Mushishi Zoku Shou 2nd Season - Episode 10

Saturday, December 20, 2014

This episode of Mushishi told a story of a man whose memories and physical being merged with a supernatural tree. The visual narrative sets up the fusion between man and tree with the use of color, tone and space.

These wide shots of Kanta blend him with the color and tone of the woods as if he’s almost part of it. Kanta’s clothing share the same brown color and moderately grey tone that dominate his surroundings. The limited color and tonal separation between Kanta and the woods served as visual foreshadowing of his eventual transformation.

Another thing to note is the use of shafts of light as leading lines. Even though Kanta blends with the environment the leading lines keep the audience’s attention on him

In the scene leading up to Kanta’s fusion with the tree, regression in spatial depth were used in the wide shots to reflect his transformation. The first two wide shots use deep space composition to emulate a three dimensional world. The first accomplishes deep space by having Kanta moving in the z-axis (away from the camera) and the second shot does it differently by using a high camera angle that creates perspective lines (tree stump). As the scene approaches his transformation the sense of depth decreases as evident by the last two shots. These shots have limited spatial depth; strong depth cues that are perspective lines and z-axis movement are gone. Frontal planes (background, mid-ground and foreground) become the main but weaker depth cues. By limiting depth the spatial separation between the tree stump and Kanta decreases and helps create a visual build up of his transformation.

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis - The Temptation of Jeanne d'Arc

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The temptation of Jeanne d'Arc was strongly told through visual storytelling. The use of light, shadow and other compositional elements painted a picture of a character whose core beliefs are about to be shaken.

In Episode 9 Jeanne was accused of being a witch and imprisoned. In her prison cell she prays to a carving of an angel. The scene then cuts to a canted angle of the angel carving (image above). The canted angle was not only used to produce a sense of unease befitting the scene but also to visually portray Martinet’s attempt to shake her beliefs.

The shot above is the strongest compositional representation of Jeanne’s predicament. In a show about demons and gods, a ray of light can be strongly associated with heavenly beings and a way to portray one as holy and ethereal. Jeanne praying in the dark, separated from the ray of light, conveys the lost of her saintly image and a sense of abandonment by the gods. Of course this imagery reinforces the belief Martinet want to instill into Jeanne.

After Martinet tried to convince Jeanne that she has been betrayed by her fellow humans, the scene goes back to an insert of the angel carving. This was to reinforce her dedication to the gods as a holy knight. Later on this image is used for an opposite effect.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Episode 10

Friday, December 12, 2014

The cold intro was my favorite moment of this episode. As beautiful as the aesthetics of this show can be a times with its vivid imagery and stylistic close-ups, the constant usage can dilute their effect. Low key moments like this cold intro function as a breather from both a visual and pacing standpoint. It’s just a plain scene of two friends having a conversation while walking home from school. This simplicity allows the characters’ actions and dialogue to speak for themselves, such moments can even provide a purer sense of sincerity.



The scene starts with a tracking shot of electric lines as Watari laments his delayed journey to stardom. Then it cuts to panning cutaways of the street. Without even showing the characters the scene establishes what’s happening. We know they’re walking due to the tracking shot and we know their surroundings due to the cutaways. Also, by not showing the characters it slows the scene down for the intended subdued effect.

The characters are finally presented with a use of a tracking shot. A good portion of the dialogue was done with a tracking shot at medium close-up or close-up. I think the intention was to make the audience feel like they’re walking along with the characters, which puts more attention to the dialogue. By engaging the audience this way, the simple act of Watari asking “You still can’t hear?” and Kousei lightly squeezing the music sheet results in a genuine expression of pain.  As we continue to follow these characters, Kousei then stops and expresses his fear of not being able to hear music again. Stopping the tracking shot as the audience follows along is a simple dramatic effect that becomes more impactful when actions and dialogue are the main focus.