Breaking Down One Punch Man’s Incredible Animation [Part 2] | Animator Spotlight

Breaking Down One Punch Man’s Incredible Animation [Part 2] | Animator Spotlight


This is the Part 2 to a video I did back in October when One Punch Man originally began airing. In that video, I spoke about how the staff was assembled and talked about some of the staff members involved in the first episode. I recommend you go back and watch that part, which will then give context to this part. Or you could watch them the other way round. I don’t care. One Punch Man is a marvel of action animation and for sakuga fans, it offered a chance to really go into detail on the people behind our favourite moments. Unlike western animation, anime is built in a way that allows animators the chance to really shine by allocating them cuts of action and in the best of cases, the freedom to really let them flourish. Thankfully, One Punch Man is the best of cases and each episode, there’s something to take away from it and there was a series of constant surprises as skilled animators just appeared out of thin air to take the stage. And since I believe making a video longer than 10 minutes to be on the same level as building an atomic bomb, we’ll stick to the highlights in regards to those that made One Punch Man special from episodes 2 to 12. After the action montage that was the first episode, Episode 2 dived straight in, introducing us to the compilation of brilliant effects animation that is Genos. And on the front lines ready to introduce him is Atsuki Shimizu. As a swarm of mosquitoes are set alight, flames erupt from the heart of the city and spread across the streets. One particular highlight is this moment here, where the flames wrap around the corner with such dramatic force and flourish, exploding into more and more complexity. Now, Shimizu’s specialty lies in effects animation as you may have expected from that cut and you may have seen his work in Boruto, Tokyo Ghoul or Bleach. There’s two main elements to the One Punch Man cut that we just saw and that’s the bulbous nature of the explosion and the way in which the fire moves and you can see here, that that’s a consistent factor in his work and embraces what you can refer to as his style. Compare this explosion by Keichirou Watanabe in the same episode and it’s like night and day. And speaking of Watanabe, he is a genuine talent who came out of fucking nowhere with exceptional background animation as you can probably see here. Okay, slow that down. This is Toshiyuki Sato from Episode 3 and whether you know it or not, you love him and you can really gain an appreciation for what he does by slowing down his cuts. Fire composed of paintbrush strokes, a real sense of speed delivered through smears and clever framing. In Episode 9, we get to see more of this, coupled with a series of impact frames in this incredibly Kameda-like action sequence. And it’s not just about hardcore action either, as Sato delivered this brilliant moment of character acting for the same episode and you can probably see the comparisons between his work here and Kameda in the same episode. One Punch Man was a time for style. With Space Dandy being an amalgamation of different styles and ideas, Natsume built the framework to allow for the most creative of animators to pop on in. And whilst he didn’t get a chance on Space Dandy, Little Witch Academia animator Shuhei Handa delivers with the effects animation that just doesn’t stop giving. Episode 7 featured the attempts to stop a meteor falling upon the city, one of which being Genos’ elaborate fire shooty hand thing. And the real highlight here is once he’s fired the, well fire and all of these other elements come into play, giving it more complexity. It’s like a Se Jun Kim cut, but way looser, almost like liquid. And he returned in Episode 12 with more effects animation, this time with a focus on smoke. Wit Studio’s Arifumi Imai was Genos’ best friend, working to deliver one of the character’s most action packed scenes in Episode 5, squaring off against Saitama in a friendly duel. Imai is known for explosive action, particularly in his work on Attack on Titan and now that term can be used quite literally as the two clash in this high intensity battle that makes Dragon Ball Z look like a battle between hamsters. The way the virtual camera moves here really makes these scenes something special. Of course, them bursting off into the sky is cool, but the camera twisting around to follow their path is exceptional. Also, you can’t possibly see it when you’re watching, but if you freeze frame it, Imai even included a little shine onto Saitama’s bold head. A little joke for the nerds like me and you who decided to pause. Imai got the opportunity to create another similar scene in the final episode, starting off the Saitama V Boros fight, but these effects are even more elaborate. It doesn’t have the same cinematographic quirks, but with a heavy emphasis on these trails and sonic booms, the scene holds impact within itself, making for an awesome lead up into a scene so stupidly well animated that just thinking about drawing those frames is a scary thought. Yutaka Nakamura is the heart and soul of Studio Bones and finding him on One Punch Man was certainly a surprise and he was never listed in the credits, despite him creating one of the best scenes in the show. I’m trying to fit a million animators into 10 minutes, so we’ll make this short. Impact frames, background animation, elaborate effects animation, strong use of camera, Yutapon cubes, or I believe in Yutaka Nakamura’s case, we just call them cubes, and a whole tonne of debris. From the first moment as the spaceship shatters, it was recognisable as Nakamura himself and you can see the similarities in his work on Concrete Revolutio or Kekkai Sensen, but the overwhelming portrayal of pure unfiltered strength turns this up to 11. Let’s go frame by frame through this cut. Boros is performing the classic whack on the head attack, at least I think that’s the technical term. But just look at every impact frame involved here, even moving to a shot of his eye before it hits, throwing the screen into black and white, literally punching the colour out of frame. Another great example is shortly after, when Saitama has been launched in the air. Impact after impact, frame after frame, this sequence is ridiculous, launching into this electric display, just in case the point wasn’t made, finishing off as Boros shoots Saitama into the moon, using another red impact frame to cap it all off, concluding Nakamura’s “This is why I’m one of the best action animators” speech. One Punch Man is a storm of animation and I’ve had people mention that my last video got them into Sakuga, which is excellent and I encourage you to look further into the names you hear here. And to remove the risk of having to make a Part 3, here are a few more quick animator highlights. Madhouse’s very own Hidehiko Sawada took the stage on a few occasions, particularly working with Imai on the Genos Saitama fight in Episode 5, contributing some of these moments of character action that kind of sells it as a friendly fight, with silly walks and fun motions. He’s not as stylistically insane as some of the other key names that are involved and he does seem slightly out of place in a staff made up of Gainax veterans, webgen animators and the criminally insane, but his work certainly translates well to break the tension or, in the case of Puri Puri Prisoner… you can finish that sentence yourself. Miso is a young cool animator with a young cool handle because using your real name is so last decade. Miso’s work is detailed, elaborate, clever and webgen as you can see just from a few clips of his work on Yatterman Night. In One Punch Man, he delivered some of the most detailed and beautiful explosions you’ll see, a tonne of debris animation and impressive cinematography. And Bahi JD did a cut too. It was only one, but I adore this particular cut in Space Dandy so much that I’ve watched and looked for everything he’s ever done. He’s a web generation animator, operating using software like Flash rather than flipping through pages and pencils and this allows for many things, one of which being timeline management, allowing for the opportunity to go back and add or change things, something that’s more complicated within traditional means. And you can see that in his One Punch Man cut, even if it isn’t as elaborate as his Space Dandy stuff, as subtle movements come into play. Even this bit of smoke on Saitama’s head and coming out of the Sea King’s nose is a marvel. And that’s not even something the viewer will be looking at. The point is, One Punch Man is a marvel of animation styles and gave us one of the few opportunities for seeing so many unique artists in the same place. Keep an eye out for director Shingo Natsume, because if Space Dandy and One Punch Man is anything to go by, the guy knows how to throw a party. Thanks for watching The Canipa Effect. Make sure to subscribe for more animation videos like this. I’ve got one on Mob Psycho 100 coming up soon or if you’re looking for something to watch right now, I regard my video about Project Itoh to be one of my best and most important.

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  1. This was absolutely riveting to watch, I have so much respect for every single one of these brilliant animators. Thanks for the enlightening work! fist bump

  2. Your nerd level is off the charts. I'm amazed. It had honestly never occurred to me that you might be able to recognize individual animator's contributions within and anime. Watching you break this down is great.

  3. The thing I love most about your channel is how you explain (in under 10 minutes) why something we already loved experiencing the first time deserves so much more appreciation and your ability to break down a shot that lasts one second on screen and demonstrate what exactly makes the shot worth marveling over. You literally act as a multiplier for shows we love to make us love them even more. Bravo dude!

  4. Hey good stuff i was wondering if you could bring up studio 3Hz as i read alittle about them, but they seem rarely new. Not sure…

  5. amazing commentary! Though, as an animator myself, I have one particular problem with japanese and korean animators. For the actions, they're excellent and bring masterful work on each project, but whn it comes to acting, I think the western animators are much better (Disney's and such).

    what do you think?

  6. What episode was 0:43 from? Where Genos saves the kid from that weird pig fella? I've never seen that before :

  7. yo if u haven't reviewed the hellsing ultimate ovas, I recommend it so much. it has beautiful animation, great characters, and beastly action

  8. Fate: ubw's animation is also really, really good. But it's two different styles so you can't really say one is better than the other

  9. This is why I think Madhouse would do an AWESOME JOB with Dragon Ball Super, why not them and Toei Animation team up?

  10. I love this kind of stuff, learning about the frames of animation and camera work used in animation. It makes me appricitate he effort put into anime even more. SOOO awesome. I love anime fight scenes, and part of that is because of stuff like One Punch Man's Final fight (for season 1) with how intense and detailed it is

  11. With 100% certainty OPM is a gem among gems it is one of the greatest bodies of work known to man it was perfect. By definition perfect not opinion it lacked in nothing. The dream team worked on OPM.

  12. I'm so, so happy that there is a real channel dedicated to focusing on key animation in this way.

    I can see this being the gateway inspiration for a number of future animators breaking into the industry. It's certainly got me pumped to get back to work.

    You bring the hype, man.

    Don't let up.

  13. LMAOed when he said "it makes DBZ fights look like a battle between Hamster" although DBZ fights are much much better tbh

  14. I really started getting into sakuga when i saw batman of shanghai for the first time (yes i know it's not an anime but you'll know what i mean if you've seen it, it's very short) but after one punch man i was sold completely and grew a real appreation for animation in general and im currently teaching myself flash because of it 😀

  15. So glad someone made a video on the animation quality of One Punch Man. It's honestly amazing how amazing this show moves.

  16. wait dont these professional animators animate digitally? Or do they do it on paper or something??? because in 8:30 u make it sound like they do it on paper. Im confused?

  17. the different between western animators and eastern animators, is that the eastern animators creates the inconsistency of each of episode of flawless and superb artwork for each episode, allowing animator to have that freedom to use their own unique animation and implementing it to the episode, so that it flows along with the story, wheras western episodes are quite more consistent since it could be made by the same animators, rather than have people coming in and out of companies to do etc. brilliant work

  18. There's no way we're getting a season 2, is there? This wasn't a series… It was a showcase of ultimate animation; a collaboration from some of the best working names in the business. Literally art in motion. It's impossible to top and unlikely to ever happen again. Damn.

  19. I think a couple of the cuts in the Boros fight that you're attributing to Nakamura were actually Gosei Oda. Three cuts starting at 6:51.

  20. But here is my question, can studios afford all these animators or was it just Natsume using his connections to get them to do him a favor?

  21. I hope these guys work on the season 2 of one punch man because the action sequences start to get better and better as the series progresses. I'm foaming at the mouth of the prospect of a season 2 with these all-star Animators working on the show.

  22. I can't rave about OPM's animation enough. I've watched the show 5 or 6 times, full marathon style, JUST because it was a beautiful thing to behold. Also because Genos is adorable. Oda's work in episode 1 just really stands out like a sore thumb though. It looks too different from everything else. The scene of the giant brother punching the ground was so weird that I had to explain to my family (whom I forced to watch some of this show) that the rest of the series would not look like that.

  23. When I was younger it blew my mind that people had to draw every frame of movement I saw in cartoons. I could barely draw the same thing twice so I thought it impossible for multiple people to do the same. Eventually I accepted the talent involved in animation, but learning how each animator differs when animating the same thing is a whole other level of mind blown.

  24. Japanese anime fights have so much more swag compare to that of Hollywood blockbuster movies. Imagine if all these animators have worked on Marvel superhero movies, one would probably think those characters' attacks have ten times the power they do now. 3:58 Perfect example, imagine that on Iron man's blasters.

  25. Really is a shame that Yutaka Nakamura didn't show up in the credits, the final battle scene is final gem in this animation! =

  26. I remember watching the Boros fight and from the start I was all "Wow, dang, look at this! Gorgeous" but then the blocks appeared and turned to lava and the impact frames screamed Yutaka Nakamura, whom I'm a big fan of, and I was just fucking gaping at the screen. I rewatched that fight multiple time, it's just perfect.

  27. I feel sorry for J.C staff that they have to animate season 2 and everyone will compare their work to those beasts….?

  28. I've always wanted to get further into following the people who show the best animation has to offer, but it's just so overwhelming. I struggle to even remember any of their names, let alone which ones are connected to what shows and what sections of the show. It seems impossible to keep track of so much information.

  29. Now I regret saying impolite words to JC Staff, and I feel bad for them. S1, I guess, was kinda unfair to succeeding animators to reproduce.

  30. To an animator, what's the appeal of any given project?
    What makes them want to work on a project, and really put all their effort into it?
    I imagine it's not often at all that they get to work on something they're personally interested in.

  31. Fans should not expect future Shonen series adaptations to look like OPM season 1. This was a one-time dream project by director Shingo Natsume that will never be replicated again probably. The fact that he got so many of the top talents in the industry to come work on one project is unprecedented. The ongoing season 2 of OPM should not be ridiculed simply because it's not the same staff. It's an unfair comparison. It's an unfair comparison for any series of the genre.

  32. And people give Madhouse too much credit. Let's not forget that this was the studio that initially showed zero interest in adapting the manga until a team of genius freelancers came along to work under its roof. lol

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