Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal

Sunday, June 29, 2014


A look back on the first episode of a classic.

Knights of Sidonia Episode 12

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In the Episode 7 and Episode 8 write-ups I talked about the show's great sense of scale and speed, and usage of camera movements and slow-motion. The scene below exemplifies all of that but what stuck out to me happened around the 00:20 mark. The camera tracks Nagate as he avoids another attack, it then pans to the rest of the platoon that are about to enter the Gauna. I thought this was a good use of camera movement to transition from out pivotal moment to another.



One Week Friends Episode 12

Sunday, June 22, 2014

After the truth behind Kaori's selective memory loss was revealed, Hase withdrew himself from her out of fear of hurting her and getting hurt. Consequentially, a gap between the two has formed. 

This episode uses the scenic shots of a bridge as an imagery of the reconnect and the closing of the gap between Hase and Kaori. Perhaps its usage was a bit strong and made the episode too predictable but it was still a good example of using scenery to complement the narrative.




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Here's a couple of more examples of scenery being used for imagery.

After the cold open, the episode title intro starts with a shot of the gray overcast with the camera panning down. This image is indicative of the cloudy and uncertain relationship between Hase and Kaori.


After the two reconciled, the episode ends with the camera panning up to the clearer and bluer skies, an image reflecting the optimism between the two.




Ping Pong The Animation Episode 11

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yuasa and his animators really went all out with the camera movement for this finale. The video below is only the warm up. It starts with a medium shot of Smile and Peco in their stance to establish the anticipation. Then cuts to a close-up and extreme close-up that ratchet up the tension as the match begins. Around the 00:13 mark there's a steady-cam like movement where the camera rotates behind Smile then zooms into the ping pong ball. At 00:31 mark we see a really quick push-in shot on Smile which cuts to a reverse tracking shot as Peco slams the ball. This was a frantic combination of camera movements and quick cuts that creates the initial excitement.

This frenzied start was a quick glimpse of Smile being brought out of his shell by Peco. A long-awaited moment. This feeling of fulfillment is encapsulated by the last shot, a close-up of Smile smiling as the camera pulls away to show him absorbing the moment, the cheers of the crowd and the fun that is Ping Pong.



No Game No Life Episode 11

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who knew a gun fight between a loli and a cat eared loli using love-love guns would produce a fairly well shot action scene. For more than half of the scene below the combatants were fighting with a barrier between them and shooting through door openings. If shot normally, that is with medium to full shots of the two exchanging gunfire through the door, it would have been boring. This action scene was more about the feel of the combatants for each other's movements. To imitate that feeling the movement of bullets became the focus, hence plenty of close up shots, follow shots and slow motion shots of the bullets.


A long shot from the video above. It uses warm and cool colors to differentiate the two combatants. Izuna finds no enjoyment in playing hence the blue while Shiro loves the excitement of a challenge, which is represented by yellow-orange colors.     
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The video below is the continuation of the action. Starts with a slow lateral tracking shot to build tension as Izuna jumps out of the window. This time, distance is the separation between the combatants (Sora and Izuna). Again the bullet is the focus. Also, there's a really nice aerial follow shot of Izuna.


Mushishi Zoku Shou Episode 9

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This episode neatly used long/scenic shots not just to establish the setting but to briefly introduce the peculiarity of the story. The opening scene begins with shots of snowy mountains, barren trees and typical winter conditions that are obviously unfit for agriculture. The scene ends with a shot of the green rice patties in the middle of dull winter colors. This contrast subtly introduces the viewers to the supernatural aspect of the episode.





Knights of Sidonia Episode 10

Friday, June 13, 2014

I think an unnoticeable but very essential use of cinematography (right along with editing/storyboarding) is establishing a sense of rhythm in a scene. Different types of shots, angles, camera movement and lighting should blend together and make sense within the context of the scene. I think this is something Knights of Sidonia has done a good job with.

The scene below I think is a good example of rhythm. The scene begins as the camera pans down on Nagate. The light on Nagate in the middle of darkness puts the focus on him and builds an air of mystery. The scene reveals Yure with a deep focus shot, this exudes a feeling that something is about to be revealed that concerns Nagate. The medium shot on Yure shows bubbles in the background, further building up the mystery and tension. The scene then cuts to a long shot to show scale, more tension building. Cuts to a medium shot of Nagate, light flashes and we see his shocked reaction. A long shot to finally show the Gauna Hybrid. All of these worked in rhythm to build the tension that culminates to a dramatic reveal.


Ping Pong The Animation Episode 10

Thursday, June 12, 2014

As the match starts between Peco and Kazama the scene begins with the camera panning up from Peco's hand getting ready to serve to a view of Kazama being swallowed by darkness. It then cuts to a panning close up shot of Kazama. The black uniform, the dark background, and the shadowing on Kazama's intense face brings a presence of an imposing and joyless force. Next we see Peco surrounded by a wavering white light, the color of the hero. But he's overwhelmed by Kazama's presence as evident by the faintness of the light and the darkness slowly swallowing it. The panning extreme close up shot of Peco and his hero mask show that despite Kazama's overwhelming presence he's committed to playing for fun and with his childhood hero persona.

The scene then ends with a really cool shot of Peco that starts at a high angle, pushes into an extreme close up of his eye (with Kazama's reflection) and then pulls back to a low angle. Everything about this camera work exudes the willingness of a hero to accept such a huge challenge




This whole scene also lays the thematic ground work for the rest of the match. Light vs. dark, playing for fun vs. the cold drive for victory and hero vs. anti-hero. I also love the use of the vertical panning shots for constant thematic transitions.
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One Week Friends Episode 10

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lighting and shadow in this episode were used really well to set up the mood of the scene and to accentuate the feelings of the characters.

 After Hase realized that the significance of the number "18" was truly lost in Kaori, he then walks away upset. The next scene starts with a shot of the sun shining through the window. It then cuts to a long shot of Hase. Despite all the light going through the window he remains in the shadows. This expresses that even though he tries to appear bright and happy, deep inside he's in pain. This also establishes a melancholic feeling that effectively sets up the flashback scene and the emotional moment when Hase cries.
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When Kaori started talking about Hajime the scene cuts to a long shot of the two being enveloped by the cloud's shadow. The scene uses the shadows to emote Kaori's dark and painful memories of Hajime that she has long-repressed.

 Hase tries to comfort Kaori and the conversation moves on to a more joyful topic of going out for crêpes. To reflect this change in mood, the cloud covers move to let the Sun shine on both of them.
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Unfortunately for Hase things couldn't quite remain bright and sunny. In this long shot of the last scene, the street light flickers off above him, perhaps indicating a dark foreshadowing.

Mushishi Zoku Shou Episode 8

Friday, June 6, 2014

This episode uses color schemes to express contrasting moods and emotional states of the character.

 A full shot of the ship. The ship sailing the open sea and the mushi birds flying in the bright blue sky are images that symbolizes freedom and adventure.

 The blue sky, the white birds and clouds are colors that give a sense of optimism. The young man looks up with hope for a bright future. The low angle imitates the young sailor's view and communicates this positive mood to the audience.

Ping Pong The Animation Episode 9

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This Kazama flash back sequence beautifully used cinematography to portray the purity and innocence of a kid's admiration of his father.

 A close up of Kazama in the bathroom stall. Deep in thought and has a look of a person revisiting a cherished memory. 


 A shot of lilies with the child version of Kazama in the background admiring it.

 A close up of the lilies. These shots of the lilies show that Kazama loved flowers the same way his father (a florist) did. This suggest he strongly viewed his father as a role model.

 A low angle long shot of Kazama's father. This shot gives an impression of a person looking up to someone in admiration.

 A medium shot of Kazama's father to further drive the point that he's a man that deeply influenced him. The man he plays ping pong for, his hero.

The sequence also has great storyboarding. There were shots of Kazama's father struggling with the flower business. The sequence intertwine Kazama's heroic view of his father and the troubled man behind the hero.
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Mushishi Zoku Shou Episode 6

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

As Ginko first appears in this episode it also introduces the prevalent theme of cherry blossoms.

 A long shot of Ginko next to a blossoming cherry tree establishes the setting.

 A high angle deep focus shot with the cherry blossom in the foreground and Ginko looking in awe in the background. This closer look on both suggests that cherry blossoms would play a role in Ginko's travel.


A close up look of the cherry blossoms. These increasing closer looks on cherry blossoms build the thematic ground work for this episode.
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Haikyuu!! Episode 9

Sunday, June 1, 2014

There were some really nice subtle touches in this episode in which the character's actions and feelings were mainly expressed through cinematography.


 A long shot of Asahi contemplating. The school and the crows in the background are the visual representation of what's on his mind, which is whether or not he should go back to the team.

 A shallow focus on the crow taking flight in the background, further emphasizes the symbolism. 

 The shallow focus then switches on Asahi as he leaves, emphasizing the decision he has made. Just like the crow in the background he's taking flight again and rejoining the team. In this scene there was no dialogue from Asahi, the visuals were used to speak for the character
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