Short impressions on Tamako Love Story

This AMV was made in 2009. Watching it at the time was a mind-blowing experience. It used light effects to integrate anime characters to realistic (in this case, real-life) backgrounds, to convey emotion and to be more aesthetically pleasing. Something we could only find from the craziest video editors, and never from anime itself. To me, this AMV looked like the impossible.

We are five years into the future, and Tamako Love Story has surpassed the impossible.

Maybe I’m overzealous. Perhaps I’ve been oblivious to the progress creators have made since then. But I have rarely been as excited watching this movie. It felt like witnessing the medium moving forward. KyoAni made anime that much closer to film — I am not sure that all the individual gimmicks they used are particularly new, but seeing them all together certainly inspires awe like nothing I have seen. It is like watching Utena and contemplating Ikuhara’s stylistic influence on the medium, only in this case I just hope Tamako will have such an influence, even though a lot of its techniques probably require a great deal of time and money, and although KyoAni staff seem more sheltered than the average.

The background art and layouts are amazing. They have a great deal of detail and great composition. Their level of detail and realism, combined with the movie’s effects makes CGI that would normally stick out look exactly where it belongs. Not all the tricks used are perfect. The lens blur is gorgeous most of the time, but some focus shifts feel iffy because of the two-dimensional character drawings. Some of the camera tricks came off to me as overbearing, but it is in the nature of avant-gardism. However, the transitions between scenes are spot-on. The shadow and light effects are amazing, and make me dream of more anime using light in the same way to create their visual identity. Near-seamless CGI and masterfully layered backgrounds allow for the greatest camera movements. It is rare that you can feel anime has a cameraman like film does.

I don’t know. I want to give my impression on the use of music, the story and characters as well. But it all seems fairly insignificant compared to the sheer excitement I get from seeing this movie’s production values and direction. I do not think you need to know the TV series to appreciate the movie — just watch it. I think that few anime fans would regret it.

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While the blog is not dead, I no longer wish to watch or write about anime regularly. For that reason, knowing full-well I am offering poor content to my visitors, I will maintain this blog with more sporadic posts and make it more personal than analytical. My hope is to end up with a nice collection of thoughts I can revisit, but I no longer aim to provide regular content.

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