We suck the joy out of your soul

Join a laid-back, close-knit community of mixed interests Get a free account!

  1. Anime: Sakuga, What is It?

    #751482014-05-08 11:53:54 *Frey said:

    Hello, and welcome to this thread. Here, let's talk about anime, animation and sakuga.



    You might be wondering, "What is sakuga?"

    Is it an anime(title)? No.

    Is it a character? No.

    ...a philosophy, theorem? No and No

    Ocomon tell me already! Okay...

    Sakuga or (作画) is translated as "drawing", "illustrations". But when we talk about anime sakuga, it is usually a scene or an episode of an anime...or just plain Animation.

    So what's special about them?

    Well you see, in a production of an anime, series or movie, they tend to like go with a cheaper and a bit snappy, unlike Disney etc which is almost always fluid. This is because they, well, like to save money. An example of this budget cutting would be, the most common one: A still face while talking.

    But then, how does anime actually overcome this kind of problem? Surely you won't watch something with so static animation with like paper cut-outs moving around...

    (I'll try find some examples when I get around)

    So here comes sakuga. As I've said before it is a scene or an episode of an anime, which is, as you have probably guessed, done well. Sakuga are usually important scenes that needs to be emphasized, like fight scenes, this-is-where-you-cry scenes, high speed chase scenes explosion scenes, and many more. Now, how is it done well? Sakuga has 2 types

    A genga or key animation and douga or in-between animation.

    Let's talk about Key animations!

    Or genga. Key animations are made by key animators who, well, draw the key frames. (Hahaha) Key frames are frames that indicate a starting position to an ending position movement. I'll point it out here that more key frames is equal to a more precise movement (vectors) directions. Like it's more precise if a smoke goes up down forward down down disappear, than up forward up forward up forward down forward, whatever you probably get it. And a good key animation has good placement of key frames. That's a summary of it.

    Genga: Link because webm don't work in CL. It's a genga of Space Dandy Ep1 done by Yutaka Nakamura

    Let's talk about In-between animations!

    Or douga. These are pretty simple to explain not, it's simply the frames that connect the genga. In simple terms, it smoothens the key frame transitions. Plenty of times, these are outsourced. like some are Chinese, Koreans and more. They are usually called "in-betweeners".

    Whew, done with that. Back to the question: How is it done well?

    Usually a sakuga scene is done by ONLY ONE key animator (sometimes even the in-between) ehem Mitsuo Iso, ehem and some team who does the in-betweens. That's how.

    This system of Japanese animation has been like this for years and many stuff that happened that many styles have been developed and is still developing (inb56thousand that's bs). And this also made individual animators to specialize on something. Like you know, drawing, some are realist some cartoony etc.

    So now you know what sakuga is. I'd like to discuss styles next but I'm pretty tired.

    If you have questions just ask I'll try answering it if I know, if I don't I'll tell ya. I'll try not feed misinfo's by giving baseless assumptions. If I said something wrong please point it out immediately.

    Maybe next time I'll talk about some Kanada-Imaishi. Or try some more in-depth sakuga stuff I guess. Feel free to fill in for some guys who know, it saves time.

    We have booru... Booru Link I think it's SFW, just search your title there or key animator.

    I can't find a good Motoko vs Spider Tank(GitS) done by Iso so here's a YT video of something else, but it's here, some of it.:

  2. #751532014-05-08 12:20:37Kuroba_Loki said:

    I like this thread, and I'm looking forward to the discussions that will be be happening here :D

    Also, just to make sure, this thread's SFW right? :3

  3. #755152014-05-13 06:59:04 *Frey said:

    Okay more sakuga stuff:

    The Itano Circus/Natto Missiles

    I said I'm going to talk about Kanada-Imaishi styles but I decided to put that on a later post.

    Instead, I'll talk about Itano and his circus that had a major impact on the industry. And by major, I mean he revolutionized mecha battles.

    Let's rewind the years a 'lil bit. Back in the pre-Ideon mecha anime, sakuga are expressed using human bodies and whatever he/she's holding. Like a sword. Firing guns was so easy, the 'camera' will go infront of the shooter, BANG, CUT, and then another shot will be done when the bullets explode or you'll see that jet fighter fly away, or...nothing happens.

    An example of this would be this. Just watch the few seconds at 1:50.

    That was the scenario of gun/missile battles before. BANG cut BOOM.

    That was until Ichirou Itano came along and made use of his genius to make these battles look more beautiful and fun to watch.

    He of course didn't just pop out like a mushroom and thought "Hey I'll do this!" and it happened. He developed it by practicing and hard work. His first trial was guessed to be the RX-78 vs the Zeong, or the final battle of Amuro and Char in the first Gundam series. And since it was pretty good, he was hired by Toshiyuki Tomino(Kill 'em all Tomino) to do some scenes in Space Runaway Ideon. In Ideon, he get to practice his idea for missile battles, it was his training ground. He let loose his idea of how missile fights should be. And that missiles do not travel in the speed of light. He gave life to the lifeless missiles. He made the seemingly flat fights, into an interactive one by doing it. Apparently, you can do a lot of things while that missile is traveling towards you. You don't just dodge it you run away from it too. By the end of Space Runaway Ideon, his vision was probably fully materialized.

    Later on, Itano worked on Macross. As you know, Macross is very popular for it's dancing missiles. That's why sometimes Itano Circus is called "Macross Circus" or "Rocket Spam". It's Japanese name is "Natto Missiles". Anyway, he got this inspiration of dancing missiles as a kid. Riding on a bicycle and attaching rocket bottles on it and launching it them while riding. Sounds familiar? Well that's because you might have watched The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.

    For a full experience of what Itano Circus is, here's a video:

  4. #755272014-05-13 09:18:35Rinneko said:

    Interesting. A good reminder of the often forgotten work behind the animes that we all love. I haven't actually paid attention to any animators yet, but I'll be checking them out from now on.

  5. #758562014-05-16 03:10:11Dark-B said:

    I am quite glad you're discussing this, learning more about the behind the scenes of anime is fascinating, learning detailed how much change keeps happening in anime is pretty fun, I mean I can't compare the quality of artworks and animations of an old pre-2000 anime to one that is current, too much changes in those time periods, and I appreciate the fact you're teaching us about them to get us to know more stuff about how anime works, worked and will work in the future with a lot of changing mechanics and techniques for them.

    Keep up the good work Frey.

  6. #768042014-05-26 08:23:31Frey said:


    This may sound weird at first but by the end of this post, it shouldn't. But in order for me to explain Imaishi, I feel the need to explain Kanada first. Or more specifically, the Kanada-school of animation. And so, we first discuss Yoshinori Kanada, and his contributions to the world of anime.

    So, who is Yoshinori Kanada? Actually I should probably started with this guy after the intro as he is one, if not the, forefather of modern "sakuga" animation. He was born around 1952 and died at a very early age of 57 due to a myocardial infraction, sad. He is best known for his OVA work on "BIRTH" which is very boring and confusing unless you're an animation enthusiast and therefore will be golden. And the Kanada-dragon which will be discused later on. To continue, he was heavily inspired to become an animator by Hayao Miyaaki's Sora Tobu Yureisen whom he later on worked with. Although participating in a lot of productions, he never once became a director, unless you count an animation director as one. He's just that guy who's really good at animation and became famous because of it. Him expressing freely through his work by being that radical guy who always had to deviate some stuff on a given story board, inspired other animators to have their style on their own and impress people. And that, gave birth to the modern age "sakuga". It's that individuality of animators that differs from western animations*.

    Kanada's style is best known, other than that dragon, is those pose to pose style and his artistic block/box shading style. By pose to pose, I meant POSE to POSE. It's not key frame poses but real poses like super sentai poses. He goes from one pose, to another and the transition of those 2 poses is an over-the-top exageration of the moving object and or special effects. I'd like to emphasize a bit on his block/box shading style. You'll usually notice in his style when a character (or even a lettering style) has lighter-shaded parts and darker-shaded parts, with a bonus of some shinies.

    Like this: http://i.imgur.com/DuKzm.jpg

    • Darker shaded parts

    • Lighter Shaded parts

    • Shinies!

    onto the other stuff

    BIRTH in a nutshell: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1Ww8xh0ivg Notice how it looks so good? Yeah... NEXT!!

    You may have probably seen a Kanada-dragon already and you just don't know that it is that. Probably as a lightning effect, or just straight up dragon summoning scene. It was somewhat inspired from a sequence from Adieu Galaxy Express 999, where a ghost was formed like water and smoke.(I'll probably put a snippet later.) It made a bit of an impact to the current growing animators at that time, and that style was polished by Kanada by using it on a scene in Harmageddon as a dragon and was dubbed as the Kanada-dragon.

    Here are some examples of the Kanada-dragon. The first part before the BGM starts is from Harmageddon.

    I'd like to show more modern Kanada stuff but...it's hard. So here's a video of how his style was used across a ton of anime.(Most are not by him, but used the Kanada-school of animation)

    Kanada-school of animation is so vast that it's hard to tell who animated a scene when his style is used, that's how influential this guy is. There's also a lot of deviations from it. And the most noticable deviation, or some say evolution, is from Hiroyuki Imaishi, which most are familiar who worked on...DIEBUSTER or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann And now is the founder of Studio TRIGGER.

    *In western animation, a scene is done by a lot of key animators. On a scene with a cat, a car and an explosion, there's probably 3 key animators working on that. One for the cat, one for the car and one for the explosion. I think I forgot to mention this on the intro. I'll just crash it here for now

  7. #768112014-05-26 10:23:00Dark-B said:

    Thanks again, @Frey, for giving us more knowledge on the animation techniques and animators who helped or discovered them. And, for now, I have to say, Kanada is by far the most interesting person for me. He was under-appreciated, unrecognized, yet was very good, had a lot of promise, but even though everyone probably dismissed him as just "good enough", he continued to expand and work on his techniques more. Now, he's dead, and it still doesn't feel he gets much known as he should be. Just these techniques you showed us right now, those prove that he contributed in MOST memorable animated moments after, and most popularly, shounen anime.

    So, this guy's work contributed to all of this yet he still is unknown to the masses as much, yet he was recognized by his peers and the people who learned in the Kanada-academy hopefully. I am just glad that he didn't quit his work and stop because he didn't get appreciation he deserved, because that would probably mean anime as we know it might've been different.

  8. #768792014-05-26 18:46:44Frey said:

    Yeah, almost all key animators are pretty under appreciated, sadly. Some do try to be very obscure, so they don't mind it that much. But some animators that were very talented are not given any spotlight too. Like Takeshi Koike, he wasn't really recognized after 15 or so years of working at Madhouse. Who knows who's out there that's pretty awesome and just not given the right attention. :(

  9. #768132014-05-26 10:24:05 *JacquelineGraye said:

    Wow I find the history of sakuga fascinating here, I really enjoyed reading about it. Also about Yoshinori Kanada I thought I'd thought I'd look him up and see if there was anymore information on him. Turns out he created a bunch of my favorite anime movies, some Final Fantasy stuff, Vampire hunter, and an Fma game! He also had the last episode of Panty and Garterbelt dedicated to him. I have noticed that sometimes the animation is better in parts of an episode but I never knew it had a name. I'll be following this thread for more information on this subject. Great job for posting this @Frey!

  10. #780602014-06-12 10:15:51 *Dark-B said:

    @Frey and anyone who wants to know the meaning of "MAD" videos, here is an explanation by someone that is not me. It is quite informative and detailed:

    Courtesy of @Rinneko: MAD stands for Music Anime Douga. Douga is Japanese for Video. It's synonymous.

    Differences between MADs and Anime Music Videos:

    An Anime music video (AMV) is typically defined as a fan-made video using Japanese animation, set to an audio source (typically a song). That same definition applies to many MADs. As stated earlier though, MADs consist of much more than this. There are audio and image MADs, and even MADs that are unrelated to anime.

    The main difference between AMVs and MADs though, is the fact that MADs are more like parodies. Instead of clips from anime series, MAD videos use similar effects found in opening or ending sequences of anime. Those effects tend to be synchronized with the music. Furthermore, MADs do not necessarily have to be anime related, where as AMVs are implied to require anime.

    Currently, MADs have been originating from Japanese sources. The MAD community designates itself to be in Japanese exclusive only. This may implies that anime based music video of non-Japanese origin are deemed as non-MADs. This of course varies since some people also categorise them as MADs as long as they are in japanese language.

    TL;DR: The difference between MADs and AMVs is about the same as the difference between anime and cartoons.

  11. #889812015-04-23 08:53:04reki said:

    Great thread, @Frey. Glad that there's finally a thread that compiles Sakuga resources for people interested in it.

    Here's a great lecture that pretty much elaborates on the concept of Sakuga and the many animators who've become distinguished as pioneers and innovators of Japanese animation. It's pretty long, but worth the watch! You can actually see what makes each style distinct from another.

  12. #889832015-04-23 14:08:47Frey said:

    Great resource! This is the second time they did this I think, or at least there's an earlier version that was a bit blurry. They used different clips back then too. Anything I probably missed is there so yeah check it out.

  13. #895662015-05-08 09:27:15 *Frey said:

    Kill la Kill Mad, with animator information at the bottom. A bit late, but better than never.

    Remember to check the link if you ever got interested in an animator! Have fun!