On the occasion of ‘Ōkami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi’ #3, I thought I might as well write a more extensive article on Hironori Tanaka [田中宏紀] (also known as ‘Hiroki’ Tanaka, but that’s the wrong reading), even though I’m aware that he’s one of the most famous and popular animator these days and probably needs no introduction to most sakuga fans. Either way, I’ll begin with some general information about his career/work and later move on to aforementioned episode.
Hironori Tanaka started out at Eagle Nest, a small studio doing subcontract work for other studios. As Toei Animation is one of their main clients, Tanaka was primarily involved with Toei‘s anime early on in his career, particularly with the ‘Pretty Cure‘ franchise. Tanaka first attracted attention with his incredibly fast and fancy ‘Pretty Cure’ action scenes, for which he still returns to Toei Animation now and then, most recently he worked on the two ‘Precure All Stars DX’ movies. Takashi Otsuka, the director of both movies, directed two of the best showcases of Tanaka‘s skills in Precure as well, to be exact ‘Yes! Precure 5GoGo!’ #4 and #18. In an interview he praised Tanaka for his skills and said that he had enough confidence in Tanaka to leave the battle scenes up to him. Otsuka wrote only a general instruction on the storyboard (a battle with the camera rotating around the action, so the kind of battle that has become Tanaka‘s trademark in ‘Precure’) and left the details to Tanaka, even though he said that he usually didn’t do this kind of irresponsible thing. The smooth and well-coordinated choreographies definitely prove that Tanaka had freedom in creating those scenes, I guess some of the other directors he worked with at Toei gave him the same kind of freedom.