originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/727473...

Good evening animation friends! My Twitch account survived Animation Night 169 unscathed, so it’s time for another Animation Night!

Tonight the plan is a bit of a change of pace for Animation Night. We’ve shown live action films with a certain amount of animation before, but tonight the focus is more on a series about animation and animators. We’re gonna be watching the drama series Blue Blazes, adapting the manga アオイホノオ Aoi Honō by Kazuhiko Shimamoto.

Gif source: @frolic-chronis

So remember a couple of weeks ago when we did an early Anno night? I played a couple of clips of Anno’s earliest animations, which he made while attending Ōsaka University of the Arts. One of his classmates of the time was Shimamoto, who turned a fictionalised version of his experiences into a manga…


…with a distinctly oldschool style, to my eye calling to mind gekiga and the designs of Go Nagai. Protagonist Moyuru Honō is a hot-blooded aspiring mangaka, full of intense passion for the medium. He convinces himself that he’s the rival of Anno, and constantly gasses himself up and invents increasingly outlandish excuses for how he can’t live up to his ideal; it’s kind of a slice of Shimamoto’s own life through a very exaggerated manga lens. Promably. I don’t know Shimamoto-san, maybe he really was like this!

This was in turn adapted into a TV drama. It’s a story that offers a window into the early lives of some of the people who would soon overturn the entire anime industry as Gainax - in a time when the big shows were Heidi, Lupin and Yamato, when the ‘charisma animator’ was Yoshinori Kanada, when Miyazaki was the Lupin guy, when 'otaku’ identity had only barely cohered. The sakubutas of yore, in short!

And as is only appropriate for a series about animators, the approach to filming is also heavily stylised, making creative use of freeze frames, text, and anime-like effects. And since Anno is one of the main characters, it was also the impetus for many of his old flipbook animations to be remastered. But there’s more to it than just history, it’s a very fun bombastic show. Here’s a clip I haven’t posted yet…

So tonight we’re gonna watch a few episodes of Blue Blazes! If we enjoy it we might watch the rest next week!

Since it’s pretty late I’m gonna leave the preamble pretty much at that. I’ll go live in just a minute at twitch.tv/canmom, please drop in and say hi and we’ll begin the show in about 20-30 minutes ^^

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Animation Night! Tonight will be the first Animation Night running on Nausicaa, my newwww computtteeerrrrrr :3333

There’s some exciting things coming up on Animation Night. AniObsessive recently wrote a fascinating article on one of the major works of Jiří Trnka, and as soon as I can find a decent quality encode with English subs, we’ll be showing that for sure! But for now… I still don’t quite have all my usual torrenting systems setup on this computer. So I think I’m going to take the easy out this week and follow up on the thread from last week to watch the rest of Blue Blazes!

So to briefly recap… Blue Blazes (Aoi Honō) is a TV drama based on a semi-fictionalised autobiographical manga by someone who went to university with Anno. Thus it follows Moyuru Honō, a student at the Osaka University of Arts. He’s an obsessive manga otaku with a particular thing for Leiji Matsumoto, and lives his life in a constantly bombastic way, swinging from hope to despair in just a moment. Honō convinces himself that he is in a rivalry with Hideaki Anno, who is in fact everything Honō wishes he was - just as much of a huge anime and manga nerd (and obsessive Ultraman fan who is constantly acting out Ultraman-style slow motion when he lies down) but with the real drawing and animation talent. The story follows Honō’s struggle to make his name in anime or manga.

The show is driven by Honō’s internal monologue, and gets a lot of mileage out of its exaggerated manga-like presentation. But not everyone around Honō is a normie - we have some pretty colourful side characters like future mangaka Kentarō Yano, seen above, president of the manga club and always there to rub in Honō’s failures with his full on ojousama laugh. There’s also a love triangle between Honō and supportive Tonko on the one hand and athletic Hiromi on the other. Meanwhile… the other strand follows Anno and the circle of friends that will one day form Gainax, with Anno as the ridiculous manga-protagonist type who will sit down a visiting cousin to watch all of Gundam.

What’s the interest from an animation perspective? Well, you know I’m interested in early Gainax, but it’s also a brilliant sendup of animation school and sakubutas [translator’s note: ‘sakubuta’ is a pejorative term used on the imageboard 2ch for fans who are overly obsessed with animation at the expense of everything else. Sakuga fans have adopted it as a joking term of self-reference] and very dense with nods to the old anime and manga that inspired it. So it’s basically a chance to weeb out. Here, someone’s broken down all the allusions in the OP…

And here, I’ll post a few other clips from the first couple of episodes. Here’s Honō’s first encounter with Anno…

Here’s Honō trying to figure out how to explain the appeal of Yoshinori Kanada’s animation to his crush…

And here’s Anno being just as much of a nerd about Miyazaki’s episode of Lupin III Part 2 (see: Animation Night 143).

Hopefully enough to whet your appetite! It’s a pretty easy show to pick up so even if you didn’t come by last week, would love to see you and I can catch you up on anything important.

We’ll be going live now at twitch.tv/canmom and starting the show in about 15 minutes!

Next week we’ll be back to actual animation, I promise.


Add a comment