It’s time for yet another entry of finding odd things to enjoy in an anime. This time the target is the final episode of High School of the Dead (HOTD). This time I’m limiting myself to mentioning only two small scenes. Any more and I run the risk of going into full rant mode about the problems and observations I had about the show. (I really, really want to complain about how implausible the HOTD zombies would be at causing the level of chaos seen in this show.)
Several years ago I watched a documentary on the classic Looney Tunes cartoons and one of the most memorable parts was a short discussion about how the animators would often distort how people and animals were drawn to heighten the sense of motion. To illuminate the point they showed a clip at full speed and then showed the same clip going at a much slower speed. I was awed by the technical mastery shown in this art form.
I’ve often wondered how a non-human eye would perceive these scenes. Would their eyes be fooled as well or would they be able to see through the illusion?
I’ve also tried to look for examples of this technique in whatever animated show I watch since first watching this documentary and it fairly frequently, especially in high-quality animated shows. The last really good example that I can remember was in episode 15 of Bakemonogatari. It was a short scene when Shinobu did a series of quick somersaults before sinking her fangs into the shoulder of the cat-spirit possessed Tsubasa Hanekawa. The movement literally felt like it popped out of the screen. I wanted to do a frame-by-frame shot to show how awesome this was done. However, one of my desires when running this blog is to keep it SFW and when I started capturing the individual frames I realized that Shinbou decided Shinobu was fine using a band-aid as a pair of pantsu. So, I had to scratch that post and look for another example.
I didn’t need to wait too long; Madhouse (which figures actually) gave me a really good example in episode 12 of High School of the Dead. The scene was towards the end when the mechanic twirled a wrench as he got ready to fight the zombies. My eye caught this, even as my mind was wondering why leaving behind the mechanic was a good idea. So, the first clip is of the scene in question going at normal speed (or as close as I can get it) and the second is the same frames slowed down.
Cool, isn’t it. I especially liked how when he grasped the wrench at the end they actually make the wrench disappear for a couple of frames and let our eyes fill-in the implied movement.
The other scene tickled the political side of me. I know it’s generally a bad idea to bring up politics online but the last time I did here, I remember being surprised by the civility of commenters so I’ll hope for the same civility. The scene in question is at the beginning when they show the combined effort of Japanese and American forces trying to shoot down the four nukes that were launched in the last episode. I don’t think this scene was originally conceived as a sly dig at Obama (unless it comes from source material done since his election) but I couldn’t help but see it as one.
There hasn’t been a lot of coverage of Obama’s foreign policy but one of the few concrete things he’s done in this arena is stepping back from Bush’s planned nuclear missile defense shield. Why he thinks this is a good idea, I don’t know. The need of a system like this is so plainly apparent that many countries, not just the United States, want to be included. One of these countries is – surprise, surprise – Japan. They worry enough about it they are actually funding a significant portion of the development and I don’t blame them, they live so much closer to North Korea and have had missiles shot over their country.
Like I said, I don’t think it necessarily was a critique of Obama but, nonetheless, that scene only needs a slight alteration, North Korea being the source of the nukes, to be completely relevant to a real life scenario and showcasing the need for a nuclear missile defense shield.