"Akira" analysis "Akira" analysis

The first time Taran Matharu watched Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira (1988), he had no clue what the story was about. (He isn’t the only one.) Yet he was gripped by the film’s exquisite design, staging, and animation — “this unique visual language that I’d never seen before.”

In two new videos, Matharu — now a character animator with two decades’ experience — unpacks what makes the animation and compositions in this anime milestone so effective. He focuses on two scenes: one in which the previously reticent Tetsuo roughs up a rival gang member, and one reaction shot from a lackey in Tetsuo’s gang. Watch the videos below:

The videos provide detailed frame-by-frame analyses of these segments, with Matharu annotating the images as he discusses the lines of action, body mechanics, eyelines, etc. He occasionally extrapolates a piece of advice for character animators in general, including those working in 3d: “It’s almost like you’re treating your posing as a sculpture, making sure most, if not all, the angles work.”

Matharu would know — his experience covers eight years in the games industry and ten in cg features and vfx, with credits including Christopher Robin, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Playmobil: The Movie, and The Little Prince. He was recently a lead animator on Scoob!

These Akira videos are the first to appear on his new Youtube channel Reeltalk, which will feature more analyses of this kind as well as interviews with industry figures. The aim is to give a sense of what it takes to make it in this industry, and viewers are invited to suggest films for analysis and subjects for interviews. We’re keen to see what Matharu posts next.

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