The School of Kanada

Yoshinori Kanada in 1991

Over at Animétudes, Matteo’s begun an exciting series on the career and influence of the animator Yoshinori Kanada.

I played a small role in helping to prepare his posts, and I think they’re well worth reading! Most sakuga fans will know Kanada’s name, but perhaps not so very many other anime fans will; I suspect even sakuga fans rarely have the picture of his importance to anime which Matteo has built up.

Together, Kanada’s life, his artistic experiments, and the stories of those influenced by him form a topic touching on a great many older anime productions. It’s a fascinating route through some key passages of anime’s history. Not the only route, certainly, but a valuable one, and one not hitherto covered in such depth in English.

Hence my note recommending the series! You can find an overview here and the first post here.

Anim’Archive 2014–21

I thought someone should mark the end of the Anim’Archive project, a collector’s effort to scan and upload their collection of anime ephemera. They kept methodically at this, on tumblr and Twitter, for six years and change—26 November 2014 to 1 January 2020—and they just announced that they’ve now covered everything they’d collected. Continue reading “Anim’Archive 2014–21”

The nascent OVA

Dallos episode 1 (1983)

Over at Heisei Etranger, Austin’s posted a new interview translation which deserves a read. It covers a short mid-eighties conversation in Animage with Shigeru Watanabe, planner of Dallos (1983–4), on the potential of the new OVA (or OAV) direct-to-video release format.

Like any document this needs a pinch of scepticism: I don’t, of course, mean that Watanabe would’ve set out to deceive people, but this is a public-facing boosterish interview in a magazine.

Still, various titbits here pique my curiosity.

I certainly hadn’t heard, for instance, that episode 47 of Urusei Yatsura might’ve played a role in convincing Bandai of the team’s production chops. I wonder whether much came from the plans for a rental system overseen by the company itself? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Watanabe had a clear-eyed feel for the OVA (or OAV) as a space for what couldn’t be done on TV. Animage‘s boxout list of video releases which Austin has generously also translated is rather amusing.

And you should add Heisei Etranger to your RSS reader, if you haven’t already (you do have an RSS reader, yes?).

On saying good night

Giant Gorg (1984)

Since the UK entered lockdown in March, I’ve tweeted one or more anime screencaps and the phrase ‘Good night, and good luck’ when I go to bed. (When the screencap’s from a giant robot show, the phrase is ‘Good night and good luck, pilots.’) Sometimes I forget. But I’ve generally kept the habit up.

I don’t need to say that we’re passing through strange, threatening times. Yes, at least one pandemic likely will intrude at some point in a full lifespan, but knowing that and living it differ sharply!

The digital tendrils anime has woven between us might be slight things, but for me, and for everyone else living alone, they’re at least something.

sdshamshel on Gold Lightan

In starting this blog I wanted, among other things, to have a place to note helpful and/or fun posts elsewhere. I was delighted to see a new blog post about Gold Lightan at Ogiue Maniax. Posts about Gold Lightan don’t exactly weigh my RSS feed-reader down every week! Indeed, this might be the first one I’ve seen.

sdshamshel highlights the show’s unexpected aspects—most of its aspects, by the sound of things—and its distribution of craft attention. I often wonder what combinations of chance and design focused efforts and talent on this or that part of an episode.

The flippancy of the show’s premise also sounds like a plus. I often enjoy a good spot of flippancy. Or even a bad one. I hope I find myself with the right marriage of time and mood to watch it one day!

HiDive stream Gold Lightan in the USA, putting it in the growing basket of old giant robot anime unexpectedly available over there. I’m not sure that we even had a full English translation before this (I would be interested to know, in fact). The past few years have seen more of these obscurities emerge into easier English availability via streaming outfits, a trend much to be welcomed.

Big hand for Govarian

Twitter user @DogBarkingBees recently alerted us all to this moment in Psycho Armour Govarian (1983). Govarian shows every sign of hasty craft, although, in fairness, I’d rather watch it than Michael Gove, and its opening song slaps. To see it in the UK, one must trouble the Navy, but Discotek’ve released it on standard-def bluray in Region 1.

Here, for a sliver of time, the hand of (presumably?) a photography staff member becomes inadvertently a character. Or, more seriously: here, on the rushed side of eighties anime production, a lapse prompts us to remember the labour that kept other, luckier shows more pristine. Continue reading “Big hand for Govarian

Kazuhisa Kondo interview translated at Zimmerit

In starting this blog I hoped, among other things, to grant myself some free space to take notes on items published elsewhere. Yesterday threw up a good opportunity: Zimmerit’s just issued a translation of an interview with Kazuhisa Kondo, an artist and mechanical designer who’s had a long career in and around Gundam. Continue reading “Kazuhisa Kondo interview translated at Zimmerit”