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Blog Archives

The Basics of the Animated Mise-en-scène

vlcsnap-2016-06-18-19h23m22s129I’ve been having interesting conversations with various Twitter folk lately about the kind of anime-related criticism they would like to read. One of the main things people said they wanted to see was more writing about the nitty gritties of the animation craft and how it impacts the viewer’s experience (obligatory reference here to the excellent Sakuga Blog, a new animation blog on the scene which all of you should check out pronto). For what it’s worth, I happen to agree with this assessment, but I’m not terribly educated about animation theory, and I don’t think that many anime fans are.

And this is okay! I don’t think you need to know theory to love and appreciate anime. But what if you want to convey to others how much you appreciate the animation craft, beyond just “the animation looked cool!” or “the voice acting was good!”? I think that most of us are aware that the visuals and sound impact the way we perceive the characters and narrative, but we lack the vocabulary to describe what exactly is going on. This can be frustrating when we’re trying to explain why we like (or don’t like) something about a work of art to another person.

Also, for critics who take themselves and their opinions seriously, this sort of thing should matter a lot. Pure formalism may not be a highly-regarded form of media criticism these days, but it does lay the important groundwork for any lens of analysis. So let’s not disregard it out of hand.

Since I’m a beginner too when it comes to animation theory, I figure we can learn about these things together. This post is about the basics of scene composition. I drew most of the information here from the revised edition Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics by Maureen Furniss, which I think is a really well-written and accessible guide to the main issues in the field. I also encourage anyone with an education in animation theory to do us all a favour and leave a comment and/or some links to further reading. Your knowledge and insight would be very much appreciated!

(Note: While this post draws on general theories about animation, the examples I use are all from Japanese anime. While I’d love to discuss non-Japanese animation too, that’s a topic for other posts.)

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Some Light Novel-related News and Views (Qualidea, Kizumonogatari, Moeyo Pen)

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Hey, guys! I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’ve uploaded the entire translation of Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin on the Nano Desu website. Please give it a read if you haven’t already.

Meanwhile, I’ve started work on the next volume in the Qualidea series: Itsuka Sekai wo Sukuu Tame ni by Tachibana Koushi. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite busy lately and I have other translation projects to deal with, so I haven’t progressed very far yet. I can’t tell you when the next Qualidea update will be, but hopefully it won’t take too long before I get back into the swing of things.

In other news, I recently got my English copy of Kizumonogatari. Unfortunately, as soon as I began to read it, I was reminded why I dislike Nisio Isin’s writing. It’s personal taste, but I find the smugness in his writing style off-putting. I do plan to at least finish the book, but I’m not sure if I’ll be buying the rest of the series.

I can’t comment deeply on the word choices in Ko Ransom’s translation yet, but one thing that strikes me is how the translation goes out of its way to preserve the Japanese syntax and punctuation. Here’s an example from the very first paragraph:

JAPANESE: 高校二年生から高校三年生の狭間である春休み――僕は彼女に出会った。それは衝撃的な出会いであったし、また壊滅的な出会いでもあった。いずれにしても、僕は運が悪かったのだと思う――勿論、僕がその不運をたまたま避けられなかったのと同じような意味で、その不運をたまたま避けられていたとしても――僕ではないほかの誰かが同じ目に遭あっていたかと言えば、多分、そんなことはないのだろう。

ENGLISH: During the spring break between my second and third years as a high school student—I met her. It was a shocking meeting, and it was a catastrophic one. In any case, I must have had terrible luck—of course, in the same way that I was unable to avoid that bad luck, even if I somehow had, I doubt someone else would have met that fate.

Japanese uses punctuation differently from English at times, so this paragraph comes across as unreadable, ungrammatical nonsense in English. This is one of those cases where adapting a novel for an English-speaking audience should extend to more than just translating words. As it stands, Nisio Isin comes across even more gratingly in English than he does in Japanese.

In more positive news, I recently finished all five volumes of Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen. I enjoyed it! I wrote a review/summary of the series a year ago, but I’ve updated the original post so that it addresses my thoughts on the entire series. Since it’s a bother to click an extra link, I’ve copypasted my review below:

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Reflections on Writing, Blogging and Translating

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Today, I turn twenty one.

I don’t feel old. I used to fear growing up, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even if the passage of time causes me to lose things, there are many more things that I will gain, simply by being alive.

At the same time, I’m amazed at how quickly time flies! It only feels like yesterday when I started up an anime blog with a stupid name. My blog still has a stupid name, but now it gets well over 1.5k views every day. I don’t post as often as the more dedicated bloggers, but I’m glad my readers have found something to keep coming back to. I still blush whenever someone leaves a kind comment.

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The Problem With Reading Yourself Into An Anime

I identify with this guy so hard ZOMG

u mad, bro?

I’ve been really amused by the shitstorm around Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. I got into the show expecting the usual anime bullshit and cliches that I love and adore, and ironically ended up finding much more entertainment outside the show itself.

The shitstorm occurred for the usual reasons shitstorms happen in anime discussion. Someone (usually a critic or aniblogger) points out something that is morally questionable about an anime’s message or worldview, to which the fans immediately spring up in defence saying stuff like, “OMG U FAG WHY DO YOU READ SO MUCH INTO IT? IT’S JUST AN ANIME, HAVE FUN, CALM YOUR TITS.” Ironically, it is usually these fans who look like they are in need of having their tits calmed, seeing as they are the ones getting overly emotional in the discussion and all.

The problem stems from liking an anime so much and in such a specific way that you end up reading yourself into it. It’s like the anime becomes part of you, and if anyone criticises the anime, they criticise you, too.

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The Best and Worst Types of Anime Girls

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Just a friendly reminder that UR WAIFU IS SHIT.

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Froggy’s Top 5 Anime of 2013

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To entice you to read this post, here is a picture of two guys kissing from one of my favourite shows.

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The Best Anime of 2013?

For the final day of anime blogging before Christmas, I thought it would be a great idea to be one of the cool kids and do a podcast. And because my bestest friends in this world are 2D, what better company to do a podcast with than anime characters?

Today’s podcast brings together the cast of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai and Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru, where they’ll be discussing the best and worst anime of 2013. tumblr_inline_mmprcbqBSj1qz4rgp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: There’s no audio. It’s just a transcript. Sorry.

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A Love Letter to Koyomi-oniichan

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Warning: The following description contains spoilers for Monogatari Series: Second Season. Timeline-wise, the content of the post was written just before the Hitagi End arc.

Because Froggy is away in the Philippines, twelve guest writers will be blogging about anime and/or Christmas. Today’s guest writer is Sengoku Nadeko from Monogatari, a young girl infatuated with unrequited love and a newly born snake god.

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The Anime Drinking Game – Fall 2013 Edition

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All right, let’s do this.

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Update on Summer 2013 Anime + Fall 2013 Season Preview

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There’s a lot of miscellaneous stuff I want to mention about certain anime that I never felt deserved a post of their own, so I decided to write about them all and slap them together in one post. This is going to come off as a bit unstructured compared to my regular posts, but bear with me.

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