Studio GoHands latest project – the adaptation of Tow Ubukata‘s novel series “Mardock Scramble” into three theatrical films – certainly makes me somewhat excited as well as happy that a relatively new studio like GoHands got entrusted with such a big project. The staff list isn’t really surprising to me as most of the artists are either attached to Studio GoHands or were already involved with them in the past. Director Susumu Kudo also helmed their recent “Cheburashka” series, though his involvement with them goes back as far as “Koi suru Tenshi Angelique” (although they still belonged to Satelight back then). I haven’t seen any of his major directorial efforts yet (which were mostly bishoujo shows), but he did some decent episode direction and storyboard work on “Princess Lover!” and “Shugo Chara!”. Judging by the trailer he seems to do a pretty good job in establishing a strong cinematic feeling and lush visuals somewhat reminiscent of certain Gonzo series (particularly “Speed Grapher”).
Shingo Suzuki and Jun Nakai are both in charge of character design and overall animation direction. Suzuki also did the designs for GoHands‘ first independent work “Princess Lover!” and Shōji Kawamori‘s Genius Party short “Shanghai Dragon”. It seems like Suzuki designed the female characters of “Mardock Scramble” in view of the “Shugo Chara”-like style that is especially obvious in the promo pic at the top of this post (as it was drawn by Suzuki himself). Since Jun Nakai is also participating in this project and apparently has a connection with GoHands, it’s likely that he was the one that brought them in to work on Manglobe‘s “Seiken no Blacksmith” (I wrote about it a while ago), Nakai was the character designer of that show after all. Both Suzuki and Nakai are experienced animation directors who put a fair amount of effort into the drawings and go for a very ‘clean’ look while giving the animators enough room to express themselves. I guess the latter applies more to Suzuki who noticeably tried to preserve the individual animators’ touches in “Princess Lover!”, check out this post for more information.
I’m rather fond of both Koichi Kikuta‘s and Hiroshi Okubo‘s work, that’s why I’m delighted to see that they are involved as designers. Studio Biho‘s Masanobu Nomura (First Squad, Arjuna, Blue Drop, etc.) is art director and Yoshinori Shiozawa (Spice & Wolf, Heroic Age, Bamboo Blade, etc.) is doing the art setting. Did I already say that I love the background art in the trailer? Most backgrounds these days feel like you’ve seen them before (Deen & J.C., anyone?), but the ones in above trailer really help to set the mood and provide a beautiful stage for the character play. Anime become much more interesting if the designers create a world that is believable and fascinating, and it seems like this is the case here. The colour palette is beautifully chosen as well, kind of makes it feel all the more cold and gritty.
Original Work / Screenplay: Tow Ubukata
Director: Susumu Kudo
Concept Design: Koichi Kikuta
Character Design / Animation Direction: Shingo Suzuki, Jun Nakai
Weapon Design: Hiroshi Okubo
CGI Director: Tetsuro Kodama
Colour Design: Shigenobu Kaihou
Art Setting: Yoshinori Shiozawa (Biho)
Art Director: Masanobu Nomura (Biho)
Director of Photography: Toru Fukushi (T2studio)
Animation production: GoHands
Since there’s not much information about Studio GoHands in the western websphere, here’s a short studio profile:
Studio GoHands had originally been the Osaka branch of Satelight before it became independent in August 2008. Former Satelight producer Ringo Kishimoto serves as GoHands‘ representative director. GoHands‘ head office and animation department is still located in the former Satelight Osaka studio, though they are preparing a studio in Asagaya, Tokyo. The studio’s name is derived from Satelight‘s mascot character “Gohan-chan“. They are usually credited as “GoHands”, “GO HANDS” or “ゴーハンズ”.
GoHands has a guiding principle of producing only one work per year and keeping most work in-house. They have obviously adhered to latter guideline so far as their first project “Princess Lover” was almost entirely produced by their own staff. Satelight‘s Osaka studio was initially centered around former Wanpack members, that’s why that studio is one of the main origins of GoHands‘ animators. GoHands‘ main works from their Satelight period are “Shugo Chara!”, “Angelique” and Genius Party’s “Shanghai Dragon” short, minor works by GoHands‘ staff include “Macross Frontier” #8 and “Baccano!” #7.
List of works:
♦ Princess Lover! [TV] (2009): Animation Production
♦ Cheburashka Arere? [TV] (2009-2010): Animation Production
♦ Seiken no Blacksmith [TV] (2009): #10 Production Assistance
♦ Mardock Sramble [Movie] (2010-….): Animation Production
♦ Hiromitsu Kanazawa [金澤洪充]: Director
♦ Susumu Kudo [工藤進]: Director
♦ Yuuichi Sugio [杉生祐一]: Director, Animator
♦ Shingo Suzuki [鈴木信吾]: Character Designer, Animation Supervisor, Animator
♦ Takayuki Uchida [内田孝行]: Animation Supervisor, Animator
♦ Kazuaki Imoto [井元一彰]: Animation Supervisor, Animator
♦ Makoto Furuta [古田誠]: Animation Supervisor, Animator
♦ Hiromi Masuda [舛田裕美]: Animation Supervisor, Animator
♦ Hiroshi Okubo [大久保宏]: Designer, Animator
♦ Koichi Kikuta [菊田幸一]: Designer, Animator
♦ Tomoyuki Niho [仁保知行]: Animator