Database for Animation Studies

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Concerning the 3D Effects of the Multiplane Camera.

In the 1940s, Sergei M. Eisenstein criticized Disney’s animations for the unnatural feel of the backgrounds depict in them. One of the reasons may be attributed to Disney’s use of the multiplane camera. This essay focuses on examples of the use of the multiplane camera during the 1930s and 1940s. The multiplane camera was so structured as to be able to do animation with miniature sets as well as celluloid paper. Technical skills required for the equipment differed from those for conventional cel animation, and therefore, people with experience in working with miniature sets and live-action filming were needed to deal with it. It is considered that the marriage between miniature sets and live-action filming made possible by the multiplane camera bought not only 3D effects, but also an unnatural feel.

A Tale Humans Cannot Tell: On Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

This article explores the interrelated questions of form and identity in the Japanese anime feature Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. The film is a reworking of the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, set in an alternate Japan which was conquered by Nazi Germany at the end of World War II. The main character of the film is a young recruit to a special police unit named Kazuki Fuse. His inability to kill a young girl carrying a bomb leads to disciplinary action from his superiors, but also draws the attention of the rival division in the police force, which is looking for a way to abolish the special unit. The narrative explores whether or not the traumatized young officer will be capable of using violence to defend himself and his unit. The question of whether Fuse is a rapacious wolf, capable of remorseless violence, or a sensitive victim of trauma converges with the question of the status of the film in relation to its medium. For Jin-Roh is a political thriller that, with the exception of one scene, might as well have been shot as a live action feature. Engaging the work of animation scholar Thomas Lamarre on the distinctions between the animetic image and the cinematic image, the article seeks to demonstrate that the question of the film’s film can only be addressed by reference to how the narrative resolves the question of the protagonist’s interiority. It is the one scene that resists being translated into a live action sequence that holds the key to the enigmatic behavior of the protagonist. Fuse proves fully capable of defending himself against armed men and defeating the conspiracy to destroy the special unit, while remaining a traumatized individual who becomes complicit in worsening his own state of psychic anguish.

Scalar Travel Documentaries: Animating the Limits of the Body and Life

Scalar travel documentaries and their adaptations in interactive media present animated models of the body’s interior and the physical worlds at a variety of scales. Featuring increasingly comprehensive animated images at microscopic and macroscopic scales, they help scientists better understand the structure of the universe. This article examines the poetics of scale and the diverse rhetorical mechanisms used in these documentaries. In Powers of Ten and Cosmic Voyage, for instance, the metronomic overview of the underlying organization of the natural world generates ideological discourses on the position of humankind in the universe. The mechanical gaze these films produce, it is argued, reveals the instrumentality of new modes of knowledge and the posthuman nature of our perception. Finally, comparing the various ways with which scalar documentaries animate scientific models, this article suggests that the visions of the natural world these films construct should be more reflexive of the limits of representation at the edge of the knowable.

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The title states that this list is for “anime writers,” but my main objective is to present 11 books that will give you a quick grasp of production techniques and the history of so-called commercial anime (i.e. anime that gets major distribution via TV and movie theaters). I picked these publications as an introduction to the basics, and there are also many must-read pieces about specific titles that you can find in magazines and mook publications.

It is not easy to say what is "essential". (For myself? for everybody? for today or in all times etc.) What is essential depends by a context which does it essential or not, and all contexts are not similar...I always combine ideas that I find in different sources..In any way as you suggest "They are not necessary to deal with animation directly" I can mention books that I like and are references for me.

Initially I was thinking about “10 References That Shaped Japanese Animation Studies,” but I revised this list to references from early animation studies through the early 1980s. I’ve grouped the list into five parts: (1) Works in the early 1960s including translations that were the “classics” of their time; (2) Works in line with the legendary F&FF circle that are as a fundamental references for animation proper; (3) Experimental cinema, experimental animation, and original works; (4) Film history and animation history, and (5) Film and visual studies, which are fundamental to this area of research (+x are listed as titles only).

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