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AV MOD MATERIAL: My Eyes Are Bleeding #5 - - Japanese Independent/Student Animation, Part 1

A look at some of Japan's unsigned talent and the next wave of animators.

Japan is well known for it's thriving television and movie animation industry. Along with the major players and companies, there are many smaller outfits and individuals putting in blood, sweat, and tears to create animation outside of the studio system. Today we'll take a brief look at some of these individuals and teams.

Taiga Sakakibara

The Magical✩Promise short featured above was created as Taiga's graduation project at Tokyo Polytechnic University. A few things that I noticed and enjoyed about this short are

  • that Taiga certainly understands genre conventions, for better and for worse,
  • the hyper fluidity that takes place around the around 0:17 mark,
  • dynamic camera movements and how to pose characters within the frame,
  • and how messy the lines are at times,

At this point, it's impossible to know whether the latter is the artist's style (similar to the exaggerated pencil lines seen inCasshern Sins and Noein) or the realities of the level of clean-up work a student project will receive. Either way, it's a small window into the artist's style as we can see how they are drawing lines and objects.

Since creating this and graduating from TPU, Taiga has entered the industry and is doing in-betweening on series such asAKB0048, Fairy Tail, and Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse.

StudioCAL

The Fly short featured above was created by StudioCAL, an animation, manga, and illustration studio created and supported by the Creative Laboratory Department at Nippon Engineering College. The StudioCAL website has various illustrations and anime shorts on their website and it becomes very clear after a quick browse of the animation area that variety is something fully embrace and highlight. Fly has a visual style completely unlike most modern anime series and reminiscent of Wandering Son cranked up to eleven while the Fxxkin (lol) short has a very Panty & Stocking x Cartoon Network style going on. The studio also produces Call Me, a manga magazine that highlights the works and talents of students enrolled in the manga curriculum at the college.

Genichi Yonezu/Hazga Sudio

When looking at independent animation, you often have to remember that what you're seeing is likely just key frames (think of these as the important poses a character makes during a movement) of animation that have no in-betweening (literally what's in-between the key frames to make a smooth transition from one to another) applied to them. Heck, even in some professionally released shows there is a lack of ample key frames. However, every once in a while you come across a project where this is not that case at all. Literally handling every aspect of animation and visuals himself, 21-year-old Kyoto City University of Arts student Genichi Yonezu spent six months creating the Kuro no Codomo anime short featured above and it's a sight to behold. I'm always amazed when one person working at a home studio is able to blow away a professional anime project with a per episode budget of over $100,000 and near a hundred people working together. Much like Taiga Sakakibara, I can't imagine Genichi's name not appearing in the credits of anime series in the near future... assuming that he wants to go that route.

Well, that's it for this week. If you'd like to check out more student/independent animation from Japan, visit YouTube or NicoNico and search for "自主アニメ". Next week we'll be taking a closer look at man with an unrivaled talent at making things go boom, Takashi Hashimoto.

William Taylor loves him some bad ass fight scenes and can't wait to highlight some of what's out there in the world of sakuga. You can find on Twitter @mrsickvisionz and posting anime related nonsense on Tumblr @ In My Lifetime.

Previous My Eyes are Bleeding Articles

#1 - A Primer in Sakuga

#2 - September Highlights

#3 - Yoshimichi Kameda

#4 - The Most Divisive NARUTO Episode Ever

ShadowKnight508 moderator on Nov. 19, 2012 at 10:19 p.m.

Nice. I remember seeing that Magical ✩ Promise one the other year on Youtube. Hopefully some new talent from the student/independent animating talent pool can be the one who creates the next big thing.

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