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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Aaron Long
Aaron Long in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

I watched the film and overall I felt similarly to what you wrote, Ben. The sequences with Fujiko in the “perverts’ club” were my only real complaint - they felt like leftovers from the 2012 Fujiko series. Unpleasantly exploitative, in-your-face prolonged nudity for no good reason.

There was more comedy, luckily - the tone did feel very reminiscent of the early Lupin shows. I still wish the animation was a bit more exaggerated and stylized, but it was very well well-done anyway.

I’m not sure what to make of that Mamo cameo at the end… I prefer seeing new stories and characters to rehashing old ones, but Mamo was a pretty interesting villain.

There are a few quotes from the makers of the upcoming Lupin TV series regarding the tone and art style which sound very promising - from Tomonoga: ““I want to make a Lupin where the hardboiled, comical, cool and nonsensical all work together.”

And from the director Yano:
“The characters in this series will move around speedily. I want to draw the characters with a mischievous, fiery passion. We want to combine old and new techniques to make a interesting hybrid mix, like combining the rough, powerful thick lines of old with thin, detailed lines in other parts.”

 Permalink 12/17/14 @ 20:55
ben in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

Thanks. That’s what I get for not watching until the end of the credits. That coda even more strongly implies that this is a lead-in.

 Permalink 12/17/14 @ 12:47
Muffin
Muffin in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

Actually, Zenigata appears briefly after the end credits. And he looks all mean and moody…

 Permalink 12/17/14 @ 07:47
ben in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

Tamerlane - True, Koike is one of the few directors since Dezaki who’s seemed to be a good fit with the special format. (this doesn’t feel like a movie to me) You could be right about the Kubrick reference, though this is actually a setup that’s occurred a few times in Lupin - he runs across a secret society of rich men who gather in an underground lair to gamble or buy women or whatever.

Aaron - I hope you enjoy it. It does still retain a bit of the stylish moodiness of Fujiko due to the designs, and the drawings aren’t by any stretch loose and playful like Part III or anything, but it was pretty enjoyable, far more so than the previous show. The needless hatching is thankfully gone. I have to admit that the weird proportions of Koike’s designs kind of annoy me with some of the characters though. (the broad shoulders, narrow waist, super long arms that taper out to huge hands) It would indeed be great to get Aoki and Kabashima back. Kabashima actually now runs his own studio called Mugenkan (http://mugenkan-blog.jugem.jp/) so it wouldn’t be inconceivable for him to get back into the action, but I haven’t seen Aoki’s name anywhere lately.

 Permalink 12/16/14 @ 11:08
Aaron Long
Aaron Long in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

Wow I can’t wait to watch this, based on your response to it! I had no idea it was even out. Between this and the upcoming series, it seems like it’s a good time to be a Lupin fan. I completely agree with your request to bring back Aoki and Kabashima, while they’re at it. I’m not sure how old they are or if they’re still active in the industry, but how cool would it be to have them back at work on Lupin again?

 Permalink 12/15/14 @ 21:10
tamerlane
tamerlane in response to: Daisuke Jigen's Gravestone

I think the Mamo tease might be setting up another Koike special, maybe character specific for Goemon or Zenigata like this one was for Jigen. Purely speculative but it would be great if Koike could revive the Lupin special like Dezaki did in the late 80s.

You probably caught this but the weird sex cult thing with Fujiko was a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, complete with repetitive piano music and red interiors.

 Permalink 12/15/14 @ 18:37

I’m excited. At a basic level it’s nice to have another series finally, but Tomonaga was a great choice for director. If anyone can do it right, it’s Tomonaga, who did so much of the best work in the second series and Cagliostro and Fuma. Those are (among) the outings that attracted me to and defined Lupin in my mind for many years, so I’m happy to see something veering in that direction. It’s the kind of Lupin I personally want to see. His choice as director seems to indicate that they’re going for something more aimed at a general audience than the more maniacal Fujiko Mine outing, something striking a balance between intelligent writing and adult themes and plain old silly fun. Judging by the little bit of artwork that’s been released, they’re obviously toning down the edgy styling of Fujiko Mine and Jigen’s Gravestone and returning towards the classic (Cagliostro) look. The only uncertainty is that Tomonaga is an animator first and foremost. The one time in his long career that he did direct (Buta) was underwhelming. Also I was underwhelmed by what his studio Telecom turned in for the Elusive Fog special. So I’m happy Telecom is at the helm, but I’m a little nervous about whether they’ve still got it in them to bring that Telecom spark of old. Even if the name is the same, the company is inevitably different after 30+ years. What I’d like to see is a return to the loose sensibility of the early outings - not being fussy about creating cool drawings and intricate movement, instead focus on creating lively and broad character acting, creative action set pieces in the spirit of Fuma’s car chase and underground climax, even if the drawings aren’t 100% accurate. The apparent roughness of Fujiko Mine was in fact quite the opposite, a very laborious and calculated graphic expressiveness. Light and sprightly is what I’d like to see.

Going out on a limb, I’d love to see Yuzo Aoki come back, even for just a little cameo, but that is highly unlikely, since he hasn’t been involved in anything since Part III and isn’t at all associated with Telecom. I’m not even sure he’s still working.

Nope, I haven’t seen Jigen’s Gravestone yet but I’ll have a look at it right away. I’m happy to watch anything with Jigen in the lead.

 Permalink 12/15/14 @ 13:42
Erik

So Ben, what are your thoughts on the Blue Jacket series coming in spring? And have you seen Jigen’s Gravestone yet?

 Permalink 12/14/14 @ 21:21
jay_luo
jay_luo in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congrats Ben! i am new to the site but i have learn so much and i know i can learn much more here, thank you for all your hard work!

 Permalink 12/11/14 @ 18:47
pete
pete in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations on your blog Ben. Not many are willing to share their mind and heart in such a way.

Even though you’ve been active in reviews and fansubbing prior to that, it is the blog that made the difference.

 Permalink 11/05/14 @ 08:44
fjordaan
fjordaan in response to: 10 years of Anipages

I discovered your blog back in 2006 and have been a semi-regular reader ever since. Your blog has introduced me to a wealth of great anime and animators, both old and new. You also set the bar for intelligent criticism of the medium, possibly the only commentator who give animators their due, and not merely focusing on directors, stories and commercial impact. I’m mostly a lurker on the website, but I hope you keep it going for another 10 years. You’re in a league of your own.

 Permalink 10/30/14 @ 14:35
drmecha
drmecha in response to: Yoshinori Kanada passes away

it’s true

 Permalink 10/30/14 @ 06:18
ben in response to: Yoshinori Kanada passes away

I actually saw this a few years ago and was contemplating writing about it, but despite being interesting from an animation standpoint I felt it was just too repulsive in content… Rainbow Signal I haven’t seen on the other hand. I can relate. I have a huge box of once-rare LDs whose dissemination on the net has been an object lesson in the futility of collecting rarities for cachet.

 Permalink 10/30/14 @ 05:00
Nemphtis
Nemphtis in response to: Space Dandy #21

This is one of my favourite episodes in Space Dandy. Early into the episode I was getting excited from the Kino’s Journey vibes I was getting. Those vibes disappeared pretty fast but I still loved the overall feel in this one, plus the ending was cute. As you say, this is an episode I wouldn’t mind watching more than once.

 Permalink 10/29/14 @ 16:01
drmecha
drmecha in response to: Yoshinori Kanada passes away

Hi Ben !.
I did not know where to advertise this. But the participation of Yoshinori Kanada , I thought this post was an appropriate place .
This now available The Chocolate Panic Picture Show , complete OVA. In FC2 .
link :
http://himado.in/215386

I ‘ve seen it all, and as thought is completely experimental .
No wonder it has been Tezuka Productions who produced it.
Among the animators and storyboard artists (as some knew long ) contains , besides the author of the work ( ” KAMUI ” ) , Yoshinori Kanada and Gainax !
Look for a decade this title . This year I bought the LD . And right now appears !!!!! :(
I hope Rainbow Signal ( a music video of Japanese pop Trio Hi-Fi Set, animated by Kaname Pro !! ) which is the other LD I recently bought haha not appear just now.

sorry for my bad English
Greetings !

 Permalink 10/27/14 @ 16:32
melchizedek
melchizedek in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Stopping by to say congratulations and thank you as well. If I remember correctly, I discovered you by searching for more information on Shinya Ohira, after watching Wanwa several years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had seen his work earlier in places. The earliest being Hamaji’s Ressurection on VHS, when I was in highschool (which also marks the first time I’ve seen Yuasa). Still remains one of the most comprehensive places for information on Japanese animators, the industry, and the craft that I’ve ever seen. Here’s to many more years!

 Permalink 10/25/14 @ 23:33
melchizedek
melchizedek in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Thank you for your thoughts on Kaguya Hime, Ben. I have to wait for GKids to bring it over here, and bless ‘em because they do good work. I’m definitely going to watch this no matter what, since it’s Takahata’s last.

 Permalink 10/25/14 @ 23:16
Hyrule-enciclo
Hyrule-enciclo in response to: 10 years of Anipages

A little late on this, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to congratulate you for these 10 years keeping on one of the most astounding and complete blogs about japanimation one can find around.

This is truly a place of reference for any enthusiast on the matter and I hope we can enjoy it for even 10 more years. Thank you for all your hard work and for all the deep and interesting info you managed to gather. :)

 Permalink 10/23/14 @ 03:43
ben in response to: Santa Company making

Wow. I’d heard people say Kimura looks like a yakuza, but they weren’t exaggerating… I remember like 10 years ago he was trying to gather funding for a short animation to be done entirely by himself like this. So it’s going to be 5 minutes straight of a samurai killing people. Very like him. Rock on, Kimura!

 Permalink 10/22/14 @ 05:33
tim_drage in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Wow, congrats!! Enjoyed reading and posting over the years, looking forward to many more :)

 Permalink 10/16/14 @ 07:27
ben in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Thanks, Shergal. Glad you liked it. I was also really looking forward to this one, and I won’t say I was disappointed - far from it - but it left me with a strange aftertaste.

That’s a good question… I’m not sure why that is, which is why I left that part kind of vague. Basically I suppose the story simply didn’t grip me the way his previous films did, because it’s quite simple. You don’t get the kind of sensitive and realistic web of interpersonal relationships and character development building towards a meaningful climax like you do in Only Yesterday or Pompoko. I suppose he tried to do that as best he could by intricately depicting the emotional growth of Kaguya Hime over the course of the film, but there’s only so far you can go with this material.

Another thing is that the visuals and story weren’t really conceptualized together - he basically wanted to do something with Tanabe, and had various other ideas before finally coming to this one. The visuals are a good match to the story, but perhaps because it’s an extension of Yamadas visually it doesn’t feel like his previous films, when he took a totally new visual approach suited to each film’s material. Also, there’s a tension between the intricate, realistic character delineation that typifies Takahata and the cypher-like nature of folktale characters that gives the film something of a different character from his previous work.

That’s not to say it’s not a moving film. The characters grow on you and develop into people in typical Takahata fashion. But because of the graphic style, and especially the weird, blocky designs of the parents (which took me a lot of getting used to), it seems like the film deliberately tries to keep you from investing emotionally into the story. Each previous Takahata film was tremendously moving (whether Takahata likes it or not!) so that was something that felt different here.

 Permalink 10/15/14 @ 10:40
shergal
shergal in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

I really enjoyed reading your impressions on the film, Ben. I have been waiting for it since it got announced, being a big Takahata fan, and the trailers haven’t made it any easier.

I’m curious as to what exactly you felt unsatisfied with, since you don’t quite go over that in the post. Is it the potential of something else that could’ve been, from that early pilot? Or do you think the source material is ultimately at odds with the direction Takahata tried to take it?

 Permalink 10/14/14 @ 19:46
Nicholas Walstrom
Nicholas Walstrom in response to: Space Dandy #11

I also thought about Hitchhiker’s Guide during the footnote about the war (the visual style even evokes the BBC TV serial), as well as earlier when Gel speculates about luck manipulation (similar to the Infinite Improbability Drive).

On top of that, a library planet and an alien you forget immediately after you stop looking at it are also both concepts Steven Moffat contributed to Doctor Who in recent years.

I’m not familiar with Enjo Toh or Japanese SF in general but watching the episode I got a general feeling that the writer had a specific interest in British science fiction.

 Permalink 10/13/14 @ 15:23
Nicholas Walstrom
Nicholas Walstrom in response to: Space Dandy #10

Currently catching up on Space Dandy. This episode evoked Hosoda so strongly to me that if I were told that he was secretly behind it I would have believed it.

I didn’t even think of Groundhog Day while watching it; there are so many Japanese stories involving time loops (Urusei Yatsura 2, Haruhi’s Endless Eight arc, All You Need Is Kill…) that I thought of the narrator’s quick explanation of what was happening as an acknowledgment that the audience is probably familiar with this sort of thing and doesn’t need to waste time figuring it out.

 Permalink 10/13/14 @ 15:18
mortimer
mortimer in response to: Manga Nihon Mukashibanashi best picks

i am Searching to find lost and mystery animation from 70s
this is a Puppet animation about Orphaned child that make a toy by a Straw and a Bee .he get fortune by it

 Permalink 10/13/14 @ 09:20
H Park
H Park in response to: 10 years of Anipages

It’s been 10 years already?

To me, your blog always has been the oasis for Japanese and independent animation appreciation.

One of these days, you need to write a book.

I can’t believe I’ve been following your blog for 7 years already…

 Permalink 10/09/14 @ 02:57
drmecha
drmecha in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Ahh. And thanks for all the hours, days and years that you dedicate to investigate this apasionant art.
I really know it’s a big sacrifice.
Thanks Ben. :)

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 14:38
drmecha
drmecha in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations for the 10th anniversary Ben !!!!
Believe it or not, I am a old follower of the site (although I write very little) since 2004 (or 2003? or before???!!! I have strang memories from 2003!), when a fellow in the animation career (2001-2003) had told me about that you write info about the old years from Toei Animation .
In those years we were like crazy with the Toei classic movies and the Nippon Animatin classic series. And we been touring our state in searching VHS of those works. beautiful season.

Thanks for the hours of entertainment you have given us. Thanks for all the work done. And share it with everyone !!!!!

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 14:34
Susanna
Susanna in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Thank you for everything, I learned so much reading your blog, it really helped me in clarifying my view on animation while I was studying it and everything was confused.
You have extremely good taste, and your writing is so deep and articulated it’s always a pleasure to read.
I can only hope you will keep it going for as long as it may be…

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 12:23
ben in response to: Toshiaki Hontani 本谷利明

You can contact him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pontaney

I’d be interested to hear more about your experiences working with Toshiaki Hontani - either animation-related or extracurricular. Despite being so talented, he’s a hard animator to find information about. I didn’t even know he was involved in Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. I checked the credits for episode 1 just now and I didn’t see a single Japanese name. If Japanese animators were involved, the producers did a good job of hiding the fact.

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 11:59
ben in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Thank you so much, everyone. Gambarimasu! It’s great to see a mix of new and longtime readers.

ialda - I didn’t think anyone still remembered that! It shows how long you’ve been around that you remember the WMTdb. I will try to see if there is some way I can resurrect it, although it sounds like doing so would require a lot of effort to implement and update the incomplete/incorrect info. I can’t make any promises, but knowing someone is interested in seeing it revived certainly gives me some motivation to give it a shot.

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 11:49
dermot
dermot in response to: Toshiaki Hontani 本谷利明

I worked in Tokyo in 1993 on Cadillacs and Dinosaurs TV show ( it got cancelled ) for a few months and was thrilled to work closely with Toshiaki !
He even lent me one of his motorcycles and challenged me to try to keep up as we drove through Tokyo…..it was all I could do to follow a tiny little white helmet in the distance and pray I wouldn’t get lost or killed.

I would LOVE to be able to contact him again !

Dermot

 Permalink 10/07/14 @ 10:22
Viyaliy Shushko
Viyaliy Shushko in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations! This blog is treasure chest of priseless information for me. I follow your posts since 2006! Thank you !!!

 Permalink 10/07/14 @ 09:57
Aaron Long
Aaron Long in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations Ben! Your blog will always be one of the best animation-related websites. I can’t thank you enough for all the work you’ve put into this blog - I can’t count how many amazing OVAs or movies I’ve discovered through your writing, and the industry and historical knowledge you share on the site is a fantastic resource for everyone, particularly those of us who can’t read/speak Japanese.

I hope you keep doing it for a long time. I’ll be reading.

 Permalink 10/07/14 @ 00:36
Ccs
Ccs in response to: 10 years of Anipages

It’s very much appreciated, Ben. As an animator and fan of animation history it’s great to see hidden gems from Japan that would never be covered by an English-language book. Gives me lots of ideas about where to take my art and how others have solved artistic problems.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 07:49
neshru
neshru in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Thank YOU for writing this blog, Ben. Your incredibly deep knowledge and your detailed, professional writing make this an invaluable resource for fans of Japanese animation.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 06:47
martin
martin in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congrats Ben. this blog is something special, and its the only place whee i can get my “fix". and if i could spotlight one of your phrases- “nitty-gritty animation discussion", i like that you use the word animation instead of anime.
i hope you keep it up and keep dropping well written comprehensive posts on japanese animation. someone’s gotta do it.
thanks for sticking around this long.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 06:05
Bahi JD
Bahi JD in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations Ben! Time flies!
Anipages has always been a great source of discovery for animation enthusiasts and students, it’s both interesting and educative.
Keep it up with the blog!

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 06:03
ialda
ialda in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations ! It has been a constant pleasure reading your blog these past ten years. Some of your posts (I’m thinking the A pro / Shin’ei, for example) cover as much ground as one would dream to do in a whole life.

btw, do you plan to bring back the WMT encyclopedia one of these days ? Its absence is dearly missed :)

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 04:23
inico
inico in response to: 10 years of Anipages

I have discover your marvellous pages merely 6 months ago, and it is nothing but a mine of informations filled with very interesting texts which are all of my delights.
Your “meandering writings about random obscure/ancient subject” are maybe among the ones I love the most. Even if your articles on each episode of a TV serie like you did recently for Space Dandy and Pin-Pong are always interesting and usefull.

Anyway, happy birthday to the blog. 10 years is a good number to start with.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 03:47
Raytrace
Raytrace in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Great stuff man - although there are the long gaps I am always amazed by how much intricate detail and knowledge is put into each of your posts.

Keep up the good work.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 03:16
caustic
caustic in response to: 10 years of Anipages

After stumbling upon your blog last year, I’ve been glad that you have persevered with your blogging. Your analyses and posts have taught me so much about Japanese animation, and your forum is *the* place for animation enthusiasts.

I thank you for opening this site and keeping it running. It means a whole lot to a bunch of folks.

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 02:42
shergal
shergal in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congrats on keeping it up for so long Ben. I did enjoy the more scattershot posts that covered more than one subject, but the more organized format doesn’t hurt anyone either.

 Permalink 10/05/14 @ 20:50
orchidal
orchidal in response to: 10 years of Anipages

Congratulations; keep digging deep and keep them posts coming. Cheers!

 Permalink 10/05/14 @ 19:07
Nicholas Walstrom
Nicholas Walstrom in response to: Toshiyuki Inoue interview - Part 2

I’m very curious about this part: “Reading books like The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams and The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, I’m always amazed how they can verbalize the absolute minimum of necessary information about animation in the clearest fashion.”

Have these books been translated into Japanese? It’s rare to see Japanese animation follow all of the Disney principles or most of the tips Williams offers and I’d be surprised if I learned they were recommended to Japanese animators as they are American ones.

On the other hand if the books haven’t been translated, Inoue’s comment indicates he’s fluent in English, which makes me eager to see him communicate with foreign fans…

 Permalink 10/05/14 @ 14:30
ben in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Muffin nails it in his re-wording. It’s not about someone setting out with that goal in mind per se as much as being something woven into the fabric of anime (esp TV) from the beginning.

Thanks for the wishes, Muffin. I clean forgot that was this year.

 Permalink 10/05/14 @ 11:54
Muffin
Muffin in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

“If the secret to anime’s success is in the blank faces of its static anime characters, which prompt viewers to read the appropriate emotion and hence experience the character’s world vicariously…”

I kind of stopped a bit at this comment as well. And in fact it’s hardly a novel or unusual sentiment in regard to japanese cartooning. I think it’s sort of true(in a sense) but also often simplified a bit too much. And I wouldn’t necessarily think Takahata’s style totally contradicts this approach either.

Perhaps another way to put it is that “anime designs"(in the broadest possible definition) are less “literal"(if that’s the right way to put it…) than most other popular schools of design. And is a kind of philosophy that has been integrated into the fabric of japanese cartoon design and narrative sensibilities.

Oh, and unless I’m mistaken, a belated happy 10th anniversary for the blog, Ben.

 Permalink 10/05/14 @ 05:26
Nicholas Walstrom
Nicholas Walstrom in response to: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

“If the secret to anime’s success is in the blank faces of its static anime characters, which prompt viewers to read the appropriate emotion and hence experience the character’s world vicariously…”

I’d read that Hello Kitty was designed with a blank expression so people could read whatever emotions they wanted into her, but I hadn’t seen that said about anime in general before. Is this a common school of thought? Are any artists known to practice this deliberately?

 Permalink 10/04/14 @ 14:18
ben in response to: Tama Pro

Glad it was helpful after all these years. No, unfortunately I do not have a full list of Tama Pro’s work, otherwise I would gladly share it. Kino Pro is a studio I’m not familiar with. You’ve piqued my curiosity.

 Permalink 10/02/14 @ 11:22