THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY
I don't keep up with anime often. In fact, I don't even know if I could be called a fan anymore. I used to absolutely love it. In the days when it was on VHS and DVD I would buy several titles every week. Now, there's very little I'm interested in watching. Don't worry. I'm not going to go into a rage about the good old days, and how shows back then we're really good, and the stuff they make now is a bunch of garbage. I don't believe that. I would say the same thing about modern anime as I would say about the new Star Wars movies. They are made for young people today and not for guys who are pushing 50.
So what aspect of anime am I interested in today? I am very much interested in the art of anime. I'm interested in how it's made. I'm very much interested in the skill that goes into it. If you go to YouTube, and look up a set of videos titled Sakuga Mad, you'll get an idea what I'm talking about. These videos showcase the art of individual animators. They usually show off some of the greatest word happening in the industry today. It is through one of these videos, that I found Shingeki n Bahamut.
The first thing I noticed about the show was the amazing visual quality. It's getting up there in The Legend of Korra territory, and we all know how much that show cost. I had to know who made it, because generally anime cannot spend that kind of money on a series. I learned that different from most animated series in Japan, this one did not come from a manga. It came from a video game or card game. The company behind it is called Cygames. Apparently this company has over 3 million users outside of Japan. I can only imagine how many users they have inside, but if you put it all together, and assume they have some kind of monthly subscription or micro payment system, they definitely have no shortage of income.
I have not been able to find any definite budget information on this series. I have no doubt it must be very high because animated, television series in Japan simply don't look like this. This show has some of the best cel shading work I've ever seen. There were numerous times when I had to rewind a scene over and over to be sure whether or not it was hand-drawn or cel shaded. I'm guessing that the level of integration of computer animation allows for the increase in quality of the traditionally hand-drawn elements. I can only describe it as being one step from feature animation level.
I wrote all that to talk about the importance of quality in animation. As I mentioned before, seeing a clip from the show, in a video on YouTube, is what got me to watch it in the first place. Over and over, you hear people say how story is everything. This may be true during the viewing experience, or after you walk out of the cinema, but if you don't watch that thing in the first place, you will never know how good the story is. In many cases, quality will do a lot more to get you to watch it in the first place.
A perfect example of this would be The film Genocidal Organ which is part of Project Itoh. The first, short trailer I saw for that absolutely blew me away. I'm already hooked. It was the quality of the images and in animation in that trailer that made me certain that I must see this movie. I believe that audiences today have certain expectations for quality. As the shows being put out by the mainstream continue to improve, at least in the visual arena, these expectations will continue to go up. In a world where there's too much content and not enough time to view it all, and every creator must compete for eyeballs, visual quality will be of extreme importance to the independent creator who wants to get their work seen.
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