Artistic integrity in animation, or an open letter to Harakiri
Posted On May 17, 2007
I didn’t want to do this but I guess I have to. This is what happens when general animation fans and otaku collide, I guess. This entry is primarily influenced by the comments here, specifically those of Harakiri. Basically he’s saying the Kyoto Animation’s craft is poor and lacks artistic integrity, while works such Denno Coil are worlds better given they uh… have artistic integrity, I guess. Basically the point of this entry will be to illustrate that works such as Kanon and Denno Coil are at the same level when they come to quality of their craft, they’re just for totally different audiences.
Kyoto Animation is known for attention to detail. How these details can elude some people is beyond me, but apparently they have. I said originally that Kanon’s character animation was subdued. Looking back, I find that I couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each character in Kanon has fully realized mannerisms, and KyoAni puts these mannerisms to use cleverly. I don’t remember which episode, but at some point in Kanon, Yuuichi shocks Makoto, prompting her to jump all over the place. The clever thing about this sequence is that her movements are distinctly animal like, and of course we find out later that there is a reason for this. Another example is Ayu’s mannerisms in general, which are quite childlike. Remember when she kept spinning around looking for her backpack (which was, incidentally, on her back)? Stuff like that. Much like Makoto, we learn later on that there is a reason for this. Haruhi’s characters have their own distinct mannerisms as well. Haruhi’s movements embody that of a girl who is very alive and active. Mikuru’s mannerisms are of one who is timid and easily startled. Nagato is uh… well she doesn’t move much, but that’s how she is. Kyon’s variations on “yare yare” come with the appropriate body movements, and Itsuki’s drawn out explanations come with the appropriate over-done hand gestures. Saying that Kyoto Animation doesn’t pay attention to such things is simply a lie.
Another point that Harakiri brought up was that Kyoto Animation lacks professionalism. I find this be quite insulting towards them, actually. They’ve be around for about 25 years, and while most of those years it was simply commissioned work (in-between work, working on specific episodes) you can clearly see the fruits of all that “practice”, if you will, in their current works. Kyoto Animation produces consistent work of a high standard. This is a fact. I think at this point it’s a case of whether or not you like it. Kyoto Animation does elegant, detailed, solid work. This doesn’t make them any less professional or mean that they’re not artists. It’s a case of whether you prefer abstract art or if you like traditional art. KyoAni leans towards more traditional, while a studio like say, Studio 4C tends to be more abstract. I hate abstract art, so naturally I prefer the likes of KyoAni. Basically saying that the guys at KyoAni aren’t artists is like saying that a lot of those old traditional artist aren’t… artists (I’ve never studied art, by the way. Well, art history.)
Honestly Harakiri, I just think you’re biased towards KyoAni given the types of subject matter that they tackle don’t interest you. Their level of skill and artistic integrity is on same level as studios such as Madhouse or 4C (if not more so.) I think you’re just using this as a round about way of bashing moe fans. If you want to see true poor animation, watch Soul Link or something. Jeeze.