We are back to Mob Psycho’s relatively weaker mode, though it has taken a different form this time; more isolated animation highlights, less directional excellence.
Key Animation: Takashi Mitani, Koichi Horikawa, Takuji Miyamoto, Miho Kato, Yoshino Matsumoto, Saori Surugi, Yukiko Busa, Kazue Motohiro, Nozomi Sakamoto, Kaori Saito, Yuko Dangi, Nobuhiko Kawakami, Ayaka Kawai, Tatsunori Sakamoto, Shunsuke Takarai, Satsuki Tamura, Shiori Araki, Shuichiro Manabe, Takashi Murai, Ayaka Nishino, Masaya Sekizaki, Toshihiro Kawamoto
Paint-on-glass: Miyo Sato
Mob Psycho’s lesser episodes were usually carried by their consistently strong direction, a combination of interesting visual concepts and solid execution of events exponentially increasing in tension. This episode, while it still presented some fun ideas and drawings full of personality, was a step down in that regard. It wasn’t notoriously uninspired, but the bar had been set too high.
This week’s storyboarder was Katsumi Terahigashi, a veteran who has belonged to the industry since the early 80s. Terahigashi used to work as an animator for many legendary super robot series including Votoms, Gaim, Dancouga, Layzner, and even MD Geist. About a decade later he stopped animating entirely, and instead focused on storyboards and direction. Nowadays he’s a freelance storyboard artist who gets hired by studio BONES quite often, so seeing his name pop up in this project wasn’t very surprising – unlike some freelancers who showed up previously, like episode 7’s Kawabata.
An interesting detail about this episode is that it was outsourced. But not in the traditional sense – rather than to another company, it was by a different BONES substudio! The company is currently split into 4 groups, Studio B being the one currently in charge of Mob Psycho. This episode was instead produced at Studio C, which until recently was busy with Concrete Revolutio. The staff overlap with that project wasn’t huge – in fact, it shared more animators with Studio A’s My Hero Academia – but its production assistant Takayuki Gunji has been working at Studio C, so that was a giveaway. BONES substudios tend to assist each other when they have no projects being actively produced; in recent memory, it happened when Studio D was on the break between Show by Rock!! and Bungo Stray Dogs. They animated episodes for Snow White with the Red Hair (#10) and the previously mentioned Concrete Revolutio (#4). It’s a nice way to keep all the staff occupied and ensure a certain quality, which can’t always be guaranteed when outsourcing.
The name that caught the attention of many people this week was Naoyuki Asano, the animation director for first half of the episode and character designer of the massively popular Osomatsu-san. The second half was handled by a BONES Studio C regular, Takashi Murai, while Takafumi Hino worked as their assistant. Both action scenes this week were animated by ex-studio Wanpack animators; BONES has a steady relationship with Wanpack when it comes to
leaking projects outsourcing key animation, so it’s nice to see that they keep employing their more talented artists when they decide to go freelance. Takashi Mitani animated the fight between Teru and Terada, featuring a good share of background animation. Masaya Sekizaki was in charge of Mob rather casually defeating Koyama. The biggest name on the KA list was certainly Toshihiro Kawamoto though, the famous character designer behind Cowboy Bebop and co-founder of BONES. This episode also marked the return of our favourite paint-on-glass animator, Miyo Sato.
The preview for next week’s episode suggests Gosei Oda’s return, and that means lively animation, so please look forward to it!
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