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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« Masami Hata returns to the big screenBelladonna in NY »

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

05:25:56 pm , 689 words, 1621 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Indie, TV

Recent viewing

I wonder if there's any way of seeing more of Luis Bras's work? Some of his work was included on The Planet and it was easily among my favorite work on the disc, with its hand-drawn aesthetic obviously dating it to an older generation. Some parts were like an Escher drawing come to life, while others were line studies that reminded me of McLaren. It stood out as obviously of a different era and mindset from everything else on the disc - not to discount the more recent stuff, as some of it was really inventive. Nowadays people just wouldn't seem as prone to do anything so laborious by hand. Reading up on him reveals that he's made quite a number of films over the last few decades, and was even involved with the NFB in some manner. Norman McLaren springs to mind when you watch his films, and indeed they apparently met at one point. A few months back I noticed that Uplink also released what appears to be a continuation of The Planet - Animados Musicales. (clip) Which reminds me that I still need to see Mercano the Martian... Now if they'd release a DVD of Bras's work, that would just top the cake with icing.

A few weeks back I noticed Susumu "Gucci" Yamaguchi was going to be doing another Keroro Gunso ep, 102, so not having seen 21, I was looking forward to it to see how his work had evolved over the years since Outlaw Star. I checked out 101 just to get some frame of reference on the show's style, and was surprised how well done it was. Nothing extraordinary, but solidly crafted. Yamaguchi's early work was the epitome of youthful fervor, with crazy drawings and wild action like a cross between Utsunomiya and Imaishi, so I didn't think we'd be able to see his true flavor come through in a show like this. With the exception of one place where he put his all into a great action sequence full of laborious and thrilling background animation, which we don't see much of anymore these days, the ep didn't have quite the feeling of velocity in his early work, but it pulled you in the same way his old work did. The only name I recognize is Yasushi Shingo, who was in most of Gucchi's eps of Outlaw Star, so perhaps he did the good part. Gucci is the only one who's done solo eps like this in the show.

I was surprised that Kenji Nakamura/Takashi Hashimoto's Bakeneko wrapped up on only its 3rd ep, but on second thought, it makes sense in view of the astonishing work they did in those few eps. It's more surprising that this kind of work was shown on TV to begin with. It was a stylistic tour-de-force on the order of Cossette. The second ep wasn't done by the main team, so while similar on the surface it was lackluster and missing the other eps' spark of genius. With the finale (ep 11) we were back to the grin-inducing manic directing of ep 9, with a huge array of animators in tow to boot (33 KA), including Soichiro Matsuda, Kakita, Hashimoto, Yamashita Takaaki and his protege. Stylistic quirks were kicked into thrilling overdrive, wrapping up the story nicely. The kitty's movement at the very end was wonderfully nuanced and delightful, so presumably Yamashita. Elsewhere it looked like Akira Takada. I don't think anyone saw this one coming. Bravo Kenji Nakamura & Takashi Hashimoto. Encore!

Noein went out with an impressive bang in the last episode, 24, with all the major animators we saw throughout the series filling the ep with non-stop animated excitement. Not much else to say other than gokurousama! It was great to see Satoru Utsunomiya get a chance to do a lot of work here, as I remember hoping he'd get to. On top of that Matsumoto did a lot, but interestingly though there was a bit of action it was mostly low-key everyday life animation. Then Hiroshi Okubo did a lot of great action, while the now up-and-coming Ryochimo made a name for himself in no time short.



Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Ryochimo definitely has made himself a name here, it’d be great to see him become a great animator in his own right.

Though I swear there was one scene in that episode which seemed very much like a throwaway reference to ep 13 of Gaiking

03/31/06 @ 04:28
Ben [Visitor]

Which?? Wait, I vaguely remember seeing some cubic rocks in Noein 24 that kind of reminded me of Nakamura Yutaka’s part in Gaiking 13… is that the part you mean? (maybe I’m imagining it, need to rewatch)

03/31/06 @ 09:43
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Not that, more like the bit where, I mean, whatshisname, Kooriyama whaps the badguy. Reminds me of this part . Maybe it’s just me, really, but that’s the very first impression I got… I guess it’s a more commonly used sequence, but oh well.

I really liked the bit where Noein engulfed Karasu, I wonder who did that? And the bit where he used his hair to break the seahorse-looking-things, it looked kind of interesting.

03/31/06 @ 23:30
Ben [Visitor]

Heh, we’ll call him Hiroshi… I see what you mean, but who knows. Would seem kind of odd.

Upon a quick re-watching, I’m thinking both of those parts were Ryochimo. At first I thought the hands were Matsumoto, since he did that “kurukuru panchi” in an earlier ep, but the rough touch here looks more like Ryochimo.

It seems they added lots of stuff to the ep in a rebroadcast… curious to see that. I thought it was already impressive enough as it was, but I guess they weren’t satisfied.

04/01/06 @ 13:51
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Yeah, I was quite surprised by it as well. It seems that they were in quite a rush to finish the last episode in time, but evidently they felt that the first broadcast version didn’t do justice to what they wanted to show. It was certainly far from yashigani or unexcusable crap, and it was on obscure stations at an obscure timeslot (unlike Eureka and that 3rd OP) and yet they wanted to improve it for *TV* release, not DVD - I wonder how many studios would go so far?

We’ve heard Utsunomiya wanted to correct his bits in 12, but the DVD’s not out for that so nobody really knows. They even added little bits into the already-fabulous episode 1. (Though I secretly wish they had changed the faces in ep 2.)
I’d like to know what the DVD version of 24 would be like, then…

It’s really very inspiring effort, though. I think a mail to Satelight is in order…

04/01/06 @ 18:23
Ben [Visitor]

I was really, really impressed with it as it was, so it’s certainly an impressive level of dedication they have. Very curious to see what Utsunomiya will have done too. Ah, ep 2… Noein’s own personal Yashigani.

I think Satelight might be real happy to hear from an overseas fan. They definitely deserve some great input from fans for their work here. I know Yuasa was happy to hear from moi. So that’s a good idea.

04/01/06 @ 18:32
owen [Visitor]

Any great animated eps between 12 and 24 to check out before jumping into 24? Haven’t really kept track of that show.

04/02/06 @ 15:57
Ben [Visitor]

There were interesting bits in a lot of the episodes between 12 and 24, most of which I mentioned in passing on the blog, but the only ("only") out-and-out animated bashes in Noein turned out to be eps 1, 12 and 24. If you only watch three eps, those are the three.

04/02/06 @ 22:12
Manuloz [Visitor]

Here is a clip from the ending of “Joshikousei GIRL’S-HIGH” (one of the new season show) and i was wondering if Yasuomi Uematsu has worked on it, because of the drawing, very much like him.

I checked, one of the new madhouse show, kiba and it featured some nice car chase animation.

And there’s finally some picture of tokitake on the official page :

04/05/06 @ 13:30
Ben [Visitor]

Yes, Yasuomi Umetsu was an animator in the episode and he was storyboarder/director/animator of the ending.

04/05/06 @ 14:11
Tsuka [Visitor]

A trailer for Mamoru Hosoda’s “Toki wo kakeru Shoujo” movie is available :

04/08/06 @ 01:11
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Thanks for the link, Tsuka! Although it didn’t really show a lot, but it doesn’t look bad.

I’ve been watching some of the new releases; Takaaki Wada was in Nana, Norimitsu Suzuki doing the ED for that (but there isn’t much animatoin in it), that same Norimitsu Suzuki was in Bones’ first attempt at Shoujo, Ouran High School Host Club. I saw Yutaka Nakamura in there but I can’t fathom for the life of me what he was doing in it. It also seems like Ryochimo (under his real name?) was in Black Lagoon, but I don’t think it was a lot and it was corrected a fair bit I guess…

04/09/06 @ 05:30
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Well would you believe it or not! Come July they’re actually going to make a sequel! 12 more episodes of Bakeneko, with the same staff as well. The show’s called Mononoke. Now this’ll be very interesting. I suppose the original set of episodes was used to see how response would be to it?

This year sure is full of amazing surprises.

03/24/07 @ 00:45
Ben [Member]  

It looks like my “Encore!” was heard. :) What a great surprise that is. I was extremely eager to find out what Kenji Nakamura’s next project would be, and this is a nice surprise. Of course, I’m also kind of trepidous because part of what made Bakeneko so great was that it was so out of the blue. I was happy with it just being three amazing episodes like nothing else out there. But I have no doubt Kenji Nakamura will not disappoint, whatever he does. It’s the same team - he’s paired with Takashi Hashimoto again - so I don’t see how they could go wrong. One thing I did want to see was more character animation from Hashimoto like that he did in Bakeneko, so in that sense I’m delighted to hear of this. I’m thinking they decided to do this just because they saw how well receive the original set was.

03/24/07 @ 10:20