Monday, June 5, 2017

Tsukigakirei: Background Characters bout to get ROASTED

Even background characters get a chance in the spotlight... The spotlight in the interrogation room, that is. The background characters in this series are so bizarre, so wrong, there's something about them that seriously bothers me and I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS. So, I've taken the time to personally find out what the heck makes these background characters so irritating, why are they SO DAMN WEIRD?!
Let me start off by saying that for the series overall, the animation is pretty unique, there's a lot of highlighting on the characters, and the background art is very aesthetic. It's really pretty, bright, and just has a very soft sensation.

But the one animation issue I see that is a pretty big problem, at least for me, is the background characters. In the school in the first episode, you see all of the other students milling around. We have our main characters and just people around in the background. But then when looking closely, very closely, you see that there's something incredibly wrong with them. I have compiled a list of all of the things that are.... wrong.

1. Rigid Movements
They look like walking boards, their movements are slow and very unnatural. Anyone who actually walked like that would probably be very uncomfortable. The elbows don't bend beyond a certain degree, the legs also don't bend, and they all go at a decent pace, but the movements of the limbs don't match what their actual pace is.

2. CG Animation
It's definitely CG animation, and while there's nothing wrong with using it, it just didn't feel right. I know that economically and time wise it's a much better choice to just do the generic background stuff with simple, faceless designs, as they aren't important. But compared to other aspects of the film that are well drawn it just seems so out of place, and the quality is so low that it's obvious.

3. Moonwalking/gliding
This kinda ties in with the first point, but they don't go at the same pace at which their body is moving. It makes them look very unnatural. They also look like they're someone who was floating in space, walking, and then some giant unseen force is now pushing them across the ground at their own speed. The nature of their movements don't match the surrounding, and they also move so lightly, there's the minimal amount of effort put into making a walking animation. Look at the screenshot I put up. Look at that nerd gliding through the doorway like he owns the place, it's crazy weird.

4. Lack of torso movement 
One of the big things I noticed is that their torso is always at a fixed point in space, and then the rest of the body and limbs work around that. When we're actually walking, out weight is on our legs, depending on if we're running, walking, sitting, or whatever, the placement of our body and our height pretty much depends on our legs. Our torso's aren't suspended in space regardless of anything else, and we also move around. The background character's bodies don't move at all when they walk, the shoulders don't shift when they move their arms, hips don't move with legs, and the entirety of the torso doesn't move slightly from side to side. Compared to the main characters with key animation who have actual human movement, it's a pretty noticeable contrast.

5. Lack of individuality 
Pretty much all of the movements are the same, there's no variation between anyone. They're all just walking, moving their arms to the same degree, sometimes even at the same timing of other background characters which is really weird to look at. The movements are generic, and there isn't some sort of variation. For example, other series will have characters in the background moving their hands as they talk, walking differently, being on the phone, eating or drinking something. But here, they're all staring straight forward, not really interacting with anyone else except in a few set scenes, silently moonwalking to their destination. And there's no pace difference, everyone just walks slowly.

This topic actually bothered me so much that I spent a lot of time watching them and analyzing what made them so bizarre. Thanks, background characters for helping me churn out yet another absurd article.

While it's annoying, it doesn't take away from the plot that much. It's like a gnat, after a certain point you just ignore it and focus on the other stuff. I don't know for sure, but the studio might have had a small budget so they couldn't afford to be super detailed with their background characters. Overall, Tsukigakirei is still good, and a really nice slice of life romance.