Boruto: The Next Generations #1: Thoughts

Boruto: The Next Generations

Episode #1:

Storyboard/Episode direction: Hiroyuki Yamashita
Animation directionMasayuki Kouda
Assistant animation director: Koji Yabuno

Key AnimationMasayuki Kouda, Yuko Matsui, Koji Yabuno, Ken’ichi Fujisawa,  Youko Suzuki, Ayako Sato, Tatsuya Koyanagi, Chengxi Huang, Ichiro Uno, Masayuki Sato, Megumi Tomita, Eri Taguchi, Haruka Iida, Hiroyuki Itai, Tomoaki Mimiura, Nanako Hyuga, Miho Matsuura, Ranko Nakabayashi, Rena Kawasaki, Ayako Kanemaru, Sue Ikezu, Koichi Takai, Kanchi Suzuki

Opening #1:

Storyboard/Episode directionNoriyuki Abe
Animation directionTetsuya Nishio

Key AnimationHiroto Tanaka, Yuko Matsui, Ayako Sato, Ichiro Uno, Noriko Otake, Fumiyo Kimura, Chengxi Huang, Tatsuya Koyanagi, Youko Suzuki, Daisuke Tsumagari, Megumi Tomita, Haruki Nakagawa, Masaaki Funae, Ken’ichi Fujisawa, Yukie Yamamoto, Tetsuya Nishio

-First thing first: That opening scene was really good, beside the obvious spoiler from the manga, the animation was incredibly well made, work of the young chinese animator Chengxi Huang, the animation on that scene is weighty and make it feel like it’s something relevant, you can feel every step and movement, and the scene gets stuck on your head, to make sure that you can clearly remember that scene forty episodes later

-That is also kind of a gimmick to the Naruto Shippuuden series, that started on a incredibly well animated that wasn’t featured on the series itself until around the episode forty-two!

-The rest of episode was on majority, a presentation one, giving to spectator a overview of the main characters and also a idea about the major themes on this anime, this time, while the first series was about friendship and exclusion, this time is about family and passing the torch, and they execute it pretty fine on this episode, marking the similarities of Boruto, the child of the Hokage and the kid, the child of the president of a major corporation, both trying to demonstrate that they can get to the level of their parents.

-They also talk about the passage of time, always zooming out how Konoha changed with the years, and apparently parkour and trains being the most popular forms of transportation now [xD], and since we’re talking about it, really good use of parkour to give the character a dynamic movement while showing off Konoha’s new look.

-The animation was sillier than usual, with a lot of little gags and gimmicks, like Shino losing the color of the shame when Boruto comes and crash a fucking train on his father’s face, or using hamburgers as a lethal weapon versus bullies.

-The layouts and backgrounds also look more polished than usual, as expected from the new series director that seems to be pivoting all the elements of this anime to a better point that its predecessor: Hiroyuki Yamashita.

-Including the designs, by Tetsuya Nishio, looking way better than the original ones, while keeping the Kishimoto’s style, Nishio’s looks a lot more stylized and realistic, giving the characters a more mature look while keeping they simple and recognizable.

-The three majors names on the KA list are definitely Chengxi Huang, Ken’ichi Fujisawa and Kanchi Suzuki.

-Chengxi Huang is a young chinese animator that has been making waves on the industry recently, he started out as a simple outsourced animator, but with the time, he growed imitating Hiroyuki Yamashita’s style and he developed as one of the better animators of the last year of the Naruto Shippuden’s series. Recently he did eleven cuts for A-1 Pictures super-production’s Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and he is shaping up as one of the best and youngest big animators.

-Kanchi Suzuki is another young star, part of this newer movement of webgen animation along with the likes of Ripa, Ryu Nakayama, Itsuki Tsuchigami, China, etcetera, Suzuki didn’t stand out as big as them, but he captivated Masaaki Yuasa’s attention, who enlisted him on Sciene SARU, where he did Garo’s second opening and Shin-Chan’s movie 23. He worked extensively on Osomatsu-San, being one of the main animators along with Ken’ichi Fujisawa and Eiji Abiko, so it’s kind of a no brainer that he appeared here, along with the fact that he worked on The Last: Naruto The Movie, where Hiroyuki Yamashita was storyboarder, sakkan and key animator.

-Ken’ichi Fujisawa is a already established webgen star, starting out around 2008 on Studio Guts, where he remained unknown until he became freelance and starting pumping out incredible work all over the industry, from Tatami Galaxy to Precure, and from Precure to Naruto, where he worked on various of the best episodes of the series, including animated a 1/4 of the episode #375, one of the most impressive episodes of the series, a incredible episode that don’t belong to TV Anime at all, directed by Hiroyuki Yamashita, and animated only by four animators: Ken’ichi Fujisawa, Naoki Kobayashi, Emi Kouno and Tatsuya Koyanagi, that ended up being a sakuga fan’s wet dream. With that, and the fact that he was one the main animators of Osomatsu-San, where he did his debut director on the episode #18, another particular episode that doesn’t belong to Anime to begin with, with a army of webgen’s best talents delivering their sharper and goofiest works, it is pretty obvious his appearance here.

-The opening screams: “Noriyuki Abe!” since its very beginning, it reminds me a lot of his Bleach’s openings and obviously, Tsuritama’s poppy opening that he directed.

-As these ones, this one delivered a look on the urban, modern life of Konoha, with a pop art-inspired artistic sensibilities and some awesome’s integrated credits, that are not really that integrated, but they fit well with the images, thing that reminds me of his Bleach’s opening fifteen.

-The tune wasn’t quite catchy, i already forgotten everything about how it sounds, not a fan of KANA-BOON’s tunes, they are kind of good, but they aren’t catchy enough to actually be remembered for someone that isn’t a die-hard fan.

-The KA list was pretty regular, that surprised me, since a usual Naruto opening is full of big names, even the ones that didn’t really moved still featured people like Norio Matsumoto and Naoki Kobayashi, i guess that they are busy with Shingeki no Bahamut Second Season [That i’m going to cover up soon…] The biggest names were the already mentioned Chengxi Huang and Ken’ichi Fujisawa, along with the character designer’s Tetsuya Nishio, that is obviously expected, since well, he is the character designer and the animation director, after all, really this opening didn’t needed that much of big names, surely the second opening will feature more of them.

-To finish, Ichiro Uno and Koji Yabuno have been promoted to Sub-Character Designers, congratulations to them!

-And on a sadder note, Kazunori Mizuno sadly died the 19 of March, apparently the cause was overworking, he was taking a nap on the studio and never got up, being only fifty two years old, he is going to be always remembered as one of Pierrot’s best directors, and we would see some posthumous credits on this series, since he was a big friend of both directors and they obviously were working on this the time of his death, my condolences to his friends and family, is a great lost to the anime industry, such talented people killed off by the incredibly bad conditions of this industry is a shame, and a sign that we need to change this, give better working conditions and better schedules, for the mere surviving of this wonderful medium, they need to try to change it, of cases like that will keep occurring again and again.

I finish this with a Kazunori Mizuno’s work, that i consider to be one of the best openings ever made:

Boku no Hero Academia Second Season #1: Thoughts.

Boku no Hero Academia Second Season:

Episode #1

Storyboard: Kenji Nagasaki

 Episode directionSetsumu Dogawa
Animation Direction: Takahiro Komori, Tsunenori Saito

Key AnimationYoshiyuki Kodaira, Kazumi Inadome, Takuya Saito, Kenta Ikeda, Minami Sakura, Ayaka Kawai, Noriko Morishima, Yuko Danki, Miyuko Matsumoto, Nobuhiko Kawakami, Yuka Shibata, Takuma Nakamura, Tomomi Noda, Miho Kato

Junichi Hayama, Takahiro Komori, Tsunenori Saito

-This episode was clearly a introduction one, setting the stage for the future and classic, shounen manga tournament arc, while giving a quick recap to the things that happened the last season, while talking about the character’s motivations to be heroes and the possibilities that the tournament can give to them.

-Personally, i think that the recap of the beginning of the episode was kind of excessive, like, we really need 6 minutes of recap after having a entire episode of recap footage one week ago, that was necessary?, and even after the recap, they keep talking about Shigaraki’s personality and action, that didn’t really needed, since, we can guess by ourselves, but since this is a series clearly aimed to teenagers…

-The major point on this episode, however, was the tournament, a opportunity to all the students to be distinguished by heroes of all around Japan, and enter on agencies as sidekicks, giving them a extra of motivation to do it.

-Ochako’s motivation were wonderfully explained thanks to Kenji Nagasaki’s simple, yet pretty effective storyboard, that while maintained a clear simplicity, still has a lot of room for funny details and down to earth drama every now and then, like on this episode, that was full of fun character interaction while having some issues about the evolution of the villains on a more simple form and Ochako’s motivations to be a hero.

-The animation was, on overall, pretty decent, with a lot of funny moments every now and then, while maintained it always on-model by the BONES pillars Takahiro Komori and Tsunenori Saito, as well as the good list of overall decent-to-good BONES longtime associates, such as Kazumi Inadome and Yoshiyuki Kodaira.

-The major surprise on the KA list is Junichi Hayama, that definitely is on here because  Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s involvement on Tiger Mask W, series on which Junichi Hayama is the series action animation director, where Umakoshi did the first ending on the series, a pretty simple rendition of the old school’s style of the first series, and for so, Junichi Hayama appeared on this first ep, credited along with the animation supervisors on a separated KA credit.

-Another [good] surprise was Yuka Shibata presence on the KA list, seems like she still hasn’t planned his future after leaving ufotable, and for now, she keeps pumping out freelance work for BONES, Khara and Trigger, all of them places where she have ex-GAINAX friends working on.

Opening #1

Storyboard/Episode directionYasuyuki Kai
Animation Direction: Yoshihiko Umakoshi

Key AnimationTsunenori Saito, Takahiro Komori, Kazumi Inadome, Takashi Mitani, Yuko Danki, Mino Matsumoto, Takuya Yoshihara, Minami Sakura, Yuka Shibata, Masaya Sekizaki

Washio, Osamu Murata, Aiko Oura, Takafumi Hino, Itsuki Tsuchigami, Anna Yamaguchi, Hironori Tanaka, Hideki Takahashi

Yasuyuki Kai, Koichi [Yuki] Hayashi

-This opening marks Yasuyuki Kai’s first major contribution to a non-Haikyuu project since 2013, he has spent the last four years being Haikyuu’s main Action Animation Director, correcting the drawings of the matches and doing lots and lots of stock footage, as well as doing his directorial on the second opening of the second season, which is full of well crafted and detailed animation all the way through.

-This opening wasn’t as visually creative as Hakuyu Go’s opening for the first season, but it is still a pretty impressive opening for an animation standpoint, specially on its second half, personally, i don’t quite like the song as much as the first season’s one, so, maybe on it resides the problem.

-The special detail on the legs and the routine exercises of the students was pretty nice, with all of them preparing for the tournament where it can decide their destiny, it was a good touch.

-The KA list is again full of BONES regulars and a lot of youngsters that i’m not really familiar with them, being the major stars four names: Hideki Takahashi, Itsuki Tsuchigami, Hironori Tanaka, and Yuki Hayashi.

-For those who didn’t knew him, Hideki Takahashi was one of the major players under the breath-taking Haikyuu’s volleyball matches, giving to the series a lot of great scenes, as well as being one of the main animators of the series along with the already mentioned Yasuyuki Kai, Takahiro Chiba, Shinji Suetomi and Bo Ya Liang, with this scene animated by him of the S2 #24 being one of the best scenes of realistic animation that i have seen on years, and while being considerably old, Hideki Takahashi is just being giving exposure now, which is a shame, since he is really good.

-Itsuki Tsuchigami, also known as miso, was one of the main animators of the first season, and seems like he is coming back for this second season, his work on the S1 was consistently great, so i’m more wonderful work on this season!

-Hironori Tanaka and Yuki Hayashi really i don’t have the need to present, since everyone pretty knows them since years for now, they are two of the most prolific animators on the TV industry, and both being raised on Toei grounds, with the second one still belonging to Toei even while working with everyone else while still sitting on Toei and receiving his paycheck on the mail, really good strategy if you ask me, using a pen name, however, “Koichi” Hayashi, that don’t really convince to nobody but Toei, so, i’m happy for him being able to diversify his work because of that.

Ending #1

Storyboard/Episode directionNaomi Nakayama
Animation Direction: Yoshihiko Umakoshi

Key AnimationHitomi Odashima

-The ending was nothing really destacable, pretty nice, the drawings were very beautiful and the direction was pretty regular, is just a random ending to fill space at the last minute and half of the minute, i’m not really going to remember it on a while.

-The major surprise was the director, that was supposedly busy doing work on the Orange Movie, but since she is one of Umakoshi’s friends, she appeared on this, hopefully she can stuck here, because she is a awesome director.

-The unique animator was Hitomi Odashima, a animator that i have absolute unfamiliarity with, apparently is a very young BONES-based animator that was given this opportunity casually, since she is very acquainted with Studio C, the BONES sub-studio that is producing this season of BokuHero, while the S1 was produced by Studio A, that is too busy with Kekkai Sensen S2.