Strike a Pose! – Day 8: Favourite Anime Artwork / Directing

This one seems rather unclear to me. Is it asking for my favourite anime aesthetic, character design, artist, or director?

Artist and director are different roles, unless it’s literally asking who my favourite art / animation director is, in which case my answer would be Atsushi Nishigori for his wonderful work on the character designs in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Not only was he the animation director, but also did the character designs and some awesome key animation.

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I can’t help but find this a triumph for the show. A good deal of attention and detail is devoted to the aesthetic of the show and adds a layer of atmosphere, of setting. Watching these characters, even just as still images (though it is sheer pleasure to watch them move), is a spectacular sight. It’s a quiet kind of awesome. They are a visual feast that beautifully showcases the characters as larger than life and legends to be. I have the utmost respect and adoration to Atsushi Nishigori for these designs. They are otherworldly and something about them really speaks to the heart of TTGL’s narrative. It makes the feats they accomplish so much more satisfying.

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If I get any names or roles wrong, I apologize. Often there are multiple people involved in the same role, and I mention one but not the other. Also while I have some idea of the differences between similarly sounding roles, there are distinctions I have yet to understand the precise nature of between them.

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Sushio is another noteworthy favourite of mine, having all the roles of character design, chief animation director, key animation, and 2nd key animation for Kill la Kill. The man deserves more credit than he’s due for the talent and work he poured into so much of an amazing show. I love the designs of all of the characters in Kill la Kill, not only with their magnificent appearance and styling, but there’s a delightful amount of consistency between frames (except maybe for some of the slapstick relief).

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It’s awesomeness delivered straight. Part of the charm is seeing these characters act so bizarre and larger than life in such charming and hilarious over-the-top ways. Satsuki standing above everyone with a stern look of confidence and authority, while sunlight beams down from behind her blinding everyone to her presence is both visually and symbolically important to the character and the narrative. Whether or not Sushio sparked the ideas for both these subtle and not-so subtle bits of detail, they contribute to the aesthetics and excitement of the show spectacularly.

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Talking favourite person behind character design, though I have no idea where the inception begins and the work gets traded off to someone else, is perhaps VOFAN; the man behind the character designs for the Bakemonogatari. The monogatari series has maybe my favourite, if not, one of my favourite aesthetics in anime, and I absolutely adore and am continuously impressed by the fidelity to which they continue to be depicted without any hiccups in art or animation. Or if there is, I haven’t noticed any.

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Ignoring the ‘camera angles’ and cuts here; they are unconventional, but intriguing to say the least. Everyone has distinctive features and always look goddamn amazing. It’s fanservice, but high quality top-tier fanservice. I can’t comment on whether its style and delivery of the fanservice is supposed to mean anything specifically for the characters, but the show seems to imply a lot of these scenes are done with a purpose. I won’t argue for or against it. I’ll leave that up to those with strong opinions on the show and fanservice.

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As for me, I take great pleasure in the eye-gasming aesthetic and breath-taking visuals so much that I find it fantastically inconceivable for the series and the Kizumonogatari movies in particular, to look so jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Big thanks and lots of appreciation to VOFAN (and anyone else involved) for the perfectly stylized shiny beauty that is the artistic direction of the Monogatari series. My eyes have rarely ever been so grateful.

~ Ace

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