Berserk is back with a new anime adaption... and a ton of CG animation?!
You've just heard the great news. Your favourite manga is being made into an anime! Perhaps you were incredibly excited about the critically acclaimed Ajin, or the news that we were finally going to see the parts of the iconic Berserk manga animated past where the first TV series left off almost 20 years ago. This is fantastic and you're so excited to see all your favourite scenes be animated. Particularly that one action scene in that climactic battle where the villain revealed their final form. They've even released a trailer with the announcement. So you click on over to Youtube to have a quick watch. Dramatic music starts playing. The name of the publication the manga is run in flashes across the screen. Then you see the main character appear on screen and... hang on a second, was that 3D CG animation?
CG animation is the rather unhelpful term given to the style of animation where instead of using traditional 2D hand-drawn animation (which is all done on a computer nowadays anyway), the studio uses 3D computer generated models. Think the Pixar style of animation versus the old Disney style. Anime normally uses CG for vehicles or wide shots where there has to be a lot of movement, but sometimes studios animate the entire thing in CG. The problem is that anime studios only have a fraction of the percentage of funds a Pixar movie would and they keep trying to utilise traditional 2D animation visual styles, leaving that uncanny feeling many people get after watching CG anime where everything moves strangely and looks like the skin of a human was pulled across a featureless robot. So when people see this animation style used in the trailer, they often experience a range of emotions that eerily mirror the 5 stages of grief. The first of which obviously being...
Maybe it's not CG animated? I mean, you just saw that one shot and maybe that wasn't CG. There was this other shot where the characters looked like they might be animated in traditional 2D animation. Anime studios always do that. I don't know why people are freaking out about this. Admittedly it was hard to tell because they weren't moving, but you are desperate for signs that your worst fears might not come to pass so you're grabbing onto anything. That director hasn't worked on CG anime before, why on earth would he switch now? See I've watched this trailer again and this scenes looks... oh god, I don't think I can convince myself anymore.
CG animation is ruining the anime industry! This is a travesty! How dare they - how dare they - take my beloved manga that I only ever read pirated online scanlations for and sully it with this trash. This could have been a modern classic had they done it right. If they had brought on a studio like Madhouse, I bet it would have been the next big hit, bigger than Attack on Titan and One Punch Man put together. Anyone who tries to say maybe it will still be good is a traitor against the entire concept of anime. This anime will fail miserably and the producers will completely deserve it for making such a horrible decision. A lot of anime fans never get beyond anger, but we're here to help you move beyond this.
3: Hopeful Comparisons
If people want to move beyond the anger, often fans end up resorting to reaching into their memory banks to find previous times they enjoyed CG animation. Remember Knights of Sidonia? It was animated entirely in CG and was pretty good. Those space battles against those horrible space tentacle monsters looked pretty spectacular. All right, maybe you can't shake the thought in the back of your mind that regardless of its positives, the show would have undoubtedly looked better if animated in even halfway competent traditional 2D animation. But think about how far anime has come since the olden days where that featureless green helicopter attacked Golgo 13. Compare that to the CG mech battles in Code Geass: Akito the Exiled. Maybe this will be the anime that finally gets it right?
Just at the point when you have managed to convince yourself that CG animation might actually be a good thing, a new trailer comes out and there's some awful looking shots of a punch being thrown and it doesn't look like it even connected with the other character's face and all the misgivings come rushing back. Forget any aspirations to look like Pixar; the CG looks like it came out of a bad PS2 game. Then you remember all the CG anime that have come out recently, and that the amount seems to be increasing by season. They must be successful at the very least. The fact that they already made 3 Berserk movies with CG animation didn't stop them from continuing in this same style. As depressed as you might be at this stage, don't worry because you are nearly there. Push through and you will reach...
At the end of all this, you decide to watch the adaptation and you'll probably enjoy it after all. Let me drop this veneer of a psychiatric treatment session and speak honestly. I've said a lot of mean things about CG animation over the course of this article, and it's true I really dislike the way they animated characters with their floaty movement and weird alien faces. But years ago, I would have had equally disparaging things to say about CG mech animation, but some of the latest anime have really convinced me that CG mechs have a place in anime's future. The CG spaceships in Yamato 2199 looked pretty great, even if they did look like they came out of Futurama, and they certainly looked better than Legend of the Galactic Heroes and their lines of stationary identikit ships going pew pew pew at each other. Plus, it's not like the quality of space combat had any serious negative impact on either of those anime. CG animation has its own look and a talented animation studio can make it work for them. Maybe that new Berserk anime won't be so bad after all. Oh wait, they have a new trailer.
Oh dear. I think I'm moving into the fourth stage of CG grief now.