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Since Mitsuo Iso began handling the digital processing of his animation around 2000 in Blood, one of the only people I've been able to find taking up Iso's challenge has been Ko Yoshinari 吉成鋼. Where some animators have gone the route of producing their own short features independently, Ko Yoshinari has taken the concept of the one-man production and adapted it to commercial animation by personally handling the animation, processing and photography of the shots he has been assigned in commercial productions, establishing his own personal paradigm in a way.
Yoshinari seems to have latched onto the idea of doing this around 2004, two years after RahXephon aired, taking a warm-up dive with the animation and compositing for the two shots where Ed jumps over the waterfall in the fourth opening of Full Metal Alchemist (:59 to 1:02). In October of 2004 he did a big chunk of animation in ep 1 of Lyrical Nanoha that stole the show for its detailed drawings and minute, realistic character movement. (:41 to 1:48) As happens often with the tight schedules of TV shows, the only reason we saw Yoshinari's section unmodified was that they did not have time to correct it, which for once was a good thing. Next Yoshinari handled a short section of Yutaka Nakamura's fight with the big monster in the Full Metal Alchemist movie (1:33 to :38). In a first, Yoshinari was credited not just with key animation, but also with inbetweening, finishing and photography. The latest piece of Yoshinari came in the second-to-last ep of Eureka 7, #49, where he handled about six or seven very dense shots. (:17 to :33) The zoom on the ship in particular was quite stunning, and we could see his fetish for studying explosions clearly in the superbly rendered explosion that caps his sequence. (the shots preceding his were by Yasushi Muraki, who animated similar laser/missile "air circuses" throughout the show)
Yoshinari's sections usually move in full ones, even when the section he is doing is for a limited TV program, and he clearly puts an inordinate amount of effort into making the entire screen work as a whole for his section. This is presumably the reason he found it necessary to go to the extreme length of handling the digital processing and photography of his animation in the first place - that he has an image in his head of what he wants to achieve. Already that sets him into a class of his own. In that sense he is very close to Iso, although in terms of the style of movement and other aspects they're very different animators. But it would be interesting to hear what prompted Yoshinari to go in this direction, and how he manages to make it a feasible way of putting bread on the table, considering how long it must take him to create a few seconds of animation with this method. The results are stunning, and it's an interesting new tack, one diametrically opposed to the approach of Toshiyuki Inoue.
Yoshinari was born in 1969, and debuted as a key animator around 1990. Since then he's been involved in the Hakkenden OVA series, the Ninku TV series and numerous other shows. Other samples of his work include a shot in Final Fantasy Unlimited (2001) (2:09 to 2:13) and a sequence in Hiroyuki Imaishi's ep 3 of Abenobashi Maho Shotengai (2002) (here). Since his work on the impressive Ghost in the Shell game op in 1997 (alongside Koichi Arai, Hisashi Ezura, Yasushi Muraki, Yo Yoshinari, Toshiyuki Inoue and Mitsuo Iso), he has also been heavily involved in work on games, both as a designer and op animator.
Stunning work he did on that FMA opening.
he’s really good on the action shots.
I must say i’m not a big fan of his work when it comes to acting. About the bit you’ve posted, there are a lot of disturbing overlaps with strange timing.
But that’s the only thing that really bugs me.
Strange to see a japanese animator frequently willing to animate on ones, too.
Works good, i understand why he wants to take care of the inbetweens too. Ones can be really messy if not inbetweened accuratly.
I totally agree about his acting work, especially that dinner scene. I don’t understand the concept behind the movement at all. It’s like he tries to animate the designs as if they were realistic designs, when they’re not, and don’t need to be animated that way. I’d like to see what he would do with an acting situation in a more realistic style. He’s got the skill, but he could learn a thing or two from Okiura or Nishio, or even Shinji Otsuka in terms of loosening up his approach a bit. I find his drawings are too stiff. If he could just work on that, it’d be perfect. He’s got monstrous talent for creating short, powerful sequences.
The movement in that dinner scene you posted, is definitely off-putting as a lot of it is just uncessary and distractive, very forced. In regards to his latest bit, I was completely floored by his sequence in Eureka 7 #49, extremely intense and aggressive, plus the twitching was a nice addition!
And yes, his work on games is definitely worth taking note of. His and his brother’s designs for the Valkyrie Profile series are just stunning.
Forced ? Maybe. Or it’s just that we are not used to see such quality of animation in a TV series very often, and furthermore with the designs of a magical girl show. Realistic yet unrealistic, a strange but fascinating result. It’s my favorest and one of the most memorable scene in the whole show - and idem for the waterfall scene in this FMP OP, I’m glad to learn that the same person did it.
This site was already great, but with the addition of Youtube it takes a whole new dimension. Congratulations and thanks you for all the hard work it must represent !
Just in case you might like to see how awesome the scene is, I uploaded someone else’s extract of it with DVD quality. I still don’t want to believe the orange ship isn’t 3D…
Expires in 7 days from now.