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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« Toshiyuki Inoue interview - Part 2Rainy day photos »

Sunday, May 22, 2005

08:46:29 pm , 300 words, 1612 views     Categories: Animation

Recent solos

Toshiyuki Inoue talks about how in the 80s the average time for someone to animate a half-episode was a month, which gets me to wondering how long it took Hisashi Mori on Samurai Seven 7. It looks like Mori is back in the animator's seat in the upcoming Speed Grapher 8. If he's in for another half-ep, then it'd be interesting, because he'd be the only animator I know of doing half-eps on a regular basis like in the old days, and definitely the only one doing that much volume combined with quality on TV right now, aside from Norio Matsumoto. I only wonder that because it looks like he hasn't done any other animating since Samurai Seven 7, where he animated the first half and Hiroyuki Okuno handled the directing and animation of the second half (adding a few corrections to the first half here and there, thankfully sparingly - ie, closeups of the main characters), so it would make sense.

A person I'm not familiar with, Tetsuya Takeuchi, supposedly just did a whole ep, next week's Honey & Clover (7), that show that had the unusual Svankmajer-inspired opening by designer Nagi Noda.

And finally, the animator that Masaaki Yuasa mentions as being someone he thought was really good at Asia-do, Masaya Fujimori, animated the entire opening of the studio's Zettai Shonen series that started yesterday, and it's quite a nice op. He's obviously got incredible drafting skills. The colors were nice, also. Just be sure to turn the sound off.

In the 80s it was pretty common to see solo eps like this, and I doubt the quality was very high most of the time, as it was probably more of a lack of schedule/resources thing than necessarily being a way of spotlighting a talented animator the way it seems today.



Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I have to agree with the OP - very nice, but save your ears and forget the sound…

I was a little disappointed by the show’s actual animation, though. I heard Asia-do could do better than that, but anyway, the show in general wasn’t too disappointing. I’m glad that they didn’t attach unbearably cute voices to the characters (I didn’t know 5-6 year old girls had such voices in current anime before…)

05/25/05 @ 03:40
tim_drage [Member]

Just took a look at Honey & Clover simply because of your mentioning of the Svankmajer-esque opening. Interesting sequence! I always like it when shows have a live action, stop motion or other non-cel title sequence…

05/26/05 @ 06:47
Ben [Visitor]

I agree that the animation of Zettai Shonen itself was quite different from the image I had of Asia-Do. It was more Tomomi than Asia-Do.

Here’s something that might shed light on the reason for the similarities to Svankmajer in the H&C op:

05/26/05 @ 09:26
tim_drage [Member]

interesting article, thanks…

Really strange to see super clean cute japanese food used in a Svankmajer-esque way! The live action shrimp hand was fun…

The opening of Miike Takeshi’s ‘Happiness of the Katakuris’ has an even more audacious Svankmajer homage… a lengthy, self-indulgent claymation sequence that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film, brilliant!

Interestingly Svankmajer himself admits uncharacteristically plagiarising Arcimboldo…

05/26/05 @ 13:12
Josh [Visitor]

Yeah, the opening scene from Katakuris was brilliant - I was so blown away by it that the rest of the movie seemed almost dull in comparison! Miike does that a lot with me though (Dead or Alive?). I really need to get around to watching the Honey and Clover OP now…

For those of us who don’t know, who is Arcimboldo? I’d naturally be up for anyone who’s a strong influence on Svankmejer, but what’s available and what would you recommend?

05/26/05 @ 17:56
Josh [Visitor]

Never mind. Google is my friend. I had seen his work a bunch, just forgot his name…

05/26/05 @ 18:26
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Yes, that crab at the end definitely surprised me a bit. Honey and Clover is the first in a series of a new anime block called Noitamina (no prizes for guessing what that came from), aimed at older women. The next new show will be another manga adaptation directed by Osamu Kobayashi.

As for Nagi Noda and the Svankmejer, I’ve also had the ultimate boredom to crawl around 2ch and yes, a lot of people believe she rips off a bit.

Most conventional fans didn’t ‘get’ the OP or didn’t want it, demanding a proper animated one. But anyone who had better taste was glad to see something that looked totally different in the OP.

Have there been any commercial anime that have used animated characters on live backgrounds (ala Space Jam, kind of)?

05/27/05 @ 05:17
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Apologies for the double posts… I’ve watched both episodes mentioned, and let’s see…

Speed Grapher 8 was a little bit of a disappointment - of course, the animation was certainly better than the usual abysmal Korean quality. But it wasn’t half as good as I expected. Which bits were done by the inexperienced/Korean animators were clear, but which parts were Mori and Okuno were also clear.

Would it be biased of me to say that the reason why the episode didn’t work as well was because of one or more of the following reasons: A. the directing was kind of choppy, B. the key animation was so crap that Okuno had to spend so much time correcting the drawings that movement couldn’t be corrected C. the in-betweeners did just about nothing (esp. for the battle scene - surely it deserves smooth in-betweens, at least) ? I don’t know that much about anime production though, is the amoutn of in-betweens decided by the key animator, animation director, or in-between head?

As for Honey and Clover 7, IMHO I think Tetsuya Takeuchi is possibly an animator worth noting. This was easily the best episode so far (not just by guessing), and there was more movement than all the previous episodes combined (though that wouldn’t say much, but it still). It was the most effective episode so far. I liked the bit with the eye highlights in the last bit for some reason. It was great for a one-man effort.

05/27/05 @ 07:06
Josh [Visitor]

The first scene in Cleopatra uses animated faces superimposed on to live actors, but it’s a very clumsy effect. Don’t know of anything else similar.

Got around to watching the OP, and given all the Svankmejer comparisons, I was surprised by how cheery and upbeat it was! But surprised in a good way, I really enjoyed it. Nagi Noda may rip off his techniques, but that’s about it. And by that standard, wouldn’t everyone we talk about here just be biting off of Winsor McCay?

05/27/05 @ 07:34
tim_drage [Member]

Have there been any commercial anime that have used animated characters on live backgrounds (ala Space Jam, kind of)?

Twilight of the Cockroaches springs to mind, really interesting film. cel animation on a combination of still photo and live action backgrounds.

I should find a new copy… a friend used to have it on laserdisc. Would like to see it again.

05/28/05 @ 09:31