Do Kaiju live and die for the sole purpose of being defeated?: A small Gridman piece.

Do Kaiju live and die for the sole purpose of being defeated?

Yes.

And us, humans, for what we live for?

For our personal gain? Collect as much money or prestige or friends as we can make until we die? For the sake of others? To give altruistically every part of ourselves to another person? For god? To devote ourselves to a blind faith of something that we have never seen and even never understand?

We don’t know.

And we spend all of our lives trying to find the sole purpose of our lives, we are all Akane, we are all selfish, we are all lost, we are all gods that can’t adapt to their own universe, let’s take back to the episode nine of SSSS. Gridman, and let’s take back ourselves to our teenage years.

How was you when you were a teenager?

You dreamed about having a lot friends, a boyfriend, to be good in the studies, be a good person, be adored by everyone…be a god?

How was Akane?

She dreamed about having a lot of friends, a boyfriend, to be good in the studies, be a good person, be adored by everyone..be a god?

The scene where Akane’s dreams start to crumble, we look at ourselves, as we looked upon ourselves on denial after realizing that all of those dreams were all lies and tricks, unreal expectations of a perfect life.

And then we realize, searching everything that we thought it would make us happy, with what we are left? With nothing, we have nothing besides our desires, we are empty, alone, we are lost without a purpose on this world, with nothing to live or die for.

As Akane realizes, at the end of the day, we can’t reach our self-imposed expectations, we end up falling short, and when we fall short, we realize that those were impossible, that we were searching by the moon instead of just checking our pocket.

On Hopscotch, argentinian author Julio Cortazar, impersonated on his main character, Horacio, says the following:

“The hopscotch is played with a pebble that must be pushed with the tip of the shoe. Ingredients: a sidewalk, a pebble, a shoe, and a beautiful drawing with chalk, preferably colored. At the top is the sky, below is the earth, it is very difficult to get to the sky with the pebble, it is almost always miscalculated and the stone leaves the drawing. Little by little, however, the necessary skill is acquired to save the different squares (snail hopscotch, rectangular hopscotch, fantasy hopscotch, little used) and one day you learn to leave the Earth and climb the pebble to Heaven, until entering Heaven, (Et tous us amours, Emmanuèle sobbed face down), the bad thing is that just at that height, when almost no one has learned to climb the pebble to Heaven, childhood just ends and falls into the novels, in the anguish of the divine rocket, in the speculation of another Heaven to which we must also learn to arrive. And because it has left childhood (Je n’oublierai pas le temps des cérises, kicked Emmanuèle on the ground) it is forgotten that to get to Heaven you need, as ingredients, a pebble and the tip of a shoe.”

What that means?

The Heaven is the meaning of our lives, people forgot how to reach heaven, without noticing that maybe the answer is just on a pebble on our pocket that we need to push with the very tip of our shoes, Akane also forget this, we forget this, maybe the true happiness -the heaven- is not a magical whimsical fantasy of having your own world where you control everything and everyone serves you for your wishes, and if they not, you killed them with magical Kaijus.

Maybe the Heaven is something more simple, that we reach with only a pebble and the tip of our shoes, it’s happiness, it’s friendship, it’s whatever we may think of, it’s the meaning of our lives, and to reach it, we don’t need kaijus or become god, we don’t even need friends or boyfriends, we just need a pebble, a simple impulse to reach happiness.

We always live trying to reach that heaven, and until we don’t understand that, we will never reach it.

Do humans live and die for the sole purpose…of finding one?

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Script: Respecting the late Kazunori Mizuno

This was the original script for Canipa’s Respecting the late Kazunori Mizuno video, written on April 2017.

The 19th of March of 2017, on the studio Pierrot, a famous japanese animation studio known by their Shounen shows, a director of the studio was taking a nap, after working without rest during days, probably on their new series Boruto: The Next Generations, a series that was going to be the debut of young animator Hiroyuki Yamashita as Series Director, that director was a big friend of his, even doing the storyboard on the eleventh opening of the previous series, Naruto: Shippuuden, on which Yamashita did animation supervisor’s work, said director never got up and died on the studio, he was going to celebrate thirty years as Episode Director on 2018, and was going to see one of his youngsters do his debut as Series Director on the small screen with his biggest friend, Noriyuki Abe, supervising him.

 

His name was Kazunori Mizuno.

 

A few days after it, Kazuyoshi “Yagi” Yaginuma and Ken’ichi Fujisawa, two greatly talented animators that were working on the studio at the time, announced his death on Twitter, after no official announcement of the studio was made, the causes of the death are still a mystery, but everything points out that the case was a heart failure for overwork and chronic sleep deprivation, apparently he was having trouble to work properly for the amount of work that he did, and used that excuse to take a nap, where the sad event happened.

 

But let’s shed some light about who is this director and why should we care about it, shall we?

 

Kazunori Mizuno entered on the industry really young, as a Production Assistant on studio Pierrot, with only twenty-two years, he was lucky enough to receive a steady and fast promotion thanks to his incredible work ethics and talent to justify it, even being so young, he had ambition and he had the talent to be promoted to Episode Director with only one year as Production Assistant, and even more was his joy when he was permited to do his first storyboard outside of Pierrot on the Tatsunoko I.G OVA series Yagami-kun’s Family Affairs, where he worked along some of industry best animators like Yoshinori Kanada and Kazuchika Kise, and on the next years, he continued working on small OVA and TV projects with talented people, more particularly, he was a big friend of veteran animator Yoshiyuki Kishi, and he worked on everything that he was on.

 

A few years passed on, and then, the opportunity of his life came, Noriyuki Abe approached him on Pierrot to work on his new series, Yu Yu Hakusho, the anime adaptation of one of the hottest manga of that time, penned by Yoshihiro Togashi, its anime adaptation was hyped and Noriyuki Abe reunited a team of young, talented directors and animators to make it work, every one of them was trying to surpass each other constantly, a real race to see who does the best episode, and of the storyboaders, Kazunori Mizuno and Akiyuki Shinbo presented the strongest game, with a unique approach to photography and a ceratain beauty coming from their storyboards, even the action ones were superb with their clever use of angles and exciting as few photography.

 

After Yu Yu Hakusho, he directed a small, unknown AIC OVA called Kishin Corps that didn’t really take off, and returned to Pierrot on 1995 after not being present on the last cour of Yu Yu Hakusho, to work on the next Noriyuki Abe’s series Ninku, that was the debut as Character Designer of a really young and promising animator called Tetsuya Nishio, that was making waves on the industry thanks to his unique approach on character acting, that we can see even today. Kazunori Mizuno’s episodes were the most talent grabbing of the whole Ninku series, where his striking boards presented a perfect opportunity for people like the then young Yutaka Nakamura show off his talents, Kazunori Mizuno’s talent to do convincing action scenes was again probed, and he delivered, with the help of such talented animators that were always at disposition to help him out.

 

Some years after, on the new millenium, after passing a lot of time working at Madhouse on series like Trigun, Cardcaptor Sakura and Hajime no Ippo, where, he, by the way, did his first opening on the latter and after that while, he reunited with his old pal Akiyuki Shinbo on The Soultaker, being on charge of the very penultimate episode of the series, to show how much he was trusted by a legend like Shinbo to do striking work on his series.

 

Before diving into his Bleach years, let’s talk about his first full series directorial debut, Zoid Genesis, the sequel to the classic Zoids series, that at time was highly anticipated by some sakuga fans because the fact that talented animator Kyuta Sakai was on charge of the character designs, but even with the amount of talented people working on it, it didn’t worked too well, messy production was the major cause of it, a lot of outsourcing and scheduling problems ended up on a pretty regular series with only a few highlights far in-between on Seiya Numata’s episodes, most exactly, the episode twenty eight, directed by Numata’s himself, giving Mizuno one of the first chances to that young, promising animator, as Abe did with him, to direct a full episode.

 

While working on Bleach, he worked various time with his old pal Shinbo on Hidamari Sketch, Nanoha and the Monogatari series, developing a interesting style on his layouts and color design, with flat shadows and more profundity than before on the drawings, that reflected on his work, specially on his Bleach OPs, were all the tricks that he learned for Noriyuki Abe and Akiyuki Shinbo were put on practice on the openings six, nine, ten and twelve, all of them with a incredibly interesting and unique take on color design and photography, that make his work stand out when compared to the other directors, and created striking visuals only with the power of good color design and complex layouts.

 

His general work on Bleach is something to look at to: Twenty eight episodes, Four openings and Three movies during seven years, standing a lot compared with his contemporaries on the studio for his unique takes on photography and color design, creating beautiful images, and his action storyboards, that were some of the bests to look at, with over the top, well choreographed action that capture your eyes, and that are some really good examples of the Rule of the Cool, enhanced by Masashi Kudo’s excellent designs too.

 

After Bleach was finished, he moved to Naruto, where he did his debut on the episode 294, part of the Chikara saga, a special arc directed by Toshiyuki Tsuru that showed off the strengths of the production’s best staff, and after doing his episode on that, he continued on the series as the to-go director for important action episodes, taking part on the most strikingly directed episodes of the series, as Storyboarder or as Episode Director, his work presented dynamic camera, a unique color design and excellent layouts to elevate his episodes to another level, as well as his openings and endings, such as the 24th ending, one of what, I consider, is one of the best endings ever made.

 

The last aired episode of him was the episode 499, the penultimate episode of the series, a goofy light-hearted episode to end the storyline before the final episode that finished off the cycle, giving pass to a new generation.

 

This is another sad case of the crude reality of the industry, people are overworked and paid with the minimum, this, the case of Yuka Sugizaki last year [that was sadly ignored by a lot of the community, even when she was only twenty and so years old] and the production assistant of A-1 Pictures five years ago are not simple cases of “Animators” dying, but are cautionary tales about the possible future of the industry, or what will happen if the offer continue being more than the demand and the fans [and the staff themselves] doesn’t insist on better quality, better schedules and better work circumstances.

 

Studios like ufotable, Kyoto Animation, GoHands or White Fox are making waves to the change: Paying animators, production assistants & directors stable, monthly wages, doing only one or two anime for year, to keep the offer low, and not overwork themselves, and keeping their staff in-house happy and controlled, even of the driest of the situations by trying to aim for better schedules, may or not like their work, they are indeed making advances to make a better industry.

 

We should care about these cases because if we care about it, we are opening the industry to a brighter future, these are not simple cases of “Animators” killing themselves for their art because they are Japanese and you know, Japanese work a lot because they want, or at least, that what stereotypes says, the crude reality is that they are on a industry were you have to work to get a good pay, even if is at cost of your life, and that needs to change, is not going to change immediately tomorrow but we have to strive for change so talented creators like him or Yuka Sugizaki wouldn’t pass for the same destiny a few years from now.

 

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.