A Career in the Anime Industry! Freelance Animator Oda Sensei. Interview 1/10

A Career in the Anime Industry! Freelance Animator Oda Sensei. Interview 1/10

(…) Is there a layout you like? Or Anime? Oh, an anime I like? No! I mean, that you’ve worked on… hm? m? I mean…. Hahaha I will be drawing as I speak. Sure! Of course. haha You are now drawing Crayon Shin-Chan, right? Yes. Let’s start with your name. And introducing the anime you’ve worked on. I am Taeko Oda I am just an animator. I just participate in various anime. About the anime I’ve participated in… I entered to an animation company in 1977. I quit in 1983… Yes. ..and until 1987 I had a 4-year blank. Since I was raising a kid. From 1987 until now I have been a freelance animator. So you started by entering to a specific company. Where you would be there physically and draw animation. Then you stopped being in the anime industry for a while. Yes. And when you came back, it was as a freelancer. -Working from home like now.
– That’s right. At that time, a senior introduced me. I see. Sending work through mails, Having meetings via phone call, And it continued until now. I see! In which anime did you work? In the first company I worked for, I animated “Lupin Sansei”. “Lupan Sansei” “Lupin the Third Part II” Yes. And then… “Gensō Tensai Bakabon”. Ooh! I did inbetween animation for a year and a half. Sometimes people rely on me as “a help” to do tasks they cannot cover My superior was having troubles with deadlines, so asked me for help in key animation. I see! That’s when I started as a key animator. I started with “Hoshi no Ouji Sama” while helping my team. At that time, in the company I worked for, We had three executives and I worked under one of them but I had not studied key animation then. Apparently, the other two were against that I helped in key animation since I did just 1 year and a half of in between animation. But still, it happened. Laugh. So I do key animation from then. That is very fast! A bit, right? Promotion from in between to key animation is a thing! It was quite fast. As expected, Oda Sensei is awesome. No no no.
Laugh. Yes, awesome! The anime where I actually studied key animation was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, by Nippon Animation. Our boss was the top at the Japanese animation side, and I started learning layout then. From then you do layouts. It was different from a school. You cannot expect everyone to be good teachers. You draw your layout. You show it to the boss. And he/she corrects it. And I observed those corrections carefully. Laugh. That is how I learned. So, from key animation, you stepped up to layout so… More than “jump”, I had to do layouts when working on key animation. Oooh I see. I am not sure if i knew well what I was doing. In the popular anime, there is a lot of quotidian scenes. I wasn’t doing action scenes and difficult perspectives. We must do layouts that are quite “basic”. And I started studying from there. You started from the easy part. So many anime listed! Actually, there are anime I am proud I worked on. Like “Tottoko Hamtaro”. Laugh. Hamtaro! Yes, I animated quite a lot of it. 50 cuts at least. Then, from this area of the list… I entered as “rotation”. So I did just 4-5 chapters per anime. Lately, there are many short anime, right? 13 chapters per anime season. In the rotation system, animators can do just 1 chapter per season at most. There is no much time in the production schedule. So they would ask “Could we ask you to do just 10 cuts?” Oh… right! If I include them, there should be more of them that I got involved Like, even if you do 4 cuts only, your name will appear on the list. Oh, I understand. I cannot feel like “I made this” Summarizing, because of the rotation system, in 1 season of anime (13 chapters) animators can do only 4-20 cuts per season. Exactly. Instead of the same person doing one chapter after the other. You just do a little part. Yes. That is terrible! You have to learn to draw… Yes!!! …new characters all the time. Just for one time. That is really impressive. When someone sees my name there they say “You worked on this!?”. I am like “I just did 4 cuts…”. Laugh. But you really could not do more than that! I get it. Woah… Definitely, after doing key animation, I really felt “now I am in!” Then I worked in “Mame Ushi Kun” Animation for kids. That is the first time I worked in 15 min animation. 15 min chapters. Oh, but before that, I worked at “Hello! Sandybell” That was… when it had passed 4 years since I started my career as an animator. beginning 5th year with the anime. They allowed me to direct the animation. I corrected the characters drawn by other animators. – Oh, I see…
– I did not know the detail of the anime. It started here! Then there is “Live On Cardliver Kakeru”. We did not have general director, just the bunch of directors assigned to several parts. I worked in around 5 chapters (rotation system). It was a 15 min/chapter animation. Technically 30 min divided in 2 parts. So I did 15min parts. I am quite proud of that. Do you have a favorite anime you worked on? There are various.
Hmmm Can be 2 or so! Laugh. I worked quite a lot for “Gintama” Oh, “Gintama”! Basically, I am happy to work in major works. I mean, famous animes. Oh, I see! “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” I worked on key animation for those. Woah!! Incredible! I think you also worked in “Inazuma Eleven” Right, I did quite a lot of it too. And “Inuyasha”! I believe… kanketsu-Hen (Final Season)? Yes! For Inuyasha, I was supposed to work as animation director but the animation director chief didn’t allow it. Oh! I see. In the end, I could just do 1. Even if I wanted to do more. And the name is in the credits, since you did participated. Yes, because I did key animation for a full chapter. Oh! A full chapter!? Yes, the full 30 min. Woah!! So cool! It took so much time… Which chapter was it? “Inuyasha Kanketsu Hen”… chapter 4 maybe? Chapter 4. It is called “Tessaiga”. The “Tessaiga” one. Yes, I think so. It took a month and a half. 1.5 months for 1 chapter of key animation. For “Kanketsu Hen”. Incredible. I do like Inuyasha so I wanted to do more. But it wasn’t available after doing 1 full chapter. It was already given to other animators. Exactly, it didn’t enter to the rotation system. Lately, seasons have 13 chapters each. Yes. The productions delivers all the chapter at the same time to available animators. (Rotation) From start to end, how long does it take to finish the animation part of a season. According to the schedule, around 4 weeks. 2 weeks layout, 2 weeks key animation. Sometimes there’s less time. One I am doing one gave me 1 week for layouts. And I took 10 cuts for that one. 10 cuts! Ouh…. Looks challenging! yes… Sometimes the schedule is too tight. Other animators would also agree on that. We want more time to do it better, and draw it properly… Makes sense. You all want to draw it more beautifully. But you can just deliver your best given the time frame. Yes. Has it happen that, you deliver a cut knowing there are mistakes. But you deliver it because of the deadline. And then it comes back as it needs to be corrected? Yes, definitely. If the animation director is strict it happens often. But I respect the schedule until the last day. And I avoid the producer’s complain. I see!

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  1. This was an amazing insight from a veteran animator! Really appreciate it! As an animator aspiring to work in the anime industry it was very useful.

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