WARNING: The next accommodates spoilers for The Heike Story Episode 1, “If You Don’t Belong to the Heike, You Won’t Be a Person,” now streaming on Funimation.
Beginning off the autumn anime season just a few weeks early, The Heike Story marks new floor for each its director and its animation studio. That is director Naoko Yamada’s first anime not produced at Kyoto Animation, in addition to studio Science SARU’s first in-house undertaking with out the involvement of the currently-retired Masaaki Yuasa. The Heike Story‘s first episode is undeniably a Yamada anime but additionally retains a lot of the aesthetic of Science SARU’s work with Yuasa, creating an intriguing hybrid model.
The fundamental rationalization for a way this hybrid of types works is that The Heike Story‘s design is pure Science SARU however its path is pure Yamada. Whereas Science SARU’s designs have by no means caught to only one model, the constant throughline all through all of the studio’s works is stylization that eschews each realism and commonplace moe design tropes. That is in some ways the exact opposite of Yamada’s work on Kyoto Animation sequence like Ok-ON! and Sound! Euphonium, which was primarily based on elevating moe tropes by hyper-realistic animation element. The Heike Story‘s cartoony characters and flatter backgrounds would by no means be mistaken for a KyoAni work.
Utilizing the Science SARU artwork model, nevertheless, Yamada remains to be speaking in a visible language that is clearly her personal. Greater than different anime administrators, she’s notably all for recreating live-action digital camera results like lens flares and shallow depth of subject. Her compositions usually make use of off-center framing, and she or he has explicit visible preoccupations with flower symbolism and photographs of characters strolling proven from the legs down. All of those facets of her model shine by within the first episode of The Heike Story, even when the designs are very totally different from her earlier anime.
Yamada has eased the transition from Kyoto Animation to Science SARU by bringing along in-between and paint artists from the KyoAni subsidiary studio St. Blue. Science SARU itself appears to be easing the transition to a post-Yuasa period by greenlighting exhibits which tie in with Yuasa’s earlier hits. Shingo Natsume will direct a sequel to Yuasa’s The Tatami Galaxy, and The Heike Story has connections with Yuasa’s upcoming movie Inu-Oh. The sequence relies on a contemporary translation of The Story of the Heike by Hideo Furukawa, the writer of the Inu-Oh novel, and the unique important character Biwa serves to determine a further parallel to the biwa monks central to Inu-Oh.
As for the standard of the present itself, The Heike Story is off to a stable begin. Biwa, a toddler cursed with visions of the long run in a single eye, is a captivating and fascinating protagonist, and the Heike lord Shigemori can also be intriguing together with his capability to see ghosts. It is unclear precisely the place the present goes with its dealing with of gender points, with Biwa readable as both a trans boy or just following their father’s directions to current as a boy. As one of many uncommon anime written, directed and produced by ladies, it ought to be fascinating to see the place this contemporary adaptation of an historical story goes.
New episodes of The Heike Story stream Wednesdays on Funimation.