Love Live! Sunshine!! and Improved CG

Animating nine girls dancing onstage is hard work. It’s why the Love Live! anime usually reserves 2D animation for moments with three girls or less, and has 3DCG do the grunt work when showing the entire ensemble. One consequence of this is that, throughout the original Love Live! anime’s run (as well as the music videos made prior to the anime), the transition to 2D and 3D would look fairly awkward. However, what I’ve noticed from the first and especially the second season Love Live! Sunshine!! is that its CG portions are a lot better at removing the kind of “plastic” feel from the characters.

While I think the CG has just generally gotten higher in quality, making the models just look better overall, one major change I noticed that I think goes an extra long way in smoothing the switch between 2D and 3D is how the eyes are portrayed. In the 2D sequences, the girls’ eyes have a kind of soft glow that gives them an appearance of liveliness, of soul and depth. In the two Love Live! openings, when the CG switches occur, their expressions just look much blander, as if they’re puppets in the shape of the characters. With Love Live! Sunshine!!, the girls of Aqours have very pronounced and bright eyes even in the CG portions of their performances. In the second Sunshine!! season, the performance scenes keep the angles of backgrounds more consistent to make the transitions much less jarring.

This reminds me of a talk I went to at Japan Society in New York City, where anime writer Sato Dai (Eureka Seven, Battle Spirits) was giving a presentation on 3DCG in anime. One of the things he mentioned was that capturing “kawaii” in 3DCG was a major step in its implementation in Japanese animation, and I think we’re seeing the fruits of it. If the appeal of characters approaches appealing to the inner feelings of its viewers, then having eyes that appear to reciprocate emotionally would serve that direction quite well.

Advertisements

The Fujoshi Files 89: shrshr

Name: shrshr (シルシル)
Alias:
shr-chan (シルちゃん)
Relationship Status:
Single
Origin:
gdgd Fairies

Information:
shrshr is a fairy who lives in the Fairy Forest alongside her friends, pkpk and krkr. Energetic and cheerful, shrshr frequently brings up topics of conversation with pkpk and krkr, usually questioning some everyday assumptions, though the discussion typically spirals out of control. In addition to chatting with her friends, shrshr also practices (usually out of control) magic with them in the ”Room of Mental and Time” and peers into other worlds using the “Magic Spring Dubbing Lake,” where they fill in the voices for the people/things they see.

shrshr seems strangely familiar with a number of human anime, at one point wearing a scouter to detect power levels, and making multiple references to “Seiya” and “Cloths.” She also once transformed a gator-whacking game into a naked muscley men-whacking game.

Fujoshi Level:
Upon using the Magic Spring Dubbing Lake and seeing two men kiss in front of a gorilla, shrshr instantly identified one of them as an “uke” and pointed out that she loves this sort of thing. Afterwards, she even suggested doing a doujinshi about this, though for some strange reason spoke of a context “outside of gdgd Fairies.”

#1 in the Forest, G: gdgd Fairies

A couple of years ago when Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was airing, the show would often be compared to American cartoons on account of its clearly influenced style. People even speculated as to whether or not Panty & Stocking would fit on Adult Swim. Since then, a show has emerged which I think is truly worthy of the moniker of “Adult Swim-esque anime.” That anime is gdgd Fairies.

gdgd (gudaguda) Fairies is ostensibly about three fairies living and playing in the Fairy Forest, but like Aqua Teen Hunger Force (which originally had Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad fighting crime), the premise is just an excuse for bizarre conversations and even more absurd misadventures. If the unusual nature of the production wasn’t clear enough by the end of an episode, each episode is initially titled “Title Pending.”

The main (read: only) characters are the naive pkpk (pikupiku, center), airheaded shrshr (shirushiru, right), and darkly humored krkr (korokoro, left). An episode is typical divided into three parts, where part 1 involves a conversation between the fairies that usually spirals out of control, Part 2 has them practicing magic in the “Room of Spirit and Time,” and Part 3 has the three fairies peering into a magical spring to see people in other worlds and then ad-libbing their dialogue.  During these sequences, a discussion about being late turns into one about the tragedy of time slips, the girls challenge each other to see “who can fly over the most old men,” and they even get to see this:

Part 3 (the “Magical Spring Dubbing Lake”) is where the show gets serious and pulls out the big guns. And if a bald man in his underwear farting through the sky or a fat woman in lingerie dancing as the city around her crumbles weren’t enough, after a couple of episodes it becomes very clear that, while the other parts of gdgd Fairies may play fast and loose with the show’s contents, in part 3 the actors themselves are entirely without scripts or preparation. Here, the show takes on a Space Ghost: Coast to Coast or Home Movies vibe, where the actors have to improv their lines on the spot. The actors will fall out of their voices without realizing it, unable to hold in their chuckles long enough to maintain character and will mention other anime roles they’ve done without even considering the 4th wall. These aren’t clever nudges and winks for the audience, but evidence that just as you’re seeing that farting man for the first time, so were they. You are literally hearing them joke around with only the thinnest of pretext, and it makes you laugh whether or not what they said was actually funny or a spectacular failure.

 

I had a conversation with Dave (of Astro Toy and Subatomic Brainfreeze) and we agreed that gdgd Fairies would actually work on Adult Swim. There’s no need to do anything to it, just put it on the air with subtitles at 2am and let the post-Family Guy and Squidbillies audience enjoy. If you don’t want to wait that long for it, you can actually catch all of the episodes on Crunchyroll.

Carl x Fusako 4ever.