Masaaki Yuasa’s <em>Kaiba</em> Masaaki Yuasa’s <em>Kaiba</em>

Masaaki Yuasa’s Kaiba

Below are the opening titles to the upcoming series Kaiba, created and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, the genius visionary behind Mind Game. A few more details on the series, which is described as a sci-fi romance, can be found on Wikipedia.

And here is a tantalizing clip from Kemonozume, Yuasa’s first TV series made in 2006. Considering how much I admired Mind Game, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen this series yet, though Ben Ettinger’s write-ups about the 13 episodes make it sound phenomenal. Even in this short clip, the graphic invention and cinematic quality of storytelling are astounding, and so far beyond anything I’ve ever seen in American TV animation. The only thing that surprises me is that Yuasa’s work isn’t more readily available in the United States. (Thanks, Brandon)

  • Can’t wait for this, looks amazing.

    Kemonozume is definitely well worth watching. I think I almost like it better than Mind Game. The ending is somewhat off the wall to say the least; lots of people have valid criticisms of the last episode but I really liked it, and it’s still a masterpiece of animation, creativity and style even if you don’t like the way the plot goes.

    All animators owe it to themselves to see both. A real shame they’re not easily available outside Japan, but then that’s what The Internets are for. :)

  • hans bacher

    excuse me – tantalizing? graphic invention and cinematic quality of storytelling? I am afraid I was watching something else or maybe I am on a different planet…

  • Sean

    As a Masaaki Yuasa fan, that wasn’t very impressive. The hands were pretty choppy before they started changing.

  • I get the feeling that many Americans would no doubt look down at Yuasa’s stuff for being too artsy-fartsy, compared to, say, Hayao Miyazaki (with all due respect), who is not the Alpha and Omega.

    KAIBA looks incredible! Yuasa’s emulation of Osamu Tezuka’s style is spot-on, more so than Rin Taro’s METROPOLIS (which added too much realism to the characters, making them look a bit ugly, IMHO).

  • Hans Bacher wrote, I am afraid I was watching something else or maybe I am on a different planet…

    or maybe you just really hate animation?

    Here’s another little promo clip of Kaiba

    Looks like it’s going to be amazing.

  • I’m underwhelmed by this opening. Very par for a typical Anime opening sequence.

    Did you post the wrong clip, Amid?

  • Shmorky

    it’s unfair that all the boring, lame, tired cliche anime gets sent to the US, but then true works of beauty like this are kept from us. I feel cheated.

  • Brandon Edmark

    Sure, the music is typical j-pop crap, but visually there’s a lot more style and imagination in that opening sequence than most. Very reminiscent of the “God” scene from Mind Game.

    Tim is pretty on about Kemonozume; it’s an uncommonly tender, brutal, surreal love story until about 2/3 of the way through, when it trails off into cliche save-the-world-from-the-invincible-bad-guy territory. But those final episodes broke completely from anime’s visual conventions even as they succumbed to its narrative ones. And it’s filled with those same small, perfect moments that made Mind Game so great. It’s one of the few recent anime I always recommend, along with Mushi-shi.

    I just hope some discerning fansub group gets on Kaiba soon.

  • Chris L

    Kemonozume is stellar. Just gotta add that voice to the bunch. It’s amazing how many people (even anime watchers) I know who’ve never heard of it.

    The opening sequence to Kaiba didn’t excite me as much as some other anime intros (Kemonozume and Cowboy Bebop come to mind), but it was okay. Don’t know enough about the show, it might make more sense in that context.

  • Actually, I think someone could pick this up eventually- just about everything has a chance, it’s mostly a matter of the right timing. Media Blasters recently picked up Studio 4C’s [Mind Game’s animation studio] earlier TV series Tweeny Witches, and are doing a deluxe release of with a dub, artbox and 2-discs per volume.

  • Chuck R.

    “or maybe you just really hate animation?”

    I’m pretty used to elitist attitudes on the Brew, but I’m absolutely floored that someone would have the audacity to say this to Hans Bacher.

    The comments coming out of these Anime-related postings astound me. It’s not safe to offer a differing opinion without being labeled a xenophobe or animation hater. And heaven help you if you say a kind word about Hayao Miyazaki.

    Hans, you’re a living legend and an inspiration. I miss your blogs!

  • Brandon Edmark

    Any discussion about anime on here has become hopelessly loaded from both sides, it seems. Pity.

  • audacity to say this to Hans Bacher.
    I don’t really pay attention to who is posting when I reply, I just respond to what they say. A ‘living legend’ can still say something really worthless and deserve to be called out on it.

  • It’s always a quagmire- I’m a big anime fan, but there’s always the fun of explaining to some random self-proclaimed Otaku that I’m also a big Disney fan. Or that I think manga and comics are the same thing. Inverse this with domestic comic nuts. Slowmotion head exploding people. [thankfully, this is less so the case with animation fans, who usually recognize anime is just animation]

    The opening is pretty striking, but Hans does have a point- it’s more of a tease. Kaiba does look unusual, so I’m looking forward to seeing it someday, and if it lives up to the promise of it’s designs and visual style, storywise. I’d love to see Cartoon Network do a fantasy adventure show in a cartoony style again [Samurai Jack, but seriouser?]

    [now I lose all credit by pointing out my fave anime director is Osamu Dezaki :)]

  • Chuck R.

    You’re right, Brandon. And I’ll add that the original comment was not exactly delicately put (I’ll plead guilty to my own past offenses) Fortunately, there are lots of well-written opinions to balance them out.

    All the same, I can’t understand the derision some have for Miyazaki. I never heard him singled out for attack before Pixar promoted his films. Honestly, what do you think would be the reaction from Anime fans if Mind Game were released in the US with an introduction by John Lasseter saying “you’ve got to see all Yuasa’s films —they’re all wonderful!” ?

    BTW, I enjoyed the opening titles to Kaiba. Not stellar by feature film standards (whose credits are often better than than films themselves) but it’s lively and imaginative. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mike Toole

    It has always baffled me that Tekkonkinkreet got fast-tracked for US release, but we still haven’t gotten a release of Mindgame, or of Studio 4C’s many, many great short films. Not to disparage TK, which is excellent, but IMO it follows trends set by Mindgame and the latter really blew me away the first time I saw it.

    If you like this stuff, incidentally, don’t miss Tweeny Witches. It just came out on DVD– preview it on Youtube and if you like it, get it, it’s amazing!!

  • Is anybody else getting an Osamu vibe from these designs? The backgrounds in the teaser advert are freakin’ faboo, by the way.

  • from Hans Bacher: “excuse me – tantalizing? graphic invention and cinematic quality of storytelling? I am afraid I was watching something else or maybe I am on a different planet…”

    I was about to leave the standard bumhole “Disney way or the highway” comment when I (thankfully) stopped meself. Why do these discussions on any anime mentioned on CB turn into a freakin’ east vs. west design pissing contest every damn time? Never understand it…’specially given that I contribute enuff to the problem meself with knee-jerk forum replies. Still, Hans coulda left it at “hmmm…well, I don’t like it” and instead chose a response that makes Kaiba sound slapdash, which it ain’t. Mebbe a lil’ harsh, fella. Just sayin’, is all.

  • To clarify, my initial comment was simply a facetious, sarcastic, unhelpful reply to a facetious, sarcastic, unhelpful post, nothing more intended.

    It’s not ‘elitism’ to get irritated by repeated knee-jerk dismissal of Japanese animation, especially when it’s as innovative and beautiful as Yuasa’s work.

  • TempleDog,

    I got the Tezuka vibe, also! If you notice, I said that early in this thread. ;)

  • H Park

    Why are we wasting our typing on this east vs west design contrasts? I don’t find it productive to attack foreign designs because of our ingrained cultural aesthetics doesn’t seem to help us to make better animation. If someone didn’t like anime or whatever, that’s fine. Not everything agrees with one’s taste. We’re watching something that is pretty unique for the genre and some of the people are still venting their baseless frustration.

    If you’re an animation professional, isn’t it better to observe what other party did and try to discover new or better way to express your ideas? Wasting time on bad mouthing some crazy foreign animation will not improve our future animations.

    If you’re just a fan, don’t just cling onto old and tired animation aesthetics. Don’t beat the dead horse by saying “this is not Disney way, therefore it’s not right”. It won’t make animation move forward. Tell animation makers what new crazy things you really want. American animation is blessed with both artistic and technical achievements, and yet we’re not doing anything to branch out our creativity to the next level. There are so many things that fans can do when you put effort into them.

  • Chuck R.

    “that wasn’t very impressive.”

    “I get the feeling that many Americans would no doubt look down at Yuasa’s stuff for being too artsy-fartsy, compared to, say, Hayao Miyazaki (with all due respect), who is not the Alpha and Omega.”

    “it’s unfair that all the boring, lame, tired cliche anime gets sent to the US”

    “the music is typical j-pop crap”

    “The opening sequence to Kaiba didn’t excite me as much as some other anime intros”

    Read carefully, folks. Most of the negativity and “East v West” is coming from the anime fans. This clip isn’t impressing too many out there, but as I’ve said, If you don’t start your comment by bashing Disney or some mainstream Japanese director, you get hammered by the animelitists.

    Hans’ comment was no more disparaging than Sean’s right below it, so yes, Tim and Templedog, you do have to explain where you get “knee-jerk” and “Disney way or the highway”.

  • Chuck, I don’t agree with a single thing you just posted, including the fairly dumb quotes which you meaninglessly lump together as “animelitist”. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I don’t have to explain anything because I just watched the first episode of Kaiba and it’s 100% beautiful genius as any reasonable person would have expected.

  • Brandon Edmark

    Well, I doubt anyone will read this post ever again, but here’s a link to the fansub of the first episode if they do:

    It’s pretty great, fellas.

  • BeatBlaster

    well i read it..
    yeah sure i got the feelling like something like this would happen when the show first came out.. it maybe not for everyone, but its an interesting adult love story and visuals are cool, great actually, an awesome work from madhouse..