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Pokémon Masters Smartphone Game's Trailer Was Solo Key-Animated by Masaaki Iwane

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Veteran Pokémon animator regularly draws key animation for entire TV episodes by himself

The Pokémon Company began streaming a strikingly well-animated trailer for DeNA's Pokémon Masters smartphone game on Thursday. It may surprise you to learn that all the key animation frames were drawn by one person: Masaaki Iwane.

The Japanese version of the video has a partial staff list for the animation. It credits OLM TEAM KATO for the production, the same studio behind the Pokémon TV anime, and Yūji Asada and Masaaki Iwane as director and character designer respectively.

Although the staff does not list the key animation role, Iwane took full credit for it on Twitter. When a fan tweeted at him asking if it was a one-man key animation job, Iwane responded, "As usual, I drew it all by myself."

As Iwane's response may imply, this is far from the only occasion he has drawn large amounts of key animation by himself. He has been a key animator on the Pokémon TV anime since the very beginning of the series in 1997. According to the Japanese animator wiki, he has drawn entire episodes by himself since 1998. Nowadays, he is credited as the solo key animator on every sixth episode or so of the TV anime. His most recent credited solo key animated episode was on episode 126 of Sun & Moon.

On Twitter, Iwane described the production on the Pokémon Masters trailer as "relatively business as usual" for OLM. Animation producer Hiroyuki Kato described the work as a "full digital production, including the storyboards."

The full credits for the trailer are below:

Director: Yūji Asada

Anime character design: Masaaki Iwane

Color coordination: Kayo Oshima

Background art director: Katsumi Takao

Compositing director: Yasushi Yamakoshi

Editing: Hitoshi Nogawa

Sound director: Masafumi Mima

Recording: Fujio Yamada

Effects: Katsuhiro Nakano

Recording assistant: Masashi Shimada, Tatsuya Sato

Recording studio: Aoi Studio

Sound production desk: Tomoko Nakashima

Sound production: Techno Sound, Yuka Taira

Animation producer: Hiroyuki Kato

Production desk: Nozomi Aminaka

Production assistant: Shōri Shimoyama

The trailer also features the Japanese voice cast of Kōsuke Toriumi (Takashi/Brock), Ryota Ohsaka (Green/Blue), Mie Sonozaki (Shirona/Cynthia), Atsushi Abe (Cheren), Ai Kayano (Erika), Aki Toyosaki (Mei/Rosa), Ayane Sakura (Kasumi/Misty), Wakana Kingyo (Koruni/Corrina), Saki Endō (Beauty), Aya Kawakami (Lass), and Ikue Ōtani (Pikachu).

Source: Pokémon Official Japanese YouTube channel, Masaaki Iwane's Twitter account, Hiroyuki Kato's Twitter account

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