The Tokyo International Film Festival (often abbreviated to TIFF, though this gets annoyingly muddled with the Toronto International Film Festival) was held at the end of October. It also included a festival within a festival a€“ The World of Hideaki Anno, an awesomely thorough programme of screenings and live appearances by the maker of Evangelion. My own interview with Anno during the festival is on the blog here, but Anno revealed far more in his live stage discussions with anime critic Ryusuke Hikawa. Evangelion, Anno said, was something he conceived while recuperating from the back-to-back stress of Gunbuster and Nadia (see below for what he said about them).
When that story fell through (on TV), Anno hoped to a€?redoa€? the series as a film a€“ a remake along the lines of Macross: Do You Remember Love? Yes, Anno claims he envisioned an Eva story that was very close to Attack on Titan, in which the Eva pilots would have been physically inside the creaturea€™s bodies a€“ specifically in the monstera€™s uterus, so that they would have to be sliced out or else melt into the Eva.
Even after End of Evangelion was made, Anno couldna€™t let Eva rest, returning to the franchise with You Are (Not) Alone in 2007. Anno said that when he announced You Are (Not) Alone, the initial reaction was many people saying that he did not need to make it. He finished with a gentle hint that Eva fans might have to be patient (again), noting the gaps between the new films were getting longer. Like many Gunbuster fans, Anno was attracted by the animea€™s time dilation element, which encouraged him to take it on as his director debut. There were also monochrome passages in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Annoa€™s next project as director. Anno dropped out of Nadia for a large part of the series; he a€?threw too harda€? and had to stop from exhaustion at part 22 (when the kids are separated from the Nautilus). One of the talkshow sessions focused on Annoa€™s work as an animator (as opposed to an anime director). Annoa€™s path into professional work came out of his work on a€?Daicon 3a€?, a fan film made for the a€?Daicona€? convention in Osaka in 1981. While the young Anno was elated to see his drawings on TV screens (sometimes mere days after delivery!), his work conditions were hardly enviable. Anno remembered one of his big learning experiences on Nausicaa was using the ground in animation, as opposed to the Macross robots jetting around in space. By the time Anno moved to Honneamise, he was still only in his mid-twenties; he reflects mournfully that hea€™s already less good at drawing than he was then. Hideaki Anno, the director of Evangelion 2.22, knows the viewers are transitory, but fans are forever. Japan, the mecca of all things anime, have taken it upon themselves to create a popcorn bucket out of Eva Unit-01's head!
Right, hands up those of you who have been betting on which 1990s anime would get a Western live-action remake first.
Boy-meets-girl has never been so strange as in this feature, in which the leads must literally cling to each other or fall away to an uncertain fate. Higanjima eagerly mixes the locked-room combat of Battle Royale with the viral horror of Resident Evil, with just a dash of the old-time religion of The Wicker Man, and presents that most tantalising of locations for the role-playing gamer a€“ a private island of adventure, close to home and yet inhabiting a world of myth and magic. Cosplayer Kasey Wolfe goes for a beardy version of Gohan from Dragon Ball Z, caught by our roving photographer Paul Jacques at the London Super Comic Con. Over the next few weeks we will be choosing our favourite Japanese and English voice actors. There have been three Japanese works nominated in the Academy Awards category for Best Animated Short Film over the past ten years or so: Koji Yamamuraa€™s Mt. The game Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is rolling out as a digital download across multiple platforms. The BBFC, which rated the first two Berserk films '15,' rated the third part a hard "18," with "sexual violence, strong bloody violence and strong sex." Believe us, theya€™re not kidding. With all three of the Madoka Magica Movies available on DVD and Blu-ray now in the UK, ita€™s the perfect time to take a quick look at the franchise. Three years after the defeat of Gargoyle and Neo-Atlantis, a new threat has surfaced bent on bringing the world under his control. What a beautiful illustration of Nadia – Secret of Blue Water by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto-san, who worked on the character design for this animated series. I remember seeing Nadia on TV as a kid but I honestly can’t remember much of it except the opening sequence. As you mentioned I’m sure no single factor is at play but many, but I suspect budgetary issues is one of them. I don’t think lower frame rates are to blame, because a skilled animator can still animate on 3s and get very beautiful work.
If you are talking pure visuals alone, I think the recent anime film, Redline, reaches the levels of great animation in those movies you mentioned.
I don’t know about anyone else, but most of the 80s and early 90s anime I saw were on VHS tape and television. Imo, handmade work of any kind always feels more organic and textured than its digital counter-part. Akira and Ghost in the Shell and even Nadia are exceptions, a lot of crap was also produced back then but they were not popular nor succesful.

Another nice digital production I could mention would be the anime segment in Kill Bill Vol.1. But that’s not all, they also give them every single frames for the digital tracing process sometimes. Usually, they digitally trace every single drawn frame for the final process and rendering. And that’s why the lines look so unnatural and straight without any hand-drawn dynamics in them. But even so, I still think there is hope for the industry, there are people that are working hard to break the limits again. I also wish the best for Satoshi Kons movie wich has hard time getting actually finished due budget, hopefully they will be able to finish his last masterpiece soon. Mind Game is quite simply mind blowing – it’s experimental in some ways but the quality of animation is unbelievable !
Agreed wholeheartedly that any technical or monetary limitations can be overcome by people with true vision, skill and dedication.
Ultimately if you give talented people freedom and money they will make really good things for you. Analog’s lossy methods of reproduction can have pleasing effects on the original source material. I’m not really an expert, and I may easily miss some of the subtleties in animation, but I would like to express a less pessimistic point of view. However it’s sad to read that animators are paid so little, this is going to have serious consequences in the future. As readers whoa€™ve followed this blog in recent days will know, it included lots of material of interest to anime and manga fans, including world premieres of the live-action Parasyte (reviewed here) and Mamoru Oshiia€™s Garm Wars: The Last Druid (reviewed here), plus John Lasseter waxing lyrical about Miyazaki and Tokyo (critiqued here).
It covered Annoa€™s career from his early amateur films to his live-action, to his work as an animator and anime director. Now, of course, people are waiting impatiently for each new Eva film, and pressuring him to finish.
Western fans often compare Gunbustera€™s use of time dilation to that in the novel The Forever War (by Joe Haldeman). Both productions were bankrolled by Bandai, but, Anno said, the Patlabor video series set a precedent by being a success on a budget no bigger than a TV show.
Regarding the decision to make the sixth episode (a humungous space battle) in black and white, Anno said he was influenced by seeing Ultraman on monochrome television. Nadia was brought to Anno and Gainax by the public broadcaster NHK as a a€?decideda€™ production, and not an appealing one. Luckily one of the showa€™s backers, Toho, opted to side with Gainax, believing the changes would make Nadia more commercial. He delayed showing them to the last possible moment, exploiting the tightness of TV schedules, so that NHK had no time to demand revisions.
The next dozen episodes, often called the a€?island episodes,a€? are often heckled by fans, but Anno suggested their slapstick was popular at the time. He contributed endless spaceships and explosions to both the TV Macross and the cinema version, Do You Remember Love? It was seen by Shoji Kawamori and Ichiro Itano, who were both staff on the upcoming series Macross. Miyazaki taught Anno how to draw the ground beneath the God Warrior, turning a simple line into a dimensional dune. Reportedly, anime fans in Japan would go to Honneamise just to look at the highly realistic effects scenes, many drawn by Anno. In this explosive new story, brutal action and primal emotion clash as a group of young pilots maneuver their towering, cyborg Eva Units into combat against a deadly and disturbing enemy.In the battle to prevent the apocalyptic Third Impact, Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanitya€™s hopes on their shoulders.
It used a familiar Japanese plot template: the teenage boy who drives a giant robot (or in Evaa€™s case, cyborg), using the huge and frightening body to fight monsters and save Earth.
Of course, wea€™re mainly watching to find out what will happen next to the main characters: Akira Takizawa, the daffily spontaneous player of a game to save Japan, and Saki Morimi, who fell into his adventure and then for him. Patema Inverted winningly plays with matters of spatial awareness, perspective and weight, regularly flipping its angles until the viewer literally can no longer remember which way is truly up.
This is a blend of SF and horror by the studio which brought you Ghost in the Shell, now splicing cyberpunk, police procedural and splatter. Head (2002), Kunio Katoa€™s The House of Small Cubes (2008) a€“ so far the countrya€™s only winner a€“ and most recently Shuhei Moritaa€™s Possessions (2013).
Geiger, using advanced robot technology, is attempting to begin a world war, and take control of the devastated world after the destruction has stopped. He was also the character designer for a whole bunch of other films like Evangelion, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, just to name a few. Anime probably doesn’t garner as big a viewership these days, and on top of the reduced budget part of has to go to 3D work as well.
I think that plays a part too, although I feel its more a paradigm shift in the Japanese society on the whole as well. Hiroyuki Okiura, Toshiyuki Inoue, Mitsuo Iso and many others have reached the highest stage as animators, and it is getting time that the new generation of animators raise even higher.

Animatrix was also a production that had lots of support so they were able to produce some great quality shorts there (Kids Story, Beyond). Every Anno event was preceded by a rather wonderful collage trailer, online here, which looks like an incomprehensible mess on first viewing, but became decipherable on repetition.
According to Anno, the idea was scuppered because he would have needed a creative collaborator on the a€?newa€? Eva stories, but the person he approached turned him down. However, Anno linked Gunbuster to the Japanese legend of Urashima Taro, referenced in the script. Anno described the original script as terrible; he could see it would be drudgework to make it. Anno stayed close to NHKa€™s basic outline for the first few episodes, but once the Nautilus turned up (in part 4), Gainax used less and less of NHKa€™s story. Eventually, he recuperated enough to come back to the show, and seems to have presided over its closing episodes, with battleships in the stars. It was also revelatory to see how much Anno had drawn of Wings of Honnemaise; the wonderful early test flight, the insanely epic climactic battle which rages before and during the rocketa€™s take-off (and yes, Anno drew that too).
Anno was invited by Kawamori to Tokyo, where he met Itano, one of the youngstera€™s heroes. Anno was invited to join the project as a part-timer, thus beginning his career as a pro animator. For his next job on Nausicaa, Anno ended up living at the studio (Topcraft a€“ no Ghibli yet) and putting up with noisy nighttime karaoke. Now, as the onslaught of the bizarre, monstrous Angels escalates, they find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari.
The fans are the twenty-somethings who sit in the cinema through the lengthy credits of Thor or Captain America, just so they can see the prelude to the next Marvel spectacular.
Of course, we do find out what the pair do next; but Kamiyama also wants to show us whata€™s been happening to Japan.
There will be blood, and dismembered body parts, and if no-onea€™s actually eaten a human liver on the show yet, therea€™s still Psycho-Pass 2 to come.
For all that, it remains pretty difficult for most viewers who arena€™t regulars on the specialised festival circuit to catch such examples of cutting-edge animation. 2D animators are paid very little ( a travesty in my opinion, given the amazing skill-set they have ), and less and less talent is entering the industry because it’s really tough to survive. An animator’s feel and understanding of posing, timing and action is much more important than a high frame rate. The story would have been set in a world in which humans were near extinction, besieged by Angels who preyed on humansa€™ worst fears a€“ of being eaten. Gunbuster could have finished on its fourth episode (which has a suitably upbeat ending), though the video sales allowed the last two parts to be made. It particularly wanted Nadia to bare her belly-button, as she does in the showa€™s title sequence. Annoa€™s later animation included contributions to the Giant Robo OVA series, though not the title mecha; Anno disliked its design.
In the rushed, high-pressure, environment, Anno learned on the job; for example, that he didna€™t have to follow the set instructions, but could make his own changes to make the animation more interesting. It was another high-pressure job, hence Annoa€™s elevation to God Warrior duties when another artist fell through.
In this, the monster would have actually walked out into the advancing Ohmu insects, only to be overwhelmed by them.
In this thrilling new experience for fans of giant robot destruction, the young pilots fight desperately to save mankind a€“ and struggle to save themselves. Would you believe me if I told you working about the same hours in Macdonalds (cover some midnight shift every day) would get me about twice as much money as a junior 2D animator ? Anno said such devourings wouldna€™t have been allowed on TV (this was the 1990s, before the establishment of late-night anime series for niche adult audiences).
Anno established the Khara studio because staying at Gainax would have been a€?constrictinga€? for the other staff. Nadia, it should be said, was voted most popular female anime character by readers of the magazine Animage in 1991; she toppled Miyazakia€™s Nausicaa. As well as Toho, Gainax had an ally in the Japanese media, which liked Nadia because it was different from the NHK norm. But Yasuomi Umetsua€™s notorious sexed-up actioner Kite (1998) has beaten them all to the screen, starring anime fan Samuel L. Are we seeing more details, or just seeing more dirt the camera man didn’t think he had to worry about?

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