Saturday, 2 October 2010

Sorry I never replied to that link you sent on Facebook, Joe!

Sooner than I thought it would be, the first episode of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt aired. As I'd kind of feared, judging from the progression of the promotional artwork that was released since the first piece we saw a while ago, it's taken on a much more angular, abrasive, cluttered look than I'd first hoped. Lots of it is just REALLY fucking ugly. Like, a modern ugly western cartoon style that's been copied by a japanese artist with the typical "detail-everywhere-lines-everywhere-composition-doesn't-matter-just-fill-it-all-in-with-shit" mentality that's one of the main things I dislike about anime and manga visually.

But lots of it is also REALLY FUCKING AWESOME. Because it's being made by people who, despite some weird notions of what constitutes """""good design"""" (note the quadruple quotation marks on that), are probably some of the best animators around at the moment, and the project is driven by their sheer love for what they do, and not the desire to churn out just another bland, loveless, pandering product like 95% of what the anime industry produces these days.

Idealogically it is basically FLCL 2.0. And how anybody can say this as a negative really baffles me (but then again many anime fans seem to genuinely just not like animation).

To hell with write ups and detailed analysis, random screenshot time.

I like the use of text, the colours in most of it, the random art style changes, and the many ridiculously cool camera moves, both hand-drawn AND CGI! I can't possibly capture those in still images but they are really stunning. Dynamic camera moves in action scenes are one thing Japanese animators are often really good at (along with moving lots of little bits independantly but also together), but there's massive full-on swooping scenery moves as well! The fact that they used CG intelligently and near seamlessly along with it was a pleasant surprise.

It's also funny to see just how much of a westaboo Yoh Yoshinari really is. As it turns out, the show uses the two-part format common to 90s and onward western cartoons, and it even has appropriately-styled title-cards, including the front-lined artist credits that John K. brought back to the format with Ren & Stimpy.

It's like I'm really watching Cartoon Network!

By the way, I (obviously) haven't been updating much lately. The reason for this is that I started feeling like I was turning into something I really don't want to be seen as: a critic. Not that I don't want to write about things, but I've basically hit a lifetime low of actually producing work. I've had lots of employment recently, but to be honest pretty much none of it will be going in my showreel, or even getting shown to anyone ever. And in between, I've just been feeling very depressed and demotivated. Basically I've been writing all high-and-mighty and feeling like I've got no right to since I've not exactly been producing stellar work that proves I know what I'm talking about in the meantime. And, honestly, I don't: as far as I'm concerned I'm still a student, despite having been practicing professionally for over two years now. However, I don't want to stop writing this blog, however underqualified I might be to do so, because, at this point, denying myself something I genuinely enjoy is probably the worst thing I can do.

Thus, from now on, I plan to impose a new rule on myself: with each entry I will include something visual to go with the writing, that I have produced. A sketch, a doodle, a design, an animation loop, ANYTHING. Literally no matter how shit it is. Even if I have to open MS Paint and scrawl a penis  in 2 minutes before hitting the "Publish Post" button. I think my biggest limiting factor right now is that I am too scared of my drawings being shit, so I need to get away from that.

This entry falls under this ruling too, so here's some unspectacular sketches of one of the really weird alien design's from Hitoshi Tomizawa's wonderful Alien Nine manga (also an anime by J.C. Staff, though sadly it doesn't cover enough of the story to include this creature).

Oh, and since it's related, here's a shit MS Paint doodle for a "draw a scene from an anime for others to guess" thread on /a/.

It's pretty accurate.

Oh, also, I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Toy Story 3 recently. Both were good, better than I was expecting. Scott Pilgrim was just too much raw fun for me to maintain whatever reservations I had about it beforehand, and I would totally have gone to see it again. Toy Story 3 was the first Pixar movie since The Incredibles that I didn't think had something really, critically wrong with it. Might talk about it more later. Also Up is STILL SHIT.