I guess it’s time for a new post on Studio Ordet since their first TV anime ‘Black Rock Shooter’ is currently airing. Let me say right from the start that I think the TV version of BRS is worse than the OVA in almost every respect, which has mostly to do with some unfortunate changes regarding the main staff. However, since my last write-up on Studio Ordet in 2009, there have been some serious changes within the studio, and unfortunately for the worse. I liked Studio Ordet in its early days for bringing KyoAni‘s vivid animation to non-KyoAni shows and for Yutaka Yamamoto‘s fun directing, too. Just have a look at early Studio Ordet episodes such as Kemeko Deluxe! #2 or Sketchbook ~full color’S~ #11 which you could essentially call subcontract work by Kyoto Animation due ot the high ratio of Ex-KyoAni staff involved. Back then, Studio Ordet‘s usual line-up of animators was fantastic with Shinobu Yoshioka, Satoshi Kadowaki, Yuusuke Matsuo and Gorou Sessha (among some other former KyoAni animators credited with pseudonyms) collaborating.
It’s difficult to figure out who is behind each and every pseudonym used in early Ordet work, but due to the fact that most Ordet-associated people were also close to Yamakan in their KyoAni period, it’s not an impossible undertaking. It isn’t too hard to keep track of the people who leave KyoAni either, or at least of those who did some kind of meaningful work at KyoAni (key animators, background artists, production runners, etc.). For instance, I’m pretty sure that the character designer of ‘Kannagi’ – credited with the pseudonym Mima Kakeru – is Satoshi Kadowaki. Yamakan once said that ‘Mima Kakeru‘ was a joint-pen name for several spirited artists, so it probably depends on the work. In the case of ‘Kannagi’, I’m sure that Satoshi Kadowaki is at least one of the persons behind the pseudonym. And that not only due to the nature of the designs, but for the simple reason that one of Kadowaki‘s art books was even promoted with ‘by the character designer of Kannagi’, so this one is actually a no-brainer. As far as the animation director of Sketchbook #11 is concerned (similarly credited with Mima Kakeru), I’m pretty sure that this one stands for Kadowaki, too. The way the faces are drawn in that episode (with a slightly three-dimensional feel to it) leaves little doubt for me.
The other interesting person who uses an obvious pen name and who frequently participated in Ordet‘s early work is Gorou Sessha. In the past few years he has gotten quite some attention for his nice work on Naruto. I’ve always suspected that Seiji Watanabe might be behind this pen name, who kind of disappeared after leaving KyoAni. He was credited on Kannagi and even on Yutaka Yamamoto‘s live action movie, though. Interesting enough, according to an event report from Yamakan‘s lecture at Kyoto University festival last November, Yamakan apparently mentioned that Gorou Sessha was his junior back in his Kyoto Animation period. In the case of Seiji Watanabe, this would make perfect sense since Watanabe often worked on Yamakan‘s episodes and even helped out as assistant director on episodes like Haruhi #00 and #12. For me, Seiji Watanabe was always one of the most recognizable KyoAni animators due to his vaguely Kanada-like style (extreme poses and exaggerated movement). The best example for this is the ‘anime within anime’ that he animated for AIR #5. He drew 130 sheets of key animation and no inbetweens were used as he mentioned in a comment. And it’s rumored that he not only helped Yamakan processing the concert scene in Haruhi #12, but also animated the most difficult cuts on his own.
Anyway, before I stray too far from the topic indicated by the heading of this post, let’s return to the current state of Studio Ordet. As I said above, Ordet has very much changed during the past two years. It has never been an ordinary anime studio in the first place (at least until now), but more of a free union of artists. Yamakan said so himself in the recent discussion with SANZIGENs Hiroaki Matsuura and Trigger‘s Masahiko Otsuka featured in Newtype 03/2012 (supposing that the transcripts on 2ch are correct). According to what Yamakan said, Ordet is now in middle of the transformation from a free artist group to a full-fledged anime studio. Unfortunately, this goes hand in hand with some serious changes within the studio. Meanwhile, most of the people who made Ordet‘s early work shine have left the studio. Satoshi Kadowaki seems to have moved on to Production I.G. with working on Guilty Crown and the Sengoku Basara Movie. The likes of Gorou Sessha and Yuusuke Matsuo have always had quite a loose connection to Ordet to begin with. Even BRS director Shinobu Yoshioka is apparently not a Ordet member (anymore?), or at least he distanced himself from Ordet when somebody asked him on Twitter last year whether Touko Takao was a member of Studio Ordet. From the early Ordet regulars, only Emi Kesamaru, Ryouichi Nakano and former KyoAni production runner Ryouko Tomii seem to remain for now. To compensate for the persons leaving and probably to set a foundation for further growth as well, Ordet has hired some freelancers in the recent past. Judging by recent Ordet work ([C] #6, Idolmaster #11 and Working!! #7), current regulars are as follows:
♦ Yosuke Yamamoto [山本陽介] – Production Runner
♦ Kazuya Sako [佐古一哉] – Key Animator
♦ Ryouichi Nakano [中野良一] – Key Animator
♦ Maimu Matsushima [松嶌舞夢] – Key Animator, Inbetweener
♦ Sachika Choumei [長命幸佳] – Inbetweener, Inbetween Check
♦ Mamiko Sekiya [関谷麻美子] – Inbetweener, Inbetween Check
♦ Ritsuko Shiina [椎名律子] – Inbetweener
♦ Arina Inaba [稲葉麻莉奈] – Inbetweener
♦ Masayo Tamaki [玉置雅代] – Inbetweener
Their current core staff is nothing to speak of if you ask me. And I’m still wondering why Ordet is credited for Black Rock Shooter’s ‘(2D) animation production’ instead of Trigger. If you have a look at the credits of BRS TV, you might notice that Trigger was credited in the first three episodes with ‘production cooperation’ and that many key animators are (former) Gainax regulars (so probably now with Trigger). The other studio credited for cooperation is ‘Raiden Film‘, which apparently was also brought up in afore-mentioned Newtype feature as a new studio joining ‘Ultra Super Pictures‘. Ryouichi Nakano and Kazuya Sako are the only key animators in the first three episodes that I would associate with Ordet. So why didn’t they credit ‘Ultra Super Pictures‘ to begin with? Sure, not all ‘members’ of USP are involved in BRS, but still…
Post-’Fractale’ Ordet work:
♦ [C] – The Money and Soul of Possibility [TV]: Production Cooperation #6
♦ Doraemon (2011) [TV]: Inbetween Animation #429
♦ Dantalian no Shoka [TV]: Inbetween Animation #9 #10 #11
♦ THE IDOLM@STER [TV]: Production Cooperation #11
♦ Working!! [TV]: Production Cooperation #7
♦ Black Rock Shooter [TV]: Animation Production