I have no idea where Karandi’s gone as of the completion of this post (which, I will admit, was the day before it was published), but after digging in my drafts folder for something to use, plus K’s conducting on the good content train…it seems she still holds sway over a part of the blogging world after all.
Eizouken taught us a bit about how animators take shortcuts, but depending on exactly where said shortcuts are taken, an anime can look like it was animated with all necessary frames intact or it can just end up sloppy. I mean, one of the biggest distinguishing factors of anime is the pillow shot – a momentary shot of scenery, just to establish the setting. Pillow shots are frames that can be pulled from an animation bank and then left to sit in one spot to occupy time, so they’re lazy in a way that doesn’t seem too apparent until you see the exact footage multiple times in a row, possibly during a huge binge session. On the other hand, we’ve also all become acquainted with off model characters…something like this Odasaku (from Bungou Stray Dogs).
On the topic of Bungou Stray Dogs, the general animation shortcut for that series is to not put in a character’s face when you don’t focus on it, so it results in something that looks like face-stealing aliens arrived and did their thing, so I call the momentary absence of a face in anime a “face-stealing aliens moment”.
Sidebar: There are probably other anime which address animation shortcuts…Shirobako for one…but Eizouken is just the most recent example which I know fits the criteria. (I haven’t watched Shirobako as of this post, so of course I wouldn’t know what’s addressed in it.)
As for the post I linked to above the cut, Evangelion is infamous for being a trainwreck at the end – nobody really knows why, although the reigning idea on that front seems to be lack of budget or the director’s mental breakdown – so you really have to think about non-animation aspects of it. Fortunately, Evangelion trades in enough themes about family and what it means to live for one purpose that you can forgive it when it becomes all still frames at the end of the original series.
Of course, this all leads up to one question: where do I stand on this topic? I don’t need great animation – I can still appreciate a mediocre-looking anime if it’s got other good qualities (sometimes the bad animation is what I watch for *looks at gd men*) – but if I get it, great animation is a bonus. One Punch Man was a masterclass in how people react to this topic, so the fact I finished season 2 and thought it average should be enough of a barometer in that respect. On the flip side, I’ve already professed I think Shinkai movies are average at best and dull at worst, despite their god-tier visuals.
For a series outside the examples I’ve already listed, it really depends on where the priorities lie, although predictability (such as being able to see where the plotline goes before it’s revealed or reading a comedy anime’s reviews before watching it) tends to be the thing that kills a series’s chances for me, more often than visual aspects such as CGI background characters, which has been a personal gripe of mine since at least Tsukigakirei, and what I call “1st person camera”, which is when the “camera” takes on the perspective of a character in the anime. That was one of the reasons why I dropped Room Mate, Makura no Danshi and King of Prism – Shiny Seven Stars (although with the former two, there’s the idea you are meant to interact with the characters)…
the fact you’ve probably never heard of those anime says dropping them was a wise decision.
This post got randomly explanatory, so I’ll just put in a disclaimer that I only have a passing knowledge of shot composition and stuff at best. Someone who’s done a course in animation or multimedia could probably do better than me when it comes to explaining animation shortcuts and the like, hence the angle I’ve taken.
Over to you now: do you need great animation in your anime?