For this blog, I’ve decided to respond to Emily Yoshida’s article, “An Intro to Japan’s Most Idiosyncratic Animation Director, Masaaki Yuasa” which was posted this month.
I wasn’t familiar with Yuasa or his work until I saw Devilman Crybaby on Netflix back when it came out in January of this year, so this article was a new and interesting read. The example clips that the author picked out of Yuasa’s works were fun to watch. Mind Game is absolutely nutty and the summary provided in the article alone is enough to have made me go “what???”
short gif taken from this clip from Mind Game:
This description of Yuasa’s style with use of color from the article is particularly apt: “Aside from his exaggerated, careening perspective and his willingness to let every man, woman, child, and car onscreen shape-shift with abandon, Yuasa’s use of color is totally wild, not only lacking continuity with the world and even itself, but also flipping within the same shot, as if Yuasa is rotating through a series of color filters on a whim.”
When I first watched Devilman Crybaby I was pulled in by the absolute wackiness starting from the first episode, particularly the “Sabbath” scene that showcased the shape-shifting characters and wild, neon colors in the animation amidst the nudity and gore.
The article brings up some valid points about how “Yuasa’s storytelling isn’t for everyone, particularly his often stunted view of women”. Crybaby is listed as his “most recent (and most explicitly adult) work yet, which ends its first episode with a pansexual orgy that turns into a demonic bloodbath, the depiction of which renders the female body downright monstrous” (what I referred to as the “Sabbath” scene).
Some other examples in the article that caught my eye: Ping Pong’s opening credits and a clip from Adventure Time’s episode (“Food Chain”) that Yuasa created as a guest animator. Both show off more of his distinctive style and the music-driven kineticism, and I’m familiar with Ping Pong and Adventure Time’s general story settings (more so with Adventure Time since I remember watching a few episodes some time ago).
Not linked in the article is Devilman Crybaby’s opening credits, which I thought was also really cool so I’ve included it here. I love all the Rorschach-like inkblots spread throughout the animation, and appreciate the symbolism behind some of the imagery in the opening (which especially have more meaning after watching the series).