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.

Some 2021 anime anniversaries

The first Lupin III TV anime (1971)

At each year’s turn I like to list some of the anime anniversaries in the coming months. A dry, clerical task? Yes, but I think it grants us a proper sense of time’s passage. In choosing titles to note here I took personal, idiosyncratic routes, but I hope this shows us roughly where we are! Continue reading “Some 2021 anime anniversaries”

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?).

Anime’s aspect ratios

Anime-Gataris (2017; before you rush to try this: it doesn’t manage this kind of wit often)

Aspect ratios go unremarked, but few things can be more fundamental to an anime than its shape. To my knowledge, few things have been said on the topic. Jamal, voice of the podcast Get in the Mecha, has covered it a little, in an episode which helpfully reminds us that aspect ratio is a choice. Jamal’s treatment focuses on aspect ratios’ artistic ramifications, though, so I thought I’d have a go at gathering some more basic historical information about them. Continue reading “Anime’s aspect ratios”

The labours of Yoshiyuki Tomino

I recently watched Heavy Metal L-Gaim (1984). Or, rather, I recently finished L-Gaim: I started watching it on 14 July 2009, and so it’s become the anime I’ve taken the longest to see from start to finish. I forget exactly how this happened, but it wasn’t fully translated into English when I started, and I bet that fact played a role. Continue reading “The labours of Yoshiyuki Tomino”

Anime’s history is brief

Sabu and Ichi (1968–9)

Someone who worked on Astro Boy (1963) directed an anime film which came out this year. The whole mass-broadcast history of anime lies within living memory. More, it lies within one person’s active career.

Japan’s oldest living person predates the earliest known Japanese animation. The whole history of anime fits, just, into a lifetime. Continue reading “Anime’s history is brief”