Posted by psgels on 30 December 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there.

The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature of this little short: how it was crowd-funded and they actually got Masaaki Yuasa to direct it, Mamoru Oshii served as the consultant to make it happen, and They got a lot of talented animators involved. Because of this I love it. The creative team here attempted something really ambitious, and they actually succeeded in it.

Because of that, it’s also not surprising that Masaaki Yuasa got full creative control over the animation, and this probably is his most personal work since Mind Game. Especially with Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei you could see that it wasn’t just his work, albeit it still was really well executed, Kaiba was probably also forced into at least a normal storyline (for very good reasons by the way, because it turned out amazing), and even Kemonozume looked like some compromises had to be made. Here, the only compromise was the short length of only 12 minutes. He could really goof off as much as he wanted here, and the result is incredibly trippy. The animation is utterly gorgeous because of it.

This short made me learn a lot about Yuasa’s style, and I’m even more amazed at how well he works together with other people. This guy, when he is on his own, he can create completely unique stuff like Mind Game, but when he’s more under control he actually manages to get the best out of everyone, leading to the masterpieces that were Kaiba and Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei. He really is one of the most talented directors out there.

Kick Heart was incredibly silly, so don’t expect the same emotional intensity of is other works, but still his talents really show here and it was a great watch, and it serves as an example of how to do anime right.

21 Responses

  1. AidanAK47 says:

    Say what you will, but the art is still pretty damn ugly.

    • Whitebread says:

      Just because you don’t like the style of art does not make it ugly, this is faaaar from ugly.

      • AidanAK47 says:

        Don’t try to sugercoat it. It’s undeniably ugly. This isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s cold hard fact. I mean look at it. It’s rough, proportions are all over the place, hell it’s looks more like a unfinished storyboard than a final product. I am not saying the animation isn’t good. There’s plenty of movement. But the art itself is unpleasant.

        • psgels psgels says:

          Then we simply have a different definition of “ugly”. I also liked the art style a lot, and wouldn’t consider it ugly.

        • Whitebread says:

          When you try so hard to present an opinion as a “cold hard fact”, all that does is show your ignorance. Good day to you.

          • AidanAK47 says:

            And Ad Hominem is a tactic used by those on the losing side of the argument. Make your excuses but I am just calling a spade a spade.

        • Hogart says:

          Aidan, please stop conflating opinions (ie, what is “ugliness”) with facts and then treating it as an argument. It’s not. It’s an attempt to redefine reality.

          It’s alright to say “it’s a fact that it’s ugly to a lot of people”, and it’s socially acceptable to shorten that to “it’s ugly”, but you can’t go back from that to “it’s factually ugly”. That would mean EVERYONE finds it ugly, which they clearly don’t, which means it’s not a fact to begin with, but an opinion.

          And now that you’ve snuffed the argument out of existence by claiming your opinions are the facts, it’s no longer valid to play the “ad hominem” card. You’ve already snuffed the topic out of existence so there’s nothing to win or lose or “ad hominem attack” anymore. This is a new topic, which you’re conveniently attempting to tie back to the old one for moral high ground.

          But then I guess it wouldn’t be as fun as you just saying “I suspect I’m not the only one who finds the artstyle wretched, and I feel compelled to point out that painfully obvious fact in order to satisfy my need for balance.”

          • AidanAK47 says:

            Yawn. You done?
            First look above you. Are those people saying it looks good? Answer, no. Actually notice how they skip around it. They could have just said, no Aidan this artstyle looks great. It’s beautiful. But instead they state that there is uglier and well we have different definitions of ugly. The only person to state it looks good is the fellow below us who says you need pot to appreciate it. So in other word they know exactly why I call it ugly. Argue semantics all you want but the got the point I was making.

            As for the rest, listen mate I know you hate me. I know you are just waiting for that prime moment where I slip up and you can shove it in my face with glee. And quite frankly, I don’t care. But this isn’t that moment Hogart and I am not a man who makes a move that leaves me open. You will just have to continue waiting.

        • Hogart says:

          Aw, I don’t hate you. I enjoy BSing with you. In fact I even share your opinion that the art’s ugly. It’s just quite refreshing to talk to someone who antagonizes others, then gets upset when someone pushes back. Usually people just realize they went overboard and that’s that. Thank goodness for the Internet, where we can have these pointless little disputes :)

          • AidanAK47 says:

            Upset? Meh, I don’t hold that level of emotion with the internet.

            “Usually people just realize they went overboard and that’s that.”

            Never happens. One thing that people on the internet avoid at all cost is admitting they are wrong. They will defend to their dying breath. Until the moment no one gives a damn enough to continue.

    • Eric says:

      Sure, they aren’t attractive. So what? Is your taste for a show that shallow?

      Fuck, man, ALL shows have almost the same character designs and art nowadays. Hardly anyone is ugly in anime. Props to Yuasa for trying to do something out of the box. He’s a far more creative and innovative director than most.

  2. Litho says:

    I think it looks great, especially once you’ve had a few joints. Not as edgy as Kemonozume or as timeless as Kaiba, but still fresher than 90% of anime featuring the same trad embryo-faced art.

  3. Emma says:

    I caught a bit of this and just could get into it, wasn’t able to get past the directing, visual style, seemed too short as well to get anything out of. I would follow more of this directors work had they been more accessible.

  4. Emma says:

    *couldn’t
    I had the very same issues with Kaiba and Kemenozume, however I do acknowledge that Kaiba is pretty unique ad why people would like it, just not my thing.

  5. Yessenia says:

    Hi guys, do any of you draw anime in hand rather than on the computer?

  6. Yessenia says:

    Do any of you watch Black butler? The anime sucks

    • Autumn Season 2013 Preview says:

      Hello Yessenia,
      I have watched half of one episode of Black Butler so I’m not sure it sucks but I will take your word for it.

  7. Yessenia says:

    DO any of you listen to Radiohead, I love that band it has the best music ever, Do any of you know a contact for them or a concert that they will have in America?

    • Autumn Season 2013 Preview says:

      Hi Yessenia,
      I don’t listen to Radiohead. After a quick google search, I have found out that there are rumours that they will release a new album in 2014 and then go on tour, but the band remains tight-lipped. I don’t think you can contact them without asking for an autograph, but I’m not sure.

      P.S. Why did you ask this question on a review of revered anime director Masaaki Yuasa’s latest crowd-funded hate it or love it anime short Kick Heart?

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 12:13 AM)
    Ep03 of Arslan was weak. The only reason I’m still excited for the next episode is Narsus. Hopefully Arakawa’s portrayal is as cynically delightful as Tanaka’s.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 25. 2015 12:10 AM)
    @Emma: yeah I liked that. Uses the same digital rotoscoping that was used in A Scanner Darkly. I enjoyed reading ASD more than the movie. Philip K. Dick has a literary style that really doesn’t lend itself to the screen. Interestingly enough Southlake Tales is also heavily inspired by Dick’s novels.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 11:35 PM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen it but seems like theres noticeable dark humour there.
    I saw a trippy movie about lucid dreams lately called waking life.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:31 PM)
    Love it or hate it, everyone agreed that it’s certainly an interesting watch and a tantalizing and magnetic film that even if you despise it you would still badly want to watch it to the end. Dwayne Johnson, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean William Scott are just the tip of the iceberg in this weird list of celebrities who all play a strange and out-of-character role in Southlake Tales. The movie was ambitious if nothing else.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:23 PM)
    I just recently watched Southland Tales for the first time: I gotta say I enjoyed it. This was Richard Kelly’s next big project after Donnie Darko. Not considering The Box this is pretty much the only thing he’s done since and it’s extremely polarizing with the audience; although most people hated it. It’s a satirical dystopian apocalypse story and might be one of the weirder films that strangely never became a cult classic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:18 PM)
    @Emma: Vinland is one of those that stresses me every time I hear its name since I badly need to catch up with it. I also watch Vikings, pretty solid show. It premiered on the History Channel of all channels, mostly known now for the entertaining but laughable Ancient Aliens. I think I might’ve seen Angel a while ago, and Holy Motors just sounds so strange; so I might give it a go actually.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:03 PM)
    Ah, good Vinland saga, I am liking how this new arc is starting out and its good that Askeladd is still showing up in flashbacks.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 07:02 PM)
    @Bam: Beyond un chien andalou have you ever looked into anything else by Bunuel? I recently saw exterminating angel and found it a wickedly funny surrealist dark comedy. You may also be interested in a surrealist arthouse french movie called holy motors, which has its moments.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 06:59 PM)
    @Bam: Vikings is actually a pretty good show to check out for people into game of thrones. But the main tv show I am interested in right now is that new daredevil series and am waiting for season 2.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Friday, Apr 24. 2015 06:22 PM)
    It’s going to get a lot better ;D

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