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Sakuga Weekly: Who Made All Might's Final Fight Look So Amazing?

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by June 20, 2018 Anime

Sakuga Weekly: Who Made All Might’s Final Fight Look So Amazing?

Over the last few months, whispers that something big was coming to My Hero Academia kept on making the rounds online. Comments by the animators themselves, the distribution of staff, all signs pointed at the production of this third season saving up its energy for something truly special. And as time approached, it became clear that it was All Might’s awe-inspiring final battle that they had focused so much on – a grandiose fight on its own right, but also an immensely emotionally-charged baton pass that the whole series had been building up towards. It deserved the best treatment it could possibly get, and as you’ll have noticed if you watched the episode, that’s what it got.



But before getting into the whos and whats regarding the production, I’d like to talk about the why. Because it’s not simply out of a sense of duty towards a big title like My Hero Academia that the staff needed to surpass themselves for this episode. It was narratively important to portray All Might as the ultimate symbol of peace, to actually animate him as the unparalleled superhero that he’s been established as. Much of this arc, and the series as a whole, has explored the idea of heroes as symbols; All Might isn’t what he is simply due to his vast power, it’s because he’s perceived by everyone as the number one hero. Villains see him as an undefeatable foe, and civilians have an indestructible source of hope to cling to.

And that means that anything less than an exceptional portrayal of his final battle wouldn’t have cut it. All Might’s iconic fight in the first season had already been overseen by rising star Hakuyu Go before Go went on to direct one of the best-animated episodes of all time in Fate/Apocrypha #22, meaning that the staff are plenty aware of how important it is to nail All Might’s appearances. For the bystanders within the show and the viewers at home to be in sync while cheering for All Might’s feats, the crew at studio BONES had to put together an all-time high for this series and shonen anime altogether. And that’s exactly what they did.



I’m truly spoiled for choice when it comes to highlighting impressive sequences in My Hero Academia #49. When it comes to climactic episodes like this, you usually have some individual artists who clearly stand out from their peers, but I feel just about the whole team here deserves credit for the success – another kind of All For One. Plenty of animators deserve a callout this time around.

We’ve got people like French artist Cedric Herole, who accidentally leaked his involvement with this special episode back in February – and seeing how much impact he packed in this clash, his excitement was deserved. Others like Masaya Sekizaki instead got across the magnitude of the confrontation with very memorable layouts, escaping this adaptation’s tendency to slavishly stick to shots from the manga. The final punches embody that desire to allow the anime to stand on its own legs with a thrilling back and forth that truly exploits the medium.

Versatile young animator Shuu Sugita had me screaming with the glorious last blow shown above (not the first time he achieves that!), which is intermixed with the already legendary black & white fire sequence + All Might’s rushing face (covered over in a warm filter) that was likely penned by effects master Takashi Mitani. But again, this time more than ever it’s not just them. Every animator, painter, the compositing team… absolutely everyone nailed perhaps the most important moments of My Hero Academia to date.



And you know what’s a good follow-up to many people’s favorite episode in a super popular series? A visually quirky outing in a show that nowhere as many people are watching in the first place! Episode 23 of Record of Grancrest War is one of those idiosyncratic showcases of a single creator’s style that will leave no one indifferent, especially since at this point the production can afford no time to add extra polish.

Though the episode had its fair share of noteworthy guest animators, it all comes down to the work of Hirotaka Tokuda: storyboarder, episode director, supervisor of the animation on all levels, action director, and still with enough time to draw a bunch of sequences himself. If that sounds incredible, keep in mind that he’s occupied all those roles for multiple episodes in this series, and that he’s ready to return for the finale as well. Whether Tokuda is human or not is still up in the air, but we don’t discriminate against mechanical creators over here either way.

Tokuda’s episodes immediately stand out because of his eye-catching block shading. You would assume that’s at odds with series director Mamoru Hatakeyama’s fondness of flat, unshaded character art, but Tokuda’s deliberate usage of it during the most ferocious action moments tends to work quite well. Bold departures from the norm receive mixed receptions at the best of times, so I imagine that an episode like this that is truly rough beyond the intention of the creators will for the most part be met with complaints.

Even its most impressive scene, by the hand of the characterful young ace Nakaya Onsen, fails to live up to its potential and get across the grandiosity that we’ve seen previously in his work. And yet it still drew me in like very few moments can, because its essence is just that captivating. There’s a delicate balance between ambition and polish, and at the end of the day, your reaction to pieces like this will greatly vary depending on your personal priorities.



With other action-packed series like DARLING in the FranXX and MEGALOBOX also having strong episodes by their own standards, we could be over here highlighting frenetic sequences all day, but let’s not forget that anime is much more than that. So unless an animation earthquake forces me to change priorities, next week we’ll be talking about Hinamatsuri’s enchanting character acting – its unique rhythm has many of us enamored!

Kevin Cirugeda is one of the founders of Sakugabooru and an editor and writer for the site’s sister blog, Sakugablog. You can find him on Twitter shouting about children’s anime, Messi (sometimes), and sakuga memes at @Yuyucow.

Source: Anime News
Sakuga Weekly: Who Made All Might’s Final Fight Look So Amazing?