

Hey William, thanks for the update.

Yes, you could say I’m low on shows, that’s one way of putting it… Mostly I’m just very busy with work and other stuff at the moment.

I’ve actually been following Occult Academy, but I had the opposite reaction - I enjoyed the first episode, but I’ve become disgusted with the show after a few episodes. Some of the humor from writer Mizukami is funny, but most of it is not, and it just feels lacking in any purpose or direction. It’s like they’re making something just to make something. Ugh. Haven’t been following High School of the Dead, though I did watch the first two episodes. Just didn’t feel compelled to follow it. Situation seems kind of self-limiting once the gimmick wears off.

Wow, One Piece is almost at 500 eps. I’ve heard a lot about that Tate guy… one thing that nagged me about One Piece is that the manga’s drawings are so awesome but the anime drawings are usually so bland. I checked out 455 to see some of Tate’s recent work and he’s become really good, I agree. In his hands I think Eiichiro Oda’s drawings actually come to life. And the movement has real spark too, like the bit where Robin’s many hands snap the soldiers’ necks. I’ll have to check out more of his work.

What are some standout eps in terms of animation?

08/12/10 @ 14:29
William Massie
William Massie [Visitor]  

True that the often bad animation really let’s the air out of the baloon. At least it was generally nicely storyboarded (ie cribbing Oda’s killer layouts).

Still from the Enies Lobby chapter on, there have been periodically nicely animated scenes and episodes. Namely fights.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but I took a stab at it. This focuses on the eps that I saw when I picked up the show again in first run.

Eps; 382-383, 404-405, 411-413, 420,429, 433, 439, 448, 450 (scene towards end by Naotoshi Shida, IMPOSSIBLE to miss), 453, 461* (something about the entire flashback sequence with Ace feels really good here).

That’s a nutshell type rundown. There are some from the previous arc (Thriller Bark) but they’re spread out so it’ll take me a while to get a list for that.

Since we’re at a crucial part in the story now, I hope they don’t skimp on the fights considering what’s gonna go down!

08/13/10 @ 05:51
Ben [Member]  

Thanks, William. That’s very helpful.

Looking through the episodes you listed, I realize now that I’d actually checked out a number of those as they came out, hearing they had some quality. The one I liked best was 382, with AD by Takeo Ide/Ite. Something about the layouts, movement and line quality in the first half is different and kind of appealing.

I checked out the bit by Naotoshi Shida at the end of 450. I wasn’t familiar with his work, but I see that he’s got his own unique style of timing and form and packs a lot of movement into his scene. The smoke in particular was interesting.

I’ll go through the other episodes you listed as soon as I have a chance. I’m looking forward to checking out more of Tate’s work in particular.

08/15/10 @ 23:53