Fri, 23 Jun 2000 10:01:21 MST
> > Basically, I think the original Gundam's story holds up very well after
> > these years. However, it's visual style falls far short of stuff being
> > produced just over half a decade later.
>It's also a matter of taste, alot of newbies think late 80s anime looks
>wanna strangle the little twerps when they talk about the "Low animation
>quality" of "Fight Iczer One." ugh.
I think when most people talk about 'animation quality' what they really
mean is visual style. Visual style really encompases everything you see on
screen, inluding mechanical design, backgrounds etc. However, it's really
most obvious and consistant in character design.
Like you said, style is a matter of taste, but it's also a matter of what
you're accustomed to.
For instance, I think the old Superman shorts from the '40s have a more
modern visual style than the MS Gundam movie trilogy. Part of this is
because Superman was WAY ahead of it's time. However, it's also looks
modern to me because the Batman animated series used a similar visual style,
so I'm accustomed to it.
If I'd grown up watching lots of late '70s anime, MS Gundam probably
wouldn't look so dated to me. However, I really got in to anime around
1996. At that time, most of the stuff that was available (either
commercially or as a fansub) was stuff that came out in Japan in the late
'80s and early '90s. Thus, anything that came out in that time period seems
to have a typical visual style to me. Stuff that's significantly newer than
that would generally seem more 'modern' while stuff that's siginifically
older would tend to seem dated.
>Todays animators often take alot less chances, there seems to be alot less
>innovation (in terms of FX and the lot) than in that 80s boom period. Sure
>see the occasional Escaflowne, or bebop, but in general anime is rather
Visual style in anime, especially character design, seems to suffer from the
herd mentality. The minute somebody strikes out in a new direction,
everybody else follows, so what once seemed new and innovative now seems
common and blase.
There are exceptions to this. Some creators manage to keep their own
consistent sense of visual style irregardless of everyone else. Miyazaki is
probably a good example of this. A Miyazaki movie from five years ago has
the same visual style as one from fifteen years ago. Now, Princess Mononoke
looks a little different from some of his other work, but I think that can
be ascribed to it's higher budget.
I have seen a few things that have a truely unique visual style. They're
few and far between, though. In fact, the only one that comes to mind is
the 'Cannon Fodder' section of Memories. That looks like nothing else I've
As for anime being visually stagnant, I have seen a few attempts at
innovation. For instance, Blue Submarine no. 6 attempted to mix CG and cell
animation. I don't think they were entirely successfull in combining the
two, but it was a worthy attempt (as an aside, the only place I've really
seen CG and cell combined seamlessly is in the TV series Futurama).
Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle
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