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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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

12:35:54 pm , 516 words, 4344 views     Categories: Animation, Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Yuasa's Shin-chan

Around the time Mind Game had been completed and was waiting to hit the theaters one year ago, a new Shin-chan movie came out, Kasukabe Boys. For almost a decade Masaaki Yuasa had animated the climaxes for the films, but he hadn't been involved in them since starting work on Cat Soup. Having just seen last year's Shin-chan film, the last directed by Tsutomu Mizushima, I now realize Yuasa had come back to his alma mater right after finishing work on his own film, again to provide the climax. It's animated in such an unabashedly personal style that anyone seeing it will immediately know who animated it. I used to find that Yuichiro Sueyoshi's and Yuasa's styles were rather similar, but the difference here in their scenes is quite stark (Sueyoshi did the brawl - the faces all look straight out of Mind Game) and shows the direction in which Yuasa has continued to evolve. It's great, and kind of shocking, that they would keep those drawings in as is. The wonderfully strange and lively drawings and the incredible freedom of the movement (the soaring shot is particularly characteristic) help to heighten the feeling that this is the climax, and makes it a really exciting sequence. A new Shin-chan film by a new director came out last month (to very bad reviews), but Yuasa and Sueyoshi weren't involved. Reminds me of what happened to the old Toei films - as soon as all the good staff left in the years around 1970, they became pretty much unwatchable.

It's been about a year since the last Wakabayashi/Matsumoto piece for the series, but as hoped by fans, today's Naruto (133, D/S/AD Atsushi Wakabayashi, KA Norio Matsumoto, Atsushi Wakabayashi, Hirobumi Suzuki, Tokuyuki Matsutake, Atsuko Inoue) was indeed the return of 30 and 71, saying which should be enough to know what to expect for anyone who has seen those episodes. The team this time is expanded (Suzuki and Matsutake are both veterans of the genre - Suzuki's the CD, and most recently did CD/AD and some interesting photography in Cossette under ex-Wakabayashi partner Akiyuki Shinbo), and Matsumoto's parts are spread throughout, again presumably the effects. It's rare to see good action in a TV show, much less an entire episode at movie-level quality, and this team has produced among the most impressive action seen anywhere in the last few years in their work on this TV series. Quality over quantity is the keyword. Rather than pumping out episodes, they put in the time and spend time on raising the level of one episode. Their continued efforts to pool all their energy into creating these single, one-off masterpieces is really inspirational and goes against the typical style for TV anime in Japan, which is usually defined as a fight to see how much can be done in an extremely tight schedule. Matsumoto's a great animator because he can handle both, moving between TV limited and film full with the greatest of ease and always producing great results. (viz)

Mamoru Hosoda's new film will be coming out on DVD on July 21.

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