Anime Review: Space Dandy

While I have been really busy, I have been catching up watching Space Dandy. I watched the first part of season 1 earlier this summer and when the second part came out, I had to check it out. Plus, Space Dandy is just good fun to watch before heading off to bed.

First off, I want to talk about some of the expectations of Space Dandy. When the series was announced I had lofty expectations for it. Being a Shinichiro Watanabe title (Cowboy Bebop,  Samurai Champloo, Terror in Resonance and more) it was hard to not expect great things. Personally, I expected a humorous version of Cowboy Bebop with over the top animation.

However, the more I heard about the series, the more I realized it wasn’t that. I wasn’t the only one that had those expectations. I recall listening to an episode of the ANNCast where they covered Space Dandy, and they talked about fans having the same lofty expectations. Maybe it was part of this podcast that my mind was changed without knowing it.

From a story perspective, Space Dandy doesn’t really tell a specific story. All of the episodes are practically stand alone episodes without you having to have previous knowledge outside of the first episode when the characters are introduced. There isn’t much of an over-arching story. I kept thinking there would be something like Cowboy Bebop, where one of the episodes would leave us a nugget for future episodes and maybe a handful of them string together to tell a story with lots of fun filler in between. That isn’t the case. Space Dandy the alien hunter and crew don’t have a long form story to tell, and that isn’t a bad thing unless you expect it.

While Space Dandy may have a lot of standalone episodes, it works out. I was originally a little hesitant after the first part of season 1. I love stories and character development. In Space Dandy the characters are pretty straight forward and not much room for them to evolve over time.

Having said that, Space Dandy is good fun. There may not be a developed story, but the comedy infused into the series makes up for that. Before I started the second half of season one, I rewatched the first half while working and the comedy and stand alone episodes made it for an enjoyable casual watch.

The animation is Space Dandy has a lot of fun experimentation in it. Some episodes you can tell they had more room to explore than others but it works. Space Dandy has a variety of tones and animation styles and techniques to reflect it.

I would suggest checking out Space Dandy at least once since it is a Watanabe title and also for the animation of it. If you saw Space Dandy, what were your thoughts?

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Production Update 152: Preparations

Last week sure was busy. I had something going on just about every day and had homework to fit in between everything. I went to a local art critique and had a gallery reception to attend as well. I got reacquainted with the Cosmic Rage files I was animating in since it has been a little while since I worked in the files due to coloring and inking the last couple weeks.

Over the weekend I had to get caught up on homework. I will lose one night this week finishing up the project but it will be worth it and will be something fun to show off. The rest of the weekend was spent running errands and getting caught up on adult things that have piled up a bit. I also had to reorganize my desk since it turned into my office for a few weeks. The fall weather made quiet the dirt storm since I work with the windows open, so it was in need of a deep clean.

What I am trying to say, is that I worked to clear my schedule so this week could be a heavy production week. Let the animating begin!

BIG Announcement: Debut Screening Announced!

Cosmic Rage Siouxper Con Promo
Remember last week when I said I had some things going on behind-the-scenes? Well here part of it is. A DEBUT screening of Cosmic Rage is going to be held at a debut con, Siouxper Con, in my home state of South Dakota.

I can’t really put into words how excited I am to get to debut Cosmic Rage in South Dakota. Many people here know of the project and have supported it. However, there wasn’t a great avenue to get it debuted to anime and comic minded fans. Enter Siouxper Con and their amazing staff for allowing me to debut my work in South Dakota.

Following the screening, I will being a Q/A with those in attendance about the production of the project and also what the future holds for Cosmic Rage. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Again, a big THANK YOU to the South Dakota Arts Council for supporting Cosmic Rage. An exciting 2016 starts now!

Production Update 151: Behind-the-Scenes Work and Moving On

It’s been a busy week with lots of behind the scenes work, so let me fill you in on everything from this past week. First off, I got all of the inking, coloring and shading that I had missed previously all done. From here on out, should be nothing but animating going forward. Also, as you have previously seen on the site, the closing date for voice auditions has been announced as well, November 13th. More information will be coming out about voice over roles once they are awarded.

I had to get caught up on some homework this week. I am really excited for the way this project is turning out. I would like to post up the final project once it is completed. I might post up my previous project on the site this week since we just got them back from being graded.

I also had a bit of freelance work to keep pushing forward on as well. These projects will be the ones I use to pay for the voice over talent on Cosmic Rage.

Finally, I have been working on getting things laid out for 2016 and setting up screenings for the first episode of Cosmic Rage at conventions. So, if there is a con in particular you would like to see Cosmic Rage at, shoot me an email, message or even tweet at me and I will see if I can fit the con in. 2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for Cosmic Rage.

This week, I am back on animation!

Voice Over Audition Closing Date Announced!

Closing date is Friday, November 13th! Voice over auditions have been open for a few months now. I have received a lot of awesome auditions, but if you were holding back or just heard about the project you have another month to audition for any characters.

Check out the auditions page to learn more about the characters and also compensation for each role. Feel free to contact me if you have any direct questions about the process or if you have any issues with downloading the audition packets.

Looking forward to hearing more auditions and working with the chosen voice over talent in the near future! Thanks everyone!

Production Update 150: Inktober

It’s that time of the year. The colors are changing, our garden had to be cleaned up and of course, Inktober. For those of you that don’t know, Inktober is a month where artists post up a lot of their ink work. Mine is a little different but I have spent quite a bit of time inking so far in October as well.

In the last couple production updates, I have mentioned that I forgot about two scenes somehow and needed to get them inked, colored and shaded. Phase one of that process has been completed as I can report that I have finished inking these two scenes. It feels so weird to be inking at this stage of production. Can’t believe I missed those scenes. Going to push forward on coloring and shading these shots this week.

It was a pretty hectic week outside of Cosmic Rage work. We had to spend half of our weekend tearing out our community garden since it is the end of the season and we have to be out this week. I also spent some time on a couple freelance projects I have going on. I am planning a very busy con schedule in 2016 with episode 1 of Cosmic Rage so these projects are very important.

There are also a couple items that I can’t talk about but are very exciting. They are some things that relate to Cosmic Rage but it’s simply too early to talk about. Just wanted to let you know there are a few things that are going on behind-the-scenes that will be unveiled at the right moment.

I believe I am still on schedule for hitting the marks I have set for myself and the project this year.

Art book Review: Ping Pong

Ping Pong CoverA while ago I finished up watching Ping Pong the animated series. It was a fantastic series and the first sports series (outside of Initial D) I watched. The story was very compelling and the characters had very unique stories of their own. So of course I needed to check out the art book for Ping Pong.

First off, I have to admit that I am a sucker for art books that go in the landscape format instead of the traditional portrait style. Just something about them that I find much more enjoyable and more immersive.

The Complete Artworks book has a lot of the types of things you would see an your typical anime art book. The first segment breaks down each episode, complete with art and (assuming) a summary below, the book isn’t translated into English which isn’t a big deal since I buy them for the artwork.

The book goes into rough colored storyboard frames, the background environments and settings. One of my favorite “spreads” in the book is one with all of that characters laid out with all of their different clothing outfits on. You can see Smile and Peco (among other characters) in their ping pong attire, school attire, and even casual attire. It’s nice to see this since in most series characters wear the same clothing.

Beyond the character “spread”, is a wide range of character model sheets, expression sheets and notes on each character. These types of images are things I have always enjoyed looking at. You can see the characters in some of their earliest stages and also see how they look all the way around and their various expressions.

However, my absolute favorite part of this book is the following section. It is a very technical section on ping pong. It shows the different holds of the paddle the characters would have depending on their grip. There are sequential images for different types of hits with each grip as well. So if the animator needed to see how a pencil grip back hand looked, they have it as reference. Not only that, but they have it done in a couple styles so you can see exactly how the character moves from different perspectives. I really wish this portion was translated so I could read the notes on these pages. I can only assume they are gold.

The next section of the book contains key animation art for select shots, allowing you to see how the characters move for expressions and in some cases, the extreme perspective  of some shots. There are even a few pages of characters playing ping pong against one another so you can see how they react to the other player when the ball is hit.

One of the final sections breaks down some of the use of computers. Using 3D animation and even Flash for the series. Again, I wish this section was translated because this would be gold to read and learn how they used these programs in this series since it has such a unique visual style.

If you’re into art books, you can pick up Ping Pong at Tokyo Otaku Mode online.