Kisuke No Seitenkan is an original doujin animation proving if nothing else, an idea can go somewhere – it’s difficult to consider the working stages of any animation, unless you experience it firsthand.
There are a vast variety of assorted software, techniques, etc, one could take advantage of to create animation. Speaking specifcially of Flash, there is no better mainstream example than Double J – which few find funny, and others, find “ugly” with little respect towards the difficulty involved in its creation, or the actual impressive nature of the visuals when considering that aspect.
Those willing to take animation for more than face-value might be interested to learn how what started as a webcomic went beyond that in the case of Kisuke no Seitenkan.
Officially summarized on Tumblr:
Kisuke no Seitenkan is an original fan animation project started by SonicSpin on August 2nd, 2008. Production began as a webcomic, but eventually got restarted from scratch using the medium of “zero-budget OEL anime.”
It’s unlikely most of you reading are familiar with the series – we recommend you do give it a try later. As for now, check out the latest OP (click for higher quality):
The creator behind it all, SonicSpin, offered us some insight on the series:
I don’t know how insightful I could be, but I’ll do my best.
I actually started off with a webcomic on dA (DeviantArt), trying to fulfill something I’ve been inspired to do ever since I’ve heard such a thing existed.
Genderbending was something I had taken a liking for, hence why Kisuke was initially a genderbending story. The comic went on for a year or so, but it being the mess it was, I had the urge to redo it in perhaps another medium. Having minor abilities in Flash from back in middle school, and already experimenting before with an earlier series:
Considering the idea of “limited animation”, I ended up deciding to give the ONA thing a shot. Eventually gathering voice actors and everything.
Starting on the first episode, I just decided to remove all the unneeded garbage plagued in the comic, and wing it – even writing a script as I worked. It’s kind of how it went for up to episode 04 too, using only an idea of what direction the story would go for, until I started to write out a actual script beforehand to work by.
Similar in changes, the art for earlier episodes were all originally drawn by pencil, then modified on Photoshop, until I started drawing everything by mouse later on. These days, I look at the line in the script, envision how the sentence exchange will be presented, and draw something out. Next, pacing it out into Flash, adding in SHAFT quirks inspired by Akiyuki Shinbou, and actually time it all out later when the voice actors submit their recordings.
At episode 04, I started changing up how I wanted the story to move, trying to get a more clear point to aim at. I wanted to bring in the shounen element, and move the show into a point where new original things could start up. The end of episode 5B was technically the end of the series’ first “part,” kicking in DEA (Demon Extraction Arc).
From here on out, I’m trying to develop each of the characters so that they won’t just be “that one forgettable person right there” and into someone with a presence one other than the creator could remember. Progressing bit by bit with relationships and fast paced comedy, I’ll be heading towards finishing part 02 with the “extraction” of Ayane’s demon, and heading off to the point where the comic was dropped.
As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, KisuSei is definitely not the most animated thing out there. It’s more about having the screen stay visually active than having the character move with every few words they speak and having the body take control of the story. I’d say a full episode would take around half a year with the rate I’m going at as of now. Of course, the time always varies, as you could see from the time stamps of each episode up on YouTube.
The ones probably bringing the characters most to life are the voice actors, giving all of them their own flavor and building on my own interpretation of who they are. I’d say the final episodes more or less portray them in the same direction I intended them to walk on.
Changes in quality are definitely there, as I’ve derived much inspiration over these past three years. I’d say the most biggest thing is how the artwork manages to make some improvements with every episode, but there’s also an improvement in the voice work and timing, and I have a better idea of what I’m getting myself into.
Looking back at my old work, be it the volume control, the writing, or my drawings, I can just sense problems all over. While it surprises myself with how much I’ve progressed, I also have to wonder how it was people could even bare watching it, let alone enjoy. I’ve been attacked by 4chan a few times, and honestly, I can agree the 1st episode was just horrendous. The only thing it was good for was being a stepping stone.
At the current standing of the show, I think it can at least be called better ahead of the majority of what people call “fanime.” But only because as far as I know, there are only a small handful of ones that can be even taken seriously. Namely, Arthur Corbett’s Nonsense World.
My own project definitely takes a lot more time and effort than Double-J (putting the ending credits aside). The goal is higher than telling a gag or two within a 4 minute run with a limited amount of stills. That said, having a smaller goal could also give a better grade too. Like getting an A-rank on easy mode.
Animation in general. Well, I just like what I like. Like the pacing, music execution… I think how I’m influenced is more like how each few seconds transitions to the next few seconds than how it’s actually animated. I may be a huge fan of sakuga, but imitating more than a few number of cuts per episode would bring in a huge amount of delay.
For upcoming episodes, episode 09 (both A and B-part) have gotten through the visual stage just a few days ago. The most difficult portion only remains, that is, trying to stay on communications with voice actors, and getting the remaining recordings in.
Episode 08 is a collaboration “special” episode with visuals by my friend Yuki. That’s in pre-production, along with 10.
About Genderbending, I had a thing for it for ages, as it’s just interesting. I think my main motivation might have been the Haruhi no Seitenkan project over at AnimeSuki.
As earlier mentioned by SonicSpin, certain episodes will feature artwork from skilled artist and friend of SonicSpin, Yuki. The KisuSei Tumblr also states “As of Ep 04, additional (more pro) art by Yuki can be seen as omake cards”.
Yuki’s own thoughts on the series can be found in our own little Q/A round:
Q: What do you personally think of the series?
It’s not the kind of series I would work on as a personal opinion, and everything is a bit of a mess – but I am just enjoying the ride and think that I will probably stick with him until he’s finished.
Q: What sort of artistic training (school, classes, self-taught experience) do you have?
I am mainly self-taught. \o/
Q: Are you by chance familiar with the elements and principles of art? You take advantage of them quite well regardless.
I am quite familiar, and I do pay attention to that sort of thing when I can.
Q: Do you think your interpretation or rendition of the characters are true to what sonicspin had in mind?
I had his reference images and original manga at hand, and so while I drew off of what I saw I also interpreted for myself what the characters are like for myself. He seems to be fairly satisfied with what I have given him, so I think that they are alright ;w;
Q: How exactly did you envision the characters (mentally) before you had them drawn out in a physical form?
I had read some of his story before I had tried to draw them myself, so I had some kind of understanding before I gave it a go.
Q: What made you offer your artistic ability? Even if you are friends, what made you interested in the opportunity?
I don’t know (´・ω・`) I also joined another friend’s game project as the main artist. Doing a project like Kisuke no Seitenkan on your own is pretty tough = o =); I think that if I could give him a hand with it every now and then, it would be good to do so.
Of course, we couldn’t go without sharing the exquisite “more pro” artwork:
You can also expect us to keep our interests wrapped around this series as well.