Quick Announcements!

Been busy with freelance work so far this week and homework but I wanted to take a minute to post up a couple of quick updates!

First off, I will be at Anime Nebraskon in early November! It was suggested to me by a friend a little later in the season so I didn’t get a chance to apply for artist alley, but I am presenting my panel on the History of CGI. I am looking forward to being at a new con and meeting all kinds of new people!

The next thing I wanted to discuss is kind of my lack of reviews lately. There is a reason behind this. In terms of reading, I have been reading Starting Point. The book is a collection of interviews, essays and thoughts by Hayao Miyazaki. It is an absolutely fascinating read so far, even though I am not terribly far into it. It has me thinking that I want to write some of my thoughts down too on some of the topics he discusses. Maybe something I will do in the future.

From an art book perspective, I have been wanting to take some time to look over the art book for Ping Pong I ordered a while back. I have a pretty big backlog of art books currently that I want to do reviews on since I simply love art books and all of the behind the scenes content they have along with educational material.

Anime-wise, I have received the second season of Space Dandy so I would like to watch over the next week or so and finish that series off.

I’ll be back on Monday with another production update!

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Anime Review: Ping Pong

Admittedly, this is the first sports anime I have checked out even though I am actually a sports fan. I recall watching anime in college and wondering if they ever made sports anime only to get replies on message boards that sports and anime don’t really mix. So the somewhat recent boom in sports anime has been a bit surprising.

Around the time Ping Pong came out, there was a behind the scenes clip online of how they got some of the animation to look the way it did. Check it out below.

The Interface/program they are using is Flash, the same program I used in college for traditional animation. While at Anime Detour earlier this year, I checked out a panel on the works of Masaaki Yuasa. After seeing a range of works in his style, I decided I needed to check out Ping Pong.

I was kinda skeptical at first. Mostly because I never checked out sports anime but I also was concerned if I would get tired of the art style or if it would lose impact over the course of the series (11 episodes). Not to mention, I also didn’t know much at all about Ping Pong.

After the first episode I noticed something interesting in the credits. They had a team just for advising on Ping Pong. This isn’t uncommon, but I was pleasantly surprised. It really paid dividends for the series and making it realistic from a game standpoint.

Ping Pong follows a small group of characters, all from various regions and different playing styles. The series starts with a tournament, the middle portion is the summer/start of a new school year and wraps up with another tournament, with all of our characters a year older.

So should you check out Ping Pong? YES! I initially intended to marathon Ping Pong in an afternoon but I didn’t, instead doing about 4 sessions of 2 or 3 episodes. I wish I had marathoned it. I found myself eagerly waiting for the next viewing session to see what happened next.

The characters are very unique and I am pretty certain there is a character for you to get behind and pull for. In my case I had two favorite characters, Peco and Kong.

Artistically speaking, the artwork didn’t get old as the series went on, I never felt like it was a novelty that had overstayed it’s use. The extreme movements in sports anime lends itself to this art style and I thought the team used this style extremely well. It really shows off in the matches.

From a story perspective and even character development, I don’t really have much to critic. I actually wish there was another episode or two to develop the characters outside of Ping Pong a bit more but it wasn’t needed. I especially enjoyed the series and how it progressed after the initial tournament.

The final episode was really special. Not every anime pulls off the final episode and I felt Ping Pong did an amazing job. Anytime I can walk away from a series with a smile (no pun intended) on my face, I can’t complain.

I highly suggest checking out Ping Pong, I know it is a series I will go back and watch again soon. Ping Pong is available from FUNimation.

You can also read more about Ping Pong on CartoonBrew.

 

Production Update 143: Cruising Along

Production Update time, let’s roll! Had another great week of getting things done. I worked a bit on some freelance projects and also helping out SALM, the local anime club, with their website. It’s looking good and really can’t wait until we have it done.

I also have some exciting news! I ordered (and received) a new laptop. So what right? Well, my old laptop was 6 years old and maxed out on upgrades. The new one is already maxed out upon ordering. I wasn’t really planning on a new laptop this year, but with the refresh to the Macbook Pro’s and going back to school, it seemed like a good time to do so.

For Cosmic Rage, I was able to get all of the final background renders done and also built all of the crowds. So everything is prepped to animate. I actually got three shots done this week so far. Even though I start school today, I am really going to push to get this scene wrapped up by the next production update and even share some production art again.

I feel like over the last couple months I have hit a good routine with setting up shots and working on them in a threes step process.

Over the last month or so I have also been reading Unnatural Talent by Jason Brubaker. Even though it pertains mostly to digital comics, there have been several nuggets that I feel I can bring from his experiences to Cosmic Rage. Looking forward to trying out some of the things in the book and also some new things in general that I have been mulling over.

Thanks for checking out the blog again, another anime review is up for later this week, Ping Pong!