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Archive for the ‘Yutaka Yamamoto’ Category

Continuing with highlighting some of KyoAni’s most interesting subcontract work, I’ll discuss one of their collaborations with Gonzo as well as their work on the Tsutomu Mizushima x Shin-Ei Doga series ‘Haré+Guu’.

 

♦ Samurai Girl Real Bout High School #7

Storyboard: Shinichi Watanabe
Episode Director: Noriyuki Kitanohara
Assistant Ep. Director: Yutaka Yamamoto
Animation Director: Ichirou Miyoshi (Yoshiji Kigami)
Key Animation: Ichirou Miyoshi, Noriyuki Kitanohara, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Tomoe Aratani, Kazumi Ikeda, Shigeki Satou

KyoAni was in charge of episode 7 of this Gonzo series and they did almost everything from the key animation down to the photography work. The storyboard was done by Shinichi Watanabe (Nabeshin), though. Nabeshin’s involvement is pretty much obvious once you see the over-the-top gags, but I guess there are a lot of them in the other episodes, too. KyoAni certainly chose the perfect duo for this episode since Yoshiji Kigami (animation director) and Noriyuki Kitanohara (episode director) are great when it comes to overdone comedy. They even animated many parts on their own. You rarely see the kind of daring layout and animation work they displayed here in KyoAni’s more recent work, but now and then it shimmers through even in their newer anime. Like the ‘top down layout’ or those warped-perspective shots from the ground.

 

 

Particularly Taichi Ishidate’s directorial style inherited some of the wildness shown in this episode (like the posing of the characters), he’s a pupil of Kigami after all. Chiyoko Ueno, who was inbetweener on this episode, seems to have absorbed the bold approach of this episode as well. Her style today certainly shares some traits with the one Kigami displayed here in this episode. Speaking of Kigami, he probably animated the parts around the cooking contest (some cuts might be Kitanohara’s work, though). The shots of the audience are pure Kigami, this is pretty much his style once he has no character designs as basis:

 

 

One striking thing in the hallway scene at the beginning is that the characters’ hands and fingers are quite active which isn’t the case in the rest of the episode, so it’s certainly the animator who brought this about. It’s probably Tomoe Aratani’s part, who kind of passed this consciousness of hands and fingers in the acting on to Yukiko Horiguchi. Besides this scene, most of the animation is nothing to speak of even though some nice cuts are spread throughout the episode. It’s rather the framing/layout work that stands out in this episode. Once you watch this episode, it’s pretty much obvious that KyoAni didn’t have much time to work on it. There are a lot of stills and such so don’t expect anything outstanding animation-wise, but if you’re curious about KyoAni’s development as anime studio and how their approach changed over time, this is a good point to start.
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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

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Studio Ordet‘s long-awaited first project as main animation studio is finally here and it turned out pretty much as I’d expected. It’s a well produced OVA with nothing particularly new regarding content, but an enjoyable watch nevertheless. I was mildly impressed with Shinobu Yoshioka‘s directing skills, he did a pretty good job with setting the overall atmosphere. He depicted the characters rather low-key and not as forced as in your average bishoujo anime, which adds a lot to the believability and mood. I would like to see more bishoujo anime going into this direction, so more human-like characters without any disturbing, unbelievable traits. I can live with overly exaggerated characters in comedy series like ‘K-ON!!’ where they aim for a different kind of atmosphere, but in anime with a more serious tone they usually feel quite misplaced. It should go without saying that especially heartfelt and dramatic moments feel all the more stronger if the characters act in a way that the audience can relate to, and not just in the manner which the character category demands.

 

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BLACK★ROCK SHOOTER

 

Last week the pilot edition of BLACK★ROCK SHOOTER was released that gives us a foretaste of the upcoming animation project by Yutaka Yamamoto and his studio Ordet. The promotion video of sorts is certainly convincing production-wise, the imaginative approach on visual directing and design as well as the interesting animation style with rippling and cleft lines give it its very own feeling.

 

While Yutaka Yamamoto is the supervisor of the BRS project, it’s former Kyoto Animation member Shinobu Yoshioka who is the actual director. He had a typical career at Kyoani with starting out as animator (Inuyasha, Soultaker, Air, etc.) and eventually proceeding to episode direction and storyboards (Haruhi Suzumiya #4 and #6, Kanon #4, some episodes of Lucky Star) after some years of doing animation. After he left Kyoani, Yoshioka worked on various projects on behalf of his new employer Ordet, besides the more obvious and famous works like “Kannagi” (episode director of #7 and #10) he directed also an opening and ending of “Katekyo Hitman REBORN!” (the nice third opening and the rather low-key fifth ending). Furthermore, he did also key animation for aforementioned opening/ending and several other projects like Ordet’s “Shakugan no Shana II” opening (#2) or “Valkyria Chronicles” #1 (sometimes credited with a pen name), so he doesn’t devote himself to directing tasks only.

 

Another ex-Kyoani animator, namely Yuusuke Matsuo, designed the characters for the BRS anime project, the similarity to Kyoani’s or strictly speaking Horiguchi‘s and the Ikeda‘s approach on design is pretty obvious.

 
 

Credits:
Original Creator: huke
Music: ryo
Director: Shinobu Yoshioka
Character Design: Yuusuke Matsuo
Supervision: Yutaka Yamamoto
Animation Production: Ordet
Background Art: Emi Kesamaru
Animation Inspection: Yoko Takada
Color Coordination: Kazuko Nakashima (A-1 Pictures)
Director of Photography: Takeshi Hirooka
Sound Production: Gakuonsha
Editing: Kentarou Tsubone
Video Editing: Qtec

 

BLACK★ROCK SHOOTER Pilot

 

The animation project is slated for spring 2010 and it isn’t clear yet if it’s a TV series, OVA or something else, though in the case of a TV anime some kind of cooperation with other studios is very likely as Ordet hasn’t the capacities for producing a series alone. Since the connections to A-1 are already well established – especially through “Kannagi” and more recently “Tonari no 801-chan R” – it’s probably safe to assume that they are involved as well.

 

On this occasion let me include a short studio profile of Ordet:

 

Ordet

 

Studio Ordet was founded by Yutaka Yamamoto and several other former Kyoto Animation/Animation Do staff members – such as Shinobu Yoshioka and Satoshi Kadowaki – in August 2007 after Yamamoto‘s dismissal as the director of Lucky Star. From the very beginning it has been involved in projects of A-1 Pictures and Hal Film Maker until their first more prominent job as production assistance on A-1 Pictures‘ “Kannagi”, which made them widely known among anime fans.

 

List of works:
♦ Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Second [OVA]: #3 Episode Direction / Storyboard / Production Cooperation
♦ Sketchbook ~full color’S~ [TV]: #11 Episode Direction / Animation Direction / Production Cooperation
♦ Shakugan no Shana II [TV]: OP2 Direction / Storyboard / Production Cooperation
♦ Kannagi [TV]: Direction / Production Cooperation / OP, ED, #1, #7, #13, #14 Episode Direction + Storyboard / Animation Direction / Character Design
♦ Kemeko Deluxe! [TV]: #2 Episode Direction / Storyboard / Production Cooperation
♦ Tonari no 801-chan R [OVA]: Direction / Production Cooperation (watch)
♦ BLACK★ROCK SHOOTER -PILOT Edition- [OVA]: Direction / Animation Production

 

List of works by Ordet-associated staff:
♦ PERSONA -trinity soul- [TV]: #6 Storyboard
♦ Porfy no Nagai Tabi [TV]: #11 Storyboard
♦ Library Wars [TV]: #8 Storyboard
♦ Ookiku Furikabutte [TV]: ED2
♦ Katekyo Hitman Reborn! [TV]: ED5, OP3 Animation / Direction
♦ Shiina Ringo PV “Gamble”: Animation (watch)

 

Important staff:
♦ Yamamoto Yutaka [山本寛]
♦ Kadowaki Satoshi [門脇聡]
♦ Yoshioka Shinobu [吉岡忍]
♦ Watanabe Seiji [渡邊政治]
♦ Mima Kakeru [三間カケル]
♦ Tomii Ryouko [富井涼子]
♦ Emi Kesamaru [袈裟丸絵美]
♦ Takada Yoko [高田謡子]
[♦ Matsuo Yuusuke [松尾祐輔]] (uncertain)

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