【Illustrator/Animator】 吉成曜 (YOSHINARI You)

It might not look like it, but this post took a very sad and long amount of time to compile. Hopefully it’s not too much of a behemoth to read and that I managed to make sense.


Hrist from Valkyrie Profile. Click for full version.

吉成曜 (YOSHINARI You), the younger brother of Yoshinari Kou, is a professional animator and illustrator, and currently works under GAINAX. His representative works include doing the mecha designs in the Gurren Lagann series, and for doing numerous character designs and illustrations for the Valkyrie Profile series in collaboration with his brother. Y.You’s birthday is May 5th, 1971, and graduated from Tokyo Design Gakuin.

Y.You’s illustration style is hard to classify properly as he does a lot of different things, though the one thing that is consistent is that he draws with a lot of solid, straight, and angular black lines, and his characters’ faces are more anime-like than realistic as they lack details such as eyelashes, even though he usually draws real noses and lips. His colouring style is also extremely easy to recognize. For shading, he mostly uses relatively low-contrast shades, and as a result makes his pictures seem flatter and less “shiny”, and sometimes shades with a different colour than the main colour (In this case, the blue with purple on the legs). He also likes using inorganic colour palettes such as purple and cyan. Y.You is also very good at non-human pictures. However, Y.You is so overwhelmingly incredible that I can’t possibly apply all the above to all of his works, and you can see some significant contradictions to everything I talked about above.

In addition to doing character designs, he also did mecha/machine designs for series such as Gurren Lagann and Melody of Oblivion. His mecha style is generally pretty colourful and although they are machines, the lines are relatively more curved and are not rectangular or boxy, giving them a less “piece of large metal that moves” feel.

Y.You as an animator is extremely well-known for his action and explosion scenes, the latter of which became so recognizable that fans coined the term “吉成爆発” (Yoshinari Bakuhatsu/Yoshinari Explosion). His action scenes consist of a lot of jumping and soaring, plus interesting camera work that involves close camera shots and little panning. As for his explosions, if you see a large cloud-like ball of fire and dust marked by different colours at the border with an inward center, then you have just witnessed a Yoshinari Explosion. The next time you see something similar in an action-packed anime episode, please think of the genius that is Y.You.

Of course, animation is impossible to believe without seeing, so please take a look at the videos below. Each frame is drawn and coloured by hand, though for the newer clips they may be coloured by computer then had some CG/textures added into the original frame.

In no particular order:
1. Yoshinari You MAD (niconico link)
2. Cyborg 009 Segment (niconico link)
3. V Gundam Clip
4. Maze OVA Segment
5. ねこぢる草 (Cat Soup) Clip
6. WHITE ALBUM Ep12 ED (niconico link)
7. 秋色恋華 (Akiiro Renka) OP (niconico link) (This was animated by both Y.Kou and Y.You)
8. キラメキ★ヨーコ BOX(KIRAMEKI★YOKO BOX) cut (+frame by frame)
9. Pani Poni OP clip (On repeat, from full OP)
10. 宇宙海賊ミトの大冒険 (The Adventures of Mito the Space Pirate) Clip (niconico link)
11. Best of OP/ED (niconico link) (Y.You’s part is from 6:27-6:34)
12. Animators Rainbow (niconico link) (Y.You’s part is from 1:05-2:01)
13. 魔法少女プリティサミー (Magical Girl Pretty Sammy) omake PV (niconico link)
14. Gurren Lagann Parallel Works Track 08
15. FLCL Finished vs Rough Comparison (niconico link) (Y.You’s part starts at 0:28-end)

Wikipedia entry: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/吉成曜 (Japanese)
作画@wiki entry: http://www18.atwiki.jp/sakuga/pages/45.html (Japanese)
Y.You Youtube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C5AA844E010163B6
Gurren Lagann Y.You Rough Clip: http://www.gainax.co.jp/anime/gurren-lagann/c242.html