The Most Vital Post

*Anime is Straight from the US Dept: Hey! The guy who directed Kung-Fu Love (Yasuhiro Aoki) is heading one of the segments in the upcoming Batman: Gotham Knight OVA - that's pretty cool. Well, he's 'heading' it under the supervision of chief director Bruce Timm, but I suspect the Japanese crews will be given a fair amount of leeway with the visuals.

Unsurprisingly, the lineup is mainly key animators with some animation direction experience - Shojiro Nishimi (character designer and animation director of the Tekkonkinkreet movie), Futoshi Higashide (animation director of some 2007 theatrical thing called JAPAN, Our Homeland), Hiroshi Morioka (.hack// and Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE vet) and Toshiyuki Kubooka (animation director of Gunbuster and character designer of Giant Robo) are the others involved. Ten-minute making-of video here.

Note that there's only five people named for the six segments of the OVA; there's a recurring rumor that Satoshi Kon (of Paranoia Agent and Paprika) is the sixth director, which would pump up the Japanese side's 'name' value a lot, but I don't think his involvement has been officially acknowledged.

*Anime is Straight from Japan Dept: God knows I'm a big Superdimensional Fortress Macross nerd (even though I've never seen the supposedly iffy Macross 7, nor most of the western-produced, distant-cousin-at-best Robotech stuff past the original series), but I'm also really slow with my anime watching, so I'm just now getting to the first episode of Macross Frontier, the franchise's new television series. Macross overlord Shoji Kawamori is the chief director and story composer, with Yasuhito Kikuchi (who apparently worked closely with Kawamori on his last big series, the soon-to-R1 Aquarion) as plain vanilla director. Frequent Kawamori collaborator Yoko Kanno provides the music, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED contributer Hiroyuki Yoshino is on series composition and scripting thus far.

Note that the series doesn't actually start airing until April; this debut episode was released early (this past December) in honor of the property's 25th anniversary. It's Macross, so it's bright and colorful and swooshing and pretty damned cheesy. You bet your ass there's idol singing and transforming jets, this time with an extra dose of female-friendly pretty boys gazing at one another, and even a few maid uniforms to tide over the moé faction; it's very studied in demographics. Poppy music and space violence are juxtaposed, missile trails fill the screen and several nods to prior Macross productions are made, being an anniversary project and all.

I liked it ok, although it comes off as more a loving homage to Macross tropes than a compelling start to a new story. Time and money were clearly spent on the high-energy concluding battle (which obviously loses something on YouTube), and someone on the team has a definite fondness for that green-haired girl, although the overall animation quality doesn't strike me as too far above average. Lots of folks standing around frozen while the CGI pans or characters move about in the foreground.

I might try and keep up with it, but that's more and more a tiny hope with me and cartoons these days...