The animation of Hunter x Hunter 1999 – Part One: Core Staff

The Core Staff

The director is Kazuhiro Furuhashi [古橋 一浩], he started out on Studio DEEN on the 80s, and is one of the better directors out there, despíte not having any clear trademark or defined style, Kazuhiro Furuhashi is more a jack of all trades, he can directed everything from comedy [Ranma 1/2] to historical action [Rurouni Kenshin] to military anime [Zipang] and mechas [Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn], with a very realistic and down to earth sensibility, not ultra realistic, but yes more focused on little details, as well as realistic lighting, his series often present detailed, realistic designs, by the likes of Atsuko Nakajima, Yoshihiko Umakoshi, Kumiko Takahashi, etc, that serves perfectly to his realistic, down to earth vision of anime.

Assisting him here is Toshiyuki Kato [加藤 敏幸] , a Studio Gallop director that he contacted during the production of Rurouni Kenshin, his style also is very discret, realistic and down-to-earth, with some very smart use of transitions, framing and angles, that makes his episodes really enjoyable, and overall, fun.

After the TV series, on the OVA both of them were replaced by Satoshi Saga [嵯峨 敏], that actually started on animation, while Furuhashi and Kato started on the producer seat, in his case, worked on various sakuga OVAs of the 80s after becoming a director, he’s on general, less competent than them, even if he can communicate better with the animators and have more visual symbolism, with some surrealistic scenes here and there, instead of the down-to-earth approach of Kato and Furuhashi, he will later reappear on the franchise as the storyboarder and unit director on the Hunter x Hunter: Last Mission movie, that, even being a lot better than the awful Phantom Rouge, is still one of the most mediocre entries of the franchise, even if it is probably the entry with better animation.

And note: I’m not covering Greed Island OVAs here, these things don’t exist, nobody is going to convince me the contrary.

The Character Design is handled by two people:

Shinobu Tagashira [田頭 しのぶ], starting out as animator on Yumeta Company at the mid 1990s, the OVA was his first job as Character Designer, his designs are pretty realistic, but more “Anime” and closer to Togashi designs that Takayuki Goto’s ones, his designs are also quite similar to Shingeki no Kyojin’s ones 13 years after, and  indeed Kyoji Asano was one of the ADs here, that’s for the first OVA too, on the Greed Islands his designs convert into a ugly mess of all the anime design cliches of the early 2000s, extremely disgusting to the eyes, and then he was kicked off completely for G.I. Final, that ended up with some of the ugliest designs that i ever seen on anime, courtesy of Tetsuro Aoki, god, that these OVAs were awful, someone can just erase them from existence?

And Takayuki Goto [後藤 隆幸], we already know his story, started on Tatsunoko Production and then left it along with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa to found his own studio, Production I.G [Production Ishikawa Goto], he ended up here thanks to Furuhashi’s links with Production I.G, and god, that was a excellent choice, his designs are wonderful, just the most appealing and realistic that Togashi’s designs has ever been, also, he did sakkan work on what is probably one of the best openings of all time:

That features some fantastic work by Akira Matsushima [松島 晃], that is one of the main figures that made this series so great, great animator all over.

The art directors were Nobuto Sakamoto [坂本 信人] and Shigeru Morimoto [森元 茂], of Studio Bic and Atelier Louge, respectively, while Sakamot0’s art is functional and moody, Morimoto’s is at another level, just beautiful, realistic, moody art, that combined with a superior schedule thanks to the OVA quality, is utterly wonderful, some of the best backgrounds that i’ve ever seen on anime.

Like everything, this aspect take a hit on the Greed Island OVAs, with some of the most generic pieces of background art that i’ve ever seen, that are very below functional, is just a awful, dried out version of at, contrary, a wonderful  scenery, that the 2011 version made justice later.

On the photography, like, everything, is handled by two people: Hidetoshi Watanabe [渡辺 英俊] and Seiichi Morishita [森下成一], both of them use the photography here to create a dark, tense and depressing atmosphere, while still maintaing realism and naturalism, with the lighting being as realistic as possible, not like the Greed Island OVAs and the 2011 version, where everything look like there was a light focus above the characters all the time, like a play, or a musical video, in this sense, the ’99 version is fantastic and is one of the better depictions of Togashi’s world ever, that even being a shounen, is a pretty dark world, and both of them get the memo.

And finally, a deconstruction of all the studios present on the series, that i’m going to talk more extensively on the second part:

TV Series:

Nippon Animation/Studio DEEN: Sakkan: Masaaki Kannan [eps 1, 5, 9, 13, 19, 24, 30, 36], Tateru Namikaze [ep 3]
Studo Mu/AIC/Jec. E: Masahide Yangisawa [ep 7], Shinobu Tagashira [eps 11, 17, 22, 28, 34, 40, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62]
Jec. E: Sakkan: Akira Matsushima [eps 11, 15, 20, 26, 32, 38, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60]
Anime R/Synergy SP: Sakkan: Koichi Hatsumi [eps 12, 21, 33, 39, 43, 49], Masahiro Kase [eps 2, 6, 16, 57]
Daizo Productions: Sakkan: Tomoki Mizuno [ep 14]
Production Add/Anime R: Sakkan: Tomoaki Sakiyama [eps 8, 27, 35]
Production I.G/Production Add: Sakkan: Takayuki Goto [eps 23, 29, 41, 45, 61], Kyoji Asano [ep 51], Akiko Nagashima [ep 55]
Artland: Sakkan: Masaki Hyuga [ep 53], Kenichi Imaizumi [eps 4, 10, 18, 25, 31, 37, 47, 59]


Artland: Sakkan: Masaru Koseki [eps 5, 8], Kenichi Imaizumi [ep 2]
Production I.G: Sakkan: Kyoji Asano [eps 1, 4, 7]
Picture Magic: Sakkan: Tadashi Oppata [eps 3, 6]





Recommended [And No Recommended] Recent Anime – First Half of 2014

One day, tired of hearing youtube videos and forum posts of how anime is dead, how it isn’t the same anymore, Ron come to his house, angry and tired, he opened up the wordpad and started writing a series of recommended anime of the last three years that show that anime isn’t dead, but more alive than ever, and at the same time, a list of anti-recommended anime, just to see.

This post is going to be on chronological order, from Winter 2014 to Fall 2016, every anime that is there, Ron has at least, watched three episodes, even if he hadn’t finished them, but Ron rarely finish anything to begin with, every recommended anime will be accompanied with a Anti-Recommendation, a anime that you shouldn’t watch, never, for any reason.

Winter 2014:


Space Dandy:


This anime is a celebration of the craft, everyone relevant on the industry of TV anime and that is alive, is here, under the belt of the two best creative directors of all time: The young Shingo Natsume and the experienced Shinichiro Watanabe, and one of the major producers of the industry, with extremely prolific connections that expands for all over the industry: Masahiko Minami, is created this fest, and everyone on the industry was invited.

This show was awesome from beginning to end, just a explosion of creativity and love for anime, a love letter to anime, from saying it on a way, explores so much many talents across all the industry [and all the world too] on a very densely packaged on animation and creative directing 26 episodes, 13 during Winter, and then other 13 during Summer, with a extremely lengthy production span to prepare it, the final result is unlike anything else.

Recommended episodes includes Yoshitomo Yonetani x Yoshimichi Kameda’s Dancing Competition, Sayo Yamamoto’s Rock episode, Kiyotaka Oshiyama’s solo episode, Takaaki Wada’s musical episode, Masaaki Yuasa’s amazing episode, All of Shingo Natsume’s episodes, EunYoung Choi’s Beautiful Episode, Hiroshi Shimizu’s first episode, Goro Taniguchi’s space race, Namimi Sanjo’s Zombie invasion, Hiroshi Hamasaki’s episode, etcetera.


Mahou Sensou


If a Space Dandy was celebration of the craft, Mahou Sensou was a bad hangover were the craft was so depressed that attempted a suicide.

Everything on this anime fails on so many levels, the writing is bad, generic and stupid at the unconceivable points, hell, didn’t even the author of the original novel thinks that the story is any good, and is the author, goddamit! The direction is pretty functional, not a lot of creativity here, just long still shots and boring angles, without any effort put on photography and coloring whatsoever and the animation was just awful, they go all the way to reclute Ryouma Ebata, a excellent animator to do the designs, to kill his designs every episode with low-quality drawings and barely average animation that just kills the series at all and become of it a borefest of pretty awesome levels, Yuzo Sato’s series always were conceivable because they had good writing, but his attempt to do something decent with such awful story and such scarce resources ends up just being an awful mess.

Spring 2014:


Mushishi Zoku Shou


This is a beautiful anime, just for beginning to end, it takes you to a magical place, where everything is calm and slow, without the complications that you have on the real world, it’s like a really good drug, that immerse you on its ambient before you ever recognize, and slowly drowning you on a feel of immense calm and peace, every story is a amazing watch, all thanks to Hiroshi Nagahama’s direction, that, by the way, he did almost all the storyboards of this season of Mushishi, which is a impressive effort, and Yoshihiko Umakoshi and his peers animation, recommending Eiji Abiko’s episode 2 above all of them, with some awesome, but very subtle character animation that just adds to the whimsical and magical feeling of this series, go watch it.

Ping Pong: The Animation


Even with the inconsistent schedule and the indeed, shocking visual style, this show is a awesome human drama, you feel every feeling and thought of the characters, Masaaki Yuasa’s attempt to fight the tight schedule and at the same time, maintaing a unified look, is storyboard all of the episodes by himself, everything, from the visual symbolism, to the angles and the layouts is incredibly well done, the characters are incredibly well developed for a 11-episode series and the final result is a genuine, touching, human drama, that scapes of the norm of sports anime, these characters aren’t trophes so you 14-years old jerk can self-insert it, but instead, they are genuine, real, humans, the ones that we definitively need more on anime.

Also, everyone complaining about the visual style, go fuck yourself, with love, Ron ❤


Mekaku City Actors

Remember what i said of Ping Pong? Well, on that, it worked very well, here, it doesn’t work at all.

This is ugliness made on anime, everything there looks extremely ugly and unfinished because the incredibly tight schedule on which the series was made, and the director’s vision sucks very hard, this just tries too hard of being avant-garde and innovative, but, god lord, this looks so fucking ugly, from horribly painful CGI sequences to unfinished coloring, this series has all the issues of a incredible tight schedule, not accompanying very well by a awfully generic story, like, this is Yuki Yase’s try on make a turd onto something interesting, and only converting it on a bigger turd.

Everything that i said is pretty sad cause there’s talented people here, hell, the character designer is the fucking Gen’ichirou Abe, one of SHAFT’s all-time better animators, but the schedule just kills this series.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr


I’m just going to left the second opening of the series here:

If you ears and eyes are still fine, yes, the series is equally unpleasant of watch, don’t watch it, you are going to lost 300 minutes of your life that you can spend watching all of Ping Pong: The Animation and two episodes of Mushishi: Zoku Shou

Review: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu s2 #2

On this episode, is discovered that Yotaro was, on previous times, a yakuza member, and that even has a large criminal history, causing a big scandal that ended up on the descent of his popularity and he, incapable of resist the pressure, showing his Irezumi tattoo (A tatto style traditional of Japan, associated with the Yakuza] on the back during a live performance.

This episode use Yotaro’s past to treat the already old topic of “More Fame, More Problems” of a new manner, focused on Japanese culture and media, and how a little mistake can kill your career if the people don’t forgive you, we have been present on these cases on real life, being the most publicized case the one of Aya Hirano, that caused a big scandal between Otaku of all the world, in her case, was a sexual scandal, on the occident, that normally would mean a big boost of popularity and publicity for a artist around the premiere of his new movie or music album, but on this case, Aya Hirano’s career take a huge hit, being his roles everyday more scarce since then, incapable of maintain a full-time acting agency, and everyone stigmatizing her since then, in her case, her pituitary gland tumor also didn’t help, and with time, she has been forgotten by the people, almost without receiving main roles since then, and almost disappeared out of the industry at this point.

In this case, Yotaro’s past as a Yakuza threat with end early his career and also kill the career of his master, Yakumo, that was dishonored by that fact on the eyes of the news, since he was the one that give a career to basically, a criminal, and both he and his master now are in the eye of a unforgivable japanese society and news, that never forget or forgive anyone, Yutaro takes the extra mile on demonstrating his tattoo on public on the middle of a live performance, that is something brave, but is also something that can directly kill his career definitely, or the society learns to forgive or he learns to forget his past and move along, demonstrating that is something more than a criminal that copies Sukeroku, that he is something unique, not that the unique difference between him and Sukeroku is that he was previously a Yakuza, he has to do his Rakugo to escape of that shadow and rise his career.

The theme is perfectly managed, with enough deepness and emotion to make you understand Yutaro on the position that he is now, a rising star with his career pending from a really, really, stretch thread, that can break in any moment, and ends his career, he wants to give a future to Konatsu and her kid, he’s just trying to do the best, but between the press and his past, he’s pressured to do the best, and not disappear and be forgotten from the story, along with the Rakugo art in general.

At the same time we have the desire of Yakumo to carry off the Rakugo along with him when he dies, but with Yotaro and this new character that i forgotten his name [lol], wanting to modernize Rakugo and don’t wanting Yakumo to carry off Rakugo with him, wanting to write his story on books and create new Rakugos to future Rakugokas to recite on the future, they want the art to keep advancing and not becoming another lost art, as many other Japanese arts that not supported the end of the imperialism, if Rakugo has survived over 300 years, why die now?

On the technical side of the things, Shinichi Omata SB’d the episode, was pretty reserved on direction, not a lot of flashy direction, very functional, with a impressive focus on feets and hands to represent emotions on this episode, that’s pretty much a standard of the series already, the trademark of the series for saying it on a way. Hirofumi Morimoto, Yumi Nakayama and Mayuko Kato were the sakkans, while Tomomi Kimura was the Chief Sakkan and the Top KA of the episode, pretty average animation, mostly functional, some nice moments of character animation and good faces here and there, nothing off-model, in general, nice-looking, like almost all of the series.

Another good thing about the episode was the music, fantastic as usual, Kana Shibue is a pretty new talent to watch out, expecting more series for her, her music is perfect for this series.

Also, we have new opening, marking the directorial debut of animator Tomomi Kimura too, that was also the Top KA of the opening, while Atsuko Nakajima was the Sakkan and Shinichi Omata was storyboarder, in general, is a very good ass opening, later i will expand about its meaning on a entry of Let’s Talk About Openings!, wait for it. By the way, there was a mysterious animator on the episode using the name of “Mai.”, someday i will discover who is.

Recent Viewing


I’m starting to rewatch Sakamichi no Apollon, it has a incredible amount of detail on every shot, that makes it good to watch just to see how many jazz references i can caught, without going on more, there’s a scene with the characters on the disc store where you can see a good amount of Miles Davis discs released until 1959 [time where the series is ambiented in] behind the characters, on incredibly photorealistic covers, recreated perfectly from the original discs for the background staff.


Other cool details are that the grand piano of the protagonist is of exactly  the same number of keys as a real grand piano and is a Yamaha grand piano, as we can see, with the logo that they used on that times, and i think that even a nerd of specific Yamaha grand pianos can even guess which model is, i think that is a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano of the late 50s, which, again, fits perfectly with the time that is ambiented the series.


Also, they present another photorealistic cover of a Jazz album on the end of the episode, where they present the classic Art Blakey’s Moanin’, of which year? 1958, again, fits perfectly with the time that is ambiented the series, the title track, that is touched by Sentarou on the episode, composed by Bobby Timmons, was an instantaneous classic, and the album’s title changed from “Art Blakey” to “Moanin'” with the success of that single.


The direction was phenomenal, Shinichiro Watanabe SB’d it, while the then newcomer Kotomi Deai was on charge of process his storyboard, the result was a very nice episode, with a interesting use of the camera and the music, as usual of Shinichiro Watanabe.

On the animation, Cindy H. Yamauchi was Sakkan, the episode looked flawless, clearly the Sakkan has exceptional drawing skills, and created a pretty good episode, also, there’s 3 assistants sakkans, but these are less important.


The animation highlight was definitely Hironori Tanaka’s action scene, that isn’t as polished as the rest of the episode, since the Sakkan left it uncorrected, but is really fluid and realistic, it looked like real people fighting, that’s good assort of this anime, that makes the characters move like real people the majority of the time, especially on difficult scenes like that.


Also, both the opening and the ending are some of the best that i’ve watched on all time, by Kazuto Nakazawa and Akemi Hayashi, respectively, these are two masterpiece, gotta do something with these ones someday.

On the anime of the season, meanwhile:



This was a pretty reserved premiere, a lot of good layouts here and there, nothing special. The opening was pretty cool and with a bunch of wallpaper-like images along with a pretty cool theme, the ending was simply beautiful, solo KA’d by newcomer Izumi Murakami, is a joy to watch, looking like something that Shinji Hashimoto or Kenichi Konishi would made, we are present on the birth of a new legendary animator. The second episode is going to be outsourced to DR. MOVIE, meh…

Akiba’s Trip: Funny, but nothing interesting, shut outs to Seong-Ho Park and Tamotsu Ogawa, great job on the episodes.

Onihei: Even if the photography and animation are incredibly bad, the direction, music and the script is enough good to make me watch more of it, even if almost all of the episodes are going to be outsourced, since #1 is outsourced to Dr. Movie and the #3 is confirmed to be outsourced to Dangun Pictures.

Youjo Senki: The effects animation is great, the character designs are incredibly unsettling, everything else is mediocre.

MaiDragon: Really funny, incredible Yoshinori Urata’s work on the episode, incredibly detailed stuff, apparently the animators were observing reptiles and birds to do the animation, is incredible that this level of dedication can be destinated to a simply gag comedy, but, KyoAni.

KonoSuba S2: Really funny, the animation was really funny tho, you can sense that the animators are having real fun making the episode, also, Kazunori Ozawa’s explosions are pretty awesome, he love explosions, and he love to mimic the styles of legendary animators, looking forward to this animator’s future work.

LWA S2: This basically.

Rakugo S2: Pretty excellent beginning, excellent presentation of the themes and fantastic direction, the opening is one of the bests of the season tho.

Also, i started watching Uchoten Kazoku, good layouts and character animation, nothing special in my opinion.



Animator Spotlight – Shinpei Sawa

Shinpei Sawa [澤 真平]


-He graduated from the KyoAni school on 2009, debuting as In-Betweener on K-ON!! after finished their animation course.
-On the KyoAni school, Noriyuki Kitanohara was one of his instructors, learning the ropes from him and another KyoAni animators.
-He has stated diverse times on interviews that he likes to animate scenes with effects and flashy action, much like his mentor, Noriyuki Kitanohara, who was the main Mecha and effects ace on Kyoto Animation, while the rest of the studio was more focused on character animation and layouts than on action and effects.
-Ascended to key animation on Nichijou #2, with his drawings being corrected by KyoAni’s legendary animator Yukiko Horiguchi.
-He quickly stood out on the studio, being trusted with demanding, intricate scenes, as well as action, effects and obviously, mechas, converting on one of the aces on the field of Kyoto Animation, again, unlike the rest of the studio, that’s more focused on other aspects of animation, he excels on these fields like none other on the studio -maybe only Hiroyuki Takahashi and Noriyuki Kitanohara are the better on these aspects than him-
-He has strong imagination, so he tends to designs monsters and mechas for the anime that require them, was very happy seeing the monsters that he designed for Phantom World so carefully animated by the animation team of the series, emerging a desire to create and that his creations were represented on a correct way.
-On the last year, he started to be trained as Director under his mentor back then on Kyoto Animation school, Noriyuki Kitanohara, on the episode eight of the second season of Hibike! Euphonium, and after that, he’s scheduled to debut as Episode Director on KyoAni’s new series MaiDragon, under KyoAni legendary director Yasuhiro Takemoto, let’s see what the future has for him!

Studio Spotlight: Anime R

Anime R [アニメアール]

-Located on Osaka, the studio was established in the late 1970s by veteran animator Moriyasu Taniguchi.
-They have a “brother” studio called Studio Mu, that’s most centered on character animation, while Anime R is majoritarily centered on mechanical animation.
-The founders members were animators Moriyasu Taniguchi and Hiromi Muranaka, the later one leaving to fund hir own studio, Studio Mu, most centered on character animation, the speciality of his section of Anime R.
-The studio received a lot of graduates from the Osaka University of Design, such as Fumiko Kishi and Kazuaki Mouri.
-Anime R gained certain reputation and popularity as a high quality outsourced studio, participating on Ryousuke Takahashi’s real robot works such as Votoms or Layzner, as well as Tsuchida Pro’s works like “Sasuga no Sarutobi”
-They trained a lot of now great animators, such as Pro I.G aces Kazuchika Kise and Hiroyuki Okiura, that started them road on the industry here, and later moved to Tatsunoko I.G, a subsidiary of Tatsunoko Production founded by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and Takayuki Goto, that later will become Production I.G, a powerhouse of realistic, high-quality anime since then, being Kazuchika Kise the one in charge of Studio 2.
-They specialized on realistic, detailed, intricate mecha action, with incredibly detailed mechas and effects created by the hands of individuals such as Toru Yoshida and Hiroyuki Okiura.
-Another big chunk has left for Bones and Sunrise, studios where Anime R usually did subcontracted work, like Asako Nishida, trained by Sawako Yamamoto, Takahiro Kimura and Hiroshi Osaka, two of the founders of Bones, and the talented mecha animators Fumiaki Kouta and Seiichi Nakatani.
-They have a individualistic culture, most centered on creating talented, unique animators that on creating a simple, nonsensical studio trademark, being this approach decreasing the most recent years, with less and less talented animators and more “functional” ones entering usually the studio now.
-Since the 90s, the studio have been decreasing quality, being now heavily concentrated on make simply functional animation and on-model drawings, they keep being solicited cause the crazy drawing speed of individuals of the studio such as Takenori Tsukuma, Yuuichi Nakazawa and Toru Yoshida, that can produce a incredibly amount of Gengas per episode, while being busy on other projects, thanks to their hard training on the studio.
-A lot of the studio’s most talented animators had eventually left, keeping the most functional, speedy ones, again, more concentrated on doing on-model drawings at a fast pace that doing good animation at a not so fast pace now, various of their animators left the industry, other migrated to the brother studio Studio Mu, others left for major studios like Production I.G and Bones, etcetera.
-The studio has been constantly concentrated on subcontractor work, they haven’t produced a full production, mainly because lack of personal to do these things, they are just a small, subcontract studio.
Destacable animators that are still affiliated with the studio:
Moriyasu Taniguchi, Masahiro Kase, Takenori Tsukuma, Yuuichi Nakazawa, Naoko Nakamoto, Toru Yoshida, Koichi Takai, Hiroyuki Terada, etc
Destacable animators that passed for the studio at some point:
Kazuaki Mouri, Masahiko Itojima, Hiroshi Osaka, Hiroyuki Okiura, Shuzilow. HA, Takahiro Komori, Masahide Yanagisawa, Takahiro Kimura, Sadatoshi Matsuzaka, Hiromi Muranaka, Sawako Yamamoto, Kazuchika Kise, Asako Nishida, Seiichi Nakatani, Toshiyuki Kono, Takeshi Morita, Fumiaki Kouta, Hiroki Harada, etc

Animator Spotlight – Shingo Natsume

Shingo Natsume [夏目 真悟]


-He started his career as an inbetween animator on J.C Staff, being promoted to key animator after just only one year of entering the studio, on the 2004 series The Melody Of Oblivion, Directed by Hiroshi Nishiokori and Co-Produced by GAINAX, being his drawings corrected on that occasion by the veteran animator and character designer of the series Shinya Hasegawa
-Just one year after his debut, he started working with Gonzo, Mahiro Maeda’s studio, usually collaborating with fellow young animator Erkin Kawabata, that debuted as Key Animator on 2002, and then started fast ascending roles on Gonzo, being just on some years of being there, the go-to director for both punching human drama and intricate action, being able to pull of both of them thanks to his comprehension of framing and excellent action choreographies.
-Here, on Gonzo, with Erkin Kawabata, worked on a lot of pieces, with a initial style very reminiscent of Hisashi Mori and the recent webgen movement that started to appear on these times, guys like Ryoochimo, Tomoyuki Niho and Shingo Yamashita, that started to shape their own vision of anime, self-taught rebellious kids that didn’t go with the conventions of the industry at all, having similar visions, Shingo Natsume eventually became friend of them.
-Thanks to Erkin Kawabata, Shingo Natsume perfected his understanding of layouts and action choreography, and became better on these aspects, that worked for him on his later career as director.
-A stylistic trait of him that started to appear on these time were thick black highlights on his animation, to make it standout.
-Thanks to his work on Gonzo, made friends with legendary animator Kenichi Konishi and became acquainted of Shin-Ei Animation studio, where he worked on various Doraemon movies.
-His friendship with Akira Amemiya ended up on him working on Gurren Lagann, his work was praised by Series Director Hiroyuki Imaishi, that, by Imaishi, resembled the animation of both Shinya Ohira and Hisashi Mori, two legendaries animators.
-After knowing legendary director Masaaki Yuasa and debuting as storyboarder on Tatami Galaxy #6, he shifted to direction for the next years, after doing unit direction on the movie of FullMetal Alchemist, where his friend Kenichi Konishi was working on as Character Designer, on that time, he also became friends with Gosei Oda, Yoshimichi Kameda and Se-Jun Kim, that were fundamental pieces of his next works as director.
-Thanks to Yuasa, he also became acquainted with studio Madhouse, where he shaped big part of his career on.
-The big opportunity for him came when legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe invited him to direct Space Dandy, the most ambitious project of his career, where he would take charge of general directorial responsibilities instead of Watanabe, while Watanabe was on charge of other tasks surrounding the series.
-One year after the finishing of Space Dandy, he was invited by Madhouse to direct ONE’s manga One Punch Man, with a stellar team, inviting the ex-GAINAX animator Chikashi Kubota as Character Design, and Natsume brought all his team, a entire army of young and old animators, that included from Hidehiko Sawada to Bahi JD and from Miso to the legendary Yutaka Nakamura, and became a hit, as expected by the studio.
-After finishing it, was place on charge of ACCA, the adaptation of one of the most recent Natsume Ono’s manga, inviting Madhouse’s very own Norifumi Kugai as the Character Designer, known by Shingo Natsume after he worked Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, being the rest of the staff pretty much the same as of One Punch Man, trying to show another side of his talent, a more restrained one, with less flashy animation and more appealing layouts and designs, let’s see how that one ends up!

Talking With Ron – Today’s Guest: @Josh_Dunham: Winter Cooked Anime

This is the third entry of Talking with RON, this time with Wave Motion Cannon’s very own Josh Dunham []

This time we are going to talk about the anime that we expect from Winter 2016

Ron: What are you more hyped about, Josh?

Josh: Right off that bat? Little Witch Academia, hands down.

Ron: Little Witch Academia seems like a awesome series, i was trying to figure out how they can do it without half of the core staff of the OVAs, but wow
that first three episodes staff list is pretty awesome

Josh: Yeah, you posted that and I was like ‘wow, this is going to be amazing!’ the moment I saw some of those names
It seems like Litte Witch is really loved by TRIGGER

Ron: Indeed! A lot of talent there

Josh: like, they really care about it

Ron: I’m really excited for episode 2
That’s going to be directed by GAINAX legend Masayuki
LWA is like, the perfect match for his style
When he was young he was like, one of the craziest animators that the industry has ever seen
and now he’s present on LWA as a Episode Director

Josh: Now, I heard Imaishi is returning to KA only work on this one, or is he directing an episode as well?

Ron: He’s doing KA work!
There’s also a possibility of him working as Episode Director later on the series tho

Josh: I’m really hoping he doesn’t. I have mixed feelings with Imaishi’s directorial work. Though Luluco was great.

Ron: Imaishi directorial work isn’t that good…
Is clear that he hasn’t directorial training at all

Josh: It’s a mixed bag. Imaishi cares a lot about the sakuga, and his shows are focused on movement, they don’t like to sit still.

Ron: His storyboards are pretty vague to begin with, there’s a lot of anecdotes about him don’t wanting to do storyboards and they being really rough
and the KAs having to fill the big spaces on his storyboards

Josh: Yeah, I’ve seen those images, Shushio cleaned up a lot of his mess on Kill la Kill

Ron: Imaishi cares about that every bit of the series move on a way
or another
He doesn’t quite cares about the direction or if the things that he do makes actual sense or not

Josh: He’s very self indulgent in that manner. Sex and Violence at Machspeed was a perfect example of that… but this isn’t about Imaishi (as much as he would like it to be!)

Ron: Yeah
Its about the star: Yoh Yoshinari

Josh:: What I loved most about the first Little Witch Academia is how easily accessible it was.

Ron: Yeah, everybody can watch it perfectly
Imaishi’s works are a lot less accessible

Josh: Yoshinari cares about the craft of animation in a more wholistic approach

Ron: I don’t see, i don’t know, a 9 year old
watching a Imaishi series
without freaking the fuck out

Josh: Right
That’s exaclty my point.
Imaishi makes series for people like him
Yoshinari makes anime that is successful overall

Ron: Exactly
I have big hopes for Yoh Yoshinari’s full directorial debut
on this series
for now he has just done OVAs

Josh: Yeah

Ron: Now is a whole double-cour series

Josh: this will be his first time getting more exposure from people other than otaku
is it double or split?

Ron: Apparently is double
by the rumors

Josh: ok, becasue i heard split cour
and if it’s split, I think it’ll work

Ron: I expect much more of Yoshinari, than other debutant animators converted to directors
like Kenichi Shimizu’s debut
on Parasyte [2014], with fellow-GAINAX animator Tadashi Hiramatsu as Character Designer

Josh: See, I’m not too hot on what I have seen
but then again, I have only a passing familiarity with Shimizu
What I want to know is: Will we see a solo episode from Yoshinari?

Ron: Yoshinari isn’t exactly fast
so with tight TV anime schedules
is questionable a solo episode from Yoshinari

Josh: I think with enough 2nd’s he could do it

Ron: I have a large familiarity with Shimizu
I know him since he was working on Studio Curtain on the 90s, along with Tadashi Hiramatsu
before Hiramatsu worked with GAINAX
Also, i’m expecting a Hiramatsu episode on LWA, don’t you?
He did Fune wo Amu #10
while working on that horrible mess of Yuri on Ice
so he can do at least one or two episodes for Little Witch Academia

Josh: He’s been working with GAINAX staff for a long time
I think we’ll see a few cuts from him

Ron: He’s been appearing randomly recently
First on Kuromukuro with Tensai Okamura
then on Yuri on Ice with Sayo Yamamoto
and Fune wo Amu with Toshimasa Kuroyanagi
he passes from project to project, appearing randomly when one of his bros need him

Josh: he doesn’t tend to stick around for long, he moces from project to project
He kinda treats his anime like a one night stand lol

Ron: lol xD

Josh: I know that’s bad to say, but look at his staff credits!
One episode here, another there
maybe two here, but hardly any consecutive work in the same spot for long

Ron: He just goes around

Josh: Masanobu Nomura is working as art director, so that will be interesting to see

Ron: Yeah
The Art Director of the original OVAs is on ACCA
and on a anime with a weird director that isn’t credited anywhere
for Liden Films

Josh: Yes, Yuuji Kaneko is a traitor! lol Not sure what to expect from that to be 100% honest. I don’t think it will be bad, but it’ll be different. I might have to watch ACCA as well…

Ron: ACCA is going for a more low-key approach
that the one of One Punch Man or Space Dandy
i mean
more similar to Shingo Natsume’s works on Gonzo
that the ones after he left Gonzo
more low-key, enfocated on human drama and good layouts
instead of flashy animation

Josh: Well, I don’t know
Gosei Oda is on that one
As one of the chief AD’s

Ron: Yeah, but with low-key PV and the content of the manga
is more going to a less flashy feel, a lot of awesome layouts, yes
but not a lot of flashy animation, unlike One Punch Man and Space Dandy

Josh: That is true, the PV kinda reminded me of how Blood Blockade Battlefront was – it doesn;t really show off much
I can’t speak for the manga

Ron: By the way, what are you other more expected series?
Beside Little Witch Academia
Not a lot to choose on this season at all

Josh: Well, ACCA for the reasons we just mentioned
Gosei Oda and Shingo Natsume

Ron: I personally i’m going with two very not-mainstream option this season
One of them is Onihei
the other is Kuzu no Honkai

Josh: ehhh, not so sure on Onihei

Ron: Onihei is a adaptation of a real novel
that makes it a lot more appealing than almost everything, even if is one of these non-linear episodic series

Josh: I can see that

Ron: and personally the designs appeal a lot to me
This kind of more realistic, down-to-earth approach to anime

Josh: One of the great parts of not having a visual to work off of is being free to create one

Ron: more concentrated on good layouts, solid drawings and good character animation than creating flashy action scenes

Josh: Good cinematography can be a powerful thing on it’s own

Ron: that seems that they are going to do with this series
if you see the designs
These are perfect designs for that kind of more realistic approach to anime

Josh: we don’t have a PV yet do we?

Ron: Yeah, no PV
at one week of it coming out, so we don’t know how it actually would look like
the series will surely premiere
and it has apparently good schedule, since by Maruyama
they already did all the episodes
and even an Prologue OVA before they did everything

Josh: That’s kinda a scarry thing – but I guess the first episode will tell us if the preview image will live up to the hype or not. I’m not betting it will.

Ron: and we have on this case, the names of all the episodes
seems like they are going for a very episodic non-linear approach
with a lot of temporal jumps here and there
Like on the first three episodes they are going to adapt the first chapter of the novel
then on the fourth, well, the fourth chapter of the novel
and so on, even adapting the chapter 21 of the novel on the seventh episode
but finishing the anime series on the sixth chapter of the novel
very random, non-linear narrative all around

Josh: that sounds kinda cool
That means each episode will have to be good

Ron: They don’t want to do a linear copypaste of the novel
but instead doing something unique that can stand on his own
also, is going to be a “auteur” series

Josh: oh?

Ron: Shigeyuki Miya is credited with Director, Script, Character Designer and Sound Director

Josh: Oh wow, so this is really his baby

Ron: Shigeyuki Miya, by the way
has a pretty good historial with Madhouse

Josh: You thinking this will be high quality because of those connections?

Ron: He pretty much did everything on his two episodes of Aoi Bungaku, the #7 and #8
just before Ryousuke Nakamura’s episodes, #9 and #10
at least good quality i’m expecting

Josh: wait, he’s on here?

Ron: On Onihei?

Josh: oh

Ron: On Aoi Bungaku? Yes

Josh: you meant Aoi

Ron: Aoi Bungaku is a very recommendable series
Is a series of 6 stories
based on 6 different japanese novels
adapted each one by a different director
No Longer Human, of Osamu Dazai, adapted by Morio Asaka
In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom, of Ango Sakaguchi, adapted by Tetsuro Araki
Kokoro, of Natsume Soseki, adapted by Shigeyuki Miya
Run, Melos!, of Osamu Dazai, adapted by Ryousuke Nakamura
and then The Spider’s Thread and Hell Screen, both by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and adapted by Atsuko Ishizuka
is a wonderful series
even if the quality is somewhat incosistent
Tetsuro Araki’s part is awful, for example
while the others varies from decent to really good
being the Morio Asaka part EXCELLENT

Josh: I remeber watching that back when it was airing, but I was just a pleb weeb back then
That’s a show I need to go back and watch
Like, the music for that was amazing

Ron: You surely know him for his Shoujo work
but on No Longer Human he demonstrate a mastery on working on serious, sad works as well

Josh: Cardcaptor stuff
well, at least the films if I recall correctly
Chobits and a ton of other CLAMP stuff really

Ron: Asaka is really a incredibly verstatile director
as i don’t if it was Kvin or who that said i
he’s pretty much a director than can do everything
A Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Josh: I guess I will have to check Onihei out, I wasn’t planning on it, but I guess one episode can’t hurt.
It’s anime after all!

Ron: Yeah xD.
Then we have Kuzu no Honkai
the new NoitaminA anime
that give me a serious Aku no Hana’s feel
but obviously, without the weird approach to animation
or Hiroshi Nagahama’s slow direction
Aku no Hana but a lot trendier and mainstream

Josh: I dont know, I think I might like Flower’s of Evil’s visuals better

Ron: Aku no Hana’s visual style was very jarring

Josh: It was, but it worked towards what the show was trying to do
This kinda looks like, I hate to say it, ‘generic anime’ to me. More mainstream like you said, but maybe too mainstream?

Ron: Yeah
too mainstream and trendy
But that CAN still work out if the story doesn’t suck

Josh: That is true, but not knowing anything about the show, I feel like this aesthetic will be more of a turn off than turn on.

Ron: Yeah, a really turn off
Also, Lerche’s last NoitaminA anime sucked HARD
Ranpo Kitan
that was one of the more awful anime of 2015

Josh: I avoided that one, so I wouldn’t know

Ron: Another anime that i’m quite hyped up is Youjo Senki

Josh: Hmmmmm
that one could go either way for me

Ron: The saving grace is going to be the animation for me
a really stellar staff

Josh: I hope so
I am not really invested in it
One I do want to see is Boruto, but that’s of Spring
I love studio Pierrot, and to see them working on more of the same thing is always good to me

Ron: Now on Winter
we have the adaptation of all the Naruto novels by guys like Chiaki Kon and Osamu Kobayashi
eDLIVE, the second anime ever with a chinese character designer

Josh: eDLIVE was not a strong manga, and I believe it’s already ended
but again, studio Pierrot is one of my favorites
and they allways have something interesting to look at

Ron: Indeed
Usually it’s the openings
even Sousei no Onmyouji ones are incredibly fantastic

Josh: That’s Twin Star right?
Yeah, that show was fun to watch, but the source material was bland
Pierrot did what they could to spice it up
and I watched for a while, but it just didn’t stick

Ron: Yeah
The most interesting Pierrot series on a while has been Naruto

Josh: Truly

Ron: the last episodes of the Hayato Date era were INCREDIBLE

Josh: Yes.
And the work of Huang Chengxi is amazing

Ron: And then Osamu Kobayashi and Chiaki Kon take over the series on a good way, with better direction than ever
Chengxi Huang is a really awesome animator

Josh: Some of my favorite episodes on there are Norio Matsumoto’s (of course) but especially Atsushi Wakabayashi’s
he is

Ron: I’m going to do a Animator Spotlight on him when i have the enough information

Josh: Well, slight surprise, but I have him slated for an interview
so look forward to that

Ron: I don’t like to be vague talking about animators
My Naoki Kobayashi and Hiroyuki Yamashita ones
are the most detailled that i did
The ones that you did about Atsushi Wakabayashi is really good

Josh: Thank you! I was looking for resources on him, but couldn’t find any, so I decided I would make some lol
It’s kinda funny how we dont have a lot of that type of thing
I thank you for your hard work in that regard

Ron: I’m going to drop two this week
one about Madhouse’s very own Ryousuke Nakamura
and then one about Shingo Natsume
since i’ve officially watched almost all of their works

Josh: Nice! I will be looking forward to both of those!

Ron: Now, for example
I can talk properly about the relation between Erkin Kawabata and Shingo Natsume
a really overlooked one when one is talking about Shingo Natsume

Josh: Looking up some of Erkin Kawabata’s credits, I see Bakemonogatari, so I’m interested

Ron: Kawabata doesn’t appear as usual on anime credits nowadays
as he used to appear
he’s basically SHingo Natsume’s master
He also apparently had a rant on 2015
on Twitter, about, well, industry issues
He has a special feel of layouts and action coreography
that makes him really interesting, that’s what Shingo Natsume primarily learned from him
His works are usually full of Webgen animators, like Hiroshi Ikehata
that’s releasing Akiba’s Trip this season, you see it?

Josh: I have not
But what about the new KyoAni show?
Dragon Maid – i heard there was some issue with Sakuga blog covering it

Ron: They aren’t covering it xD

Josh: Right
becasue of what some disgruntled ‘fans’ said

Ron: It was just anti-KyoAni’s fear xD

Josh: Death threats and shit

Ron: Also, Erkin Kawabata has good taste:

Looks his profile photo
and head cover

Josh: lol

Ron: He also tried to shut up all these mouth breathers
talking about the reality
or basically, that thing that Kvin has been repeating since, like, 2012
about that Budget doesn’t equal quality
Maid Dragon
seems to be a pretty average series
not really interesed on it

Josh: ahhhhhhh
Well, the PV looked nice
I liked what I saw. it might be a more effects animation heavy KyoAni series

Ron: Yeah
also Akitake’s incredibly detailed settei is quite incredible

Josh: Not sure I follow

Ron: I’m gonna definetely watching it
But i don’t know if i’m gonna to end it
Also, this season we have 1434981481 sequels

Josh: lol
Well, one of those is good: Rakugo

Ron: Yeah, i’m really excited for the second season of Rakugo
Loved the first season with all my heart

Josh: it was good
I loved the music in that one as well
and the voice cast was amazing

Ron: Yeah, really good

Josh: I mean, for that show, it depends on the voice cast
becasue rakugo is all vocal, the animation kinda has to carry some too, but the charisma though an animated character is in the voice

Ron: Akira Ishida’s interpretation was masterful

Josh: Yes! one of my favorite voice actors (mainly for his role as Kaworu in Evangelion)

Ron: He’s a awesome voice actor all around

Josh: Gintama fans love him as well
Kaworu janai, Katsura da!
(we good?)

Ron: I think so

Josh: did you want to keep going or…

Ron: Nah, i think that were ok
with this

Josh: alright
sorry if I was boring!

Ron: Well, good talk
Nah, it was a entertaining one

Josh: Thank you for having me, Ron!
I enjoyed it

2nd Key Animators – A Toei Douga Story

Let’s go back some years on time, at 1958, where a new role was invented: Daini Genga, even if was not credited [Or used, beside of Toei Douga] until the early 2000s, was a crucial part of anime production on these times of Anime, as on this new days, now the term is used when rough gengas caused by lack of time is passed to less experienced animators so they can clean the gengas and convert them on something watchable, on these times, the situation was different, there was only two professional animators on Toei Doga: Yasuji Mori and Akira Daikubara, that were reminiscent of the old and defunct studio Nihon Douga, that later would convert into Toei Doga and then on the modern Toei Animation.

As they were making the transition from Nihon Douga to Toei Douga with only these two animators, they have contracted over thirty animators with almost nothing of actual experience on the medium, with the clear exceptions of Chikao Katsui and Takashi Yamaguchi, both of them that worked on Nihon Douga during a few months before the change, the rest were basically just understanding the basics of animation.

The animation of the first movie of Toei Douga, Hakujaden [That was also Japan’s first animated movie on full color] started on December of 1957, Zenjirou Yamamoto, that was the ex-president of the old Nihon Douga studio, was conferred with the management of the film’s production, and he briefly came to a conclusion to their main problem: Lack of experienced staff. That conclusion was to create “Daini Gengas”, that would clean up the rough gengas of Yasuji Mori and Akira Daikubara, before sending it to the in-betweeners, for that, six of the less unexperienced animators were choosen, Daiichiro Kusube, Shuji Konno and Masatake Kita cleaned up the drawings of Yasuji Mori and Kazuko Nakamura, Chikao Katsui and Yasuo Otsuka cleaned up the drawings of Akira Daikubara [Yeah, Otsuka beginnings were under Akira Daikubara, not under Yasuji Mori, surprise!], each of them were on charge of four or five in-betweeners, and the desk were arranged into six groups, each one corresponding each second, being the leaders of the groups, they get the Genga for the key animators themselves and distribute them between the in-betweeners [No pun intended]. The scenes that the Key Animators were on charge were given according to their style, Yasuji Mori handled the scenes involving animals and the protagonist, that required delicate, nuanced animation, while Daikubara did the scenes with fights and other similar things and required broader and looser animation. Yasuji Mori’s gengas were heavily detailed and nuanced to begin with, leaving little room to improvement, while Daikubara’s one were rough and spare, leaving a lot room to imagination to the seconds and the in-betweeners.

The seconds were assigned scenes also depending of their skill and styles, Chikao Katsui was given the scenes with more energetic movement, Yasuo Otsuka was given the scenes that relied heavily on natural phenomena, Kazuko Nakamura was given with scenes involving Pai Nyan and Shao Chin, Masatake Kita was given the ones with movement heavy scenes, Shuji Konno was given with quiet, delicate scenes and Daiichiro Kusube the other ones, consistently assigning like that the scenes helped on maintaing the overall consistency of the film, even with a complete lack of Sakkan, that was not created until a few years later.

In Hakujaden, after the In-Betweeners finished their assigned shots, the key animators corrected their animation, Akira Daikubara was a lot less strict than Mori, accepting everything as far as the original feeling is maintained, on other hand, Mori never accepted a scene the first time he looked, asking for two or three retakes, after them, he would say “OK”, but he would still secretly fixing them on his desk!, he really wanted the animation to be exactly as i imagined, that style was the legacy that he left to people like Hayao Miyazaki and Yasuo Otsuka, that always were proud of correcting every piece of animation so it would look exactly as they imagined it the first time.

The seconds were never credited as so, instead, they were credited as in-betweeners, only when you key animated a scene is when you convert into a key animator, the exception to that rule was that crazy and rebellious kid of Daiichiro Kusube, after gengas were no coming to him, he leap completely over the hierarchy, and after three months of being hired and being basically a novice without experience on key animation, convinced Yasuji Mori to draw gengas for Hakujaden, without passing from the second stage, drawing the key animation of a few shots fully by himself and passing it to the in-betweeners under his charge, being Kusube the secret third key animator on the movie, without being credited as such, but instead as a in-betweener, doing that for the next two Toei Douga films: Shounen Sarutobi Sasuke [1959] and Saiyuki [1960], being first credited as such in Anju no Zushiomaru [1961], he, then, also permitted to his in-betweeners to draw the key animation for him, on secret, Sadao Tsukioka and Gisaburo Sugii did gengas for Saiyuki, and the same happened with Yoichi Kotabe on Little Prince and the 8-Headed Dragon [1963].

Makoto Nagasawa, who was In-Betweener in Shuuji Konno’s section, starting with the Shounen Sarutobi Sasuke, on 1959, was transferred to Yasuo Otsuka’s section, since he didn’t liked having to draw the incredibly detailed movement of Mori’s cuts, even if he liked the drawings of him, and was more suited to Yasuo Otsuka, also, with Daikubara correcting him, he experimented with the timing of his assigned shots on Saiyuki and injected more personality into the animation of those shots, he debuted as a second on Anju to Zushiomaru on 1961, after drawing his first key animation on Saiyuki the past year, along with Yasuo Otsuka, Daiichiro Kusube, Gisaburo Sugii and Sadao Tsukioka, giving the freedom to everything as they want on the last scene of the film, that had a looser storyboard, he officially became Key Animator in Little Prince and the 8-Headed Dragon, on 1963.

Yasuo Otsuka was the first ascended to the second Toei Doga film, as they brought in two more experienced animators: Masao Kumakawa and Hideo Furusawa, the latter one that was a ex-Nihon Douga animator that abandoned the industry during a while after the disbanding of the studio, having the second film five Key Animators, each of them with one second at charge of their scenes, being then Daiichiro Kusube, Chikao Katsui, Kazuko Nakamura, Shuji Konno and Masatake Kita.

Saiyuki, of 1960, featured the same five animators, along with Osamu Tezuka, with seven seconds assigned this time: Shuji Konno, Masatake Kita, Daiichiro Kusube, Chikao Katsui, Michihiko Yoshida [of the second wave of contracted animators] and Kazuko Nakamura.

Anju to Zushiomaru, of the next year was Daiichiro Kusube’s first appearance as Key Animator, along the other five key animators, the seconds this time were Shuji Konno, Masatake Kita, Reiko Okuyama [Ascended from In-Betweener], Makoto Nagasawa [Ascended from In-Betweener], Chikao Katsui and Michihiko Yoshida.

Sinbad’s Aventure, a year later, featured the debuts of Reiko Okuyama, Masatake Kita and Chikao Katsui to Key Animation, and on the next film at that, premiered on 1963, featured the same Key Animators as Sinbad, but without Akira Daikubara, and instead, replacing him with Makoto Nagasawa, around that time, the second credits became confuse, so i don’t really know if they were there at all, also, since this times, the In-Betweener credits were shorter, the next film only featured 9 In-Betweeners, same with the later ones, leading to two conclusions:

1] They put less effort into the next movies, since they were more busy with TV anime
2] They didn’t need the same amount of in-betweeners to achieve pretty much the same fluidity as the first six films of the studio

It was abandoned shortly after, various staff changes, leading to the beginning of the production of TV anime from the studio, with less importance given to feature films and more staff moving to do TV animation ended up with the system, until it being revitalized on the 2000s by a big number of anime studios, as TV anime’s schedules grew up tighter and tighter and gengas were rougher, Toei Animation and Kyoto Animation are the unique studios that rarely credit 2nd Key Animators, they credit them as “Key Animators”, on a separated group from the other Key Animator, or, as well, they directly didn’t feature 2nd Key Animation at all, being the gengas of enough quality to be send to the in-betweeners directly.

Another thing that leaded up to the temporal disappearance of the role was the long time that they take to access to key animation, which led to Gisaburo Sugii and others to leave the studio for Mushi Pro before they became official key animators, and others just gave up to animation, being incapable of do the same magic as animators like Yasuo Otsuka, Sadao Tsukioka or Daiichiro Kusube.

Animators That I’ve Discovered on 2016

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.