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, March 9, 2007

08:24:11 pm , 296 words, 1227 views     Categories: Animation

Samurai7 no Mori

I picked up the Samurai7 fanbook to see if there might be some of Hisashi Mori's designs in there, but zilch, nada. So I still don't know what the nature of "design works" is. I was really looking forward to seeing some of his designs in the raw, too. Takuhito Kusanagi did the original designs for the main characters, and Makoto Kobayashi the mecha and setting design work, so perhaps Mori handled the sub-characters. Kusanagi's designs were quite wonderful, as expected, very true to the flavor of what I remember seeing in his Shanghai Kaijinzoku manga more than a decade ago. The tragedy is that none of that flavor whatsoever comes through in the final designs. In the final product they look like your average humdrum designs. It's an amazing feat to be able to sap such seemingly irrepresible character completely dry. I didn't know Makoto Kobayashi, but his ornate, organic mecha designs are quite nice, somewhat Giger-ish. I haven't seen enough of the anime to say whether that character comes through in the final product. I'm reminded here of Little Nemo, which shared a similar fate of having a lot of great looking, imaginative pre-production stuff by a huge array of talent, but having very little of that flavor in the final product. To be fair, it's probably too much to ask to transfer his delicately toned style to a flat-toned medium like this. One thing I like about Gonzo is that they use interesting figures like Kusanagi, but I often find that they don't manage to figure out a way to reflect what makes those figures good in the first place in the final product, so it winds up being kind of a waste. I think I'll hit up the Speed Grapher book next.

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7 comments

Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I’m very interested to see how the Speed Grapher book is like. That’s a prime example of Gonzo’s ability to get interesting designs and pre-production materials and then completely waste them in the final product.

If it isn’t of too much trouble, do talk about it if there’s anything worth mentioning. I hope they include Mori’s designs for that at least.

03/10/07 @ 00:59
h_park
h_park [Member]

I have to agree with Random person on Gonzo’s ability. I just finished watching Speed Grapher final episodes on DVD, and thank god that I only rented it. Animation and plot aren’t strong enough to support the original concept. Like Random person said, they do have interesting pre-production material and their final product is bad.
About Speed Grapher book, are you guys talking about Speed Grapher Visual & Storybook? It’s your usual anime art book.

03/10/07 @ 22:35
someone
someone [Visitor]

There’s another Speed Grapher book that came out recently that features the all the artwork and character concepts by Yuusuke Kozaki. If you’re interested in his role in Speed Grapher, you should pick up that book as it’s extremely well put together.

Unless you’re looking more for Masashi Ishihama’s contributions? Then I’d wager the regular fanbook carries some of his designs but I don’t own that particular book.

03/11/07 @ 15:01
Ben [Member]  

Thanks for the tips. I’d love to see the work that both Kozaki and Ishihama did, though what I’m really interested in seeing is the work that the three folks cited under “design works” did - Mori, Okuno and Ebihara. I think it’s a long shot that their work is included in either book, if the Samurai7 book is any indication, but I’ll still give them a shot.

03/11/07 @ 16:24
h_park
h_park [Member]

About Mori, Okuno and Ebihara’s design works, Speed Grapher Visual & Storybook shows their designs. Ebihara handled mechanical designs; Okuno handled mostly prop designs; Mori handled creature designs.

03/14/07 @ 01:04
Nico M
Nico M [Visitor]

Hope this is OK here …. a ‘custom DVD’ of “The Legend of Sirius” has been uploaded here http://asiandvdclub.org/details.php?id=5985
Looks like a labour of love, with Japanese & English Dual Audio & English Subs, go see & figure. Since this is unlicensed in any way outside Japan I hope it’s OK, please email me if out of order. Looks like clever ‘fan DVDs’ of ‘out-of-print’ masterpieces are starting to appear more often as pro software & semipro talents increase.

03/17/07 @ 06:21
Ben [Member]  

I’ll be getting those books soon, and I’m quite excited now that I know Mori is in there…

Wow, a fan DVD of Legend of Sirius of all things. If any film deserves such a thing, it’s Sirius, which has been criminally neglected for too long. I can’t believe a pro DVD of that film hasn’t even been put out yet.

03/18/07 @ 20:49