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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Saturday, April 2, 2005

09:40:11 pm , 501 words, 895 views     Categories: Animation, Animator

Masami Otsuka's animation

One of the animators I've been into lately is Masami Otsuka, whom I mentioned before. Unfortunately it's hard to find his stuff over here because he's mostly worked in Shin-chan (and I'd suspect his episodes would have been left out of foreign releases due to the nature of his work anyway) and Doraemon. He was an inbetweener in the first Dora movie in 1980 and key animator in a TV special shown last month. He was in most of the Shin-chan movies. His work that caught my eye recently was the ending of Hare-Nochi Guu Deluxe. At least, what I think is his work. Not having been able to see his work in Shin-chan, I've never been able to really pin it down, but I'm thinking he did the last shot of the old man. Besides Yuichiro Sueyoshi's bit of Shin-chan running up the stairs in Keiichi Hara's 2000 Adult Empire Strikes Back film, the part in the old town a third of the way through always caught my eye, particularly the short but wonderfully nuanced movement of the old man and woman, which has a flavor unlike any other movement in the film, and I suspected Otsuka, though frustratingly I'm still not sure. Sueyoshi was also in the ed in question, and his part (?) of the singing at the beginning is great too. Then there's also Shizuka Hayashi, who I've long heard much good things about but never been able to really pinpoint. The superfast dancing in the op? I've heard she's great at timing, and I remember seeing lots of that sort of movement in Shin-chan. Shinei Doga is a unique studio for the way it has produced lots of very interesting animators who each have their own unique approach to movement.

There was a show from around 2000 called Weekly Storyland, and one of the eps, "The Genius Cockroach", was apparently interesting enough animation-wise to get mentioned in the print Anime Style 1. It was done by one Fumio Tadao, which is probably a pen name. The studio credit is Shinei Doga, so the possibility exists that it might be Otsuka. Masuji Kogami is also a suspect. Otsuka collaborated with Masaaki Yuasa on the Shin-chan endings Barijona Daisakusen and Do-Shite, which well indicates his predilections. As I mentioned before, Yuasa himself holds Otsuka in high esteem and was probably influenced by him.

After Mind Game Yuasa actually did a bit of animation in the most recent Doraemon movie. Another animator Yuasa has singled out as one of the best animators he saw at Shinei is Masaya Fujimori, whose action in that film is reportedly rather nice.

Other things I've enjoyed recently were Tetsuya Nishio's opening of the just-finished Otogizoushi and Norio Matsumoto's bit in Beck 25, particularly the hand-waving. I also give a big pat on the back to Osamu Kobayashi for all the work he put into the latter, writing every episode and storyboarding and directing quite a few. The last two eps showed the level he could reach at his best.

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2 comments

Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I was going to mention the Otogizoushi OP as well… I thought that was really nice to watch myself. Though the last bit looks as if it was cut out from the genga and pasted there (well, it’s an interesting effect)…

By the way, Osamu Kobayashi will be teaming up with Madhouse again to do a new anime in the future. Airs somewhere in the season after next I think. It’s called Paradise Kiss, based on the manga of the same name by Ai Yazawa. Character designs by Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne, Heat Guy J, Xenosaga, Chrono Cross [VG]).

04/03/05 @ 03:27
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

What I liked about Nishio’s op was how each section felt like he took a different approach to the animation - full animation in one shot, close-up lipsync in one shot, limited animation in one shot, rough in one shot… it was a really nice virtuosic piece letting a great animator show his mastery of the techniques.

I particularly liked the lipsync… best lipsync I’ve seen since Hiramatsu’s shot in the Beck op. Before I saw the credit my first guess was Nishio, but then my second guess was Okiura because it kind of reminded me of Okiura’s bit in the Bebop movie, one of the other good lipsyncs…

Anyway, I was kind of hrm when I heard about Kobayashi’s new project, to be honest…

04/03/05 @ 10:47