Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Episode 4

Thursday, October 30, 2014

As good as the performance scene was, what struck me the most was the scene between Kaori and Kousei prior to the performance. The constant eye contact between the two, demonstrated through close-ups and extreme close ups, really showed their strong connection. The visuals also exceptionally complement the dialogue.

The scene starts strong with a close-up of the two in order to immediately capture the viewers’ attention. The viewers are drawn to Kaori as much as Kousei. In effect, this made the dialogue sink in more as she tells Kousei to look at her and look up with more confidence.

It then cuts to medium-long shot, which breaks the intimacy but in a good way since it slows the scene down for dramatic build up. This shot also gives the viewers an overall sense of their contrasting body language. Kousei is sitting stiffly with arms and hands still mimicking practicing the piano, while Kaori has a more relax posture.

The medium-long shot was the build up for the extreme close-ups. Kousei’s wide eyed expression is full of amazement as Kaori encourages him with a look of confidence in her eyes. While the use of low and high angle shots were mainly for continuity purposes they still reinforce the state of the characters. The high angle on Kousei portrays him as the emotionally weaker character while the low angle on Kaori makes her look more admirable.

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season - Episode 2

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This was a riveting time loop episode where we witnessed a man relive both his regrets and his happiest moments in life. Each loop of Kaoru’s life were shot slightly differently in order to avoid being overly repetitive. That in itself wasn’t very interesting but there were some subtle changes that complemented the tension building done by the superb pacing.

These shots are the first and second time that Kaoru was shown entering the tunnel. In the second shot, Kaoru is farther into the tunnel which visually communicates how he’s being absorbed deeper and deeper into the time loop.

Time loop stories are built on sequential patterns. The insert shots (first two) of Kaoru taking a step into the tunnel were part of that pattern. After being made aware of his situation by Ginko, we started to anticipate if he will break the pattern. The first two insert shots helped build this anticipation that made the third insert shot of him stepping away from the tunnel even more gratifying.

After Kaoru entered the tunnel to save his wife, the loop was restarted from her perspective. The top row is Kaoru’s time loop and the bottom one is the wife’s. As you will notice, the wife’s time loop was consisted of POV, over the shoulder, and side view shots done from her vantage point.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Episode 3

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The cinematography in this episode was a bit of a mixed bag. Although a bit too obvious, the use of desaturation to visually equate musical deafness to lacking color was a nice touch. There were also hints of this in the first episode. On the other hand, some of the compositions in this episode were shoddy.

The first three images are examples of desaturated shots of Kousei that acted as visual metaphor to his loss of musical hearing. In contrast, Kaori was visualized brightly and colorfully, which reflects her bubbly personality and enthusiasm for music.

Another nice touch was the change of the scenery from warm to cold colors after he revealed to Kaori his affliction.

Sora no Method Episode 3

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The drama in the latter parts of this episode was constructed cohesively. I particularly liked the use of cross cutting between Nonoka at the old kindergarten and her friends in the forest as a way to form a parallel about how they’re all trying to piece together the past.

This portion of the episode was strongly focused on recounting the past. The kindergarten scene was particular effective in communicating this theme.

When seeing an abandoned building, thoughts of its uses in the past and how it has been left behind by time come to mind. This scene illicit similar feelings. As Nonoka walks around the kindergarten school, the scenery stirs up thoughts of its past when the classrooms were filled with children and the playground was full of activity during recess. These thoughts of the past were strongly pertinent to the drama.

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season - Episode 1

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The repeating imagery of this episode was that of the open hands. When framed from different perspectives the open hands can express a different meaning.

In the above images the open hands were framed from a perspective that’s more likely associated with receiving or taking. In those shots Ginko’s was tempted to take the mountain lord’s egg for himself with the thought it might fill the void created by his isolation and lack of purpose. Symbolically, the egg could represent rebirth to Ginko who has been dealt a bad hand in life.

These shots presents the open hands in a way that's more likely associated with giving or offering. In this scene the hands are actually taking something from Ginko but it could be seen as an offer to take the burden of the broken egg off him. Then with one simple gesture the hands offered him reprieve and a second chance in life.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Episode 2

Friday, October 17, 2014

Only days after the superb Shingeki no Bahamut dance scene, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso brought us another enjoyable performance scene. Kaori’s performance of the Kreutzer Sonata was brought to life by purposeful shot variety that gave viewers different vantage points of the performance.

Here’s the scene:


Just like the Shingeki no Bahamut dance scene, Kaori’s violin scene uses multiple low angle shots to present the performance in a grander scale. These shots exude stage presence that was conducive in making this scene engrossing. The low angle shots were also done in varying sizes. The full shots presented Kaori’s body language while the closer shots showed her emotions.

The shots from behind Kaori give the viewers the performer’s perspective. This perspective gives us an intimidating stage view of the venue, and aids in relating the nerves and exhilaration of performing in front of an audience. The use of low angle exaggerates the scale of the venue but also shows how a captivating performance can make it feel small and intimate.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis Episode 2

Monday, October 13, 2014

The highlight of this episode was the beautifully shot, animated and edited dance scene. Before the breakdown, let us again watch that exquisite scene:


This shot manipulates scale in order to place two elements in different planes side by side. The juxtaposition of Amira’s curious expression with the stage-like framing of the dancers really communicates her playful sense of wonder towards these new experiences

This a POV shot from Amira’s perspective. The use of follow pan on Favaro produces a dynamic and exciting movement that reflects how Amira feels as she learns about dancing. The panning shot also gives the audience a view of the festive atmosphere, as they get to see the jubilant crowd in the background.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis Episode 1

The overall visual presentation of the Shingeki no Bahamut premiere was superb. The most impressive part was the horseback chase scene. It had that cinematic feel to it, not just in terms of dynamic camera work but rhythmic and purposeful shot making.

Right from the very beginning, the scene puts the action on top of the audience with a low angle tilt shot and a low level follow shot. The camera being close to the ground produces a sense of speed, which is important to a chase scene. The close view of the galloping horses and the dirt being kicked up also enhanced the excitement of the scene.

The scene then cuts to an aerial overhead shot that pulls back to an extreme wide to show the scale of the chase and the scenery. The characters are then introduced through lateral tracking shots. The insert shot of the horse reiterates the sense of speed. A second overhead shot from a different angle gives us a view of the city, which establishes the setting. Establishing the setting creates continuity with the shot of them jumping on top of city roofs.

As you might have noticed, each shot served a purpose of either establishing the mood or setting through visual storytelling. These shots also weren’t overextended, there’s a great sense of rhythm and continuity to these cuts. All of these elements combined made for a cinematic scene.

Sora no Method Episode 2

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I didn’t really expect this show to offer much in a way of interesting cinematography but this episode pleasantly surprised me with some meaningful shot making.

As the first episode suggested, Shione has a long held resentment towards Nonoka. Shione is cold to her and even going as far as ignoring her altogether. The shot above reinforces these emotions by creating distance and space between the two. Framing the characters at each side of the frame creates distance. The depth produced by the perspective lines of the desks combined with the exaggerated negative space produced by the low-angle emulates Shione’s feeling of emptiness towards Nonoka.

This scene engages in imagery. Although it’s a bit too obvious, I thought it was an effective callback to the character’s past. The close-up of the sculpture reflects the period when Noel patiently and longingly waited for Nonoka. It even resembles this shot from the last episode. The scene then cuts to a full shot of the sculpture and a waiting Noel to complete the parallel.

This was an 18 second scene with only those two shots. Since the two shots are similar, it felt like an 18 sec. extended take. This was designed to let the audience absorb the past and the nature of the character.

Angel's Egg

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Angel’s Egg is a movie rich in surreal symbolism. As a whole the film is abstract and difficult to decipher but many scenes or shots on their own are eloquently lucid. It’s the vivid composition and meticulous camera work that constructed such visually engrossing and cohesive scenes.

The huge antenna structure functions as a strong leading line that visually guides the viewers’ eyes to the sky. With the viewers focused on the sky, the scene cuts to a shot of it with the camera tilting up to slowly reveal the main subject of interest, which is the descending orb. The third image compositionally puts everything together. The antenna continues to function as a leading line as it points to the orb. It also provides linear perspective, which creates depth. The man’s presence along with the orb establishes the important connection between the two. The last image also uses compositional triangle to not only provide balance but to connect all the subjects. This is a well thought out scene that visually presents the importance of the orb and its connection with the man.