🕹️Beastars season 2 sets the bar for 3D CG anime once again

Beastars, and his lighthearted murder mystery-mob-romance-melodrama, is back. The second season of the acclaimed anime produced by the Japanese animation studio Orange and based on the popular manga of the same name by Paru Itagaki, premiered on Netflix in North America last weekend after ending its broadcast on Japanese television last weekend. month of March.

With the return of director Shinichi Matsumi (Steam boy, Land of the bright), Beastars Season 2 deepens its main cast’s relationships and arcs, with protagonist Legoshi, fueled by his complicated affection for fellow herbivore Haru, setting out to hunt down the perpetrator behind Tem the Alpaca’s murder. Meanwhile, the deer Louis, Legoshi’s rival for Haru’s affections, leaves Cherryton Academy to embark on a dark and winding journey of self-discovery as the new boss of Shishigumi, the carnivore crime family whose former leader Louis killed at the end of the period. . First Station.

Arguably, aside from the compelling anime characters and Byzantine emotional plots, the strongest element of Beastars the attraction is its animation. The quality of 3D CG animated anime as a whole can be quite unpredictable; for each Land of the bright O Dorohedoro, there is a Ghost in the shell: SAC_2045 O Ex-Arm. Orange, however, has cracked the formula for how to create an engaging 3D CG anime with the aesthetic flair and dexterity of traditional 2D animation.

Split frame of Legoshi with his anthropomorphic animal companions in Beastars season 2.Split frame of Legoshi with his anthropomorphic animal companions in Beastars season 2.

Image: orange

Beastars presents a modern civilization populated by anthropomorphic animals to the Zootopia O BNA: New Animal, with the society unofficially segmented between carnivorous and herbivorous animal species. Most Beastars takes place at Cherryton Academy, one of the few boarding schools in the world of Beastars where herbivores and carnivores coexist side by side.

Naturally, with so many characters and species on screen, the question is how to animate all these different variables in a way that looks natural and entertaining without making it seem strange or mechanical in motion. Orange meets this challenge through a combination of various techniques; The first of these is to design each character to fit roughly the same proportions, if not size, as the main character Legoshi. There’s a practical effect on the choice: Similar layouts lighten the workload that would otherwise be used to create new animations for the entire cast of supporting characters. Orange also uses motion capture technology to record the facial expressions and physical performances of the series’ voice actors, allowing staff to create more natural and nuanced character animations.

Louis the deer in a mauve suit flanked by Shishigumi made men with outstretched hand in Beastars Season 2Louis the deer in a mauve suit flanked by Shishigumi made men with outstretched hand in Beastars Season 2Louis the deer in a mauve suit flanked by Shishigumi made men with outstretched hand in Beastars Season 2

Image: orange

But most of all, the beauty of CG stems from choosing to regularly toggle the frame rate between selected scenes and sequences throughout the show, depending on what’s going on. This allows the program to mimic the nuances and feel of 2D animation in certain scenes, such as when characters are having conversations and moving through the background, while emphasizing the smoothness and fluidity that 3D animation offers in others, specifically. during fast dynamic or panoramic shots. Moving sequences where the characters physically fight.

At choice moments, Orange will also intersperse two-dimensional renderings of characters and stills during select moments in the series. It is particularly notable when used to represent infrequently recurring characters that appear only during one or two moments of the season, such as the squirrel, elk, and dog dressed in business attire participating in a designated council meeting. to decide the new Beastar, or the split-screen exchanges between the members of said council meeting at the beginning of the second episode.

An exchange of divided frames between various anthropomorphic animal characters, rendered in 2D and 3D animation.An exchange of divided frames between various anthropomorphic animal characters, rendered in 2D and 3D animation.An exchange of divided frames between various anthropomorphic animal characters, rendered in 2D and 3D animation.

Image: orange

These scenes exist not only for the practical purpose of reducing the time and labor required to animate these 3D characters just so the audience will never see them again, but also to depict reactions and emotions that would otherwise look strange or Weird if they were rendered in 3D. . We see him again during the climax of this season’s final episode, in which Legoshi takes on Tem’s killer. Without getting too far into spoiler territory, Legoshi is hunched over with his body hairs standing on end with violent intensity, his muzzle dripping blood as he charges forward for another collision with his opponent. It’s an impressive and memorable shot, all the more so for how perfectly it fits into the show’s distinctive cel-shaded aesthetic without trying to hide the fact that it’s traditionally drawn.

Ironically, many 3D CG anime productions suffer from an over-reliance on 3D CG with little regard for traditional animation principles such as pacing, composition, and cinematography. Even with motion capture, characters will move like rigid robotic mannequins with soft clay faces that mimic facsimiles of human expression as they move against backgrounds with little sense of impact or perceptible interaction. Poorly implemented lighting animation also contributes to this feeling of strangeness when viewing certain animes in 3D, as in the case of Ghost in the shell: SAC_2045, with shadows moving erratically or disappearing altogether.

Haru the dwarf rabbit holds Legoshi the gray wolf in Beastars season 2.Haru the dwarf rabbit holds Legoshi the gray wolf in Beastars season 2.Haru the dwarf rabbit holds Legoshi the gray wolf in Beastars season 2.

Image: orange

Apart from the technical aspects of series production, the strength of Beastars ‘ Animation is your emphasis on effective blocking, pacing, and camera work. The stylized detail of the character silhouettes and casual expressions is impressive, with the detailed animation of Legoshi’s hair and furiously wagging tail particularly noticeable. It’s all down to Matsumi’s skillful direction, combined with Nao Ootsu’s impeccable character designs, which elevates Beastars above his computer-animated contemporaries.

While there may be no scenes comparable to the one in the whimsical stop-motion animated opening of the first season, courtesy of Michiya Kato and produced by the Dwarf Studio of Rilakkuma y Kaoru fame, nor that of Yoko Kuno awesome painted animation sequence in the seventh episode of last season, the second season of Beastars Nonetheless, it is an impressive testament to how computer-animated anime can be done, and more importantly, get it right.

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