KA: Hiroto Tanaka [田中比呂人]
The Team Behind It
The team behind this scene is the tag team formed by director Toshiyuki Tsuru [都留稔幸] and the genius Pierrot animator Hiroto Tanaka [田中比呂人], a master on direction and a master on character animation, that reunite on this scene to do a precious almost 6-minute piece that hits you hard, but slowly, with a awesome combination of character animation, photography and music.
The Scene is divided into two parts:
The first one is the characters playing Shogi, destacking the third person perspective that puts you on the part of someone that is watching it from outside, the characters quietly play Shogi while talk, when one is taking power of the conversation, he moves the pieces, and when the other is taking power of conversation, stay quiet while the other is the one moving the pieces, this goes for approximately 4 minutes, the animation and the general ambient is subtle and quiet, starting to augment the tension and the movement when Shikamaru starts to slowly get angry and sad, we see him being hurt by his father’s words and starting to give up, until it gets to the break point, on when he throws away the Shogi table and starts the second part.
On the second part, Blue -the color of sadness and loneliness- takes over the scene, where Shikamaru’s breakdown, the animation gets more expressive, the music goes up and the camera switch to a second person perspective that feels depressing and sad, you can feel the sadness and despair that Shikamaru is passing with the animation and the awesome direction, everything is falling down, he can’t keep his feelings for the death of his master anymore, he’s angry, sad and desperate, he can’t take it anymore, and he breaks to cry, and his father let him alone, to cry alone, and get drown on his sorrows. Also, the expressions here are heavily realistic and on-the-ground, that do emphasis on the feeling of the characters and don’t feel or over-acted or under-acted, they are perfect.
I’m also covering the very next scene, cause why not? both of them are pretty related, Blue keeps dominating the scene, we see Shikamaru thrown on the floor, he’s destroyed, separated from the subtle light that enters from the window, said light, slowly ended up showing Shikamaru’s the truth at illuminating the piece “King” [Ou], and Shikamaru starts to see it, he is still angry, but not sad anymore, he’s now decided and up to create a plan to kill the ones that ended with his masters, he slowly starts to create strategy after strategy on the table of Shougi, he’s decided to create the perfect vengeance, and you can feel it, since the camera he’s now on first person perspective and you can feel how decided Shikamaru is.
So we get for all the states, calm, the breakdown and then the vengeance, on only like 8 minutes, both the direction and the animation are masterful, with awesome layouts, awesome photography, awesome use of music and perspective, a masterpiece all around.
If i’m going to rate it…i’m gonna give it 5 of 5 Osamu Dezakis.