Monday, September 10, 2007

Best concise summary of Japanese vs. Western animation perspective

Subject: Noir
Over on AniPages, Ben has a forum (BBS, that is), where there's been a great discussion on Japanese Animation Theory. Peter Chung, of "Aeon Flux" and "Animatrix" fame, had wandered in and helped out a lot with some very detailed descriptions of the work process differences and what the various roles are, and other tidbits of perspective from his training and work in American, Korean, and Japanese variations of the industry.

Start at this post that I linked, first, and work your ways backwards and forwards to dig deeper. A key quote (that you really need to keep reading the thread to get context and perspective) that really illuminated things for me:

This is a broad generalization, of course, but Japanese animators animate drawings; American animators animate characters. It's one reason why the Japanese industry has not embraced CG the way the rest of the world has. (Let's be thankful for this.)

This explains why I've probably been stuck when it comes to most anime. I'm looking a bit too hard for the "spark of life" stuff and discounting a lot of content because of it.

Not that it's "wrong" for me to do that, as it's one of the things that I'm more interested in than not. But why my perspective is the way it is and why I keep seeing "moving manga" as a negative becomes more clear.

Anyway, go read that whole thread, and then start dabbling in the other threads.... there's hours and hours of great theorizing and details and such. Fascinating stuff, and a great resource!

1 comment:

Nick Istre said...

Oh, thanks for the link! I'll have to read through it when I get time this week! I've already read through the first couple of pages already.

I've never been a huge fan of Peter Chung's work (though I did enjoy the "Aeon Flux" series), I do really like reading his perspective on animation.

Then again, I've been on a Makoto Shinkai kick recently. His movies really made me curious about the going ons behind animation, especially since he didn't get into animation in the traditional way. I imported the limited edition DVD of his latest movie, Byousoku 5 Cm, and like his other work, it came with a booklet partly describing his process. Though I can't read it, the screenshots and drawings do reveal a bit. I'll just have to wait for the ADV release in December, as I hope they'll translate it and include it with the DVD.