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, July 11, 2006

09:19:24 pm , 527 words, 1152 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Movie, TV

Looking forward to Tokikake

I see that Mamoru Hosoda's Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The girl who could travel time) is hitting theaters in Japan in just a few days. Initial reactions seem good, and I'm looking forward to it. As a full-length, non-franchise feature based on a solid story, and not a featurette, a promo short, or a TV episode - unlike the various items Hosoda has directed in the last few years, which have all been wonderful, but have all been very 'minor' and seen mostly by die-hard fans - this film will probably finally bring Hosoda some well-deserved recognition. It seems like a film that might go some ways to filling the big shoes left empty by the absence of Isao Takahata from the stage now that Ghibli seems to have turned their back on their formula of alternating fantasy Miyazaki films with more realistic outings - a formula I thought lent the studio such a good balance. It won't be quite the same thing, of course, but Hosoda is a new voice for a new generation, and I think he'll be able to connect with a lot of viewers.

I sampled a few new shows, and was particularly hopeful about a new show from Telecom entitled Muteki Kamban Musume featuring Kazuhide Tomonaga doing animation, but was not terribly impressed. Telecom has the people to make the interesting movement, they just need someone to create some interesting stories so that the animation will actually have an impact. Like all the other studios out there these days, it seems they feel they have to base their shows on mediocre manga to attract viewers. Their previous effort using an original story had promise, but didn't live up to that promise for whatever reason, even though it felt like a good direction, so perhaps they gave up on that direction in despair. Angelique was interesting for being a new show mostly done by women. It was only missing a woman director. Content-wise it barely held my interest for a moment. I enjoyed ep 13 of Ouran High School Host Club, directed by chief director Takuya Igarashi. The stylistic resemblance to Mamoru Hosoda was even more striking than in the first ep, and there were interesting animators spicing things up, including op/ed animator Norimitsu Suzuki and Takaaki Wada. The sequence before the title was likely done by one or the other of these two. I liked the feeling of weight in the movement there. Clear effort went into making it look like each part of the body was moving in a different vector. As a movement it felt great. Whoever it was, they stood out big time, without being flamboyant. They stood out because the movement was incredible, not because the drawings were idiosyncratic. Even the short shot of the rabbit walking in front of the door stood out. I've never seen a stuffed rabbit walking, but after seeing that shot, I'm sure that's exactly what it must look like. In that sense it reminded me of Masahiko Kubo's animation of Maromi in ep 1 of Paranoia Agent, which literally brought Maromi to life as a living and breathing stuffed animal. A satisfying ep.

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5 comments

Random person
Random person [Visitor]

I was personally surprised to see Yasuo Otsuka doing the ED for Muteki Kanban Musume, really… never thought he’d still be doing this sort of thing. But what part do you think Kazuhide Tomonaga did? Was it the fighting? (I’m not really familiar with what his style is or what he’s good at except, maybe, FX)

Nice that you enjoyed ep 13 of Ouran. It would be nice, too, if you happened to see the NHK ni Youkoso opening because it’s actually directed by Ishihama/"Uminato", and looks very nice (and IMO, reminds me a lot of Hosoda)
I’m actually sort of interested in the content, too. Of the actual show, that is

07/12/06 @ 08:07
Ben [Member]  

Yeah, Kazuhide has to have done the fighting at the beginning in the restaurant, because it was the only part that was really moving. But you can sense a bit of similarity with some of the movement in the first ep of Tide Line Blue, ie, where the kid is running on the roof, or in the second ep where he’s teetering over the edge of the dock. I’m also more familiar with Tomonaga’s work from the late 70s, especially the FX in 999 movie, rather than his more recent stuff, but judging by the little I’ve seen, he does still create animation that stands out for its richness of movement. That’s what has supposedly defined Telecom and made them so unique in Japan for decades now, since Cagliostro through Holmes to Nemo etc. - that focus on teaching their animators the importance of movement.

I was equally surprised to see new animation from Otsuka. Nothing could make me happier than to see some more animation from Otsuka, and I think most animation fans would feel the same way. Otsuka was the one who helped found Telecom, and he’s been there as a teacher for years and years, so it’s not too surprising in that sense. It’s obviously a sort of nod of encouragement to Telecom.

Thanks for the pointer to that NHK op. It is a really great op. I’d like to see it in better quality to better appreciate it. Interesting to note that Ishihama is one of the ADs of Tokikake. Amazingly, I recognized almost every single name in the KA credits for the film, except for just two or three. He obviously hand-picked his animators for this one. Natch, Mori’s there. Wouldn’t be a Hosoda film without Mori and Yamashita.

07/12/06 @ 13:47
Random person
Random person [Visitor]

Is it really true that Ryochimo is also in the film? I was surprised at that choice, but I do hope that Ryochimo continues to get good opportunities to work in projects like this and Noein where he gets to gain crucial experience in actually good and interesting animation.

I get what you mean about Tomonaga now. I can’t believe I forgot that bit in Tide-Line Blue which I liked so much…

By the way, I liked the detail in that OP where Ishihama’s pen-name got knocked off with the boxes. Sneaky!

07/13/06 @ 08:26
Manuloz
Manuloz [Visitor]

Ryochimo has put the credit for Tokitake on his homepage.

By the way there’s 2 new tv spot on the movie official page.

Then, Norimitsu Suzuki has done the ED for Chokotto sister :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om2fl7QWlSU

07/13/06 @ 09:58
Ben [Member]  

I guess it’s true. :)

That bit with the name was indeed very amusing. These guys have a great sensibility. And I checked out the synopsis for the show itself, and it sounds right up my alley. I think I’m going to enjoy it.

07/13/06 @ 20:35