【Anime】 喰霊-零- / Ga-Rei -Zero-

More old anime.

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Title: 喰霊-零- (Ga-Rei -Zero-)
Studio: AIC Spirits and asread
Director: あおきえい (AOKI Ei)
Original Creator: 瀬川はじめ (HASEGAWA Hajime)
Episodes: 12
Genre: Seinen (Drama, Supernatural, Action)
Status: Completed, not licensed.
My Rating: 9.3/10

Ga-Rei -Zero- is set in an alternate version of Japan riddled with destructive supernatural spirits which regular people cannot see. In order to protect its citizens, two factions of the government have set up specialized teams dedicated to fighting against these spirits, and the most elite teams employ members which have the natural ability to perceive spirits, fighting against them with unique exorcizing weapons. The series follows the missions of the elite teams and explores the relationships between the members. Ga-Rei -Zero- is the anime-original prequel to the original manga Ga-Rei by HASEGAWA Hajime. -Zero- does not assume any knowledge of the manga on the part of the viewer.

Review: This is a series which the viewer should start watching without knowing anything, as its main appeal, in my opinion, is in its unpredictability and shock factor. The first-time viewer only needs to know that the series is good to incredible and is worth a watch, and should not be given clues as to the series progression. I highly advise against looking at anything related to Ga-Rei -Zero- (besides this post, maybe) if you have not seen it before. Also, try not to read any episode summaries (especially avoid Episode 1 summaries) or look at reviews which detail parts of the plot. Perhaps hold off on reading the manga as well. I also do not recommend marathoning the series in one or two sittings. I did so in a single sitting, and it was not to the best effect. I believe I could have had an even better experience had I paced myself and watched 1-2 episodes at a time to give myself more time to think about all the things that happened.

Because of my firm belief in not disclosing anything relevant about the plot in Ga-Rei -Zero-, I will not mention any character names or specific events which happened in the series. This will be a spoiler-free review about the general elements which I found noteworthy.

I highly recommend this series to anyone mature enough to cope with relatively brutal and graphic violence, and to those looking for a compact but substantial and exciting series. I especially recommend this to those who like unpredictability and like to have their expectations destroyed. As this is a relatively heavy series, I do not recommend it to those looking for quick entertainment or those who are currently in very low spirits.

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【Illustrator】 榎本 (Enomoto)

Missed posting in April by about an hour and twelve minutes.

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Cover illustration for Enomoto’s Costume 3 doujinshi, released March 19th, 2006.

榎本 (Enomoto) is a professional freelance illustrator who also does doujinshi releases under the circle name BND. However, she is not currently looking for new projects or commissions to work on¹. She was born in 1979 in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan². Enomoto likes suits, and some of her favourite foods include tofu, vegetables, vitamin-type beverages, kimchi, cheese, and potatoes¹. She says that she has been on a diet for an eternity, but sometimes she has a tremendous craving for anpan¹. She also describes herself as drowsily³. Enomoto has worked on card game and BL novel illustrations. She has also done a colour comic for Volume 4 of Robot Super Color Comic. Enomoto mainly uses her digital tablet with an LCD screen⁴ with software such as SAI³, Photoshop², and Painter².

Enomoto seems to be friends with Wada rco and has worked with her on a few occasions, though they do not act together as a unit⁴. They both participated on providing designs for two tfarm t-shirts, collaborated on a doujinshi along with 芥川明 (AKUTAGAWA Akira), and distrubuted bonus sketch prints with purchases of each other’s doujin releases. They have also sold their doujinshi at the same table. As well, Enomoto and Wada rco were born in the same year².

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変幻獣バブルドリアード (Transformed Beast Bubble Dryad) from the Second Century Basic Pack of the Dimension Zero Trading Card Game.

Enomoto’s style can be best described as realistic, mature, and classy. Her characters are almost always fully-featured and detailed with actual noses, lips, and eyelashes, and usually sport normally-proportioned bodies, but she can also draw more stylized body types as well. She also seems to know how to shade skin in all the right places, which shows in the many near-nude to nude artwork she produces. She also seems to like designing creative and lavish costumes, and as such, many of her characters are drawn in static poses so as to model their very unique and never repetitive clothing. Admittedly, illustrations where characters are depicted in very lively poses number few. As well, Enomoto’s character designs rarely, if ever, look rehashed, but the expressions on her characters usually do not depict much emotion, and instead usually range from subdued and neutral stares to slightly content smiles. There are, of course, exceptions, but the majority of her finished artwork have characters of the less expressive variety. In addition to drawing female characters, which tend to be the usual, Enomoto is more than capable of drawing masculine-looking men and even animals. Enomoto’s versatility is not limited to the above examples.

Enomoto is also no stranger to depicting relatively lush backgrounds, either, although back in 2004 she said that she was especially unskilled at drawing scenery². However, Enomoto’s backgrounds are well-coordinated and can be very complementary, but her preference for not drawing backgrounds shows as the large majority of her artwork have none. When she does draw them, though, she tends to depict nature, which in many cases include trees, as she said that she finds branches fun to draw².

The colours which Enomoto frequently utilize further enhance the mature feel of her style, as she uses mainly muted and dark colours. The colours which she uses most include dark browns, dark greens, and black. Her colouring style usually looks as if it was done with coloured pencils, as the colours are solid though slightly blended and has some degree of layering, but the majority of her artwork is done digitally. Enomoto’s shading is very well done, shows a lot of depth, and seems to use different shades, such as purple, for shading, rather than merely choosing a darker shade of the same colour.

Website: http://homepage3.nifty.com/-bnd-
Blog: http://enom.blog32.fc2.com
Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=62660
Past doujinshi releases: http://www.keibunshakoutari.com/enomoto.html
Interview with enomoto and Wada rco at tfarm: http://www.tfarm-store.com/column/03.html

Sources:
1 – Website: “first” link
2 – Kikan S Volume 5, 2004 Winter, page 28-29
3 – Pixiv
4 – tfarm interview

【Anime】 Ani*Kuri15

Old but good.

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Title: Ani*Kuri15
Studio: GONZO, Production I.G, GAINAX, Studio 4°C, MADHOUSE, Comix Wave Film, Satelight
Directors: MAEDA Mahiro, YABUTA Tatsuya (with Murata Range), TAKEUCHI Atsushi, HAYASHI Akemi, OSHII Mamoru, Michael Arias, KON Satoshi, ODA Tobira and SHIMIZU Yasuyuki, SHINKAI Makoto, NISHIMI Shoujirou, NAKAZAWA Kazuto, KAWAMORI Shoji, SOEJIMA Yasufumi, KIMURA Shinji, and KOBAYASHI Osamu.
Episodes: 15
Genre: Short experimental animation
Status: Completed, not licensed
My Rating: 9.0/10

Ani*Kuri 15 was a short animation series which aired on NHK from 2007 to 2008. Each episode was one minute and was directed and animated by different directors and studios. There were a total of three seasons, with 5 episodes each. These shorts have no recurring theme due to the differences in producers, but they were all meant to showcase a sample of the variety of styles and themes found in Japanese animation.

Wikipedia: Ani*Kuri15

Review: This covers all fifteen episodes, but some “reviews” are shorter than others. Majority of reviews do not include summaries. The episodes and main producers are listed as “director name” x “production studio name”. Click on the title to see a frame from the short. Recommended ones are asterisked.

I (highly) recommend this series to anyone interested in exploring the different styles present in the Japanese animation scene, and it’s a very good starting point for getting to know all the studios and directors showcased here.

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