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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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

10:16:45 pm , 515 words, 3334 views     Categories: Animation

Slime Adventures

One thing I never expected to see is Masaaki Yuasa's Slime Adventures short. I considered myself lucky enough to have seen his Nanchatte Vampiyan pilot. I figured it was just a little obscurity that probably could safely be confined to his past. It probably isn't that great anyway, I tried to convince myself. Having now seen it, I can't help but laugh. At the thought that this thing remained out of sight for so long. At the thought that Yuasa had actually gone farther in this little film than he has anywhere else before or after, and it's been seen by nobody. Seeing it showed me that I was right in suspecting that if Yuasa could be let loose with his own material we'd see something far more incredible than Mind Game. Seeing it made me really, really look forward to his short in Genius Party, not that I wasn't already. From everything I've heard, it sounds guaranteed to betray any expectations.

In a lot of ways this feels like the most 100% Yuasa film he's done yet. That feeling of incredible momentum, of being on an out-of-control roller coaster you get watching parts of Noiseman and Mind Game, and the little bits he's done here and there - the ending of this film blew it all away. I've only watched it once, so I'm probably exaggerating, but it was an amazing experience seeing that climax. The phrase that came to mind while watching it was: "kurutteru". Translated: He's gone completely crazy. I've never seen anyone capable of creating such psychotically thrilling momentum in animation. Part of this was no doubt in no small part thanks to the fact that Shinya Ohira drew a large portion of the climax. (it was great seeing the "O" of his name, meaning big, balloning all out of proportion with the rest of the names in the credits, no doubt for his incredible work and as a sign of respect) The significance of his presence here is all greater since this was probably the first thing Ohira did following his five-year hiatus from the anime industry after Hamaji's Resurrection. Since then there's been no stopping him.

Technically Yuasa wasn't the designer or animation director, but it sure as hell looks like he was. The whole setting looks straight out of one of his image sketches, and the style and texture of the drawings throughout feels incredibly close to his TV work on Shin-chan and elsewhere, much moreso than the Vampiyan pilot in any case, which had the drawback of not looking like Yuasa at all. There's no room for doubt that most of the designs apart from the main characters had to have been drawn by Yuasa. Combined with the typical Yuasa genius for hilarious gags and great timing, this really is unadulterated Yuasa. It's been about a year since I first experienced Mind Game, and this gave me back a little of the high I got seeing that film for the first time. Ahh, there's nothing like a new piece by Yuasa to set you back on your feet.



Tsuka [Visitor]

I’m happy that you enjoyed this animated-short ^_^
I was sure you will analyse the staff, nice to learn that Shinya Ohira was here. Have you seen other great animators ?

11/16/05 @ 04:29
Ben [Visitor]

Yes, I realized that I forgot to mention that Yasunori Miyazawa was in the top spot, listed big and alone on his own page, so he was huge in the film. And Shinji Otsuka was next. The only other name that meant something to me is Yoshihara Masayuki, who did the classic Ninku #41. Also, Dead Leaves art director Hiromasa Ogura was the art director - it should have been obvious from the style of the credits, which is similar to DL.

11/16/05 @ 08:08
Harrold [Visitor]

Where did you manage to see this film? It’s so hard ot come by such work in the UK

11/16/05 @ 08:19
Ben [Visitor]

Check the last comments.

11/16/05 @ 08:36
Tsuka [Visitor]

Ben > Thank you for staff informations. Nice team, indeed. They seem to have taken pleasure in making this short.

Harrold > On my website Catsuka.

11/16/05 @ 09:42
Daniel Thomas
Daniel Thomas [Visitor]

Thanks for letting us see this film short. It was amazing to watch, even if my beginners’ Japanese prevents me from understanding 98% of the dialog. But you don’t really need to worry about dialog in the midst of such crazed surrealism.

The climax of the story, with the rolling waves and giant water monster, features especially kinetic animation. I’d want to say it felt like watching parts of Horus, Prince of the Sun while tripping out on some very good acid, but that probably betrays my lack of experience with Japanese animation. At the very least, this allows me to appreciate Mind Game (which is quite excellent, btw) even more.

11/18/05 @ 00:58
Ben [Visitor]

That’s a really interesting comparison. Never remotely occurred to me, but then again, I remember wondering aloud a long time ago what Otsuka would think of a film like Mind Game because it seemed like the descendent of sorts of the rough approach he himself pioneered in Horus - the scene with the big fish really does share that feeling of roughshod, gritty momentum.

11/18/05 @ 16:17
Garfield [Visitor]  

I think if anyone actually bothered to subtitle these, artists like Yuasa and Koji Morimoto would be much more well known here.

Instead I just sit around with cartoons I can’t understand.

10/14/07 @ 19:47