July 31, 2012

Working Hard and Watching Kaiba

Hi everybody, I have no major news but just some updates on my life-- I taught a two-week summer workshop on Flash at Max the Mutt Animation School. I've also just finished my first big freelance job (still not sure if I'm allowed to talk about it... I'll wait until the company posts it online themselves). I've also started work on "Bakerman and the Bunnymen," an independent short written and directed by Scout Raskin, for which I'm doing the character designs, animation and backgrounds. On top of all this, I'm in the home stretch of production on my third Fester Fish short, "Fester Makes Friends" and I'm working on designs and concepts for another personal project. At some point I still need to finish off the audio for my third-year school short and post it online, although it's not terribly exciting.

The main thing I wanted to say in this post is that I've finally started watching Kaiba, the 12-episode anime series from 2008 created by Masaaki Yuasa (director of Mind Game, my favourite anime film). Oh my goodness, this series is amazing. It reminds me a bit of Galaxy Express 999, which I also love, only Kaiba is much cartoonier and less melodramatic (most of the time). It's not meant to be a comedy though, so at times the cartoony designs feel a bit misleading.

It's jam-packed with glorious full animation of beautifully simple but crazy designs, done by some of the best artists in the industry. The backgrounds are magnificently stylized and imaginative. The story is full of interesting ideas and it's the first time in years that I've seen something that feels so new and fresh. Even more so than Mind Game, because this takes place in a universe of pure fantasy. I think I still prefer Mind Game more though, just for its comedy and unbelievable energy, but this is definitely another winner from Yuasa (has he ever been involved in anything that wasn't utterly brilliant?)

The stellar direction and pacing make you feel like you're watching a long, particularly good indie short rather than an episode of an ongoing series. Not because it's inconsistent or meandering-- it's just constantly changing, and never really settles into a formula. Every episode I'm surprised at where they take the story.


The semi-abstract environments are reminiscent of Dr. Suess, or Yuasa's own earlier Nanchatte Vampiyan pilot which I posted about a while ago. I love the look of this show. It feels so complete and singular in its vision.

As I watched the first episode, I was blown away by the scope and imagination of the show's universe. I'm almost finished the series now, and the sense of wonder still hasn't really worn off. Go check out Kaiba, now. NOW YOU FOOL. SCHNELL, SCHNELL!!

1 comment:

ADC said...

Well Bakerman & The Bunnymen just went over 100% funding.

Looking forward to seeing what other projects you have in the works.