Otaku's Voice - An Animator's View on an Otaku Society

Otaku's Voice #4.2 - February 20th, 2002

An Animator's View on an Otaku Society

by Brian "Ranmah" Mah

Recently I attended the Big Apple Anime Fest. Nice convention, but it seemed rather dull compared to most cons I've been to. The guests were pretty well known in the Anime Industry (i.e. Rachelle Lillis, Kunihiko Ikuhara, Yuji Moriyama). The con was very well organized for its first year of conception. So any way after the con I went to a local restaurant with some Otaku. They seem to rant and rave about certain parts of some the Anime they have seen. They were comparing the difference between sub and dub, CG and hand drawn animation. As they were talking I was silent the whole time just watching and hearing their comments and thinking to myself; "I wonder if any of these Otaku has ever made a demo reel or worked on any kind of animation?"

I understand the process of doing animation (i.e. story development, storyboarding, character design, and animating) because I graduated with a BFA in Animation. Studying animation is extremely difficult and time consuming. I had to memorize terms, such as voice track. I worked on the different Animation Cameras (i.e. Oxberry Camera). I also had to practice drawing cycles (i.e. walking, falling, etc.). As the years went on I became to truly understand the process of animation and animating.

A lot of critics and fans talk about animation, but I have yet to see one critic or fan produce one minute of animation. To most animators believe in order to truly understand the mechanics and process of animation, you have to experience it first hand. Now most Otaku will disagree with me and yell at my editor about my rant, but that's ok. I can understand that some of you have strong opinions about this subject and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

But if there are some Otaku who will agree with me and would like to pursue a career in animation, I just have some words of advice: keep pursuing your dreams, don't give up, keep a sketch book and draw, draw, draw. You also must have the drive to do something that will take most of your time and energy. It will be all worth it when you see your work on the big screen and you hear people applauding at the end of the credits, it can be very addictive. It doesn't have to be an hour movie; it can be a 2-3 min short that has limited animation (i.e. South Park).

There will be some Otaku will say that I can do everything on the computer and I don't need to draw everything cell by cell. All I can say is the computer is just a tool like the pencil or the pen. You need to know the basic principles of animation (i.e. 24 frames equals one second) to animate something and you need to be creative. Whether it is a bouncing ball or a bouncing Pikachu. The computer is very linear and stagnant, while hand drawn animation is more 3-Dimentional and conveys emotion. That is just my opinion in terms of animating.

Like the old saying goes, "You can walk the walk, but can you talk the talk?"

My modern saying goes, "You can talk all about anime, but can you actually create one?"

Well I'll get out the way I can hear a group of wild Otaku coming this way.

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