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Sakuga: The Art of Limited Animation

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piccorotto Pretty sure it's aliens from outer space, probably
Pretty sure it's aliens
Jun 7th 2012 at 11:55:18 AM

So I've recently started delving a little deeper into the world of Japanese animation, thanks in large part to Birdy The Mighty Decode's second season.*

And I keep coming across this word: "sakuga". Some time and a few google searches later, I finally get a solid answer: sakuga is those moments in anime where the animation clearly picks up, usually standing in contrast to other moments in the series or film due to the constraints of the budget.

But that's really oversimplifying it. This lecture cut into a series of videos goes into its history much more deeply than I could here, and just... my mind, y'all. It has been utterly blown. My perception of anime and animation in general has been completely 180'd.

piccorotto Pretty sure it's aliens from outer space, probably
Pretty sure it's aliens
Jun 7th 2012 at 8:33:10 PM

It hadn't even occurred to me that this boils down to Animation Bump: The Thread. |D

But yeah, basically. There's loads and loads of videos on youtube dedicated to showcasing the works of animators who specialize in sakuga. In addition to just being straight-up eye candy, they're a really good resource for anyone interested in animation and provide very nice examples of just how diverse animation in anime can really get.

Here's one that had me drooling:

Jun 8th 2012 at 10:36:46 AM

"Gushes at the pretty animation!!!"

Jul 3rd 2012 at 2:29:02 PM

Wow, my tastes and experiences seem to line up with yours quite a bit, both from the Birdy thread and here. I also had found that video series, but I don't remember how exactly. Maybe searching for Ryo Timo? Anyway, I love watching lectures online about a variety of topics, and that one is one of the most educational lectures I've ever seen. Changed the way I think about animation and art.

I'm wondering if you found anything else particularly interesting on the way.

piccorotto Pretty sure it's aliens from outer space, probably
Pretty sure it's aliens
Jul 3rd 2012 at 4:07:43 PM

I think I wiki walked my way there while watching a Birdy animatic compilation (this specific one, I'm sure). Whatever the specific case, yes, you have awesome taste. tongue

But yes, that lecture really opened my eyes to who to look out for when it comes to sakuga scenes. Ryo-timo stands out, of course, but Norio Matsumoto (responsible for the Ep.12 chase segment in that video) is capable of some amazing, dynamic work. Hironori Tanaka is a very talented, more traditional sakuga animator.

Behold (by the way, possible spoilers for numerous series within):

As a side note, youtube user BlueSakuga provides a pretty good repository of videos like that. Manuloz02 provides a bunch of animatics from several series. Both very good channels for increasing your exposure to this stuff. Have fun!

edited 3rd Jul '12 4:10:07 PM by piccorotto

Jul 4th 2012 at 2:18:37 PM

Wow. Hironori Tanaka is really great. That video is awesome! Norio Matsumoto is also VERY good. I saw Blue Sakuga's MAD ( Those guys are amazing. I've seen the Manuloz02 animatics. I think they may be how I found the lecture too now that I think of it. Maybe.

One interesting thing I found very recently is the Yozakura Quartet OVA. Ryo Timo is director/animation director/key animation. Has some choice scenes. Unfortunately the story is extremely stupid, though. this has some of the good stuff at points. Start around 7:10 for the best part.

piccorotto Pretty sure it's aliens from outer space, probably
Pretty sure it's aliens
Jul 4th 2012 at 10:04:48 PM

That video has just cemented my need to catch the Yozakura Quartet OVA ASAP. It was already on my short list of things to watch precisely because I heard of Ryo Timo's involvement. Thanks for the link!

Really hoping he gets the opportunity to direct something else eventually, the guy does some amazing work. I think that's his only full series directorial credit so far?

Shota Relationship Status: Dancing with myself
Sep 29th 2012 at 11:05:23 PM

How did I know SOMEONE online would reference that panel!?!? Truly fascinating, and is the first time I even KNEW who these animators were and how they contributed so much!! Thanks!

Vyctorian ◥▶◀◤ from Domhain Sceal
Sep 30th 2012 at 12:02:01 AM

That lecture was amazing, I watched the entire thing in one sitting.

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philipnova798 Looking cool, amirite?
Looking cool, amirite?
Sep 30th 2012 at 12:52:14 PM

I watched the series. It was well done, but you could say this applies to all forms of animation.

Yeah, Anime's the most known with this method. But still, I kept thinking about how Western-based cartoons do the exact same thing.

"If I needed a signature, I'd have one right here... oh wait."
piccorotto Pretty sure it's aliens from outer space, probably
Pretty sure it's aliens
Sep 30th 2012 at 4:52:57 PM

I think in broad strokes, yes, you can say Animation Bump applies to all animation.*

Still, there are many specific techniques as pointed out in that video that uniquely developed in Japan. We may have seen them start to make their way into non-Japanese animation ever since the Japanese Invasion, but there's no denying their origins.

And this is coming from someone who tries to steer far from Japanese fetishization.

Jan 12th 2014 at 2:33:47 PM

There is a imageboard called Sakugabooru that posts gifs of anime scenes drawn by certain key animators.

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