The three letters CGI are forbidden to be named. a phrase that, in the opinion of anime enthusiasts, is the root of all the issues in the anime business and elicits the same sentiments as the word Voldemort. Animation lovers claim that it is the plague that has destroyed even all of the major U.S. animation studios.
Even before they made the phrase “Final Season” into a joke, the controversy has dogged “Attack on Titan” for quite some time. The programme has always employed CGI to help with the animation, from camera movement to tiny weapons and details. But starting with season 2, Studio WIT began using computer-generated animation to represent the Colossal Titan, and the difference was apparent. After the third season, the anime changed studios, and MAPPA joined the project. The use of CG was increased from just the one Titan to all nine, and occasionally the human characters as well.
Director of “Attack on Titan: The Final Season” (Part One), Yuichiro Hayashi, stated in an interview with Japan Forward that “Today, it’s getting more and more normal to employ CGI for anime.” And it all started because of an anime about a man with a lizard’s head.
A lizardman influenced a titan
In the interview, Hayashi claims that “Dorohedoro,” an anime he was working on prior to joining “Titan,” was the source of the CGI inspiration for “Attack on Titan.”
“Because I used a lot of CGI for ‘Dorohedoro,’ I wanted to have continuous management control over MAPPA’s CGI team. I didn’t think turning every character into CGI would work. However, we thought it would be good if we depict the 9 Titans with CGI. Given the timeline from ‘Dorohedoro,’ I think it’s quite natural.”
One of the strangest episodes to come out in recent years is the anime “Dorohedoro.” The show, which was made available on Netflix outside of Japan, is also striking artistically. CGI was employed to produce more expressive character movements and dramatic action, and 3D images contributed to the sensation that the audience was viewing an unsettling universe. The plot of the show centres on an amnesic man who is trying to kill the person who gave him a reptile head.
Making every Titan a CG-animated figure for “Attack on Titan” was a wise decision. When CG-Warhammer Titan battles CG-Attack Titan, it is much more fluid. In previous seasons, seeing simply the Colossal Titan done with CGI was distracting because the two media never really blended in that well. Does everything work? No, but part two of the final season demonstrated significant advancements in depicting the scope of the plot, and given the direction the story is taking, switching to CGI was necessary.
Hayashi makes a valid argument concerning CG animation’s potential major flaw. As a hand-drawn animator, Hayashi was not trained to deal with computer graphics, and according to him, most anime CGI contributors are not either. However, he doesn’t believe that CGI animators are heavily involved in the recent rise in anime that incorporates partial or complete CGI.
‘CGI is just another tool like pencils and brush pens’
Hayashi had the ideal response when asked if he was worried about viewers’ negative reactions as a result of “Attack on Titan’s” switch to CGI.
“To tell you the truth, I am a bit surprised that foreign viewers raised this issue. Compared to Japan, foreign animations use much more CGI. Maybe that’s why they want hand drawing in animations from Japan.”
After you’ve applied a cold compress to your nasty burn wound, ask yourself why we care more about Japanese animation remaining in 2D than we do about supporting Western 2D animation and criticising poor CGI. There are still a tonne of animated programmes that are excellent in 2D and even hand-drawn animation, but you don’t see many posts about them on social media, and you don’t get a deluge of criticism when a new studio animated film is out in CGI.
Hayashi went on to say
“CGI is just another tool like pencils and brush pens. We don’t intend to put an emphasis on CGI, nor are we fixated on one technique or the other. For us, CGI exists as an expansion of animation.”
This very thing. The answer to comprehending CGI lies in this. CGI can be utilised very effectively or very poorly, similar to 2D animation. The show “Beastars” utilises CGI to create smooth character movement and action that fully utilises the three dimensions of the format. The amazing ODM-gear shots in “Attack on Titanearly “‘s seasons were created using CGI, which also allowed the camera to pan about and swing with the actors. Of course, poor CGI exists, such as in the horrifying cartoon crime “Ex-Arm.”
After the success of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” we’re beginning to see studios in the West explore with ways to use 3D CG animation for more than just the illusion of realism.
As for Hayashi, even if it means making cuts, he thinks CGI may improve hand-drawn animation.
“I make storyboards from an animator’s perspective. I believe the moves of characters won’t have the right impact unless they are within the limitations of hand drawing. So, if I find cuts and moves which look like ‘CGI’, I draw fixed moves by hand and ask the CGI animators to adjust the movement frame by frame. The sum of many small changes makes CGI comparable to hand drawing.”
Crunchyroll and Funimation both have “Attack on Titan: Final Season Part 2” available for streaming.