Friday, June 29, 2012

Neighborhood Trees 01

At least once a day, I love to take a walk outside around my neighborhood, and look around at the beautiful surroundings.  A whole panorama of trees surrounds my neighborhood (at the center of which is the office, a swimming pool, and an empty court where I like to hang around and look at the trees, especially in the mid-to-late afternoon, against a blue sky.

Here's my first attempt to capture that scenery, done tonight on tablet in Photoshop.  I admit it's a bit loose, but I'm glad I did this, and I would love to do more of these things.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Who's the true "God of Anime?"

I posted the below article on Tumblr, and it has become the most popular thing I've ever posted!  At 120 notes at this writing, I am both flattered and thankful.

To put things in perspective, this article was never meant to be an attack on Osamu Tezuka.  (Remember, I'm a Tezuka fan!)  I'm simply trying to dispel a long-standing American misconception; while he indeed revolutionized the modern manga industry (thus, he has earned the title, "God of Manga" in Japan), he did not create anime.  Yes, he did revolutionize it on television (the same way Jay Ward or Hanna-Barbera revolutionized animation on TV)!  But I would think that the proper credit for "God of Anime" goes to Yasuji Mori.  Of course, there were animators before Mori, going as far back as the 1910s (they included Noburou Oofuji and Mori's friend/senior Taiji Yabushita, among others)!  But many true anime historians have noted that Mori, who worked on animation as far back as 1948, shaped the modern anime industry in 1957, when he became the first animation director at Toei Animation Studios (which Toei set up in aspirations of being the Walt Disney Studios of Japan)!  Without him, we wouldn't have Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and others, and Tezuka may not have gotten into animation, if it weren't for Toei's adaptation of Alakazam the Great (which Mori worked on as animation director, although credited only as an animator)!  Mori was a true master, and helped make Tezuka himself a master of both worlds, comics and animation.

So for the longest time, I found it really upsetting and saddening that many people still refer to Tezuka as the one who started anime, and the beautiful, colorful works of Yasuji Mori are forgotten.  And so, because no one else ever stepped up to do something like this, I was eventually inspired to make this article (on May 31 in Flash) to help people understand things better.

And when you're surfing Google or YouTube, look up not only Yasuji Mori, but his works including the short film (and Toei's first animation ever) Koneko no Rakugaki/Kitty's Graffiti (Toei; 1957), Panda and the Magic Serpent (Toei; 1958), Magic Boy (Toei; 1959), The Wonderful World of Puss 'n Boots (Toei; 1969), and my personal favorite ever (and the first where he finally got onscreen credit as "Animation Director"), The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon (Toei; 1963).

To paraphrase Walt Disney, "I only hope we never lose sight of one thing - that at Toei in 1957, it was all started by a cat."  ;)