Fall season approaches, and with it comes a new wave of anime. More titles than you can sample or even be bothered to look up. Synopsis have betrayed you many times, hammering the point that an interesting premise or even adapting existing solid work isn’t necessarily enough. You would rather know where are the talented directors supported by robust teams, the confluences of those intriguing ideas with staff and environments that will allow them to flourish. Thankfully, we are here to provide that very specific service!
Last time we took a look at how the history of short anime, which had been rather unremarkable up until this point despite some interesting exceptions, encountered a paradigm shift in 2013 that lead to the proliferation to many auteur-led projects and the embracement of digital-focused animation, which was still seen as relatively unconventional at the time. We also completely skipped over Yama no Susume, another integral factor to this new era and arguably the most crucial part of the story overall, so obviously that means we’ll be focusing on it in this post, right?
Well, not quite.
A Patreon supporter suggested looking into the bizarre production implosion of Regalia and subsequent broadcast restart, which seemed like an interesting enough topic. As a general rule I would rather not focus on projects that have collapsed – not so much because I feel negative criticism is unworthy, but rather because extensively highlighting troubled productions that follow common patterns feels like punching down for no good reason. However, Regalia’s case is enough of an anomaly that it piqued my interest, and hopefully yours as well.
Making distinctions between the industry’s creative venues may seem somewhat pointless, as anime’s format seemingly only affects the delivery of a story rather than its content. Leaving aside further arguments about inherent structure quirks though, even that seems a bit naive when you consider the increasing production struggles that plague TV anime nowadays. The industry as it is simply won’t allow each and every project to reach their full potential. For every success like Space Dandy – well, creative success anyway – we see titles like Rolling Girls that crash and burn after a promising start. That being the case though, there is one very specific subset of shows which can bypass the struggles and limitations of TV anime production, so let’s get into how and why shorts have paved their way towards becoming one of the industry’s most interesting creative venues.