WOW, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Even this monthly update post is almost a week late because I was away on a trip. I don’t even have any excuses for the radio silence, really, since it wasn’t like I’ve been particularly busy last January. I’m still in holiday mode, to be honest.
In any case, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:
I completed two translations in January. The first was an interview with Sadao Tsukioka, one of the first truly great Japanese animators of the TV anime era. He’s best known for his extensive work on Ken the Wolf Boy (狼少年ケン), which was the first TV anime ever produced by Toei Animation. This was way back in 1963, and Tsukioka is still active as a lecturer and teacher of animation today! In the interview, which I translated for the animation blog Ontheones, Tsukioka talks about his experiences during the early days of the anime industry and also shares his thoughts on Chinese animation and where he thinks the industry is headed. It’s a really fascinating interview, so I hope you read it!
I also translated an interview with Koichi Kikuta, the chief animation director of Konosuba. Kikuta is a huge pervert, but he has some really interesting thoughts on animation. For those who assumed that Konosuba was a low-budget, low-effort project, think again!
At the moment, the translation is only viewable for patrons of Wave Motion Cannon or The Canipa Effect, so I’ll link it again when it’s available for everyone. While I’m here I should mention that I’m a supporter of both Wave Motion Cannon and The Canipa Effect. I’d also like to thank Karice for checking my translation and offering helpful feedback.
Speaking of translation checking, I assisted with @wickedfighting‘s translation of an interview with Makoto Shinkai about Kimi no Na wa, where he talks in-depth about the themes of the movie. I also checked Karice’s translation of an interview with the Yuri on Ice music producer, which sheds light on an often neglected aspect of the anime production process.
At this rate, it looks like I’ll be stuck doing interview translations for the foreseeable future, but it’s all very interesting stuff, so I don’t mind in the slightest.
I’m back from my Christmas and New Year’s back with some new articles for Crunchyroll. This month, I wrote about:
- The history of Akihabara
- The identity of the “god” in Saga of Tanya the Evil
- The art and animation in Fuuka
- What I love about Yuri on Ice
The last article, which was published on January 31st, came only a day or so after Yuri on Ice was crowned the winner of the Crunchyroll Awards, a development which surprised nobody but angered many. Since this is my blog and I get to call the shots here, let me talk frankly about my feelings on Yuri on Ice for a bit.
Yuri on Ice was not my favourite anime of 2016, but it was still an anime that I enjoyed enough to mention on my shortlist of faves for Crunchyroll News. I do think that there were better contenders for the category awards, namely the “Best Animation” award. That said, the backlash is way overblown. Yuri on Ice certainly had its production problems, but not only were its lows not nearly as low as some other high-profile 2016 anime that I could name, the people pointing at the in-between frames in order to make fun of the animation display their ignorance of animation.
But the comments about Yuri on Ice that particularly annoy me are the ones that insinuate that the show only became popular because it had a gay couple, or whatever. I liked Yuri and Victor as much as anyone, but their relationship was actually the least compelling part of the story for me. There were so many other things that made this anime so great to watch, like the attention to detail and the colourful characters, but this all gets ignored when the show is dismissed as “fujoshi bait”. It seems like yet another case of online anime fans getting sniffy at shows that have a vocal female fanbase.
I’m saying this even though some parts of the Yuri on Ice fandom freak me out, if I have to be completely honest. I’m talking about the people who harassed the series co-writer Mitsuro Kubo, or who edited Yuzuru Hanyu’s Wikipedia page to make out that he’s Yuri Katsuki. When real-life public figures get harassed over a fictional story, you know that the fandom wars have gone too far. To some degree, I can’t blame people who think an anime is not worth watching simply because some parts of the fandom behave badly.
But in the end, Yuri on Ice really is a damn fine anime in its own right, and I hope that it makes history for the right reasons. It’s the first full-length TV anime about men’s ice skating, and in its loving depiction of the modern world of ice skating, it shines brightly as a testament of director Sayo Yamamoto’s passion and ambition. I actually bought a copy of Yamamoto’s earlier series Mitchiko and Hatchin because I enjoyed Yuri on Ice so much, and I’ll be watching that soon-ish.
What did you think of Yuri on Ice?