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Old 2013-03-21, 20:57   Link #101
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
This is a new point for discussion, so let's go with this. I disagree here. The audiovisual quality of anime is still highly variable.
For the first several weeks of Little Busters' anime adaptation, there was weekly and frequent complaining over the animation in LB. I really don't think that LB the anime would have received that sort of response if the exact same show aired back in 2006.

I've watched LB since it started, and I continue to now, and its animation quality has never struck me as particularly worthy of criticism.


Quote:
Moreover, the visual quality in regards to backgrounds, art direction and photography has clearly changed, but whether or not it has improved from the analog era is a matter of taste. In the framework of modern digital productions, only a handful of shows can be said to make effective use of the available tools, and a great deal of TV shows feature uninspired and lazy choices. Not counting downright offensive stuff like Angel Beats.
I personally felt that Angel Beats! looked and sounded very nice. Mind you, that's going off of a fading memory - I haven't watched Angel Beats! since it finished airing.

However, when people heavily criticize the visuals in Angel Beats! is when I start to feel lost when it comes to evaluating animation quality. Like I don't have "the eye" and/or the training necessarily to judge animation. I've seen Angel Beats! get bashed a lot for its animation quality, and honestly, I don't know why people consider it so bad. In contrast, when people criticize an anime's writing quality, I at least "get" what they're saying, even if I don't agree with it.

Maybe it would help if people could point towards a particular sequence in Angel Beats! where the animation was noticeably bad.
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Old 2013-03-21, 21:08   Link #102
Akito Kinomoto
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
If the intentions are going all over the place, the project will suck from a lack of focus. It ought to be very clear, by the level of abstraction in the storytelling, which element is supposed to be more important.
The "intentions" were more about anime as a whole having different chemistry. For example, there are 10 shows. 1 is 1:9 on form:content, 2 is 7:3 on form:content, and so on. When I say it isn't clear which element is supposed to be more important, I literally mean "the elements are so tightly woven together that I can't tell what's supposed to be more important."
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Old 2013-03-21, 21:33   Link #103
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
2) I think that the overall visual/audio-quality of anime has improved considerably over the past few years in most respects. Animation that would have been "stand-out" a few years ago is now just expected. Animation studios are almost a victim of their own success here. They've perfected the audio-visual side of things to the point that people increasingly take it for granted (I'll admit I'm guilty of this myself sometimes). Writing quality, however, remains highly variable, so it gets a lot of attention.

I honestly can't think of a recent anime that looked downright ugly to me. But I can think of recent anime that had some really questionable plots, lol.
Like Warm Mist, I disagree that animation in anime has unanimously improved over the years. If anything, TV anime continues to rely heavily on a limited range of art and character designs, and lots of shortcuts are still taken in the animation process.

That is more a result of limited time and budget than a failure of artists and animators to innovate. But even so, there will be the occasional TV anime that manages to transcend its resource limitations. Aoi Bungaku comes to mind right away. The approach to art was still largely conventional, but the way it was applied to very interesting and oblique interpretations of famous Japan novels made a world of difference in my enjoyment of the anime.

In any case, I vaguely recall a handful of threads that have discussed this issue in more detail. This one for example: Sterile Animation and Art in Anime

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
However, when people heavily criticize the visuals in Angel Beats! is when I start to feel lost when it comes to evaluating animation quality. Like I don't have "the eye" and/or the training necessarily to judge animation. I've seen Angel Beats! get bashed a lot for its animation quality, and honestly, I don't know why people consider it so bad. In contrast, when people criticize an anime's writing quality, I at least "get" what they're saying, even if I don't agree with it.
I sympathise. I feel the same way when it comes to evaluating the performance of voice actors. To me, they all sound equally good and I hardly recall ever hearing Japanese voice acting in anime that made me wince, unlike the case in English-dubbed or Taiwan Mandarin-dubbed anime. I guess I haven't yet developed an "ear" for detecting differences that would enable me to critique their delivery effectively.

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Old 2013-03-21, 21:49   Link #104
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
I am going to add another reason (at least in terms of message boards more so than blogs). When you are discussing characters, plot, and theme there is just a whole lot more to discuss and debate.

Triple R and Myself can go back and forth on what we feel about Yakomaru's motives in Shin Sekai Yori but while it is very interesting we might not go back and forth on what the director was trying to convey in this scene using the visuals.
Ideally, what the visuals say can be added to those back and forth discussions. It's possibly less important in shows that use lots of dialogue to express its meanings, but it can be useful nonetheless.

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Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
Specialized tools? I think anyone that paid attention during the watch and is willing to translate their reactions to written word can talk about how a screen was positioned, how the lighting affected the scene, how the animation moved, etc.
You don't need to be a film student or anything of the sort. I'm pretty sure most people here aren't literary students, let alone writers or scholars, yet the dialogue and plot of a show get dissected to the most minimal details.

I think it goes back to what Dawnstorm said; most of those elements, when successful, tend to be invisible to let the story shine. They are there, and are as important (if not more) than the script, but the idea is that most viewers shouldn't notice their presence. Only people willing to notice them will talk about them.
I don't think that it's nearly as easy as you make it out to be. I've seen lots of cases where posters get confused about what good animation, backgrounds, lighting are. If basics like this are hard to grasp, then more complex concepts like the meaning behind certain directional techniques is going to be just about impossible. I would imagine that a lot gets filtered out by a casual viewer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I personally felt that Angel Beats! looked and sounded very nice. Mind you, that's going off of a fading memory - I haven't watched Angel Beats! since it finished airing.

However, when people heavily criticize the visuals in Angel Beats! is when I start to feel lost when it comes to evaluating animation quality. Like I don't have "the eye" and/or the training necessarily to judge animation. I've seen Angel Beats! get bashed a lot for its animation quality, and honestly, I don't know why people consider it so bad. In contrast, when people criticize an anime's writing quality, I at least "get" what they're saying, even if I don't agree with it.

Maybe it would help if people could point towards a particular sequence in Angel Beats! where the animation was noticeably bad.
I'm lazy, so I'm just going to steal borrow these examples from elsewhere:











You can think of it as one of those "how many mistakes can you find?" puzzles.
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Old 2013-03-21, 23:28   Link #105
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Complaining about Angel Beats visuals is like complaining about Guilty Crown or Fate/Zero visuals. That is, where the expectation threshold is so high people start nick-picking left and right at very minor details. I mean, hell I could do that too for one of the most visually spectacular shows of last year in Hyouka - go back to the very first episode just before the opening credits start where Oreki walks into the clubroom where Chitanda is staring past the window, you'll see some QUALITY out-of-place CGI there.

Or in Guilty Crown's case, people were too busy criticizing its writing (I very much disliked the writing too) that they decided to ignore or even go to criticize other aspects like the visuals or OST. The fact that hardly anyone mentioned the OST of that show and something as mundane and cookie-cutter as Fate Zero's OST won the Soundtrack Award for the Animesuki Awards is still a baffle to me, but whatever.

It appears that we are just all "spoilt" by this digital HD era. I know this because I'm guilty of it too, particularly when it comes to Production IG and PA Works shows, both studios which I have historically been fond of.

Also as a side-note, I've been noticing this trend where if a show is considered "good", then some people tend to praise everything about that show. Similarly, if a show is considered "bad", then people either tend to criticise everything about that show - Guilty Crown being a clear example, where its visuals and OST were completely ignored due to its poor writing and storytelling. Though I can't blame people for doing so since not everyone has a "critics mindset" (neither do I personally really), it can get disappointing at times when people just follow the bandwagon instead of making up their own mind.
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Old 2013-03-22, 01:17   Link #106
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Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
Complaining about Angel Beats visuals is like complaining about Guilty Crown or Fate/Zero visuals. That is, where the expectation threshold is so high people start nick-picking left and right at very minor details.
With all due respect, saying that a shot like this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Is a minor detail, equals to me saying that Code Geass R2 is well-written and any plot hole/issue is people just nitpicking.
Especially for a high-profile production with a budget as supposedly huge as AB! (first episode used 11.000 animation frames, while the average episode in an average TV show ranges from 2500~6000 frames), stuff like this is egregious. The characters don't have shadows and are just sort of floating in the frame, the props (those two coins and the "picture" in the BG) are badly designed and serve no purpose at all, the poses of the characters are so stiff it hurts, and their arrangement on the screen makes it look cluttered and unnatural. Not to mention the very low-quality BG that's used.
This is not just a "minor detail", since as 4Tran exemplified, bad composition is present throughout the whole series. I don't have gifs with me, but the same can be said of the animation. If you go and watch episode 1, the one with 11k frames, it'd be rare for you to come saying "man, that sure had a huge budget". It's a matter of how they handled those frames that made the animation in the episode come off as stiff, dull and technically poor (which it is).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
It appears that we are just all "spoilt" by this digital HD era. I know this because I'm guilty of it too, particularly when it comes to Production IG and PA Works shows, both studios which I have historically been fond of.
I think it's pretty simple: some shows are crappy productions, most shows are average, very few shows are above average productions. It's only natural that people will notice the bad things about bad productions, and good things about good productions. Why is that being spoiled? Something like AB!, or Musashi Gundoh, is horrible now, and would have been horrible if released in the past too; it's not a matter of relative quality here.
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Old 2013-03-22, 01:52   Link #107
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@Warm-Wist:

I can name innumerable number of series that were more QUALITY than Angel Beats in 2010. I can name innumerable number of series that were more QUALITY than Fate Zero or Guilty Crown in 2011/2012. Yet, I seem to find more complaints regarding visuals of those series in that than your average LN adaptation done by AIC or JC Staff. Sure, there's more people watching the former series, but that's still spoilt. It's complaining you didn't get enough cinnamon in your cinnamon donuts.

And like I said earlier you can nitpick all you want in specific scenes and whatnot, but that'll be the case for EVERY show. Example? Going back to my Hyouka case:

YouTube
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

From 3:33 - 4:05.

That's one that I can remember on top of my head and if I tried hard enough I'm sure I could have found more, but tbh I don't really care, because 95%+ of the time that series had great visuals (great everything really). Similarly, Angel Beats having horrid visuals, in fact I remember it for having really good ones particularly during concert scenes. Even more so considering it was airing during the same season K-on Season 2 was airing, which was sorely lacking in the music department and it was hell ironic that a series that wasn't even about music had more musical performances than a series that was supposed to about music. Say what you want about Angel Beats regards to its story and writing, because I agree, it sucked big time and it's still both my least favorite "Key" related and PA Works based work to this day because of it, but that's irrelevant to visuals.
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Old 2013-03-22, 02:22   Link #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
Similarly, Angel Beats having horrid visuals, in fact I remember it for having really good ones particularly during concert scenes.
Oh boy,I have to say after seeing the couple pics from the concert scene that scene is now "forever ruined" for me.

That being said even after noticing all the issues in those pics (though I still like the 4th one), I still refuse to see Angel Beats mentioned in the same breath as musashi gundoh, a show that wasusing jpegs as backrounds.
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Old 2013-03-22, 02:27   Link #109
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Out of morbid curiosity I decided to do some "visual research" on musashi gundoh. Oh god my eyes! . It's opening credits is probably amongst the worst I've seen ever .

Ok, that is an example of truly horrifying visuals . Though I cannot even comprehend why Angel Beats would even be considered as a thought in comparison to it :/
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Old 2013-03-22, 03:39   Link #110
Warm Mist
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I don't find anything worth defending in AB!'s composition, animation or art direction. Same goes for Musashi Gundoh, with the added plus of having a horribly fucked up schedule (and probably a very low budget).
I admit that I went too far in putting the two in the same category, but disregarding any direct comparison, neither passes the threshold of "acceptable" to me.

And yes, there are more "QUALITY" shows out there, and they're offensive crap too. That doesn't make AB! any less horrid. I don't remember complaining about GC or F/Z in this thread or anywhere though, since they're good and even above average, but I wouldn't put them in the highest of tiers either (F/Z is more arguable since it depends on your tolerance/preference for ufotable's filters and CG use).

About the Hyouka example, yes, the background in that tracking shot is low-quality CG, but the color palette remains good, and the characters are animated by hand with no noticeable technical problems. I don't think the use of a tracking shot is in itself a bad decision, but yes it could be better executed. It's nowhere near as bad as the best (or least bad?) scene in AB!, though.
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Old 2013-03-22, 04:16   Link #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
I don't find anything worth defending in AB!'s composition, animation or art direction. Same goes for Musashi Gundoh, with the added plus of having a horribly fucked up schedule (and probably a very low budget).
I admit that I went too far in putting the two in the same category, but disregarding any direct comparison, neither passes the threshold of "acceptable" to me.
And that is why I'm talking about being spoilt. If Angel Beats isn't "acceptable", then your cutoff threshold must be extremely high because about 90% of animes out are worse visually than that. I mean heck, if you wanna talk about unacceptable "animation" than look at most things done by SHAFT, which some people mockingly call it 5 frames per second. That particular Bakemonogatari episode anyone?

Quote:
And yes, there are more "QUALITY" shows out there, and they're offensive crap too. That doesn't make AB! any less horrid. I don't remember complaining about GC or F/Z in this thread or anywhere though, since they're good and even above average, but I wouldn't put them in the highest of tiers either (F/Z is more arguable since it depends on your tolerance/preference for ufotable's filters and CG use).
You must have missed the bitching and constant whining in those respective threads whilst it was airing. Fate Zero had a lot of people complaining about the constant use of still frames and poor CGI. Guilty Crown was much worse in that it was getting bashed 24/7 in every aspect.

Quote:
About the Hyouka example, yes, the background in that tracking shot is low-quality CG, but the color palette remains good, and the characters are animated by hand with no noticeable technical problems. I don't think the use of a tracking shot is in itself a bad decision, but yes it could be better executed. It's nowhere near as bad as the best (or least bad?) scene in AB!, though.
Now that's just hyperbole and silly. Calling that "questionabe" Hyouka scene better than the worst LB scene is just blindlessly hating.
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Old 2013-03-22, 05:31   Link #112
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It seems we don't agree in what makes a show visually solid. There's no way 90% of anime looks worse than AB!, at any rate 90% of anime looks better. I don't have a personal problem against the show, it's just a random example I picked because it illustrates my point perfectly. I could as well have mentioned SHAFT and their unfinished Bakemonogatari episodes, or any other show that looks as bad as AB!

But aside from particular shows, my main point is that current anime, on average, doesn't look better than old anime, and I don't think we are spoilt by how good it looks to the point "minor details" become exaggerated. The production aspects follow Sturgeon's Law, as in most of the stuff that comes out ranges from terrible to mediocre, and good productions are a reduced minority; it has always been like that.
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Old 2013-03-22, 05:50   Link #113
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Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
It seems we don't agree in what makes a show visually solid. There's no way 90% of anime looks worse than AB!, at any rate 90% of anime looks better.
A very bold claim and you are saying that several thousand animes looks better than AB?
Eventhough everyone's taste is subjective, but still to claim that only 10% look worse than AB seems like a huge exaggeration to me
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Old 2013-03-22, 06:56   Link #114
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I'm being colloquial :P
But AB remains in the lowest tier of contemporary digital shows for me.
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Old 2013-03-22, 08:35   Link #115
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I don't think Angel Beats is the worst looking series ever but it is very far from my idea of the best. And I am not even talking mistakes which I think even the best series have (this usually gets cleaned up during home video release).

Angel Beats just looked boring to me visually. The characters also looked like plastic (but this is an issue I have in general with PA works).
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Old 2013-03-22, 09:28   Link #116
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Originally Posted by Akito Kinomoto View Post
The problem is how some shows can seemingly remain intact on its writing alone when the art/animation and audio is removed while other shows fall apart without its technical support...

What's your take on the subject? How much does art/animation and sound influence your enjoyment?
Blood-C the TV series has arguably some of the worst writing among recent anime. Frankly, the animation was not much better, but it's one of those things that is soooooo bad that it's unbelievably good.

Spoiler for those with a weak stomach:


I have absolutely no idea if the above was the intended effect. But Blood-C is definitely one of those rare cases where I'd wholeheartedly say that the (awful) art/animation influenced my enjoyment tremendously.
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Old 2013-03-22, 09:32   Link #117
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I never understood why people bitch about Angel Beats' visuals. I mean it isn't perfect (with the whole infamous six fingers) but there's so many other series out there that have it worse (like the aforementioned Little Busters). I mean AB! has a lot of problems but I can hardly say animation and the overall production values to be one of them. That's just plain nitpicking already.

I'd take an example from that legendary fight scene in Toradora (Episode 16?). If you take a screenshot of it, it's hard to find a decent one or something of normal proportions. If I saw it by screenshot then I would've said it looked terrible. But I watch it as a whole and it looked pretty darn good as that. Though not really in the same context, Angel Beats is somehow the same. It's not like I watch an episode of Angel Beats and pause at every minor detail done wrong (people shouldn't have a problem nowadays though since you can just watch the BD release which corrects probably all the mistakes), I watch it as a whole. And in an entirety of an Angel Beats episode, more often than not, I'm satisfied visually and isn't that what production values are supposed to accomplish?

I think this "Angel Beats has terrible animation" really goes to show how people should just sometimes sit down and appreciate anime the way a couch potato would watch TV. IMO it's much more relaxing.
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Old 2013-03-22, 09:53   Link #118
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Man, just watch episode 1 of AB! again. It struggles to be on-model at all times, the movements are some of the most stiff, unnatural and nonsensical I've seen on anime, there's not a single image or cut that you can say is striking, but there are plenty (more than 3/4 of the runtime) that instantly stick out by how badly done they are. Not simply the animation, but the layout work is horrible: most of the shots are uninspired and boring, the posing and arrangement of the characters in the screen is, like the animation, stiff and robotic, and there are some pans that stick out like a sore thumb.
All this is made even more obvious when combined with the rather decent sound production and voice acting. You'll have a scene where a character is speaking with a certain tone and inflexion that gives the idea of a strong expression, only to be ruined by the non-existent/bad facial animation.
I've not watched any episode of LB, so I can't know if it's worse or better. But if it really is worse, it must be among the worst looking shows of 2012 (and 2013 too).

Toradora's fight works as a whole because it's a dynamic sequence with a lot of drawings that may not be the best by themselves (but they're all solid drawings, don't confuse stylization with lack of technique), but contribute to the movement meaningfully. The layouts are also top-notch in that fight. It's no wonder, Seiya Numata animated it, and he's a really good animator who knows how to create impact through the animation.
Toradora as a series is a good example of "average" production values being put to good use due to a talented director. There are a lot of non remarkable episodes, but even in those there is enough visual integrity in the show that helps carry the story and make it watchable. I have no trouble going "couch potato" with those, because there's nothing that jumps out to the viewer and generates dissonance. The show also has some really nice episodes, which speaks of stellar budget and talent allocation, as well as good schedule management. It's a solid production, among J.C.Staff's best from recent times (like all Nagai series). There's no point of comparison with AB!.
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Old 2013-03-22, 10:20   Link #119
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Why this concentration on shows that look bad? Why not spend more time discussing shows that are well-drawn and well-animated? Of course most anime series are not going to have top-notch visuals. Most production committees treat anime as advertising vehicles for the original source material, not as works of art that can stand on their own or persist through the ages. Most anime directors are working with meagre budgets, and it usually shows.

I'm more interested how we might see more more shows like Dennou Coil or Mononoke or Moribito or even Chihayafuru rather than dissecting LN adaptations where artistry is not really a motivation.
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Old 2013-03-22, 11:32   Link #120
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Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
I've not watched any episode of LB, so I can't know if it's worse or better. But if it really is worse, it must be among the worst looking shows of 2012 (and 2013 too).
Have you watched the first episode of Personna 4 or Kamisama Dolls by any chance?Just wondering how you'd think AB's first episode compares to other kishi seiji works in terms of layout.

And sorry SeijiSensei I can understand your frustration but I am genuinely curious about this.
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