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Day 5 – O Glorious Animation – The 12 Days of Anime

I could entitle today’s entry as “Getting Buzzed on Anime: Part the Third” because this will be the third year in a row that I’ll make mention of what I feel is the year’s moment of best animation but I don’t want people to think I’m a lazy anime blogger. (Yes, I can just hear you, all five of you, if I really cared about that then I’d’ve written a few more posts this second half of the year🙂 .) The first year saw a moment from Little Witch Academia picked and last year it was a fight scene from Yozakura Quartet – Tsuki ni Naku.

For this year, it’s from the Studio Ghibli movie directed by Isao Takahata – The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya aka Kaguya-hime no Monogatari – and the scene is when Princess Kaguya flees the cruelly constricting capital when she can take the pain no longer. Screenshots don’t do it justice so here’s two clips of the scene in question.

To call the powerful animation of this sequence merely “exceptional” does it a disservice. I can confidently say this is one of the best animated scenes ever – in all time and in all locations. I still get goose bumps (and that pleasant buzzed feeling when viewing something of such singular beauty that it almost seems supernatural) when I watch it.

Sorry, I just spent the last 15 minutes watching those clips on repeat.

There are times it’s completely worth potentially bankrupting a company in the name of art.

I just noticed that these picks for best animated scenes of the year have not included anything from television series. That’s not much of a surprise given the time and budget constraints of television. So, let’s rectify that a bit.

There was one moment in 2015 of television anime series that stands above the others as the best, the most jaw-dropping scene. It’s not from One Punch Man, though as I write this, there is still one episode left of that show to surprise me. (The fight between Genos and OPM in episode 5 is the probable runner-up here.) No, the scene in question is from Hibike! Euphonium and it’s of Kumiko running and would have been my overall pick in any other year. Here’s a screenshot …

HibikeEuphoniumRunning

and the scene in question:

The camera following her as she rounds the corner is, of course, the exceptional part. Other studios would either stick with a static camera or do it in CG and rob it of the energy shown above. Beyond that part, I also really enjoy the part where they show her running towards the camera and you can tell that her bag is physically encumbering her running motion. It’s that attention to detail that KyoAni gets right.

It’s hardly surprising that the best television animated scene of the year was done by Kyoto Animation. What is surprising is how utterly and completely shocked they were able to make me feel as this scene played out. They’ve been bewitching me with their animation prowess since the brilliantly bad high school movie that started The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya from almost a decade ago; there shouldn’t be the room to continue this continuous leaping of quality but they apparently haven’t found the ceiling yet. (And I hope they never do.)

3 thoughts on “Day 5 – O Glorious Animation – The 12 Days of Anime”

  1. Also Kekkai Sensen. It visually wowed me far more consistently than other anime like Euph ever did, and made a great case for anime re-learning creativity, rather than just mere mimicry of real life. It’s shows like that which maintain my interest in anime, rather than making me feel like I might as well just be watching an indie flick or decent j-drama or some-such.

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  2. I never did get around to watching more than the first episode of One Punch Man, but boy is Kaguya-hime a dream to watch. It’s not my favourite Ghibli movie story-wise, but that artwork… the best way I can describe it is by saying it’s like watching calligraphy in motion.

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  3. @Hogart: Kekkai Sensen was a feast of the eye and that scene animated by Yutaka Nakamura in the first episode was definitely one the year’s best. I wish I could have liked the story more than I did.

    It is heartening to see that anime still is not done evolving as an art form.

    @Artemis: Yeah, I wish I liked the story more. I think for movies more so than series I want to see a happy-ish or better ending – I can probably blame Hollywood for that. That probably partially explains why my favorite work by Isao Takahata is Only Yesterday.

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