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, March 6, 2007

02:23:46 am , 427 words, 1724 views     Categories: Animation, Animator

Masayuki Yoshihara

A long time ago I talked about how Masayuki Yoshihara's ep 41 of Ninku had had a big impact on me. That remains his most powerful creation as far as I know, but since then I found that he had also done some nice work in the Shin-chan movies, namely the 5th and 6th from 1997 and 1998, the first two directed by Keiichi Hara. I'm not quite sure how he came to work on Shin-chan of all things, as his work on Ninku epitomized the realistic school of the period, but that's the thing about the movies - you found unexpected people every once in a while, like Hiroyuki Nishimura and Masahiro Ando, obviously because they were great animators and had been brought in to help bring to life the action that filled out the movies. And so they did. These three created many of the most memorable scenes in the mid-period films. I don't know what Yoshihara did in the 1997 film, but I remember that he animated the opening sequence of 1998's Buta no Hizume, and it was a great idea, because his more realistic style of animation worked perfectly for the more realistic and hard-boiled direction Hara wanted to go with the film. Strangely enough, it seems Yoshihara had even done a few eps of the TV series. He animated two eps in 1997 - #237B and #241B - and storyboarded about three others the next year. The ones he animated were a real revelation, just what one would expect from an outsider like him - subtly different from the regulars, with extreme angles, a wilder and more unpredictable approach to timing, close attention to little details of movement, realistic weight, and lots of hilarious, bizarre movement throughout. You'd think he'd been animating Shin-chan for years, but then there are unexpected touches here and there, like the one shot where he puts incredible effort into animating beautiful clouds flowing past for some reason. He must have had fun with the work. It's certainly very different from what he did in the movies, and closer to the spirit of the show. I don't really know much about what else he's done, apart from a bunch of episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho in 1992-1994 (1, 3, 7, 13, 19, 27, 33, 35, 39, 42, 48, 54, 58, 73), which is where Nishio Tetsuya met his mentor and was greatly influenced by him, and Ninku 41 in 1995. Over the last few years he's been working at IG subcontractor PA Works, where he's mainly been storyboarding, first for the GITS series and movie and now apparently for the upcoming Seirei no Moribito. Here's an interview with him.

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2 comments

Manuloz
Manuloz [Visitor]

Thx for the insight on Masayuki Yoshihara work. It’s always helpful when you look for those nicely crafted 90’shonen anime.

And your timing was perfect because thx to those nice people from 2chan i was able to see this episode of Ninku… so i put it online here for those who want to check it.

Ninku #41 :
http://www.dailymotion.com/manuloz/video/x1ejih_ninku-41

03/12/07 @ 08:08
Ben [Member]  

Thanks a bunch Manuloz for reuniting me with my long lost love. :) It was interesting to finally get to see it again after a decade. I find that what really stuck in my memory all these years was not just the animation, that wonderful evocative ugly realism, but the strange tempo and the oddly distant, fractured feeling of the directing and art, especially that scene in the forest where the forest is black and white. Watching it again now after all these years also makes it much clearer how much it seems indebted to Hamaji’s Resurrection. Much as I love Nishio, I must say I like Yoshihara’s characters way more. Too bad this approach never caught on. I wish Yoshihara would do more like this!

03/12/07 @ 16:01