Monday, May 13, 2013

International Artists Yack About Japanese Anime

In last month's Flash In Japan we set the stage by asking a few upcoming international artists to tell us their thoughts on Japan—from manga through to the country's culture—and you can read Part 1 here.

These people are all young, pushing the perimetres of comic book and sequential art along with visual stills, and they're ones I worked with closely in the development of an upcoming noir/comicbook novel, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, out later this year through Perfect Edge Books.

So, for the merry month of May we're continuing our insightful yack, this time focusing on that bastion of global fascination: anime.

"Japanese animation is always years before any other country, and of course I absolutely love it," says Spanish artist Carlos Gomez.   "Overall? I think the best animation is seen in movies—like Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira."

"I don’t think an '80s child in the West didn’t get exposed to anime in one form or another," agrees Gomez's Australian peer Paul Mason.

"I recall Astro Boy and Voltron being my favorites as a kid—though I can’t say anime really influences my work directly in themes, I enjoy the Japanese flair in terms of the animation frame rates: The fast action speeds create such a high impact, plus I’ve always admired the camera selection choices and framing methods utilised in some of the better anime action films. The Warner Bros West/East animation co-production Batman: Gotham Knight had some fantastic example of this, and the storytelling approaches that the Japanese directors used, and the illustration/compositional choices within the segments, really hooked me. I think the marriage of Batman’s mythology and persona, with the Japanese flavour, really suits the ronin/samurai tradition, thinking and visuals of the character."

Spaniard Javier 'JG' Miranda (see Bullet Gal picture at right, from Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?) isn't quite so enamoured—not really. "I don't usually watch anime, mainly because I think the animation in the widespread series—such as Naruto, Bleach, even Dragon Ball—is a bit lacking due to the huge amount of work that a single episode needs, and the scarce time they have to prepare it. However, when talking about Studio Ghibli or some OVAs, you see the amazing quality these studios can achieve. That said, I have been a real fanatic of Dragon Ball, Dominion Tank Police, Slayers, Rurouni Kenshin..."