Uncovering the Animation of The Eccentric Family in Nakano Broadway
posted on by Kim Morrissy & Callum May
The Eccentric Family is perhaps the very definition of a sleeper hit. This quirky drama about a family of talking tanuki was inaugurated as a Kyoto Special Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year thanks to its faithful recreations of the real-life locations of Japan's former capital. The promotional events have stepped up even further with the advent of the anime's second season, including a collaboration café in Tokyo and a tourism campaign in Kyoto.
Today, we attended an exhibit in Nakano Broadway showcasing the production materials used in The Eccentric Family 2. We were lucky enough to catch this on the very last day of the exhibit; the gallery was open from May 25th to June 6th.
The main reason for coming to this place may be the artwork and behind-the-scenes material, but this cozy little exhibit also featured some nice touches that any fan of the series should appreciate. In front of a screen playing footage from the first episode, there's a familiar frog in a well— it's Yajirō! He has some of his favorite liquor to keep him company in his lonely days.
Promotional posters and merchandise are also scattered throughout the exhibit. There was nothing on sale in the exhibit itself, but the displays give an idea of what you can buy directly from the Eccentric Family collaboration café, which is still open until the end of June.
The bulk of the exhibition is dedicated to production materials. Here's an earlier sketch of the key visual for The Eccentric Family 2:
You can see that the cityscape was drawn separately from the characters, probably to clarify the layout of the shot.
The exhibit also included key frames from the opening and ending sequences from the second season. The frame featured below is the seventh frame from the ED; the handwritten note tells us that Benten is gazing down at the city at night from the Kyoto Tower.
There's also animation from the show itself in this exhibit. The directorial notes are scribbled in the key frames to indicate how the characters or the camera will move, as well as any other details important to the scene.
Character designs and descriptions are also a part of this exhibit. The original The Eccentric Family novels didn't feature any illustrations of the characters, so these character designs were imagined specifically for the anime. Kōji Kumeta, who is mostly known as the manga artist of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, came up with the basic designs of the characters. They were then adapted for anime by Kousuke Kawazura, a P.A. Works stalwart and an animation director of many of their shows.
The characters depicted here are from Kawazura's designs. All the familiar faces from the first season appear here, but some of the new characters from the second season also have a character design sheet, making it easier for viewers alike to imagine how they would look in motion.
Finally, the gallery showcases some of the background art depicted in the series. The background art director, Yūsuke Takeda, is a big name in the anime industry. He handled the background art in iconic shows like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Sword Art Online, and is famous for his meticulously detailed cityscapes. He served as the art director for P.A. Works's very first full-length TV series, True Tears. His style is a natural fit for The Eccentric Family, with its down-to-earth backgrounds that contain a hint of the supernatural in them.
As the second season progresses, there may be more promotional events for The Eccentric Family, so stay tuned!