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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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

09:10:00 pm , 674 words, 3407 views     Categories: Animation, Animator

Looking for Tokura

I checked out a few of the new season's shows. I rather liked the pre-opening movement of Blood +, but I have no idea who did it. I don't recognize anyone in the credits. For the life of me it looks like Hashimoto corrected by Kise, but Kise's only credited with the op and Hashimoto isn't there. It would be nice if there was a young new face that I haven't heard of who can create that kind of movement at IG, since I've heard that they're looking to foster the new talent with this show rather than relying on the old names that usually are the major attractor to an IG production. I kept snapping awake every few minutes thinking, "Damn, that avant animation was nice..." Amazing that they're going to be showing this for a whole year at prime time. What happened to the unspoken rule against showing blood on prime time? Firehose blood is OK?

I was recently able to see an old short called Lion and Pelican from 1993's Ai Monogatari omnibus, done by Norimoto Tokura, a figure I wondered aloud about some time ago, and I came away feeling that it single-handedly gave me the key to his style. I've since looked over the rest of his work again out of curiosity and did successfully manage to pick out a few very obvious spots based on the very dramatic stylistic traits on display in the short, but for the most part I didn't find anything that seemed to live up to the level of that short, at least in terms of the movement. The movement in the short struck me as very impressive and unique, the human body moving in a very detailed, deliberate and closely observed way, with a great sense of weight to the movement. It's full movement that doesn't feel needlessly fluid like later Madhouse work. At first I thought I was watching Takashi Nakamura, as the full way the characters moved and the round way they were drawn felt reminiscent of the early Nakamura of The Order to Stop Construction. Tokura's movement is calmer and more closely based on reality, but it has that same sense of depth, of three-dimensionality. There's a certain way Nakamura's arms and particularly his hands are drawn that is just unmistakable, and the same applies to Tokura. I spotted his bulbous, pillowy fingers in several shows as disparate as Herlock and Last Exile. He has a way of drawing faces quite realistically using few lines that is also unmistakable.

I could see why Itano had mentioned him in the same breath as Hashimoto and Ohira, though he has a completely unrelated approach, and honestly out of everything I saw there was nothing else that lived up to the quality of his early short. However, I'm still not sure what part he did in X and Metropolis, for example, and these are films in which he seems to have done a lot of work. (though I was happy that I managed to spot Hashimoto's shots in Metropolis on rewatching it looking for Tokura) But it makes sense, judging by the direciton he was headed in in his early work, that he should eventually have gone to work at Madhouse.

You occasionally see some rather humorous names in credits, as it's apparently perfectly OK to use a fake name if you don't want your real name to appear. Lots of well-known directors do it. Mamoru Hosoda was Sodama Moruho in Utena, for example. Well, I noticed someone called "Tochigi Ichigo" in the last ep of Speed Grapher - Mr. Tochigi Prefecture Strawberries. Hisashi Mori might or might not have done some uncredited (or aka) work in the series, I don't know, but in any case it's disappointing that there was nothing on the level of Samurai Seven 7, as I was really looking forward to something new from him. I still am and hope he gets to do something eventually. He's one of the few people doing anything remotely interesting on TV right now.

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5 comments

Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Interesting thing about Hosoda being in Utena… I didn’t know that. Thank you.

I was surprised about the blood too. I hope they aren’t forced to cut it down drasticall though. I liked the bits where the very lifelike man and woman shrink away before Saya cuts them… In the OP, there’s the action bits with the blurry blue background and all… do you think they were done by Yasunori Miyazawa? Or Yoshigaki or someone totally different (I bet that’s probably the case.)

Noein should be floating around by now. I’ve seen screenshots of the pre-release on Bandai Channel, Hirofumi Suzuki (first person on the list) and of course Takahiro Kishida (last person) were there, but I didn’t really recognize anyone else.

It seems that surprisingly, Takashi Hashimoto was the mecha AD for Cluster Edge ep 1. Really a silly show but there was one bit about 3/4 through the ep with a plane flying above an ocean, and I liked how the bullets moved in relation to teh plane. I’m wondering if you’ve seen it.

10/12/05 @ 04:53
Manuloz
Manuloz [Visitor]

Random person> there is this japanese site that list “all” of Hosoda’s work :
http://www.blueridge.gr.jp/~seeba/hobby/mhosoda.html

I was looking for IG new season anime in the hope of seeing some Gainax animator in it, and here there were Yoshigaki and Yuka Shibata on the op of Blood +

But IGPX feature some great animation by Okiura, like on the naruto Movie, there is Honda and the rest, on IGPX there’s Okiura bit on the dojo (i think) and the rest.

I have seen Noein, which begin with a good action sequence but if Matsumoto is not credited I wonder who has done it?

There’s a new interview of Imaishi here :
http://moura.jp/frames/interview/050928/

He will be mecha AD on Gunbuster 2! #4

10/12/05 @ 06:58
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

Actually, I made a mistake. Hosoda Mamoru was Sodama Moruho in Rurouni Kenshin rather than Utena, as you’ll see on the page Manuloz linked. Supposedly he was Hashimoto Katsuyo in Utena and a number of other things. Sodama Moruho is obviously a simple anagram of Mamoru Hosoda, but in a recent interview Mamoru Hosoda outright denied being Hashimoto Katsuyo. It’s been taken for granted by the fan community now for years that HM = HK, based on what evidence I’ve never been able to find (some people say an old Utena LD sleeve stated it as a fact), so some think he was lying in response to the untactful bluntness of the question (since obviously people use pen names for a reason and might not want it known), but I myself don’t know what to believe. The way I see it, it would be a rather intricately spun lie, because he went so far as to say that Hashimoto Katsuyo was a close friend and had helped him move to a new apartment recently. So I don’t know. Only Hashimoto Katsuyo knows the truth.

On the subject of fake names, you might already know this, but Kurokawa Eiji is Kawamori Shoji… He used it in Aquarion a few times. He first used it in Macross.

I still haven’t seen Noein or IGPX yet, but I did hear about Okiura in IGPX, and I’ve seen those caps for Noein, which look nice. The forest scene looks to be the hilight for me. Before even seeing the show I’ve been eyeing Hiroshi Okubo and looking into his past work and noticed that he’s been credited together with Kishida, Matsumoto and Suzuki in various places - Arjuna 4 & 13 and Koikaze op, for example - so I’m thinking he might be one of the main figures behind the good stuff. I heard a rumor that he’s the one doing a half ep with Matsumoto. I hesitate to trust it, as it sounds too good to be true, but they have done KA together in the past, so it could happen.

I actually watched (a minute or two of) Cluster Edge 1 but didn’t realize Hashimoto was involved. I might have to give it another chance and look for the bit you mention, because I don’t remember seeing anything good in there.

I couldn’t really tell what part Miyazawa and Yoshigaki did in the Blood + op… the few parts that were moving were moving so damn fast I couldn’t even tell what was going on.

10/12/05 @ 10:51
Manuloz
Manuloz [Visitor]

Hiroyuki Imaishi and Yusuke Yoshigaki are in for Paradise Kiss’ ending, it’s just like Kobayashi short works at 4°c.

http://randomc.animeblogger.net/2005/10/13/paradise-kiss-01/

Then I just waiting for Mushishi, It’s written on Tadamashi homepage that he will be doing some storyboarding for the show.

10/14/05 @ 03:35
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I’ve also heard about Tadashi Hiramatsu doing some stuff for Mushishi. I’m kinda looking forward to it anyway.

But as for ParaKiss, as usual Kobayashi Osamu’s doing a one-man job (script, enshutsu, storyboard, and first person on teh KA list)… Doesn’t the guy get stressed out? Apparently the schedule for the afurecos was also quite tight, according to his homepage, anyway. Thankfully it’s only 12 eps, so there isn’t so much to do, but still…

I forgot to mention, I was surprised to see the *other* Kobayashi Osamu doing a storyboard for Zettai Shounen #18. I know it’s Asia-do but I didn’t expect him to participate.

10/14/05 @ 05:24