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The Secret World of Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arrietty)


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#21 Christian

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

Would Arrietty be too much for a four-year-old? Simon loves My Neighbor Totoro, and I do want to encourage his love for all things Studio Ghibli.

I'm inclined to say no, it's not too much for a 4-year-old. A few menacing insects and rodents are seen, and a cat leaps at the borrowers a couple of times, but those aren't exactly scary moments. The movie's most manic scene has a crow fly into a window and flap its wings violently.

Anything I'm missing, Steven?

I saw it with my 9-year-old daughter and spent some of my time wishing I'd brought my 5-year-old son, FWIW.

#22 SDG

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:08 PM

I plan to bring my entire family, including my 3-year-old daughter and my 5-year-old son.

Again, my review (with content advisory: "A couple of mildly frightening moments. Fine family viewing").

#23 Christian

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:13 PM

BTW, this film is another great example of how unnecessary 3D generally is. Studio Ghibli's 2D stuff is far more imaginative than most 3D films aimed at kids or adults.

#24 Overstreet

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:35 PM

Glenn Kenny's come up with my favorite tweet-length description of Studio Ghibli style:

Japan's Studio Ghibli makes animated films the way Faberge made ornamental eggs.


And more:

It's always great to see an animated film that's pitched at kids but doesn't pander to them. As is always the case with films from this studio, there isn't a Smash Mouth song within 100 miles of these proceedings. And its modulations are a welcome break from the freneticism usually associated with such fare. While it doesn't offer much in the way of "sophisticated" content for adults, it brings something much more valuable, really: genuine aesthetic bliss.


Edited by Overstreet, 16 February 2012 - 12:36 PM.


#25 opus

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:29 AM

Two interesting Arrietty-related articles from Wired:

9 Things Parents Should Know About The Secret World of Arrietty

Nanoscience Is at Work in The Secret World of Arrietty

#26 Christian

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

Two interesting Arrietty-related articles from Wired:

9 Things Parents Should Know About The Secret World of Arrietty

I'd add that this a good movie for dads to see with their daughters. (I saw it with my 9-year-old daughter; my 7-year-old would've joined us had she not come down with pink eye)

#27 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:41 PM

I took both of the twins (who just turned 6) a few nights ago and they liked it quite a bit, I think. One of my favorite outings with them so far.

I was as intrigued by the focus on micro-physics as anyone else -- the way the water drops behave differently at that scale, etc. -- but then I started wondering if this wouldn't also mean that body fluids ought to be moving differently within the Borrowers' bodies, instead of their bodies functioning exactly the same way that regular human bodies function at the macro scale...

#28 opus

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:14 PM

I'd assume that their bodily fluids -- and other functions, like heart rate, metabolism -- would function similarly to small mammals (e.g., mice). Not sure what that all entails, though: biology was never my strong suit.

Edited by opus, 17 February 2012 - 04:14 PM.


#29 David Smedberg

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:02 PM

I took both of the twins (who just turned 6) a few nights ago and they liked it quite a bit, I think. One of my favorite outings with them so far.

I was as intrigued by the focus on micro-physics as anyone else -- the way the water drops behave differently at that scale, etc. -- but then I started wondering if this wouldn't also mean that body fluids ought to be moving differently within the Borrowers' bodies, instead of their bodies functioning exactly the same way that regular human bodies function at the macro scale...

Under pressure (as in the bloodstream) fluids move differently than under air pressure, so this I presume could work the same. However, I have no idea about saliva, it would be interesting to find out if spit would feel/function very different for a borrower-sized person...

#30 vjmorton

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:03 PM

Would Arrietty be too much for a four-year-old? Simon loves My Neighbor Totoro, and I do want to encourage his love for all things Studio Ghibli.

If it's a 4-year-old who love TOTORO, it's perfect for him.

#31 Timothy Zila

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:34 PM

I'd highly recommend that you go and see this in the theater if you get a chance.

It's a wonderful film.

Some thoughts:

1:) 2D animation isn't dead as long as skilled and passionate filmmakers remain committed to the artform, as Studio Ghibli obviously is.

2:) I think 2D and 3D animation are intermixed here more seamlessly than ever before. If you watch 2D animation with a low-budget, like Avatar (the series, needless to say), you really notice what's 3D and what's not. Even in earlier Ghibli films (Spirited Away, most notably) 3D is intrusive because you can tell it's not hand-drawn. Here, there are some shots/elements that are 3D and yes, you can tell they're 3D if you know what to look for (and you're looking, which I was, most people aren't), but it's really seamless. It's not at all distracting - so yay for marrying two different types of animation in an unobtrusive way.

3:) In addition to the animation, this film gets credit for its sound-design. There are several spectacular sequences where we both see and hear from the Borrower's perspective - it's really neat to see how everyday household appliances can be really menacing from the Borrower's perspective.

4:) Bring your children and familiarize them (and yourselves, if necessary) to Ghibli's back-catalog. It's so refreshing to see family appropriate entertainment that's well-done, artful, and has a sense of mystery. If you see Cars 2 it's clear there's no mystery - it's all noise and a (tacked on) message (and a wrong one, at that). Here we get a sense of how wonderful and also strange the world can be, and the film avoids being didactic (the same can't be said for a lot of other Ghibli films - but at least Miyazaki has some legitimate concerns that he deals with in his films).

5:) Miyazaki's 'flaw' has always been crafting a cohesive story (or plot, if you will). For most of his films, he's made up the story as he went along, which made it interesting when I learned Miyazaki is credited for writing Arriety's screenplay even though he didn't direct the film. Somewhat surprisingly, the screenplay here is actually really good. You have some idea where the story's going, but it doesn't go quite where you expect it to, but it never loses its way, unlike some of Miyazaki's films. I think this bodes well for the next (couple?) of Miyazaki films we'll get in the next few years.

Edited by Timothy Zila, 18 February 2012 - 08:37 PM.


#32 Attica

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:04 AM

Timothy said:


:2D animation isn't dead as long as skilled and passionate filmmakers remain committed to the artform, as Studio Ghibli obviously is.



Speaking as a 2-D animator I most certainly agree. 2-D animation is now the "novelty" that 3-D was in the early 90's. When it's well done there is a segment of people who find it refreshing and love it. It's moving away from being a "film product" to becoming a true artform, much the same as with stop-motion animation.

That being said, Studio Ghibli's 2-D animation actually isn't top notch compared to some that is out there. If you want to see what I mean compare the actual animation (I mean the character's life and movement) of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp2nb9Vq0yY


with this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPdLrxxo4mg


The early Disney animators considered "animation" to be bringing to life, or breathing life into the character, even to the point of considering a character where this wasn't acheived to not be "real" animation. I think that this can be seen in THE ILLUSIONIST.... the characters are alive. Where in Studio Ghibli's stuff, not so much.


What Studio Ghibli is excellent at though, is creating other worlds that we believe in and giving atmosphere to these worlds, and therefore their films. This is mainly done through their attention to characters, and their imaginative story. But also with their finely crafted background designs and gentle use of them in telling the story. I expect that their films have such well conceived, beautiful backgrounds, that viewers aren't noticing some of the the limitations in the actual animation, unless of course one has developed an eye to see this easier.

:Miyazaki's 'flaw' has always been crafting a cohesive story (or plot, if you will). For most of his films, he's made up the story as he went along, which made it interesting when I learned Miyazaki is credited for writing Arriety's screenplay even though he didn't direct the film. Somewhat surprisingly, the screenplay here is actually really good. You have some idea where the story's going, but it doesn't go quite where you expect it to, but it never loses its way, unlike some of Miyazaki's films. I think this bodes well for the next (couple?) of Miyazaki films we'll get in the next few years.



Yep. Some of his films have lost their way or at least become a little confusing. HOWLS MOVING CASTLE is a good example. I still like it though.

Have you seen CASTLE IN THE SKY? It's probably my favourite, and has a sound story. There is a lot of mystery with some interesting reveals, yet these are still coherent to the story.

Edited by Attica, 19 February 2012 - 12:36 AM.


#33 Timothy Zila

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:10 AM

That being said, Studio Ghibli's 2-D animation actually isn't top notch compared to some that is out there. If you want to see what I mean compare the actual animation (I mean the character's life and movement) of this:

. . .

What Studio Ghibli is excellent at though, is creating other worlds that we believe in and giving atmosphere to these worlds, and therefore their films. This is mainly done through their attention to characters, and their imaginative story. But also with their finely crafted background designs and gentle use of them in telling the story. I expect that their films have such well conceived, beautiful backgrounds, that viewers aren't noticing some of the the limitations in the actual animation, unless of course one has developed an eye to see this easier.



Well sure, I see what you mean. But isn't that sort of like criticizing apples for not being oranges?

I also wouldn't put The Secret World of Arrietty as the benchmark of Studio Ghibli's animation. That would have to be a Miyazaki film. If you watch Spirited Away I think you see a very careful attention to the character's movements and mannerisms (the protagonist putting her slippers on, etc.) That being said, yeah, a lot of the appeal of Ghibli films is the world that's put on screen. In something like Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke fantastical creatures and landscapes are as much a part of the film as the human characters.

You brought up Howl's Moving Castle in reference to my comment about Miyazaki's storytelling ability. Why not apply it to the issue of animation as well. There's some great characterization (some great 'bringing to life') in that film. I'm particularly thinking of the castle itself and Calcifer (the fire demon). The way those characters are animated is fantastic. Is there less attention given to some of the human characters? Sure (although, from what I remember, there's a lot of attention given to the protagonist when she appears as an old woman), but that's not the stick by which everything should be measured.

Of course, I'm not an animator, so I have to concede my lack of technical expertise here, but still, those are some of my thoughts on the issue.




Have you seen CASTLE IN THE SKY? It's probably my favourite, and has a sound story. There is a lot of mystery with some interesting reveals, yet these are still coherent to the story.


Yep, I've seen virtually every Ghibli film (even a few ones that I don't think are available in Region 1 DVD's and blu-rays, but which played on cable at one point and which I have on a VHS . . . not that I'll ever watch a movie on VHS again in my life, but still).

How many have you seen?

The indispensable Miyazaki films are: My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Porco Rosso (1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001). Of the non-Miyazaki films, I'd only be willing to call Grave of the Fireflies indispensable, although most of the others are very good as well (with Arrietty being a good benchmark for their general quality).

Castle in the Sky was Miyazaki's second film for Ghibli (not including The Castle of Cagliostro), and I mostly love it for its opening credits sequence (those are always great), and the flashback sequence(s). I'm fond of it, but as things go I'd have to say it's not mature Miyazaki.

Edit: I love The Illusionist. Along with a few of Pixar's films (namely Ratatouille and Wall-E) and Spirited Away I think it's the best animated film of the last decade or so. And I definitely see how the protagonist's appearance and movements are highly distinguished, whereas Ghibli films tend to rely more on typical 'templates' from anime, if you will (the great example being Shawn in Arriety, whose appearance is more or less a blank, male slate).

Second Edit: I'd also like to point out that, as I understand it, computers were used a lot more to animate The Illusionist than they generally are for Ghibli films. That's not a negative in my opinion, just a note.

As an animator, what do you make of the change in animation style/quality from Three Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist? Going back and watching the former after The Illusionist, as I did a few months ago, makes you appreciate just how much difference there is with a slightly larger budget and the introduction of computers to the process? (Not that computers weren't used on Belleville, but it seems like they were a much smaller part of the animation process).

Edited by Timothy Zila, 19 February 2012 - 01:17 AM.


#34 Attica

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:01 PM

Timothy said:

:Well sure, I see what you mean. But isn't that sort of like criticizing apples for not being oranges?


I suppose it is a little, in that Studio Ghibli is making exactly the films that it wants to. It isn't trying to have the quality of animation of say the Illusionist, but certainly its attempting to have the quality of storytelling. I was merely attempting to point out studio Ghibli's strengths and weaknesses. Studio Ghibli's animation is usually sufficient to help the story but it's not attempting to live up to the standard of animation movement that Disney set in the 50's and 60's, whearas the guys that made the Illusionist are trying to meet that standard. This also comes down to the apples and oranges idea in that Japanese animation is coming from a bit different tradition than Western animation. They have always put more emphasis on backgrounds, and even movement (such as lights, flames ect.) happening around a still drawn character. I'm sure that this is also partly to do with budget constraints, which is understandable. I respect Studio Ghibli's ability to tell story, and create wonderful worlds. Yet I really respect TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE and THE ILLUSIONIST. Those guys have managed to make remarkable artful films on a shoestring budget.

So in that respect, I'm not sure if I'm really criticizing Studio Ghibli, just trying to point something out. This being that if one is looking for a studio that is passionately making quality 2-D films then Studio Ghibli fits the bill, but if one is looking for a studio that is passionately retaining the quality of the actual animation, of the movement as an artform in itself, then I'd look elsewhere. I'm not trying to diss their films, or their filmmaking abilities, as they just have a different emphasis.



:I also wouldn't put The Secret World of Arrietty as the benchmark of Studio Ghibli's animation. That would have to be a Miyazaki film. If you watch Spirited Away I think you see a very careful attention to the character's movements and mannerisms (the protagonist putting her slippers on, etc.) That being said, yeah, a lot of the appeal of Ghibli films is the world that's put on screen. In something like Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke fantastical creatures and landscapes are as much a part of the film as the human characters.

You brought up Howl's Moving Castle in reference to my comment about Miyazaki's storytelling ability. Why not apply it to the issue of animation as well. There's some great characterization (some great 'bringing to life') in that film. I'm particularly thinking of the castle itself and Calcifer (the fire demon). The way those characters are animated is fantastic.



I haven't seen ARRIETY yet, but I would probably agree that SPIRITED AWAY and HOWLS MOVING CASTLE have the best animation of all their films. They also have some great creatures and landscapes, and your right, for Studio Ghibli the creatures and landscapes are certainly as much a part of the film as the human characters. The castle wouldn't really be considered animation but more "effects animation". Certainly it was well done, but that fits with what I was getting at, being that Studio Ghibli has stuff in their films that is real cool, but this stuff also moves peoples eyes away from seeing that the characters are not as lifelike. Calcifer and the scarecrow guy were some of the best animation that I've seen from the studio, as well as the black blobby things (I forget if they have a name) in SPIRITED AWAY. They were interesting to watch.



: Is there less attention given to some of the human characters? Sure (although, from what I remember, there's a lot of attention given to the protagonist when she appears as an old woman), but that's not the stick by which everything should be measured.


Depends on what one wants to measure. As a measurement of 2-D filmmaking then maybe not. But in a measurement of the actual artform of animating a character.... then sure.



:Yep, I've seen virtually every Ghibli film.
How many have you seen?


U'm I'm looking through the IMDB right now and I've seen HOWLS MOVING CASTLE, THE CAT RETURNS, SPIRITED AWAY, PORCO ROSSO, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, and CASTLE IN THE SKY.

I think CASTLE IN THE SKY. is my favourite. I really enjoyed the adventure, and discoveries in the story.



:Castle in the Sky was Miyazaki's second film for Ghibli (not including The Castle of Cagliostro), and I mostly love it for its opening credits sequence (those are always great), and the flashback sequence(s). I'm fond of it, but as things go I'd have to say it's not mature Miyazaki.



He did go in a bit different direction afterwards. His later films were more moving, thoughtful, heartfelt, with gentle aspects.




:I love The Illusionist. Along with a few of Pixar's films (namely Ratatouille and Wall-E) and Spirited Away I think it's the best animated film of the last decade or so. And I definitely see how the protagonist's appearance and movements are highly distinguished, whereas Ghibli films tend to rely more on typical 'templates' from anime, if you will (the great example being Shawn in Arriety, whose appearance is more or less a blank, male slate).


My favourite animated films of the last decade are probably THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, and THE SECRET OF KELLS. KELLS is interesting in this discussion because it's actual animation is somewhere between STUDIO GHIBLI and TRIPLETS in it's quality....... but KELLS storytelling and design..... was inspired. It's not that the animation in KELLS isn't any good, as much as it's that the animation in TRIPLETS and THE ILLUSIONIST is really good. With the exception of some of Disney's occassional forays into 2-D, it's at the height of the 2-D animation that is currently being made.

Yep Ghibli is doing something a bit different than most Anime, but they are still somewhat in the Anime tradition. I expect your example of Shawn fits with what I'm getting at..... not being fully brought to life.



: I'd also like to point out that, as I understand it, computers were used a lot more to animate The Illusionist than they generally are for Ghibli films. That's not a negative in my opinion, just a note.


In the Illusionist (and Triplets) the characters were animated by hand and then scanned into the computer where they were coloured. In both films most of the backgrounds were 2-D drawings with the occasional 3-D elements. A perfect example is in TRIPLETS where they are on the sea voyage. Here the boats and the waves were 3-D, and the characters were hand drawn and composited into the scene.

Studio Ghibli's films are mostly hand drawn, and coloured.... although I think SPIRITED AWAY and HOWL'S had some 3-D elements.


:As an animator, what do you make of the change in animation style/quality from Three Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist? Going back and watching the former after The Illusionist, as I did a few months ago, makes you appreciate just how much difference there is with a slightly larger budget and the introduction of computers to the process? (Not that computers weren't used on Belleville, but it seems like they were a much smaller part of the animation process).


I'll get back to you on that. My wife and I are heading out to go on a Sunday hike.

Edited by Attica, 20 February 2012 - 10:27 PM.


#35 David Smedberg

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:07 PM

Attica and Timothy, I love having this kind of conversation here on A&F, thanks. I tend more towards Timothy's side, which I'll explain more in a moment.

I just got back from Arriety, and it is fair to say I am over the moon with it. What a great story, well told! What a convincing environment in which the story was told! What a feeling of smallness, which helps to lend a sense of mystery--there is so much more out there, and this seems like a peep through a knothole into a mostly-unseen space. (PS For once, they could do a sequel and I would not be upset at all. At least that's how I feel right now, I might feel differently later.)

Attica, I think Ghibli's animation in this movie, and in others which I would call my favorites (My Neighbor Totoro, Only Yesterday, Gauche the Cellist) have to be measured against a very specific yardstick, realist animation. In the heyday of Disney animation, realism coexisted somewhat uncomfortably with their first instinct, which was always caricature (thus the preeminence of "squash and stretch" even today when "classical" animation is being taught). Michael Barrier points out how starkly this sticks out in Snow White and especially in Cinderella, because they rotoscoped the female leads to make them more realistic. In this respect, Ghibli, who aren't rotoscoping at all, come out ahead in my view. Ghibli doesn't shy away from slapstick and caricature where it's appropriate (there's a great moment with a crow in Arrietty that had all the kids chuckling) but their dominant approach is realistic, and they are the best at what they do.

#36 Timothy Zila

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:45 AM

What do you mean exactly by "realistic?" That seems like a somewhat odd term to describe a Studio Ghibli film (or most Ghibli films, there are exceptions).

I think what you're getting at, though, is mostly that in Ghibli films the human character's don't tend toward caricature, in which case I agree. I was watching a bit of Ponyo today and there's lots of detail as to how the main character moves. But it's subtle. Whereas in The Illusionist and The Triplets of Belleville the emphasis is on exaggeration. This is particularly the case in Belleville (e.g. the guy who trains to ride in the Tour de France). Just a comparison of how dramatically characters in The Illusionist move versus any Ghibli film proves that point.

What you see in The Illusionist is physical comedy via animation. Its aesthetic is very similar to silent films, and is also evident in some of Pixar's best work (particularly Ratatouille, but also bits of Wall-E). But it's purposefully exaggerated.

Watching Ponyo, I also have to reemphasize that Ghibli's animation isn't inferior, it's just different. What Miyazaki wanted to do with Ponyo is make the animation (the backgrounds in particular) look like water colors - it almost goes without saying that the affect is unbelievably beautiful and unique. I imagine you'd be hard pressed to dig up an example of someone doing it better than he did in that film.

I'm also amazed at how much is packed into each and every Ghibli frame. Cell-shading Ponyo must have took forever (and, unlike some other Ghibli films, it is entirely handrawn). That's not something you get in The Illusionist, so naturally there's some more detail in how the characters move. Because there's a lot less going on.

Of course, The Illusionist is beautiful too, but where Miyazaki goes for a wavery, water color look (which is appropriate given the importance of the ocean to the film), the landscapes in The Illusionist are much more solid. Their quality is totally different than in Ponyo - not worse, mind you, just different.

Which is why I think both films/filmmakers/different schools/etc. are equally valid representations of 2D animation at its finest.

#37 Attica

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:22 AM

Attica and Timothy, I love having this kind of conversation here on A&F, thanks. I tend more towards Timothy's side, which I'll explain more in a moment.

I just got back from Arriety, and it is fair to say I am over the moon with it. What a great story, well told! What a convincing environment in which the story was told! What a feeling of smallness, which helps to lend a sense of mystery--there is so much more out there, and this seems like a peep through a knothole into a mostly-unseen space. (PS For once, they could do a sequel and I would not be upset at all. At least that's how I feel right now, I might feel differently later.)

Attica, I think Ghibli's animation in this movie, and in others which I would call my favorites (My Neighbor Totoro, Only Yesterday, Gauche the Cellist) have to be measured against a very specific yardstick, realist animation. In the heyday of Disney animation, realism coexisted somewhat uncomfortably with their first instinct, which was always caricature (thus the preeminence of "squash and stretch" even today when "classical" animation is being taught). Michael Barrier points out how starkly this sticks out in Snow White and especially in Cinderella, because they rotoscoped the female leads to make them more realistic. In this respect, Ghibli, who aren't rotoscoping at all, come out ahead in my view. Ghibli doesn't shy away from slapstick and caricature where it's appropriate (there's a great moment with a crow in Arrietty that had all the kids chuckling) but their dominant approach is realistic, and they are the best at what they do.



Hi David.

Studio Ghibli sometimes leans towards what is called "limited animation". This being that there are an awful lot of "holds" where there is no movement, on say the characters body while it's eyes blink. For example the lady speaking at the 25 second mark (in the trailer above), or the lady at the 1:22 mark where only their mouths move. One wouldn't find this in a Disney film, or again a film like THE ILLUSIONIST.

Or they have no movement on the body while the character is sitting inside something that is moving. For example, have a look at the girl going up the rope at the 10 second mark. For a good chunk of her going up the rope there is nothing moving except the ponytail on her hair. Then there is the slight movement of her head turning when she gets closer, which is a fairly simple movement without much life.

Also as a general rule Disney animates it's characters on what is known as "ones" meaning for every 24 frames of film time there are 24 drawings. They do this with the exception of when they want a drawing to have a certain impact (like when a hammer hits a nail), then they put that drawing on "two's"... meaning that they would film it twice. This is the most flowing beautiful and lifelike way to animate.

Warner Brothers on the other hand did most of their animation on "two's", meaning for every 24 frames of film there are 12 drawings. Sometimes they would animate on "ones" if they were trying to pull off a particularily quick movement or if they had a character walking in front of a panning screen (when a character animated on two's is walking across a panning screen it can cause a "jog" that doesn't sit right with the eye). "Two's" are of course not as flowing and lifelike as ones, but because the Warner Brothers animators were using squash and stretch more than the Disney animators (it fit their style and humour), and because they really knew what they were doing, they still made some of their stuff look pretty smoking. Animating a film on "twos" is obviously easier on the films budget.


Often in Studio Ghibli films there are shots of characters that are animated on "fours" (6 drawings for every 24 frames). Which makes for a more jumpy, less life like animation. A good example is the old lady talking on the Arietty trailer at the 1:18 mark.


From what I've read and my own interaction with the animation industry I'm pretty sure that Disney's early films weren't rotoscoped. What they did was film live actors and then the animators would use them as a reference. This was for the simple reason that rotoscoped animation doesn't look that hot. There are tricks that animators use to make a character look life like that rotoscoping doesn't accomplish. In a way it's like the whole bit about some motion capture 3-D animation..... it kind of looks wrong.

For example AMERICAN POP was rotoscoped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-UCLiQ5EdQ



Compare that to Cinderella.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjIssqHQJ6o



There are a few things in this animation that show that she wasn't rotoscoped. For example look at her right arm at the 2:10 mark..... the animator used a technique called "the breaking of the limbs". Her the limb is "broken" in a way in which it bends at the elbow, which is contrary to how it's possible for a human limb to bend, which of course means that this part wasn't rotoscoped. This was one of the tricks that animators used to make a characters movements "loose" and lifelike. Without this they looked like stiff puppets..... which usually happens in rotoscoping.


Now compare that animation to the stuff in the ARIETTY trailer, and also have a look at the realistic animation of THE ILLUSIONIST. This technique is apparent in THE ILLUSIONIST.

In 1998 I attended a workshop by Richard Williams (the guy who directed Roger Rabbit). He was an animator who in the 70's spent some time apprenticing under a few of the Disney greats. It wasn't until he showed one of them some animation of his character Zig Zag in his castle that he finally said "Okay your an animator".

Have a look at the 25 second mark.

Link to Clip

For the Disney animators that was the quality one was to shoot for. FWIW I confess that I'm not there yet. Although I think I've acheived some sort of life in my work.



A link to a clip from the Independent short that I'm working on.




Again. I'm not trying to say that Studio Ghibli doesn't make wonderful films and have some great artists, or even for that matter that I could pull off what they are accomplishing. I'm just saying that their stuff isn't a full expression of what the 2-D animator's art (as in a character brought to life by movement in time) can achieve.

Edited by Attica, 20 February 2012 - 03:41 PM.


#38 Attica

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:42 AM

What Miyazaki wanted to do with Ponyo is make the animation (the backgrounds in particular) look like water colors - it almost goes without saying that the affect is unbelievably beautiful and unique. I imagine you'd be hard pressed to dig up an example of someone doing it better than he did in that film.

I'm also amazed at how much is packed into each and every Ghibli frame. Cell-shading Ponyo must have took forever (and, unlike some other Ghibli films, it is entirely handrawn). That's not something you get in The Illusionist, so naturally there's some more detail in how the characters move. Because there's a lot less going on.

Which is why I think both films/filmmakers/different schools/etc. are equally valid representations of 2D animation at its finest.



Notice that you said "the backgrounds in particular" to look like water colors, to make the "effect" beautiful and unique, and that the cell shading of the films must have took forever. These are aspects of effects and design that do indeed make those films stunning..... but they have little to do with the actual animation (ie. movement in time that brings the character to life). Great animation can be done with stick figures.... while really wonderful drawings can have no movement at all, and are therefore not animation.

So YES Ghibli is making some films that represent 2-D animated filmmaking at it's finest..... but these films don't have the finest examples of actual animation.

I'm really not trying to be a A**H*le about this (really truly).


As to THE ILLUSIONIST and TRIPLETS. I do think that THE ILLUSIONIST is a bit better animation than TRIPLETS. It did have a bit bigger budget, but I expect the real reason for it's better quality is that after TRIPLETS the director was able to pull together a better crew, who had more time to work on the film. For what its worth TRIPLETS was made in France while THE ILLUSIONIST was made in Ireland. The director made his first successful film through the National Film Board of Canada several years after I got into animation. When he went to the Academy Awards with it there was a bit of a buzz amongst us.

In the film you can see some similarities with his later work.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLcQEPYidPk

Edited by Attica, 20 February 2012 - 02:07 AM.


#39 SDG

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:43 PM

FWIW, according to Box Office Mojo:

The Secret World of Arrietty debuted in eighth place with an estimated $8.1 million. That tops Ponyo's $3.6 million to become the best stateside opening ever for a Studio Ghibli movie, and it even had a slight per-theater advantage for the three-day weekend ($4,242 vs. $3,868). Audiences awarded the movie an "A-" CinemaScore.

So that's progress, but still kind of depressing, especially given the familiarity of the source material and the lack of narrative weirdness. This should have been an easy sell to American families. Yet none of the parents I talked to about Arrietty after church on Sunday had even heard of it. Why isn't Disney marketing this like they actually believe in it?

When I took the family to see Arrietty on Sunday afternoon, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island was sold out in its second weekend. At least some parents who had brought kids to the theater to see The Rock do the Pec Pop of Love wound up watching a vastly better film. They also saw trailers for awful-looking computer-animated Hollywood films, including The Lorax and a Madagascar sequel, that will undoubtedly make far more money.

#40 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 02:57 PM

Box Office Mojo wrote:
: The Secret World of Arrietty debuted in eighth place with an estimated $8.1 million. That tops Ponyo's $3.6 million to become the best stateside opening ever for a Studio Ghibli movie, and it even had a slight per-theater advantage for the three-day weekend ($4,242 vs. $3,868).

FWIW, the live-action 1998 adaptation of The Borrowers opened to $4.5 million in 1,535 theatres for a per-screen average of $2,912. Not sure how 14 years of inflation would affect that. (I know BOM has its adjusting-for-inflation formula, but I don't know how much I trust it.)