Friday, January 07, 2011

January "Finish Me!" Work and Susano

So before the weekend starts I'd like to kick off my first batch of resolutions - my "Finish Me!" three month series. I'm starting off nice and easy - a bit of animation I began a couple months ago and had pushed aside until now.

I'm in love with the Japanese film Wanpaku Ôji no Orochi Taiji (sometimes called The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon, read more here: and draw a lot of visual inspiration from it. It's fairly simple in terms of story, but the execution feels like a very nostalgic fantasy.

Trailers for the film, which was released in 1963 in Japan.

I started the ruffs in Flash, and had just started cleaning up the keys, but want to take it into Toon Boom and clean up the animation from there. I've been working in their Harmony software and am quickly becoming a fan of the program. For the background I've got a couple ideas to work out in After Effects, but we'll see about that later.

A model sheet from the film - I love the simple design of the characters, but they all still exhibit clean action lines and emotion.

So when I set about thinking of a small bit of animation I could start for practice - something that I didn't have to necessarily design from scratch and just focus on straight animation and compositing while sticking to a finished model - Susano, the main character from Little Prince popped into my head. He rides the most adorable little Pegasus, and the action directed for the horse is hilarious and fun, not strict and literal.

Unfortunately it's pretty difficult to find a good copy of the movie - it seems to be one of those films confined to a vault and only available on an obscure DVD copy or two (that's not in my region code, OF COURSE). The only copy I have is a recorded television broadcast, in a fairly obnoxious English dub, but, ah well what can ya do =\.


Ben Whitehouse said...

BY THE BEARD OF ZEUS!!! Many many thanks for bringing this film to my attention. Todays mission now is to get it1 Your test look awesome too!! Thanks again

j.etienne said...

your rough animation is superb.
I love the stylisation of the movie(late fifties?)

bedii said...

I'm confused: the DVD's on Amazon are listed as Region 1 for USA/Canada. What region code is your DVD player set for?

the plummer said...

Bendii, my search on Amazon only shows some Godzilla-like live action film that has a similar name, which is probably what you're seeing. I've only ever seen this animated film on obscure foreign DVD exporters or Japanese DVD sites. =(

I have recently been able to play a Japanese region DVD on a computer with a couple different media software, so the region thing might not be a big of a deal if I can snag a good copy somewhere!

Anton said...

I need to find that anime now, very nice (and the kids will love it too)! Also, do love your test animation, very fluid and joyful :)

Jim said...

Thanks for bringing this film to our attention! The character designs and overall art style remind me a lot of the graphic approach used in Nintendo's "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker." I can't help but wonder if Nintendo's designers were inspired by seeing this movie in their childhood.