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TheAr tofAni mat i onf r om Ar oundt heWor l d



This publication was compiled from multiple sources. I take no credit for the artwork, information, or images used throughout this book. Alex Barger 2018

illustration by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto


Motion is the very first thing that catches our eye. Above all else, our brain registers movement first. It makes sense then, that we have become obsessed with capturing motion throughout history. From the advent of photography, to the first video camera, to the age of computers, we have been striving for news ways to capture motion. One of the earliest forms of “motion capture” came in the form of animation. As a kid, I was interested in animation—doing silly stop-motion clay animations with my friend, or fooling around with good old Stick Figure Animator on the family PC. I watched cartoons like any other kid, I saw anime before I know what “Anime” was (animation produced by a Japanese studio). The days of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon must have spawned some latent obsession of animation within me. It wasn’t until I reached college that this passion began to grow. My friend had me watch Sword Art Online, (looking back this series isn’t all that great but it’s the one that got me hooked). One series led to another and the next thing I knew my room had turned into some sort of odd harem of figurines and gallery of posters. This new discovery opened up worlds and artistic methods I’d never explored before. The story, characters, the hand drawn animation and backgrounds, the music, sound, the culture, I fell in love with it all. The deeper I dove, the further I wanted to explore. It was, and is, as much about the story for me as it is about the art form of animation itself—though it has become, admittedly, more of the latter. As foolish as it sounds, anime has changed my life. It has inspired courage and aspirations within me, ones which may not have surfaced so easily otherwise. Perhaps it is odd to many why those of us beyond our childhood years obsess over something like this. For some it is simply nostalgic, for others a way of life, and for myself it is many things. For all of us, it is anything but a waste of time. Chances are, if you’ve picked up this book you’re already a fan looking for another affirmation to your collection. However, you could be the curious bystander looking to explore the unknown. Well, in either case I hope I have something to offer the both of you. This book will take a look at the history of animation in Japan, the production process behind anime, and end by highlighting some of the great animators at work. Hopefully you’ll learn something new and amazing along the way. So, let’s get moving!

Alex Barger


American Style Studios



Something Unexpected


Miyazaki & Takahata


Giant Robots & Outerspace Adventures Original Anime Video



PRODUCTION Pre-production




Production Layouts





Key Animation



Animation Director

In-between Animation

Compositing / Filming Sound & Dubbing

33 37




SAKUGA What is Sakuga?


Flip It!


Hideaki Anno


Animator Spotlight Mitsuo Iso

Hiroyuki Okiura

Shinya Ohira

Yutaka Nakamura

66 72 76



illustration by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

THE BEGINNING The earliest Japanese animators were individual film hobbyists inspired by American and European pioneer animators. The first three Japanese cartoons were one-reelers, one to five minutes each, in 1917. Animation of the 1920s ran from one-to-three reels. A few were imitations of foreign cartoons, such as the Felix the Cat series, but most were Oriental folk tales in traditional Japanese art styles. The more well-known silent-era animators included Oten Shimokawa, Junichi Kouchi, Seitaro Kitayama, Sanae Yamamoto (whose 1924 The Mountain Where Old Women Are Abandoned seems to be the earliest anime title still in existence), Yasuji Murata, and the master of paper silhouette animation, Noboru Ofuji. Most of them worked in small home studios, though they came to be financed by the Japanese theatrical companies, which provided production money in exchange for distribution rights.


During the 1930s, folk tales began to give way to Western-style fast-paced humor, which gradually began reflecting the growing influence of Japanese militarism, such as Mituyo Seo’s 1934 11-minute cartoon Private 2nd-Class Norakuro, an adaptation of Suihou Tagawa’s popular newspaper comic strip about an unlucky dog soldier in a funny-animal army. After Japan went to war in China in 1937, the need to get productions approved by government censors resulted in a steady stream of militaristic propaganda cartoons. In 1943, the Imperial military government decided Japan needed its first animated feature. Mituyo Seo was authorized to assemble a team of animators for the task. Their 74-minute Momotaro’s Gods-Blessed Sea Warriors was a juvenile adventure depicting the Imperial Navy as brave yet cute anthropomorphic animal sailors resolutely liberating Indonesia and Malaysia from the buffoonish foreign-devil Allied occupiers—too late for even wishful dreaming, as it was barely released before the war’s end.



Animation returned to the individual filmmakers right after World War II. However, they would be hampered for the next decade by the slow recovery of the Japanese economy. Their amateur films were competing with the polished cartoons from studios in America, which began to pour into Japan with the Occupation forces. The first full color animation did not appear in Japan until 1955. It soon became clear that the future of Japanese animation lay in using the Western studio system. However, independent anime artists have never disappeared. The very first Japanese animator to recieve international name recognition was Yoji Kuri, whose art films of usually less than a minute each appeared in film festivals around the world throughout the 1960-70s. FRED PATTERN 1


MAGIC BOY (1959)

FRED PATTERN 1 Japan began attempts to create American-style studios began right after the war, but the first real success did not come until Toei Animation Company, organized in 1956. Its earliest leading animator, Yasuji Mori, directed Toei’s first great short cartoon, Doodling Kitty, in May 1957. But to the general public, Japan entered professional animation with Toei’s first theatrical feature, Panda and the Magic Serpent, released in 1958.


Toei’s first few features followed the Disney formula very closely. They were produced a year apart; they were based upon popular folk tales—Oriental rather than European— and the heroes had many cute, funny-animal companions. The first six were distributed in America, usually a couple of years after they were first shown in Japan. The second through sixth (with their American titles but Japanese release years) were Magic Boy (1959), Alakazam the Great (1960), The Littlest Warrior (1961), The Adventures of Sinbad (1962, all five directed by Taiji Yabushita), and The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (1963, directed by Yugo Serikawa with an avant-garde stylized design by Yasuji Mori). Unfortunately, these were not successful in the US and Japanese theatrical animation disappeared from America for the next two decades--unless it could be sold to TV as an afternoon children’s movie.



SOMETHING UNEXPECTED Alakazam the Great led to something unexpected. Although directed by Yabushita, it was based upon a popular 1950s comic-book adaptation by Osamu Tezuka of the ancient Chinese Monkey King legend. The young Tezuka was Japan’s most popular comicstrip and comic-book artist during the 1950s, who virtually invented Japan’s modern manga industry. Since the movie used his plot and visual style, he was consulted during its adaptation and involved with its promotion. This caused him to switch his attention from comic books to animation. Tezuka was also impressed by the appearance of the first Hanna-Barbera television cartoons of the late 1950s, which led him to conclude that he could produce limited animation for the new TV market. More importantly, he realized from the popularity of his comic books—especially such futuristic titles as Astro Boy—that there was a strong demand for modern, fast-paced fantasy which the animation industry was completely ignoring. As a result, Tezuka organized Japan’s first television animation studio, Mushi Productions. Not counting an experimental art film, Stories on a Street Corner (1962), their first release was a weekly series based upon Astro Boy, which debuted on New Year’s Day 1963. It was such an instant success that, by the end of 1963, there were three more television animation studios in production and Toei Animation had decided to open up a TV division.

Television animation became much more popular in Japan than it ever was in America. This was largely due to Tezuka’s influence. He had drawn in about every medium available, including picture books for kids, romantic comic-book soap operas for womens’ magazines, risqué humor for mens’ magazines, and political cartoons for newspapers. He established the attitude that cartooning was an acceptable form of storytelling for any age group; this is in sharp contrast to the United States, where the attitude became, “Cartoons and comic books are only for children.” Tezuka himself brought sophisticated adult animation to movie theaters with his 1969 feature, A Thousand and One Nights, an adaption of Arabian Nights, which included the eroticism of the original, and the 1970 Cleopatra, a time travel farce witch depicts Julius Caesar as a cigar chewing American-style politician. By the 1970s, TV studios such as TCJ (Television Corporation of Japan), Tatsunoko Production Co., Tokyo Movie Shinsha, and Nippon Animation, to name just the major ones, were creating animated mystery dramas, teen sports-team soap operas and Western literary classics such as Heidi, Girl of the Alps and The Diary of Anne Frank, along with traditional juvenile fantasy adventures. FRED PATTERN 1








1970s TV anime was dominated by dozens of giant robot adventure serials. There was a flood of toy promotional fantasies, featuring action-heroes for boys and “magical little girls” who could transform into older-teen heartthrobs for girls. Among the most influential was Toei’s adaptation of comic-book artist Go Nagai’s Mazinger Z, the first of the sagas about a gigantic flying mechanical warrior piloted by an (invariably teen) human pilot to defend Earth against invading space monsters. This combined the dramatic aspects of knights battling dragons, with fighter pilots in aerial combat against enemy armies. Mazinger Z and Nagai’s direct sequels Great Mazinger and UFO Robot Grandizer ran for over 200 weekly episodes from 1972 through 1977. By the mid-1980s there had been over 40 different giant robot anime series, covering virtually every channel and every animation studio in Japan. It was these shows, once subtitled on Japanese-community TV channels in America, which started the anime cult among American fans in the late 1970s. Closely related were the futuristic outer-space adventures which began in 1974 with Space Battleship Yamato; basically a wish-fulfillment replay of World War II, with the united Earth armies (Japan) fighting from planet to planet across the galaxy (Pacific) against the conquering Gamilon invaders. Yamato was fortunately timed for the explosive popularity of space operas following the importation of Star Wars from the US; a series of Yamato TV-series and theatrical-feature sequels followed. During the late 1970s and early 80s, the hottest cartoonist in anime was Yamato’s creator Leiji Matsumoto, with TV cartoon series and theatrical features based upon his other space-adventure manga, such as Space Pirate Captain Harlock and The Queen of 1,000 Years. FRED PATTERN 1


MIYAZAKI & TAKAHATA By the mid-1980s, anime had been dominated by TV production for two decades. Two developments changed this. One was the return to prominence of theatrical feature animation, through the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The two were friends who had worked both together and separate at various anime studios in Tokyo since the 1960s. In the early 1980s, Miyazaki began a science-fiction comic-book adventure, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, for Animage, an animation magazine from one of Japan’s largest publishers, Tokuma. This led to a Tokuma-financed feature which Miyazaki also directed. The 1984 Nausicaä was a huge success, resulting in Tokuma subsidizing a new animation studio, Studio Ghibli, for the theatrical features of Miyazaki and his friend Takahata. Studio Ghibli has released an average of a feature a year since then, alternating between the productions of Miyazaki and Takahata: Miyazaki’s Laputa: the Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and The Crimson Pig (1992); and Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Only Yesterday (1991) and Pom Poko (1994). Many of these have become Japan’s top-grossing theatrical films, live-action or animated. Takahata’s Pom Poko was also submitted as Japan’s candidate for being an Academy Awards nominee for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Some other notable theatrical features during the past decade include write and director Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk thriller Akira (1988) and director Mamoru Oshii’s adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga Ghost in the Shell (1995). FRED PATTERN 1


GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES (1988) - Takahata




Video productions can run from a half-hour to 2 hours, from independent titles to serials of from 2 to 10 videos. OAVs are often better for stories which are too long for a standard theatrical release, but not long enough for a TV series. The OAV market is not subject to the public standards for television, so it’s often notorious for its examples of violence and pornography. On the other end of the spectrum, some have become so popular that they have led to their own anime TV series and theatrical films. There are anime-fan magazines devoted to just the anime video market, which list an average of 40 to 45 new releases per month, one-third of which are brand new OAVs, with the rest being reissues and video releases of theatrical, TV, and foreign titles. These OAV titles account for most of the anime that is being released in America today, because their licenses are more affordable than those of theatrical features or of multi-episode TV series. Today, animation in Japan is considered to be in a creative doldrums. Due to the sheer volume of the output over the past three decades, the good ideas have “all been used up.” The current trend is for OAV remakes of anime favorites of 20 or 30 years ago, featuring a flashy 90s art sensibility and a more sophisticated (cynical) story line—very similar to the American trend for turning classic live-action TV series into big-budget theatrical films. But many of the titles and concepts that are stale in Japan are still fresh to American audiences, so anime still has an encouraging growth period ahead of it in the US. FRED PATTERN 1



The second development was the emergence of the home-video market. Beginning in 1984, animation began to be produced especially for this market (resulting in a Japanese-created English term, OVA or OAV—for Original Anime Video). OAV animation is usually higher in quality than TV animation, but not as rich as theatrical animation.


PRE-PRODUCTION This process depends on who’s pushing for an idea and who is backing it up, it can be animation studios themselves along with sponsors, but many anime are adaptations of manga or light novels, in which case, publishers front costs (including the costs of having it shown on TV stations). The production company gathers staff, sponsors, and looks at advertisement and merchandise. While many people think of studios as being cheap, only around half the budget is often given to the anime studio, with the remainder going to broadcasters and other contributing companies. The broadcast costs are surprisingly high—at about 50 million yen for a late-night time slot across 5–7 stations for a 52 episode series. You can see why anime can be an expensive business. For example, Full Metal Alchemist, which had a 6pm Saturday slot had a total budget of 500 million yen. UNDER THE DOG (2016) Anthea's pod

Following the early planning sessions, designing and concepting begins (character, mecha, costume, etc). Designs are obviously an important factor in creating a good anime. Character designers either have the task of simplifying manga/illustration designs so that they are suitable for animation, or in the case of an original anime, coming up with a new set of characters based on descriptions from the director/producers. Character designers often end up advising animation directors when they are correcting character animation so that their drawings stay as close to their character models as possible. Depending on the series or film, other artists who specialize or are known for their flair in a particular subject may be brought on to the project – giving the production that extra edge.

Anthea's pod


When the core staff is arranged, they meet and plan out the anime, work on series composition (how the anime will play out across each episode/over the course of the series) and select further staff such as character designer or mecha designer. One of the most crucial core staff is the director. To understand the role of directors, you can think of them like directors of a movie, but instead of dealing with actors, they deal with the animators who make the characters move. Perhaps their most important role is in creating the storyboards. They also attend meetings on managing the schedule, budget and quality of an anime. WASHI 2



UNDER THE DOG (2016) - Script

The first step is to write the episode scripts. Following the episodes synopsis/plans, the full scripts are written, by either one person for the whole series or by several different writers based on the outlines from the overall script supervisor (who is credited with series composition). The scripts are reviewed by the director, producers, and potentially the author of the original work before being finalised (after 3 or 4 drafts, often). The episode director, supervised by the overall director then takes this backbone of the episode and must plan out how it will actually look on screen. While the director has the final say and is involved at production meetings, the episode director has the most hands-on involvement in developing the episode. This stage is expressed as a storyboard (a visual script), and the storyboard marks the beginning of animation production.






Often the storyboard is created by the director, this means an episode is truly the vision of that director. But usually, mainly in TV-anime, separate storyboarders are used to actually draw them. This is because storyboards usually take around 3 weeks to do for a normal length TV-anime episode. Art meetings and production meetings are held with the episode director, series director and other staff about how the episode should look. Storyboards are drawn on A-4 paper (generally) and contain most of the vital building blocks of an anime—the cut numbers, actor movements, camera movements, such as zooming or panning, the dialogue (taken from the screenplay) and the length of each cut in terms of seconds and frames (which we’ll explain later).Cuts refer to a single shot of the camera and an average TV-anime episode will usually contain around 300 cuts. More cuts don’t necessarily imply a better quality episode, but it will generally mean more work for the director/storyboarder. Because the number of drawings available for an episode is often fixed for the sake of budget management, the number of frames is also carefully considered in the storyboards. The storyboards are roughly-drawn and are really the core stage of deciding how an anime will play out. WASHI 2




LAYOUTS Less well known is the layout process, which marks the beginning of art production. In simple terms, developing a layout gives the definitive blueprint for how the final shot will look. The cuts are drawn up to the same size as the animation paper, including the details of cel placement, precise descriptions of camera movement, and how the shot will be framed. In collaboration with the director and producers, the senior animators draw the layouts (or sometimes staff are specifically credited with layout drawings). The basic structure of the background art is drawn in (ie. a tree here, a mountain there), and elements of the storyboard are expressed on the layout to help describe the cut. Sometimes multiple stages of the storyboard can be expressed on a single layout drawing as long as it isn’t too confusing. Cels are shaded in warm colours, backgrounds are shaded in cool colours. “Cels” refer to the drawings an animator will create. Like the key-animation you’ll encounter later. You may also hear them referred to as “frames” though that’s not exactly correct. Traditionally, the Cel is placed over the background—creating what you could call the “frame.” In the example to the right, the clouds, Howl, and Sophie, are all a part of the Cel­—what the animator will draw—and the rest of the layout that is shaded blue (behind the characters and clouds) will be background art. After being approved by the director, these layouts are then copied and given to the background department (who get the originals), and the key animators. The art director and assistants work on painting the background based on the rough drawings of the layouts while the rest of the production process continues concurrently. WASHI 2 HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004)






Like the key-animator, background artists reference layouts in order to make sure that the setting is in proper perspective and follows what the storyboard intended. The background art is the portal to the fictional world of animation. No story is properly told without settings; the stories they tell are as alive and stunning as the animation that inhabits them.


It can be easy to forget about the backgrounds in any motion picture. Often times we’re taken aback by the animation and the movement on screen. We rarely focus our attention on the backgrounds. Most backgrounds today are painted digitally with tablets and software. However, there are still a hand full of artists and directors who prefer the charm of traditional painting techniques.



Sure, computers do come into play (and I’ll explain that a bit later), but the crucial thing is that the cels are still initially drawn by hand, and no in-between animation is simulated by a computer. Try to think of it this way, in computer software such as Adobe Flash, when you move Thing 1 from position A to postion D, the computer will automatically create B and C so that the motion looks smoother. However, in traditional animaiton, and in the case of anime production, A, B, C, and D are all drawn by hand! Sounds like a lot of work? It certainly is, and that’s part of why so many people appreciate the medium. There are some animators who draw 2D animation directly onto computer, using tablets, rather than paper and pencil, but even then the same frame by frame drawing process holds true. The industry prefers paper and pencil because the animators are generally more comfortable and able with this production line and it allows easier checking and correction of frames under tight schedules. Now that you’ve got the gist of it, let’s take a closer look at how the animation is done! WASHI 2


To its credit, anime is one of the few places left that you can still find traditional animation! I think there has been some confusion among many anime fans about just how digital anime production is, so I’d better make it clear: commercial, mainstream anime is still fundamentally hand-drawn, and that’s why it remains such a great artistic medium! Traditional animation allows for more individuality to be expressed through animators and directors.


These drawings also include lines which indicate where shading will occur. Around 20 key animators can be working on a single episode of anime, each in charge of a separate part (sometimes several cuts). Although the director decides what the movement of a subject will be, it is up to the key animator to express that as animation. That is why a talented and hard-working key animator can really steal the show, going well beyond the requirements of the storyboard and imbuing a scene with their own style. Some animators get the opportunity to deviate from storyboards as well (which the likes of Yoshinori Kanada was known to do, to great effect). There is a section of the anime fandom who are enthralled by great animation works and animators known as ‘sakuga’ fans. Sakuga technically refers to the drawings in an anime, but has been extended to describe the animation as a whole. People follow their favorite animators and keep track of the cuts they do, compiling them into anime or animatorspecific music videos and galleries. The core of the sakuga fandom is the Sakuga Wiki, and a huge array of Sakuga AMVs can be found on Youtube. Even a brief look over these videos inspired me with a real appreciation of the character and presence that individual animators can impart. I think this culture of appreciating outstanding key animation is one of the most fascinating arenas of the anime domain. But what about consistency? While emphasis on this varies from production to production, in general it is a good idea to make sure your characters look the same from one key animator’s portion to the next. This is handled by an animation director. WASHI 2



Based on the storyboard, the key animators will start creating the animation drawings. They are assigned a certain number of different cuts by the person animation director. Key animators draw the essential frames that mark a distinct position or expression of a cel/character. For example, a character raising their leg as one key frame, and then their leg kicking their enemy as the second key frame (if it’s a fast kick!). In other words, they draw the structure of the animation. The number of frames that a key animator draws for a movement will depend upon the intentions of the key animator and the nature of the cut, with time and budget constraints considered.

FOOLY COOLY (2000) • original key frame (top) • corrected key frame (bottom)

Often, an episode of anime will have more the one animation director—sometimes this could be a sign of scheduling problems in which more people are needed to complete the episode to standard, in time. Or, it can even be a sign of many poor drawings that need correction. It can also be because animation directors are being used for their specialties (ie. an animation director brought on to handle a mecha sequence, or to handle drawings of animals). Or, it could be an indication that it was a difficult and demanding episode with a lot of drawings. Other than the episode animation director, anime nowadays employ an overall animation director (generally also the character designer), who often works alongside episode animation directors to keep the character models consistent throughout the show. They generally focus on the faces of characters. Some series place less importance on this, or, as was the case with Noein, didn’t use a series animation director at all! WASHI 2



This is one staff role that I suspect many anime fans haven’t learned about, because it’s not very self-explanatory. The animation director’s key role is not to ‘direct the animation’, per se. Although, they have varying levels of input depending on the person, studio, and schedule. Their position is basically about consistency. They check all the key frames being created for an episode and make corrections where necessary so that the drawings are as close to the models as possible. In some cases, they may have to redraw entire frames, or make adjustments to timing and movement (mostly, this happens for OVAs and movies). They are one of the four core staff positions for an episode (screenplay, episode director, storyboard, animation director). Frames may also be checked by the episode director. Animation directors tend to be more experienced animators and are paid more for the role. However, it is their responsibility if things go wrong with the animation, making it a potentially stressful job, especially under the pressure of time.

IN-BETWEEN ANIMATION We have our approved key-frames for our animation, but now to complete the animation so that it moves fluidly, more drawings have to be made to go between the key frames—in-between animation. In-between animation is handled by less experienced animators, and often outsourced (largely to Korea). In-between animators are paid more poorly than key animators, this is usually a temporary position in an animator’s career. You could describe this as grunt work because in-between animators don’t have a chance to imbue their work with individuality. They will receive some (particularly when it’s outsourced) clear instructions from the key animator about what the in-between motions should look like and simply fill in the gaps with a specific number of drawings. They are also tasked with tracing the key frames.

In reality, because many shots have static frames, or because many scenes don’t necessarily require fluid movement, the average episode will have around 3000 frames/drawings. That’s still a lot of drawings! Often (especially lately), directors or producers will boast that their anime has “10,000 drawings for an episode!” or something to that effect, which is fairly impressive but doesn’t necessarily mean the episode is better. For example, apparently the first episode of Evangelion used only 700 animation frames, while Angel Beats used around 11,000 in episode one! A good director can work wonders with fewer frames using interesting scene compositions and shortcuts. Often, directors or studios will manage their budget by putting a limit on the number of drawings that can go into a single episode.

Key animators, particularly acclaimed ones, for important sequences, will do many of the drawings themselves to minimize the number of potentially inferior in-between frames that could jeopardize the motion. There are many examples of this, but one of my favorites is Yoshimichi Kameda’s sequence from FMA: Brotherhood in which Mustang is burning Lust. He did all the in-between frames himself. I doubt frames drawn by anyone else could have matched his impressive drawings for that scene!

Another core factor in deciding what ratio to use is the trade-off between detailed, consistent designs, and more fluid animation. You can see how fluid animation drastically increases the number of drawings required—sticking to detailed character models can become expensive and time-consuming. Fluid animation is easier to do with simple designs or if the requirements for consistency are less strict. With fairly tight budgets, the anime medium has long stuggled to balance these issues with shortcuts and compromises. This truth is the basis for a lot of critisism on anime, from Western animation fans, but the fact is, with skilled enough animators and the right project you can have your cake and eat it too! Anime has certainly produced some of the most detailed and fluid animation you’ll be able to find!

Generally, especially for TV, anime will be animated on 2:s, which means 1 drawing lasts for two frames (equating to 12 drawings per second), but sometimes animation is done at 1:s (24 drawings per second) or 3:s (8 drawings per second). If every second of an anime was animated on 2:s that would involve using around 15000 drawings for a 20 minute episode!



COMPOSITING / FILMING It is commonplace for the frames to be completed on a computer. After they are drawn and checked, they are digitized. Once they are on the computer, they are painted with a specified color palette by painting staff (generally a low paid job). They use the shading lines drawn by the key animators to do the shading colours. This digital equivalent of the ‘ink & paint’ stage of production, which used to be done by hand, has allowed some more interesting visual styles to come through in the colouring, such as the use of gradient shading or even textures. These would have been too difficult to do back in the day. It has also saved considerable time and money in the process. These become the final “cels” that go into the animation. Once all the frames are coloured and finished, they can be processed as animation using a specialized software package. “RETAS! PRO” is used for approximately 90% of anime currently aired in Japan (for drawing sometimes too)! Before the use of digital ‘cels’ (digicels), drawings (printed onto cels) were actually filmed over backgrounds. Now, cuts are completed digitally, and the background art can be added on the computer. Initially, when digicel was first being picked up by studios (around about 2000), it had real problems matching the fineness of detail in hand-drawn and painted cels. But nowadays, anime studios have really perfected the digital cel, giving us anime with just as much detail and more vibrant coloring. The digicel age has now streamlined the production process such that repeated cels and clip/recap episodes are basically a thing of the past, and computer aided graphics and effects have marked a new era in anime.

Effects can be a vital component of the visual style of a series because it incorporates basic things like ambient lighting, flare, backlight, the glint on a sword, blur, and many other things integral to giving depth and atmosphere to 2D drawings. Then there’s all the flashy things you’d usually think of when someone mentions special FX—magical attacks, explosions and the like. These are typically hand-drawn but then rendered with effect CG for their glow/shine. These effects can be simply added to the compositions using digital masking. The ease of this step has resulted in one of the biggest distinctions between anime a decade ago and the anime of today. In short, the digital age of anime (in most cases) has meant several things: physically filming cels is replaced by computer-based composition of the hand-drawn frames/art, painting no longer has to be done by hand, and the more effective integration of CG and digital effects. All of these things have saved time and money, so that TV-anime now use many more drawings and don’t need to recycle cels or have clip/flashback episodes. After compositing is completed for all the cuts, they have to be cut to the timing required for broadcast, so that the episode doesn’t lag overtime. With the completion of the editing step, the episode moves out of production and into post-production. WASHI 2

LOVE CHUNIBYO & OTHER DELUSIONS! (2012) • Digital Coloring

HIBIKE! EUPHONIUM (2015) • Final Keyframe (left) • Final Composite (right)

LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA (2013) • Notes from Key Animator (left) • Special Effects (right)




SOUND & DUBBING Back in the olden days, however, anime soundtracks had not established such an image, and so the staff simply just got available musicians to play on the soundtrack. Therefore looking at these anime now in retrospect, they sound more mature. However, there are rare exceptions in which an anime will employ composers to write scores for the show.

The title of “onkyō kantoku” is the industry name given to the sound director. He/she is in charge of overall sound design and its elements: effects, music, and vocal performance. Usually, the chief director of an anime has to give instructions to the sound director and he/she in turn will give directions directly to the actors, because the sound director is the one who knows the actors the best. Still, the chief director is usually present at the recording. Sometimes if the intention of the chief director is not getting through to the actors via the sound director, then the chief director will actually step in.

Originally, limited animation budgets meant that the number of key frames had to be minimized, scenes which featured guitar playing or such actions would often try to avoid showing a lot of the performance itself. For example, characters may be framed from the shoulders up (as seen in Macross 7). Today, new techniques and technology allow us to seamlessly enjoy realistic portrayals of bands and musicians. See Sound! Euphonium for some brilliant, realistic brass band movements during the concert sequences.

Sound effects for anime today are produced through a mixture of foley techniques (recording sounds like footsteps and other background noises in a studio) and sound effect libraries (which is why you many often recognize the same sound effect used in a variety of anime). The background music is usually also composed as a series of themes and tunes in various moods. Rather than score each individual scene, the composer would traditionally provide a catalog of stock BGM tracks for the director to select and use for whichever scene felt most appropriate.

Anime is not just visual, but also an aural experience. But very often we overlook the importance of sound design, even though it is half of the content. Clearly, things have changed a lot in terms of visuals over the years, but we should also recognize the evolution of audio: music, effects, and performance.

These days, the anime industry is quite dependent on soundtrack tie-ins, with music playing a major role in the so-called “media mix” of intellectual property. This trend has given rise to the popularity of “anime musicians,” anime idol and DJ events, and an expectation of what “anime music” sounds like. This also has given rise to the term “anison,” short for “anime song.”




Animation is fascinating. Even in the case of a struggling industry like TV anime, the amount of notable work being regularly made is staggering. It won’t always be an entire well-produced series; it can be an impressive episode, a great scene or a single cut with an incredible outburst of motion. But whatever the case, there’s a lot of material that takes advantage of the magic charm this medium has, so it is no surprise that there are many fans of Japanese animation. Specifically, the animation, or Sakuga. A word that you might have heard before, and while it simply means animation in Japanese, it has been used for a while by enthusiasts overseas to refer to impressive motion. It’s often brought up when talking about scenes with sudden and sharp increases in animation quality—any viewer acquainted enough with anime is probably aware of the economic approach most productions take, saving up the strong cuts for climatic scenes. And whether it’s a satisfying punch with mind-boggling animation or a subtle yet rich character acting scene, I think it’s safe to say that most people quite like it when anime is well put together. KEVIN CIRUGEDA3



Pay attention to how the movement of the characters change from frame to frame. The distance between their movements often alludes to the timing of the motion in-between each key frame.

In the next couple of pages you’ll find a series of key frames drawn by Yutaka Nakamura. The sheet on the bottom of the set is the first frame while the one on top is the last. You’ll want to flip through the pages so that you start by looking at the frame on the bottom and then let the others fall over it one at a time. Take a look at the diagram below to get a better idea of how it works.


Director - Masahiro Ando

Animator - Yutaka Nakamura



ア ニ メ ー タ ー

ANIMATOR SPOTLIGHT Now that we’ve learned about the animation in Japan, let’s take some time to credit the hard working animators. They’ve dedicated thousands of hours to their craft, creating works that have influenced audiences around the world. From the early works of now famous animator Hideaki Anno to the newly appraised animator Ryouma Ebata, animators feed off of one another and search for their own way of conveying motion.


庵 野 秀 明

HIDEAKI ANNO Hideaki Anno, born May 22, 1960, is a Japanese animator, film director and actor. He is best known for his part in creating the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. His style has become defined by the bits of post modernism he instills into his work, as well as the extensive portrayal of characters’ thoughts and emotions, often through unconventional scenes incorporating the mental deconstruction of those characters.


Anno began his career after attending Osaka University of Arts as an animator for the anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982– 1983). Wrapped up in producing the DAICON III and IV Opening Animations with his fellow students, he was eventually expelled from Osaka. Anno did not gain recognition until the release of his work on Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Running short on animators, the film’s production studio posted an ad in the famous Japanese animation magazine Animage, announcing that they were in desperate need of more animators. Anno, in his early twenties at the time, read the ad and headed down to the film’s studio, where he met with Miyazaki and showed him some of his drawings. Impressed with his ability, Miyazaki hired him to draw some of the most complicated scenes near the end of the movie, and valued his work highly. Anno went on to become one of the co-founders of Gainax in December 1984. He worked as an animation director for their first feature-length film, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (1987), and ultimately became Gainax’s premiere anime director, leading the majority of the studio’s projects such as Gunbuster (1988) and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990–1991). WIKIPEDIA4


MACROSS (1983)



BIRTH (1984)


CREDITS Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai Storyboard (Episode 13) Animation Director (Mecha) Key Animation (ep 12) Ai no Wakakusa Yama Monogatari Planning Anime Tenchou Director Appleseed Mechanical Design (Mechanical Supervisor) Baoh Raihousha Key Animation Battle Royal High School Assistant Animation Director Birth Key Animation Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R: The Movie Key Animation (Uncredited animation) Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S 2nd Key Animation Director (Uranus & Neptune’s Transformation Sequence ) Key Animation (ep 103) (uncredited) Cream Lemon Key Animation (Part 4: POP CHASER)

Daicon Opening Animations Key Animation (ep 1) Animation Director (ep 2) Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone Director (with Kazuya Tsurumaki) Script Storyboard Screenplay Creator Key Animation Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance Creator Executive Producer Director Key Animation Script Storyboard Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo Screenplay Planning Mechanical Design Storyboard Creator Executive Producer Director Key Animation Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Planning FLCL Key Animation (ep 2, 5) Mechanical Design (Fellow Mechanical Design Director)

Fushigi no Umi no Nadia Animation Director (ep 37) Director Storyboard Mechanical Design Giant Robo the Animation: Chikyuu ga Seishi Suru Hi Key Animation (special guest - ep 1-4, 6)

Macross: Do You Remember Love? Key Animation Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden Storyboard (OP) Mahou no Star Magical Emi Key Animation (ep 1)

Hon Ran Key Animation

Megazone 23 Key Animation

Honoo no Tenkousei Producer Hotaru no Haka Key Animation

Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 Key Animation

Joubuna Tire! Director Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou Screenplay Script (ep 1-26) Co-Director (Left because of disputes with the series Manga-ka) Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä Key Animation Kindan no Mokushiroku: Crystal Triangle Key Animation Koume-chan ga Iku! Director Planning Macross Key Animation Macross Plus Key Animation Macross Plus Movie Edition Key Animation

list of works from MYANIMELIST 5

Mobile Fighter G Gundam Storyboard (OP) Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack Mechanical Design Mugen Senshi Valis Storyboard Director Neon Genesis Evangelion Director Storyboard (ep 1-2, 7, 10, 14, 20, 23-26) Producer (Music producer) Mechanical Design Script Key Animation (ep 2, 20, 26) Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth Mechanical Design Animation Director Screenplay Key Animation (Death) Setting Director Storyboard (Rebirth)

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion Key Animation Director Storyboard Music (Original lyrics) Mechanical Design Animation Director Screenplay

Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster Storyboard (ep 4, 6) Key Animation (ep 2) 2nd Key Animation (ep 6)

Nihon Animator Mihonichi Executive Producer Editing (ep 5) Layout (ep 7) Original Creator (ep 7, 12)

Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster Key Animation (ep 5-6) Storyboard (ep 1-6) Screenplay (ep 5-6) Director

Oruchuban Ebichu Planning

Top wo Nerae! Kagaku Kouza Planning Screenplay Sound Effects

Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa Layout Special Effects Animation Director Puchi Puri Yuushi Planning Producer (credited at supervisor) Re: Cutie Honey Episode Director (ep 3) Key Animation (OP) Director Ryuu no Haisha Sound Director Executive Producer Sugar Sugar Rune Storyboard (OP, ED1, ED2) Key Animation (ED1) Episode Director (OP, ED1, ED2) Teito Monogatari Key Animation

Top wo Nerae! & Top wo Nerae 2! Gattai Movie!! Key Animation Storyboard

Tsuideni Tonchinkan Key Animation (OP) Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 Storyboard (Opening) Urusei Yatsura Key Animation (ep 133) Urusei Yatsura Movie 3: Remember My Love Key Animation

磯 光 雄



Mitsuo Iso, born 1966 in Aichi, Japan, is a Japanese animation director, animator and screenwriter. His work mainly includes key animation starting in the late 1980s. Iso has been recognized for his offbeat key animation in the prologue of Gundam 0080, large portions of Asuka’s battle in The End of Evangelion and the first half of Ghost in the Shell’s tank battle. He also did some design work and worked on visual effects for Blood: The Last Vampire and RahXephon. Iso has co-written an episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion (“Liliputian Hitcher”) and wrote, directed, and animated RahXephon episode “The Children’s Night”. He wrote and directed the 2007 TV series Dennō Coil. In 2016, it was announced he would be involved in the French-Japanese animated feature film Les Pirates de la Réunion. Mitsuo Iso is known for his jerky yet still detailed animation, full of dense sophisticated motion. He refers to his style as “full limited.” Traditionally, animation uses a drawing count below one drawing every two frames (or on 2:s) is considered limited animation. Mixing twos, threes, and fours with a balanced form of timing, Iso draws every keyframe without passing his work to an in-betweener, giving him full control to create the most detailed motion possible with a balanced and efficient number of drawings, hence the term “full limited.” WIKIPEDIA6








CREDITS Ao no 6-gou Key Animation (ep 1)

Digimon Adventure Movie Key Animation

Blood: The Last Vampire Key Animation

Explorer Woman Ray Key Animation (ep 1)

Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru Key Animation (ep 27)

Final Fantasy Special Effects

Choujikuu Seiki Orguss 02 Key Animation Dennou Coil Director Storyboard Creator Key Animation Dennou Sentai Voogie’s Angel Key Animation (ep 3)

Key Animation FLCL Key Animation Gegege no Kitarou (1985) Key Animation (eps 97, 99, 102, 104) Ghost in the Shell Key Animation Giant Robo the Animation: Chikyuu ga Seishi Suru Hi Key Animation

Golden Boy Key Animation (ep 4) Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! Key Animation (eps 4, 6) Hashire Melos! Key Animation JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Key Animation (eps 6, 13) Junkers Come Here Key Animation Kikou Senki Dragonar Key Animation (eps 29, 32, 36) Kumo no You ni Kaze no You ni Key Animation Kurenai no Buta Key Animation

list of works from MYANIMELIST 7

Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos Key Animation (eps 18, 38) Memories Key Animation (Magnetic Rose) Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket Key Animation Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack Key Animation Neon Genesis Evangelion Key Animation Script (13) Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion Key Animation

Ninja Senshi Tobikage Key Animation (eps 35, 40) Oira Uchuu no Tankoufu Key Animation (ep 2) Omoide Poroporo Key Animation Perfect Blue Key Animation Peter Pan no Bouken Key Animation (ep 20) RahXephon Script (15) Storyboard (15) Episode Director (15) Key Animation (15) Roujin Z Mechanical Design

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan Key Animation (OP) Teito Monogatari Key Animation (ep 2) The Hakkenden Key Animation (1) Transformers: Choujin Master Force Key Animation (eps 6, 12, 18, 24) Uchuu Show e Youkoso Key Animation Umi ga Kikoeru Key Animation

沖 浦 啓 之

HIROYUKI OKIURA Hiroyuki Okiura is known as a realistic school animator legendary for his maniacally detailed key animation, like the mob scene near the beginning of Akira. Realist animators don’t necessarily focus on realistic depictions of characters’ physical features, but rather on the depiction of realistic movement. While this style of animation is not always flashy or exaggerated like much of the note-able animator’s work, it speaks to Okiura’s fascination with studying movement in the real world, paying attention to the details such as weight and momentum.


Okiura’s work is often so meticulous that many critics mistake his work for that of rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is a technique in which an artist literally traces over live-action footage, frame by frame, to capture the exact motions of the subjects. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this technique, it’s result is often blatantly obvious and seemingly unnatural. Again, Okiura does not use rotoscoping; he references real life and film. His more recent work in Memories and Cowboy Bebop confirms him as one of the most technically adept animators active in Japan today. PELLEAS 8


BLACK MAGIC M66 (1987)

AKIRA (1988)




CREDITS Akai Koudan Zillion Character Design (ep 22) Key Animation (OP, ep 12, 17, 22, 27, 30) Animation Director (ep 12, 17, 22, 27) Akira Key Animation Aoki Ryuusei SPT Layzner Key Animation (ep 12, 16, 20, 26, 33, 38) Aoki Ryuusei SPT Layzner OVA Key Animation (ep 3) Black Magic M-66 Animation Director Key Animation Blood: The Last Vampire Key Animation Chikyuu Bouei Kazoku Key Animation (ep 10) Choujuu Kishin Dancougar: Hakunetsu no Shuushou Key Animation (ep 3) City Hunter 2 Key Animation (OP 2) City Hunter 3 add Key Animation (OP, ep 13)

Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira Key Animation (OP) Storyboard (OP) Director (OP) Devilman: Yochou Sirene-hen Key Animation Dream Hunter Rem Key Animation (ep 1-3) Escaflowne Key Animation Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo Key Animation Ghost in the Shell Layout Animation Director Character Design Key Animation Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Character Design Key Animation Animation Director Ghost in the Shell: Arise - Border: 1 Ghost Pain Key Animation Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Key Animation (ep 26)

Hashire Melos! Storyboard Animation Director Character Design Hyper-Psychic Geo Garaga Key Animation Idol Densetsu Eriko Key Animation (ep 50) Idol Tenshi Youkoso Yoko Key Animation (ep 12, 23, 28) IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix (2005) 2nd Season Key Animation (ep 1, 5) Jin-Rou Director Key Animation Character Design Storyboard JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Key Animation (ep 5) Juusenki L-Gaim In-Between Animation (ep 14) Kikou Kai Galient add In-Between Animation (ep 3, 6, 11) Kikou Kai Galient OVA Key Animation (ep 3) Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink Key Animation (ep 12) Key Animation

list of works from MYANIMELIST 9

Kimi no Na wa. Key Animation Lodoss-tou Senki Animation Director (ep 3) Medarot Key Animation (ep 49) Memories Key Animation (Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb) Metropolis Key Animation Miyuki Key Animation Mobile Fighter G Gundam Key Animation (OP/ED) Mobile Police Patlabor 2: The Movie Key Animation Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie Key Animation Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Key Animation (OP 1) Momo e no Tegami Storyboard Character Design Planning (Original Plan) Director Script Mousou Dairinin Key Animation (ep 8, 13)

Naruto Movie 2: Dai Gekitotsu! Maboroshi no Chiteiiseki Dattebayo! Key Animation Nihon Animator Mihonichi Character Design Nihon Animator Mihonichi Director Key Animation Otogizoushi Key Animation (OP 1) Paprika Key Animation Peaceful Times (F02) Petit Film Key Animation Peter Pan no Bouken Key Animation (ep 8, 16, 20, 22, 27, 31, 41) Animation Director (ep 12, 20, 28) Pony Metal U-GAIM Promotion Film Key Animation Popolocrois Monogatari Key Animation (ep 25) Prince of Tennis: The Two Samurai, The First Game Key Animation Roujin Z Key Animation Layout

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan Key Animation (op 1) Sei Juushi Bismarck Animation Director (ep 51) Sei Juushi Bismarck Key Animation (ep 9, 15-16, 24, 31, 36, 42, 48, 51) Sukeban Deka Key Animation (ep 1) Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt Key Animation Usagi Drop Key Animation (episode 5) Venus Senki Key Animation xxxHOLiC Movie: Manatsu no Yoru no Yume Key Animation Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. Z Key Animation (ep 13)

大 平 晋 也

SHINYA OHIRA Shinya Ohira is a relentless pursuer of true movement. Generally speaking, Ohira focuses on creating fluid and realistic movement full of superfluous action to the point of relegating shape and character design to jagged, wildly undulating lines. Strongly influenced by early Disney, Ohira is a living contradiction: a full animator in a country of limited animation. He is the most iconoclastic incarnation of the new realism in anime, creating a gritty, sensual realism as opposed to the clean and restrained realism of Omohide Poroporo or Jin-Ro.


He drew a record-breaking 1000 drawings for a single cut in A-Ko, with as many as 14 layers, which was rejected as impossible to film. Ohira spent 1 month drawing 300 key frames for one 3-second shot of a lazer beam! The epoch-making Hakkenden #10 took this further, totally ignoring the original character designs and opting for the first-ever totally realistic designs in anime, and preserving the style of individual animators to such an extent that characters look completely different from one animator’s scene to the next. Hakkenden #10 is singled out by many in the industry as one of the most important anime films of the 1990s. Currently, Ohira appears to be in an expressionistic realism phase in which the body is animated as a special effect, the visceral power of animation being the goal rather than realism, seen in the dance scene in Ghiblies 2 and the skateboard chase in Kid’s Story. PELLEAS 10







CREDITS A-Ko The Versus Key Animation (ep 2)

FLCL Key Animation (ep 2, 3)

Ai City Key Animation

Fushigi no Umi no Nadia Key Animation (ED)

Akira Key Animation

Fuujin Monogatari Key Animation (OP, ep 10, 13)

All That Gundam Key Animation Angel Cop Key Animation (ep 2) Anime 80-nichikan Sekai Isshuu Key Animation

Gakuen Tokusou Hikaruon Key Animation Galactic Patrol Lensman Key Animation Gall Force 1: Eternal Story Key Animation

Ao no 6-gou Key Animation (ep 4)

Gall Force 2: Destruction Key Animation

Batsu & Terry Key Animation

Genius Party Beyond Director (wanwa)

Black Magic M-66 Key Animation

Genius Party Beyond Character Design (wanwa) Background Art (wanwa) Animation Director (wanwa) Storyboard (wanwa) Key Animation (wanwa)

Bubblegum Crisis Key Animation (ep 1-3) Choujuu Kishin Dancougar: God Bless Dancougar Key Animation City Hunter 3 Key Animation (op) Connected Key Animation Dragon’s Heaven Animation Director (Mecha) Key Animation

Ghiblies Key Animation (ep 2) Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Key Animation Giovanni no Shima Key Animation Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! Key Animation (ep 1-3, 6)

Howl no Ugoku Shiro Key Animation JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Key Animation (ep 7) Junkers Come Here Key Animation Original Character Design

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack Key Animation

Project A-Ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody Key Animation

Momo e no Tegami Key Animation

Redline Key Animation

Momotarou Densetsu Key Animation (OP)

Riding Bean Animation Director (Mechanical) Key Animation

Kage (OVA) Key Animation (ep 4)

Nihon Animator Mihonichi Key Animation (Episode 6)

Kaze Tachinu Key Animation Kikou Kai Galient OVA Key Animation

Nijiiro Hotaru: Eien no Natsuyasumi Key Animation

Kujakuou Key Animation (ep 2)

Ninja Senshi Tobikage Key Animation (ep 11, 16, 20, 25)

Kurenai no Buta Key Animation

Omoide Poroporo Key Animation

Lupin III (2015) Key Animation (Ep 11)

Otogizoushi Key Animation (ep 6, 12)

Machine Robo: Revenge of Chronos Key Animation (ep 6)

Peter Pan no Bouken Key Animation (ep 23, 40)

Megazone 23 Key Animation (Part II) Mind Game Key Animation Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket Setting Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ Key Animation (ep 25, 29)

list of works from MYANIMELIST 11

Ping Pong The Animation Key Animation (OP) Episode Director (OP) Storyboard (OP) Animation Director (OP) Portable Kuukou Key Animation Prince of Tennis: The Two Samurai, The First Game Key Animation

Sci-fi Harry Episode Director (OP) Storyboard (OP) Key Animation (OP) Animation Director (OP) Sei Juushi Bismarck In-Between Animation Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi Key Animation SF Shinseiki Lensman Key Animation Slime Boukenki: Umi da, Yeah! Key Animation Space Station No.9 Key Animation Space Dandy 2nd Season Key Animation (ep 3) Spriggan Key Animation Tekkon Kinkreet Key Animation

The Animatrix Key Animation (Kid’s Story) The Hakkenden Key Animation (ep 1) Animation Director (ep 1) The Hakkenden: Shin Shou Storyboard (ep 4) The Hakkenden: Shin Shou Episode Director (ep 4) The Hakkenden: Shin Shou Key Animation (ep 4) Tonari no Yamada-kun Key Animation Tsubasa Chronicle: Tori Kago no Kuni no Himegimi Key Animation Violence Jack: Hell’s Wind-hen Key Animation xxxHOLiC Movie: Manatsu no Yoru no Yume Key Animation Yumemakura Baku Twilight Gekijou Animation Director (ep 3) Director (ep 3) Character Design (ep 3) Screenplay (ep 3) Storyboard (ep 3)

中 村 豊

YUTAKA NAKAMURA Yutaka Nakamura is perhaps the closest thing an animator has been to a household name. His technical proficiency in animating elaborate mechanical designs and kinetic fight scenes impress all who witness it. An animation sensation, Nakamura has pushed the medium forward in new and innovative ways over the years and over the course of many shows. He continues to do so in his most recent work on One Punch Man and Mob Psycho.


His works include key-animation on projects such as Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, Fullmetal Alchemist or Eureka Seven. He is known for his dynamic and unique action sequences, and is considered in animation circles as one of the greatest action cinematographers of his generation. Having the freedom to storyboard his own scenes, he mixed a unique action cinematography and animation timing to create distinctive action scenes in animation. His work has been discussed in an animation panel focused on Japanese animators, called “Yutaka Nakamura: Grandmaster Battle Animator” One of his most notable animation works includes the last action scene in Sword of the Stranger. WIKIPEDIA 12



SOUL EATER EP.1 (2008)




CREDITS .hack//Liminality Key Animation Aikatsu! Key Animation (OP2) Berserk Key Animation (ep 21)

Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha Key Animation (ep 1) Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha Gaiden Key Animation (ep 4)

Blood: The Last Vampire Key Animation

Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini 2nd Key Animation (ep 12)

Chouja Raideen Key Animation (eps 18, 38)

Escaflowne Key Animation

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou Key Animation (ep 3)

Eureka Seven Key Animation (ep 20, 27, 28, 33, 42)

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou - The Last Song Key Animation (eps 2, 8, 11)

Eureka Seven AO Key Animation (ep 24)

Cooking Papa Key Animation Cowboy Bebop Key Animation (eps 1, 5, 9 12, 15, 18-20, 22, 24-26) Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira Storyboard (action scene) Key Animation

Fullmetal Alchemist Key Animation Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Key Animation Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa Key Animation

Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu Key Animation Generator Gawl Animation Director (mecha, ep 3) Getter Robo Go Key Animation Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Key Animation (ep 14, 19) Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Key Animation (ep 8) Halo Legends Key Animation (Prototype) Inferious Wakusei Senshi Gaiden Condition Green Key Animation Kariage-kun Key Animation (eps 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 30, 35, 45, 50, 59) Kekkai Sensen Key Animation Kingyo Chuuihou! Key Animation (ep 2, 6, 7)

list of works from MYANIMELIST 13

Mob Psycho 100 Key Animation (ep 8)

RahXephon Key Animation (15)

Mobile Fighter G Gundam Key Animation

Scrapped Princess Key Animation

Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team Key Animation (ep 7) Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team Miller’s Report Key Animation Mouretsu Atarou (1990) Key Animation Neon Genesis Evangelion Key Animation (ep 9, 24) One Piece: Taose! Kaizoku Ganzack Key Animation One Punch Man Key Animation (ep 12, uncred) Ouran Koukou Host Club Key Animation (ep 1) Overman King Gainer Key Animation

Shoujo Kakumei Utena Key Animation (ep 1) Soul Eater Key Animation (ep 1, 8, 11, 15, 23, 30, 39 45, 46, 50, 51, 2nd OP) Space Dandy Key Animation (ep 1, 7, 13) Star Driver the Movie Key Animation Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto Key Animation (ep1, 25, OP1) Stranger: Mukou Hadan Key Animation Tenkuu no Escaflowne Key Animation Tenkuu Senki Shurato Key Animation (eps 5-6)

Towa no Quon 1: Utakata no Kaben Key Animation Towa no Quon 6: Key Animation Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade Key Animation (ep 4, 13, 23, 39, 49) Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade II Key Animation (ep 6) UN-GO Key Animation (ep 11) Virus: Virus Buster Serge Key Animation (ep 9) Wolf’s Rain Key Animation (eps 3-4, 8, 11, 20) Assistant Animation Director (eps 24-26) Wolf’s Rain OVA Key Animation (eps 1-2, 4)

AFTERWORD As we’re wrapping up the adventures we’ve just went through, let’s take a moment to consider the hard work, countless hours of passionate labor inbued with a vision, the brilliant minds behind the design of charcters and mecha, the telling of stories, the beauty of the settings, the resonnance of sound and voice, and the spirit of the frame.


If you’re new to the world of animation, I hope I’ve shed some light on the subject. When you watch a film, or a series it’s easy to forget about the work that went behind it, the “how it came to be.” When you learn about the processes behind the craft of something, you gain a whole new perspective which allows you to appreciate the work more than you would have guessed. If you’re a long time fan of animation, I hope you’ve learned something new. It’s not so easy to research the in’s and out’s of creating anime; and it can be a daunting task to research those behind the scenes. As anime gains more traction here in the west, year after year we’re gaining more insight into the world of anime production; and we’re discovering the iconic and fantastic work of animators old and new. In any case, thank’s for sticking with me! And here’s a special thanks to all the sources. Without them, this passion of mine would have never blossomed. That is, the love of motion.

illustration by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

IMAGE SOURCES Artist Spotlight Screen Captures http://sakugabooru.com Sound and Dubbing Screen Captures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhTG-kMANm0 Little Witch Academia Screen Captures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LgHOUTZ8Gc Under the Dog Scans Ishii, Jiro & Kozaki, Yusuke. Under the Dog: Artbook. EXIT TUNES, Kinema Citrus, Under the Doc LLC, 2015 Ishii, Jiro & Kozaki, Yusuke. Under the Dog: Storyboards. Kinema Citrus, Under the Doc LLC, 2015 Ishii, Jiro & Kozaki, Yusuke. Under the Dog: Script. Under the Doc LLC, 2015 Mawaru Penguindrum Scans Penguindrum, Art of Mawaru Penguindrum Illustration Art Work (BOOK) [Japanese Edition] [JE], Kadokawa Shoten, December 2013 Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Illustration Scans Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Der Mond: The Art of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, VIZ Media LLC, 2006 Various Uncredited Images http://www.google.com/imghp

あ り が と う

TEXT SOURCES 1 http://www.awn.com/mag/issue1.5/articles/ patten1.5.html 2 https://washiblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/anime production-detailed-guide-to-how-anime-is-made and-the-talent-behind-it/ 3 http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/ feature/2015-09-30/the-joy-of-sakuga/.93579 4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideaki_Anno 5 https://myanimelist.net/people/5111/ Hideaki_Anno?q=hideaki%20an 6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsuo_Iso 7 https://myanimelist.net/people/5151/ Mitsuo_Iso?q=mitsuo 8 http://www.pelleas.net/animators/#19 9 https://myanimelist.net/people/8502/ Hiroyuki_Okiura?q=hiroyuki%20oki 10 http://www.pelleas.net/animators/#19 11 https://myanimelist.net/people/8893/ Shinya_Ohira?q=shinya%20o 12 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yutaka_Nakamura 13 https://myanimelist.net/people/6801/ Yutaka_Nakamura?q=YUTAKA%20naka 14 http://www.anime-now.com/entry/2016/11/21/000042

illustration by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

This publication was compiled from multiple sources. I take no credit for the artwork, information, or images used throughout this book. Alex Barger 2018

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Drawing Motion  

The art of Japanese animation.

Drawing Motion  

The art of Japanese animation.