One of the most interesting things that I’ve come across in Shinbou/Shaft‘s recent work is the c-part of ZSZS #8 which was created by the independent team “Gekidan Inu Curry” (or alternatively Theatrical Company Dog Curry) consisting of the former Gainax animator Ayumi Shiraishi and Tanto Do-GA Studio member Yousuke Anai, but they normally go with their pen names “2shiroinu” [2白犬] and “Doroinu” [泥犬]. They are oriented towards Russian and Czech animation and thus usually focus on art films, but sometimes they also work on commercial productions, for the most part on shows directed by Shinbou who justifies the unusual art style of their work. Apart from some minor work on Bakemonogatari they are also responsible for the ending animation of Maria Holic:
In the case of ZSZS #8 they used a cut-out style animation combined with some pencil strokes, traditional 2D animation and digital effects, which makes for a very refreshing result for Japanese TV animation. It’s thanks to Shinbou that also more unconventional artists get the opportunity to expose their work to a larger audience. I get the feeling that he uses the SZS franchise meanwhile as a vessel for more bold and experimental work, though the other parts of season 3 I’ve seen (which isn’t much) aren’t that interesting. Actually I dropped the franchise after season 1 since the jokes and visual approach felt boring and reused after a while, but the kind of work shown in ZSZS #8 makes me curious again, so maybe I’ll check out some more of it someday.
But coming back to “Gekidan Inu Curry“, I’ve still to mention the work which introduced me to this two-artist-team, namely the animated promotion video for Maaya Sakamoto‘s song “Universe“, a stunning piece of animation which was created in cooperation with Production I.G. I really like the fancifully designed world, the nicely choreographed movements and the flow of the imaginative visuals with the music, every single image is really well corresponding to the beautiful song.