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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« Persepolis & the VIFFA Production / Shin-Ei Animation »

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

08:26:49 am , 511 words, 2236 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, TV

Recent viewing

Just a memo of a few things that caught my eye in recent viewing. Starting from the most recent, Gonzo's new show Dragonaut is directed by Studio Torapezoid member Manabu Ono, so I was somewhat curious about it. The chief animation director is Tadashi Sakazaki, whom I remember for the boat chase in Mamoru Hosoda's One Piece movie. He does invest some nuance into the movement here. The big surprise was to find Susumu Yamaguchi listed near the end. Both Ono and Yamaguchi have been doing exclusively Sunrise stuff for a few years, so I wonder what this means. It would be nice to see new work from Yamaguchi anywhere regardless, so it would be nice to see an episode or two from him here. Yamaguchi animated the fight near the end. See Keroro Gunso 102 and Outlaw Star for more Yamaguchi. Tatsuzo Nishita seems to have done the action in the abandoned building. I liked the few shots of acting in the avant on the plane. Nothing extravagant, but the sense of timing was nice.

Baccano 7 featured work from that other great Torapezoid animator, Hiroshi Okubo, not to mention Norio Matsumoto. Their work seemed to come at the end of the episode. No big action, but rather some good staging and nice expressions. Gonzo's Bokurano just ended, with some nice work in the last two eps. Shingo Natsume seems to have done the shots of the missiles launching and Ryochimo their explosions in ep 23, while I though another bit earlier where that white floating thing gets shot by the girl had a nice sensibility in the movement, though obviously by a newcomer. Hisashi Mori was in the final ep, but his part was disappointingly short, just a few shots of the disintegrating robot. I didn't watch the series in full, so I don't know whether Hiroyuki Morita improved on the original by changing it as he did, but I was quite entertained by the furore over Morita's comments regarding those changes on his blog.

I was very disappointed to see Mononoke end on episode 12. The final episode featured work by the usual suspects - Nishita, Kakita, Matsuda, Yamashita, Hashimoto, plus Tatsuya Tomaru and Shinya Takahashi. I grew very attached to the show and its sensibility, which never got old, and I'm eager for Kenji Nakamura to start something new. Guren Lagan, on the other hand, never grew on me, despite featuring a relentless onslaught of great animation by so many great animators it's not even worth going through them one by one. At the very least, the show will have had the beneficial effect of getting the work of lots of great animators seen and acknowledged by a lot of people. The last two eps of Karas featured lots of nice explosions by Hideki Kakita, plus work by Ryotaro Makihara (the young Shin-Ei animator I mentioned in the previous post), Shigeru Kimishima (another young animator who I recall for the waves in Mamoru Hosoda's One Piece movie), Takamitsu Kondo, Soichiro Matsuda, the great fx animator Shuichi Kaneko, Mitsuru Obunai, Akira Takada...



E [Visitor]  

Gurren Lagaan has got the spirit!!! It’s like Yoshinori Kaneda met FLCL and the rest is history!! The most imagination since Future Boy Conan!! I highly recommend!(the visuals alone are entertaining,but the story is fantastic too. Gainax has done 27 ep. of the highest quality hand drawn animation, snappy timing ,and cartoony!!this is what cg cannot animation landmark.

10/10/07 @ 00:42
manuloz [Visitor]  

Bokurano> It was good to have Mori working on the last shot of Zearth. Reminescent of the other hand-drawn shot by that young animator Kan Ogawa on episode 15 where one of those “aline” mecha self destruct.

On episode 23 was it the explosion caused by the military attack with the use of drones ? I think i read on Yama P-BBS he worked on those shots with Kutsuna. And some Kurita guy made the shots where Zearth blast 2 towers.

But you should understand more by yourself :

10/10/07 @ 01:27
huw_m [Member]

I very much admire Hiroyuki Morita, though I’m not sure why. Probably ‘cos he injected some ghibli-style heart and soul into a typical dread-filled seinen manga. Goodness knows why he was put in charge of it though.

Did you happen to catch the Uncut DVD version of Gurren-Lagann 6 Ben? Doesn’t that mark the first time we’ve seen pure, unadulterated Shin Itagaki? He and Yuka Shibata make a great team. Having a female AD lent it a more wholesome sensibility I think, which was nice. I thought it was hilarious, but then I enjoyed Gurren Lagann for the most part.

Speaking of Kan Ogawa, he was in the first episode of a new show, Rental Magica. I flipped through it, but didn’t see anything notable, least of all the show itself.

10/10/07 @ 05:30
Ben [Member]  

Thanks for the correction, Manuloz. You’re right, this Yama guy seems to be saying that he and Kutsuna did the drones. I would never have guessed. I don’t even know what he’s credited as here.

Huw: Morita was definitely an odd choice, considering that he seems to have made his stance on the comic very clear to everyone from the outset. I have mixed feelings about him personally. I waver between thinking he’s all swagger without the skill to back it up, and admiring his daring in speaking his mind and taking a firm stance on his beliefs. I’m curious to see whether the firestorm over this show will wind up working to his advantage or detriment in the future.

A problem I have with Bokurano is that I find it hard to distinguish whether the series is unconvincing to me simply because of the crappy production quality (which is not necessarily his fault) or because of the directing. Moments like the Norio Matsumoto segment worked very powerfully as drama, so I get to wondering if with better production quality (i.e. good animators) it might not have had a very different impact.

No, I haven’t seen the DVD version. Is it different? Itagaki’s ep certainly was one of the more uninhibited episodes of the series from what I recall - which is saying a lot. I was disappointed how unlike that episode his directing debut was, as I was expecting something more in that vein.

10/10/07 @ 15:08
manuloz [Visitor]  

Ben> His name is Hiroshi Yamashita, i think he entered satelight since he has done his fisrt inbetween there on Aquarion, and afterward worked on Kissdum as KA.

The recap part on GL #6 is gone and replace with the actual containt. Well, Kamina that wants to cross the wall to check on the girls ^^’

Huw M> If you like Shin itagaki, you should also check his episode on Konomini (Gainax) and Jubei-chan 2 (Madhouse), Imaishi was there as KA on those 2.

Kan Ogawa is on the second episode of Dragonaut as 2nd KA, probably a small job. So he might have done the bridge explosion, it’s only 1 cut.

10/11/07 @ 01:59
William Massie
William Massie [Visitor]  

Great posts, Mr. E especcially the one about Shinei. I powered through all of Gurren Laggan and loved it, you just gotta know how to take it (heh).
Other then that I haven’t been watching much. Saw Gundam 00, had Seiichi Nakatani lording over mech animation interestingly. The art direction is rather awesome (High Vision, baby) other then that a tad MOR.
I anticipate Mukoh Hadan. I had wondered what all of the movers at Bones were doing. After Eureka Seven the movement in many Bones shows has been a tad staid (if still more fluid then many other studios work). Has anyone heard anyting more about Oshii’s new film?

10/11/07 @ 03:49
huw_m [Member]

Manuloz > Thanks, I’ll check both those out. I have seen Imaishi’s parts in those episodes on youtube I think.

Ben > As Manuloz said, the recap part is gone (I think it was there for censorship purposes, not budgetary issues - it’s easy to forget G-L aired at 8:30am on Saturday) - The DVD episode has a lot more gags and content and much much better flow in general (it’s also a lot more risqué, and a lot funnier) - Reminds me of Imaishi’s RE: Cutie Honey.

I also checked out the first episode of Devil May Cry. It seems like great source material for Itagaki’s fun side, but Madhouse has money to make so it’s mostly dark and moody, as opposed to the cheesy aspect being played up. But his style was largely intact, and there were some really neat visual ideas throughout. I’m not quite sure what you mean by his directing debut exactly, but perhaps this is more your style?

William > I second your anticipation of Stranja. It’s getting a swift ass-kicking at the box office (debuted and remains at 14th), so be sure to buy the DVD!

10/11/07 @ 04:51
Ben [Member]  

Thanks, William. I’m anticipating with you.

Huw: Sorry for being unclear. I meant his debut as a series director. He seems pretty young to be a series director. His work on Guren was definitely more to my liking. I’ll try to see that updated version of the ep. Thanks for the details.

Manuloz: Yes, I know. Hence my point. I don’t see that name in the credits. A lot of young animators these days seem to enjoy using pen names for some reason… It’s very confusing. Though I guess it’s not really anything new.

10/11/07 @ 14:27
manuloz [Visitor]  

Ben> Thx for the clarification. I had seen the episode on nicovideo and i did not check on the credit. So i was not aware he was not credited as Hiroshi Yamashita.

It seems, he is not credited for his shot on the OP, so he might have done all is work fir the show uncredited.

10/13/07 @ 12:08