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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Monday, August 16, 2004

09:11:11 pm , 493 words, 2679 views     Categories: Animation, Animator

Samurai Seven #7

A rather interesting episode has appeared in this series. Hiroyuki Okuno (奥野浩行) directed, storyboarded and was animation director of the episode, making it one of those rather rare one-man-orchestra episodes. Furthemore, there are only two key animators listed (the rest was 2nd key animation): Hisashi Mori and Hiroyuki Okuno himself. The fact that Mori is listed first suggests that he handled the first half key animation and Hiroyuki Okuno handled the second half key animation.

If I didn't have the credits to go by, and were to judge purely based on style, I would have guessed that the first half was done by Shinya Ohira. A search on the internet in Japanese turns up virtualy no hits for the name Hisashi Mori, suggesting that it may in fact be a pen name for Shinya Ohira. I've never heard of Ohira using a pen name before, which is why at first I thought Okuno had done the first half, and had become a disciple of Ohira. Not having seen much of his work, I'm unable to judge for certain what the case is, and so I'll leave it up in the air until I can find confirmation from somewhere.

If it's Ohira, as seems likely, then this is one of the longest sequences Ohira has animated in the last few years, and furthermore it is big news because it is the first TV animation he's done in fifteen years. Stylistically it falls in line perfectly with what we've seen in the past in terms of the deliberately wobbly quality of the line and the very, very unique realistic movement. Think Ghiblies 2 dance, skateboard chase in Animatrix, cat moving around in FLCL 2, father fighting the thugs in Kill Bill. Ohira is without any doubt the most daring and original animator active today in anime, and it's good to see that he continues to be prolific.

If it's not Ohira, I would be very surprised. Ohira is the only person in Japan who draws drawings like this and comes up with this kind of movement. But it's possible. I haven't seen enough of Okuno's style to be able to say for sure. Maybe this Hisashi Mori person is in fact real. I'm really not on firm ground here. So for now I'll leave it at that. While we're at it, here's a partial filmography for Hiroyuki Okuno.

1983 - Votoms #15, 19, 24, 30, 34, 38, 44, 48 (key animation)
1987 - Mister Ajikko #10, 19, 24, 26, 28, 33, 37, 38, 43, 48, 53, 59, 64, 69, 74, 99 (KA)
1989 - Madoo Granzort #22, 30, 36 (KA with Tadashi Hiramatsu)
1990 - Nadia of the Blue Seas #11, 15 (KA)
1992 - Super Zugan #4 (animation director)
1995 - Sailor Moon SS #10, 16, 21 (KA)
1995 - Jusenshi Galkiba #18 (AD) #3, 7, 11 (KA)
1991 - Genji Tsushin Agedama #1, 6, 14, 20 (KA)
1992 - Oishinbo #127, 132
1994 - Metal Fighter Miku #13 (KA)
1995 - Zenki #33 (animation director)
1995 - Jura Troopers #14 (KA)
1996 - Yusha Shirei Daguon #17 (KA)
2000 - Mashranbo #2, 9, 20 (animation director)
2001 - Mutekio Trixenon #5 (director) #11 (storyboard)
2001 - Virgin Night OVA (director, storyboard, KA)
2001 - Yoru ga kuru! OVA (director)
2001 - Digimon Adventure 02: Diabolomon no Gyakushu (KA)
2002 - Rizelmein #5 (director, storyboard)
2003 - Last Exile #21, 23 (animation director)

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