Kazuto Arai [荒井 和人] and Miso [みそ]
This duo caught my attention on Mob Psycho 100, on the episodes #3 and #10, featuring an excellent understanding of how to do effects to generate a impact, while Miso’s work is definitely more flashy than the work of Kazuto Arai, Arai’s animation is still pretty fucking impressive, the best example of it is on Mob Psycho #10, while Kazuto Arai since the beginning presents a wonderful animation, showing the fire as a giant liquid mass, that can’t be stopped, exaggerating it and adding to it a lot of weight and impact, Miso’s one is less impactful, but a lot more flashy, with things like impact frames and a clear webgen understanding of animation, a lot more free and loose, giving the fire a looser form and slowly showing the person behind the fire, treating him like another effect animation instead of as character, like he’s something of another world, as he appeared behind the flames, and then giving him more solidness and finally revealing him completely.
Miyo Sato [佐藤 美代]
The GEIDAI-graduate work is at another level, her paint-on-glass animation it’s so different, it looks less than a commercial anime and more like some indie, artsy film, but still you can cleary see the level of dedication that she puts on her work, paint-on-glass it’s a extremely difficult technique that costs a lot of resources -both financial and human-, so impresses me that a only person can do so much on a 12-episode series, appearing on most of the episodes and even doing a impressive ending that i’ve talked about it before, Miyo Sato is a unique talent, and i hope that she will be given more projects the next years.
Chengxi Huang [黄成希]
This animator is a special case, he started on a small chinese subcontractor studio called Candy Box, just three years ago, and has been ascending constantly with the time, this year he was on his peak thanks to Hiroyuki Yamashita’s influence, giving a special rhythm and weight to the action scenes, that fits perfectly with a martial arts series, presenting various impressive cuts of Taijustsu, some of the best of the series, at the level of Toshiro Fujii, Young Hiroyuki Yamashita and Early Norio Matsumoto easily, this animator has advanced since his debut as Key Animator three years ago on that small chinese studio, and now he’s one of the main aces of Studio Pierrot, expecting to see him on more martial arts-based series, he surely would show up on Boruto, so i’m happy for now, i want to see on what he’s carreer become, He’s going to become a director like Shigeki Kawai, Hiroyuki Yamashita and Gorou Sessha?, He’s going to keep animating on small, low-key projects like Masayuki Kouda and Seiko Asai? or He’s going to go all out working back to back with some of the best people of the industry on feature movies and prestigious series, like Yuu Yamashita, Ken’ichi Fujisawa or Naoki Kobayashi?, only the time will decide the future of this great animator.
He was also extremely prolific this year, appearing approximately every 2.5 episodes on Naruto Shippuuden, pretty impressive!
Hakuyu Go [伍柏諭]
The chinese animator exploded this year, being appointed as Action Director on Boku no Hero Academia and storyboarding one of the best fights of the entire year, which featured a lot of works of both industry veterans -as Hironori Tanaka- and rising stars -as the forementioned Miso and Kazuto Arai-, he then go to the very next Bones show, doing some impressive scenes on Mob Psycho 100, which, i initially believed that those were Yutapon’s works! But it was none other than Hakuyu Go, doing his best Yutapon impression, seems like he’s having a big influence of Yutapon, that i’ve seen it since one of his earlier works, his cut on Kekkai Sensen’s finale, that was utterly impressive and completely different from the rest of the industry, but at the same time, being completely similar, taking inspiration for both Yutapon and Webgen luminariés such as Kenichi Kutsuna, without going to their extreme, but still being very fucking good.
Tomomi Kamiya [神谷友美]
Kamiya was the major force behind the impressive character animation on Fune wo Amu, the series, itself, was a spectacle of character animation, being, even on the most low-key scenes, well and believably animated, and Tomomi Kamiya was one of the major Animation Directors and Key Animators of the series, Kamiya, that beginned on Anime Spot about a decade ago, present a very Telecom understanding of character animation. What is a Telecom understaing of character animation?, first you have to understand Telecom pedigree, formed by basically two animators: The late Yasuo Otsuka and the legend himself, Kazuhide Tomonaga, realistic, weighty character animation, with detailled and cleandrawings, incredibly attention to detail and convicung movements, without being Jin-Roh realistic, but still being above the rest, more similar to western realistic than japanese realistic animation, and it works really well on Fune wo Amu, i expect that this animator would give more prominent jobs on better series from now, he was already featured on Space Dandy at a early stage of his career, so, he can do great things.
Plus, he solo KA’d the opening of Fune Wo Amu, go to watch it.