The history of TMS – Part 3 : The watershed years

If you’ve been watching a lot of so-called “retro” anime, you’ve probably encountered one of these names : Tokyo Movie, Tokyo Movie Shinsha, or TMS. All these refer to the same company, established in 1964. From this date to the middle of the 80’s, this was one of Japanese animation’s most important studios, which produced works by some of the most famous artists in the industry like Hayao Miyazaki, Osamu Dezaki and Katsuhiro Otomo. The aim of this series is to retrace the studio’s “golden age”, from 1964 to 1980, and with it, offer a history of the anime industry during this period.

The goal will be to study the industry in “anime industry” : while I will offer some commentary on some of the works cited, I will focus on the history of production and careers. This way, I aim to see how anime became anime, that is, how the style and production process we know today have evolved and taken a somewhat definitive form.

This is Part 3 in a series. You can read Part 2 and Part 4.

In 1973, anime celebrated its first decade of existence. But the anime industry in 1973 was almost a world apart from what it was 10 years earlier : the production system had become almost set to what it mostly still is today, the manpower had immensely grown and the studio organization had evolved. Moreover, new people had started producing their own original works, people whose names would be among the most famous in anime history.

If Yasuji Mori and Akira Daikubara were the fathers of postwar Japanese animation, Yasuo Otsuka and Daikichiro Kusube might be considered the main figures of anime’s first generation, the one raised at Toei between 1958 and 1963. A second generation, that either came from Toei or started at Mushi between 1963 and 1968, gave birth not only to animators, like those from Toei, but to renowned directors : Yoshiyuki Tomino, Rintaro and Osamu Dezaki are the most famous among them. I’ve already discussed those first two “generations”, and I will keep doing so during the rest of this series. But in this essay, I’ll also focus on a third and fourth generation. The third generation came from Toei between 1963 and 1970, and mostly started working on the studio’s TV shows before moving on to movies and then scattering all around : its most famous names are Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki and Yoichi Kotabe. These people had grown watching Toei movies : Miyazaki recounts his fascination with Toei’s first film, The White Serpent. The fourth generation, on the other hand, had grown with TV anime and Toei’s later output, and entered the industry between 1968 and 1975 : its most famous members are Yoshinori Kanada and Kazuhide Tomonaga.

What makes this generation so special is that the industry they entered was very different from the one their forerunners had known. To sum it up very briefly, until 1968, the industry was small and dominated by two powerhouses in terms of numbers, quality and output : Toei and Mushi. The five years between 1968 and 1973 saw the start of a new, decentralized and two-tier system, with major studios and minor, outsourcing companies. At the top of this system was Tokyo Movie. There were probably many factors to this evolution, among which the troubled end of the Japanese 60’s made of political and economical turmoil, but internally, this was mostly caused by the evolution or downfall of Toei and Mushi.

The Toei exiles

Let’s start with Toei. I already mentioned the first two waves of Toei exiles : in 1961, after the studio’s first strike which would supply Mushi with part of the second generation of post-war animators, and in 1965, following Daikichiro Kusube’s departure and the creation of A Pro. Despite  their importance, these two dates are seldom remembered : people instead focus on the third and fourth wave of departures, in 1968-1969 and 1971-1972, because of their famous protagonists, Yasuo Otsuka, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.

1965 wasn’t just the year Kusube left Toei. For the studio, another, apparently more important event took place : Toei Animation became an independent company, and stopped being a subsidiary of the bigger Toei cinema studio. This led to harsher working conditions : since the studio couldn’t rely on their parent company, they definitely couldn’t fool around with their money and staff anymore. This is probably what caused the Kusube incident, but more generally, it increased the number of part-time staff and the implementation of paying by the number of cuts instead of a monthly salary [Pruvost-Delaspre, 2014, p.460]. 

That was the start of a troubled period for the studio : the management wanted to save money and make more profitable movies, while young directors and animators wanted to try out more experimental productions. Two names come up that embody this movement : Hiroshi Ikeda, with 1969’s The Flying Phantom Ship, and Isao Takahata, with 1968’s more famous Hols, Prince of the Sun.

I won’t go into detail over Hols’ production, because it would be enough material for an entire separate article, but it was a key moment in anime history, not only because of its revolutionary direction and themes. The idea for the film had been pitched as early as 1965 ; Toei offered the direction to Otsuka, which was a natural move since he was one of the studio’s most experienced and talented staff. Moreover, the natural career was already to start out as animator, then animation director, then director. However, Otsuka declined the offer (for whatever reason, he almost never directed on his own) and instead gave the post to Isao Takahata, one of the studio’s up-and-coming directors who had made his debut on Toei’s TV shows [Pruvost-Delaspre, 2014, p.487]. Since Takahata couldn’t draw, Otsuka served as a second in command, both doing the storyboards and serving as animation director.

Moreover, it’s Otsuka, rather than Takahata, who brought together the core artists of the movie, either his own students or those of Kusube who hadn’t left. The staff was incredibly young : in 1965, Otsuka himself was 34, Takahata 30, Reiko Okuyama and Yoichi Kotabe 29, Akemi Ota 27 (1) and Hayao Miyazaki only 24. The elder of the group was Yasuji Mori, who had been brought into the team after a first stop of the production by Toei’s management to bring some order into this staff of rebellious young people (2).  After all, most of them had met in the studio’s union (under Miyazaki’s chairman term in 1964 [Miyazaki, 2009, p.323]) where they both discussed politics and watched animated films from around the world.

Takahata’s legendary slow rhythm (the staff said that he descended from a giant sloth) and authoritarian style of direction, as well as his conflicts with the studio’s higher-ups ended up making Hols the longest production in the studio’s history : 3 years. Obviously that was only warm-up for Takahata, who would take 6 years to make Gauche the Cellist and no less than 8 for The Tale of Princess Kaguya. And that was, naturally, not the last time he went over budget. Despite the fact that they would lose money on it, Toei decided to not take the risk of letting this experimental movie stay too long in cinemas, and made its run time as short as possible : only 10 days ! After that, the rebellious Takahata was only given less important TV work.

As soon as the movie was over, Otsuka left Toei and joined his friend Kusube’s A Pro. The question is then : why didn’t Otsuka leave earlier (in 1965, with Kusube) or later (in 1971, with Takahata) ? He didn’t leave in 1965 because he was offered what would become Hols ; one would have to check the precise chronology, but maybe Toei’s management offered him the project precisely to stop him from leaving. He might have been thinking about leaving from that time, and his departure in 1968 would have been planned from the beginning. However, Marie Pruvost-Delaspre’s reading of Otsuka’s memoirs offers another compelling possibility : he might have left precisely at that moment because he felt that he was overshadowed by Miyazaki, who progressively started to take his place as Takahata’s right-hand man [Pruvost-Delaspre, 2014, p.487].

In A Pro, Otsuka discovered a different world. He had barely worked on Toei’s TV shows, and the rhythm of TV, subcontracted production was very different from Takahata’s direction. Benjamin Ettinger [2007] gives the best description of what it must have been like : 

“The production floor of TV animation was a new experience for Otsuka. Unlike at Toei Doga, where he worked alongside people he knew very well and established a sort of understanding and camaraderie with his co-workers that benefited the quality of the film, with TV work he was meeting people he’d never seen day in and day out, receiving work from animators not even on site, the quality of which varied tremendously and was basically unpredictable. The production tasks had by this time become atomized by outsourcing as a measure of economy in order to survive in the new market, and A Pro was on that front line.”

While completely unrelated to Hols’ production issues, another major Toei animator, Keiichiro Kimura, left around the same time as Otsuka. Unlike Otsuka or Kusube, that didn’t mean any kind of break with his origin studio : his new place, Neo Media, immediately started working on Toei’s Tiger Mask. This kind of move might seem paradoxical (why leave a place to go back working in it just after ?) but was in fact not that strange and is very telling about how and why so many small anime studios keep popping up. 

For example, 11 years later, in 1980, Osamu Dezaki and Akio Sugino, along with only 5 animators, left Madhouse to create Annapuru. They did so because at Madhouse, they had to work on multiple projects at the same time, and they wanted to focus on one specific work – namely, Ashita no Joe 2, for TMS. In other words, creating a new studio isn’t always a sign of creative disagreement, but a way for staff to gain independence and more creative leverage on their works. The case of A Pro is also very characteristic : Kusube left Toei because he wasn’t free enough there, and enjoyed more opportunities working alongside Tokyo Movie. But when he felt that his collaboration with Tokyo Movie was stopping him from doing quality work, he broke off the relationship and created a new studio, Shin-Ei Douga (ie, New A Animation).

All this is probably a big factor of what makes the anime industry and production process so special. On the one hand, staff often have to fight for their independence ; but on the other hand, this creates an environment fragmented into many small studios that are all financially very vulnerable. This vulnerability in turn makes them more dependant on possibly unsatisfying outsourcing work or producers’ wishes. In other words, it’s a vicious cycle.

Back in Toei, post-Hols tensions only exploded in 1971, after the death of the creator and head of the studio, Hiroshi Okawa. Following this event, the management confirmed its new priorities : no more ambitions to become the “Disney of the East” that would produce mass-appeal, high-quality feature films, but focus on lower-quality but highly-competitive TV work. That meant leaving aside the remnants of the film-focused production process and relying on a cheaper, more efficient workforce. Concretely, the result was the dismissal of 43 animators. Those left, led by Takahata, organized a mass strike at the end of 1971 and the start of 1972. But the strikers just didn’t have enough leverage, and rather than attempting to change the studio, they left it. The Hols staff, representative of Toei’s new generation, was symbolical enough, but the most important departure was probably that of their mentor, Yasuji Mori, in 1973 : he was, after all, the one animator that had been there since the very beginning of the studio (3).

All these people scattered in different studios, most of them already created by other Toei exiles. The most important was, again, A Pro, where most of Hols’ team (Takahata, Miyazaki, Kotabe) went. Those three were called by Otsuka himself and knew that Kusube’s state of mind resonated with them. But Kusube himself was probably instrumental : I’ll never stress enough how strong-minded and charismatic the man was, which enabled him not only to gather around him some of Toei’s best, but also to create a strong ex-Toei studios group, whose works I’ll study in more detail in the next essay.

The three main members of this group are Studio Junio, Mates, and Oh Production. The first two were offshoots of Hatena Production, created in 1964 by ex-Toei Takao Kosai, Kenzo Koizumi and Hiroshi Wagatsuma. In 1969, Hatena closed down and broke into three new companies : Takao Kosai and Tetsuo Imazawa formed Junio,  Kenzo Koizumi and Hiroshi Wagatsuma Mates, while Kazuo Komatsubara joined Koichi Murata, from the small Anaguma Production to establish Oh Pro. [Ettinger, 2013a]

There was also Kimura’s Neo Media. Thanks to the new staff, it became big enough to divide into two teams : one led by Kimura that worked on sport shows (Toei’s Tiger Mask, Tokyo Movie’s Akado Suzunosuke) and one by Yoshiyuki Momose and Masayuki Uchiyama on comedy shows (Tensai Bakabon) [Ettinger 2007]. Finally, there was Dogakobo, established in 1973 by Hideo Furusawa and Megumu Ishiguro, which would become a key subcontractor for Ghibli, and Studio Z, a very small company created by Ex-Mushi animator Shingo Araki. It managed to recuperate some Toei staff, most notably a young in-betweener named Yoshinori Kanada, who had unsuccessfully tried to be recruited at Oh Pro.

Unlike Mushi, all this outpouring of talent didn’t mean Toei’s downfall : they never stopped being a major studio. This isn’t this series focus, but to keep things short, Toei’s output in the 70’s went in three major directions : adaptations of Go Nagai’s manga, magical girl shows, and Leiji Matsumoto adaptations. In their own different ways, all of these were capital to anime’s history and, along with Sunrise’s super robot shows, determined what anime would become in the 1980’s.

Mushi’s downfall

Mushi Pro had very different issues, that had nothing to do with politics or creative influence, but everything to do with management. When I discussed Astro Boy, I mentioned the studio’s financial hardships : the show could only go past episode 6 thanks to American investment [Clements, 2013, p.123]. Apparently, during all of its existence, Mushi was always on the brink of collapse, not so much because of Tezuka’s poor business sense (often blamed, legitimately or not) but because of the general business model of Japanese television and of anime that he had contributed to establish. Indeed, according to Jonathan Clements, “the broadcaster generally paid for each completed episode, rather than the dozen that would already be in various stage of production as each was finished” [Clements, 2013, p.127].

Things only got worse as more and more other studios got into anime production : that meant more competition not only on television screens and ratings, but also in the merchandise that sustained and still sustains the anime business model. Mushi’s experimentations and forays into all directions between 1969 and 1973 can be read as the last attempts by the studio to survive – but it also gave birth to some of anime’s first masterpieces.

In 1968, Mushi had a staff of approximately 400 people [Sugino, 1998]. It was therefore big enough to try out multiple things at the same time. Basically, the idea was to try and appeal to the teenage-adult audience that anime studios had been trying to target since 1963’s Sennin Buraku. One team, led by Osamu Dezaki, made their offensive on TV anime with Ashita no Joe ; this was the occasion for the team to try out new things, away from Tezuka’s apparently overshadowing presence and bad management. Another, under Tezuka himself and Eiichi Yamamoto, produced a series of film known by the name of “Animerama Trilogy” : 1001 Nights, Cleopatra, and Belladonna of Sadness (4). These three serve as a good chronicle of the studio’s downfall, as the animation gets more and more bare (and experimental !) in each new film. Moreover, the situation was apparently dire enough to turn around any sense of hierarchy : Dezaki, Akio Sugino or Gisaburo Sugii, who had risen up the ranks to become directors or animation directors of their own, were brought on these movies as simple key animators.

Finally, Mushi’s last venture was subcontracting, mostly for the American studio Rankin/Bass on 1969’s Frosty the Snowman and 1970’s The Mad Mad Mad Comedians. Mushi’s work was largely uncredited, but those feature cuts by the same famous people : Dezaki, Sugino, Sugii… Mushi’s last work would be the second part of the Moomin series in early 1970. After the end of the show and of Belladonna of Sadness’ production, most of Mushi’s staff left. What’s interesting is that the staff divided into two major studios with very different philosophies.

The first one was Sunrise, whose explicit goal was to be centered around the producers : the team was resolved to avoid Mushi’s fate which had been caused, in their opinion, by overreliance on the unpredictable and unreliable Osamu Tezuka. Originally, the studio started under the dependance of a larger production company that had worked with Mushi, Tohokushinsha Film. Together, they created a company named Shoeisha that would be in charge of planning and marketing while Sunrise would do animation as such. Sunrise became independent 4 years later, in 1976. The only major creative that went to Sunrise was Yoshiyuki Tomino, who would direct most of the studio’s super (and then real) robot shows.

The other offshoot was, on the other hand, completely auteur-centric : that was Madhouse. While it fostered many of Mushi’s best (Masao Maruyama, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Rintaro), the titular auteur and leader of the studio was without a doubt Osamu Dezaki, who directed most of the studio’s shows during the 70’s. His influence was so overbearing that to get a chance at directing, Rintaro would have to go freelance (4) for some time and work for Sunrise (in 1975, for Wanpaku Omukashi Kum Kum) and most importantly Toei where he would make his first masterpieces (Jetter Mars in 1977, Space Captain Harlock in 1978 and the Galaxy Express 999 movie in 1979). The same thing happened with Kawajiri in 1977 or 1978, who went freelance for some time before coming back to Madhouse in 1979 to work on anything that didn’t have Dezaki involved. Both would have to wait for the latter’s departure in 1980 to see a change in direction (Maruyama becoming head of the studio) that enabled them to try their own on high-quality movies of their own.

What’s also interesting about Madhouse is that they didn’t exist by themselves, but also set up their own system of subcontractors from ex-Mushi, maybe to try and imitate A Pro’s dominant position among ex-Toei staff. They mostly relied on a studio created somewhere between 1971 and 1973, Studio ACT. ACT is an interesting case, because it shows the importance of personal relationships in the industry, centered in this case around Dezaki. ACT’s main figures seem to have been Takeshi Osaka, Yukimatsu Ito and Noriko Numa, whose first works as a team was on Ashita no Joe. Their first credit as ACT is in 1973’s Aim for the Ace, again under Dezaki who was then working at Madhouse for Tokyo Movie. They kept doing in-betweening or key animation for Madhouse shows during all the 70’s and kept working prominently on Dezaki’s works : Nobody’s Boy Remi, Takarajima, the Aim for the Ace movie. They even stayed with him after his departure from Madhouse and subcontracted for TMS on 1980’s Ashita no Joe 2. As we’ll see later on, with ACT and Magic Bus, Madhouse established an increasingly complex system : they subcontracted for Tokyo Movie and then gave some of the work on these shows to their own subcontracting studios.

One last change in the industry, although less important, was studio Zero’s shutting down in 1971. That wasn’t such a big event as Mushi’s bankruptcy in 1973, but all of the studio’s staff scattered everywhere around the industry. At its peak (around 1968-1969 I’d say), the studio had 100 employees. If you consider that at the same time, Mushi had a staff of 400 (compare that with the 30 people from 1961 !) and that in 1966, Tokyo Movie had 250 people and Toei 300 (against 450 in 1963 – these 150 people must have gone to A Pro), it’s possible to get an estimate of how much people were in the industry at the time. If we add the new generation of animators (like Kanada) and the staff from unrelated studios like Zuiyo Eizo and Tatsunoko, and all the unaccounted staff from smaller in-betweening studios, there must have been between 1,500 and 2,000 people working on anime in the early 70’s (6).

Moomin and beyond

Tokyo Movie profited the most from all this change and movement : since, with A Pro, their system already relied on subcontracting, it was easy for them to adapt and give work to all the new studios that were sprouting and didn’t have the means to make their own series. Until the end of 1972, when Madhouse became a subcontractor for Tokyo Movie, A Pro totally dominated the game and produced, along with the other ex-Toei studios, most of its so-called “classic” shows.

This time, I’d like to focus on just a few works, those that involved Otsuka, Miyazaki and Takahata, and most notably the infamous 1969 series Moomin. It was an adaptation of the Finnish children book series by Tove Jansson, and Otsuka’s first real project for TV (before that he had only done some animation on the Lupin III pilot) as character designer and animation director. The show was directed by an ex-Tokyo Movie member, Masaaki Osumi, whose background in puppet theater was well-suited to the strange, eerie atmosphere of Moominvalley. At the same time, A Pro was also busy with Attack No.1, but according to Benjamin Ettinger [2007], Otsuka managed to “create some of the most polished limited seen yet” ; obviously, his role as animation director made him instrumental as his corrections enabled him to train the younger animators that worked under him.

What made Moomin infamous is the reaction of the original author : angry at what had become of her world and characters, she managed to cancel the contract in the middle of production and the rights were given to Mushi Pro to finish the adaptation after the first 26 episodes. Sources aren’t clear on how much control Jansson really had on the show and how she concretely managed to cancel the contract, but it seems that her dissatisfaction came from three things :

  • the slapstick and comedic tone, that was in fact central to A Pro’s style and would lead them to specialize into adapting comedy manga, most notably from Fujiko Fujio
  • the “anachronisms”, most notably modern technology like cars and guns
  • and among those, the biggest source of conflict must’ve been the climax of episode 21, which is no less than a war scene involving planes and tanks… animated and very probably designed by Hayao Miyazaki, who had been called by Otsuka and couldn’t refrain his love for vehicles 
A screenshot from episode 21 of Moomin, featuring one of Hayao Miyazaki’s earliest famous plane designs

However, Moomin deserves to be remember for other things than one of Miyazaki’s first mechanical designs : it can rightly be considered the ancestor of the World Masterpiece Theater series on which Miyazaki and more importantly Takahata would do significant contributions. First, there’s the tone : despite being slapstick, and rowdy at times, the show still had a relaxed and laid back atmosphere that Takahata would perfect in Heidi, Marco and Anne. But most importantly, Moomin was the very first show to end up on the 7:30 slot on Fuji TV, which would be taken by Nippon Animation starting 1974’s Heidi. Finally, both were sponsored by the drinks company Calpis which in fact hosted both programs as its own “Calpis manga theater” before the World Masterpiece Theater was officially created. 

The “Calpis Manga Theater” board at the start of Moomin (left) and Heidi (right)

The brutal end of the Moomin show must’ve been quite a disappointment for A Pro’s team, which went back to working on other shows like Kyojin no Hoshi on which Otsuka did some cuts. In 1971, as the situation in Toei degraded, Otsuka took up the opportunity and called his comrades from Hols to A Pro where he and Kusube had projected to try another adaptation of a Scandinavian children’s classic, Pippi Longstockings by Astrid Lindgren. Otsuka apparently had little creative importance in the project, led instead by the Takahata-Miyazaki-Kotabe trio : Takahata would adapt the books into a scenario that Miyazaki would illustrate with his recognizable and always rich image boards, while Kotabe designed the characters.

However, that ambitious project would also end up being a disappointment. Tokyo Movie’s director, Yutaka Fujioka, left for Sweden to acquire the rights of the original work, and was accompanied by the trio whose insistence on realism made scouting essential. But the team couldn’t meet Lindgren, who in the end refused to give the rights to Tokyo Movie ; the trio apparently believed that it was because of the Moomin case, which Lindgren had heard about. This is a believable explanation, and the only one I could find, but without any tangible proof…

Hayao Miyazaki (left) and Isao Takahata (right) during their scouting trip for Heidi, Girl of the Alps

The ideas for Pippi were repurposed for other projects, something Miyazaki excels at ; in the short term, the slice-of-life topics and Kotabe’s designs were used in 1972’s Panda Kopanda, two short films by the same team. From the perspective of this series, this work has one very interesting aspect, in that it introduced a variation and new characteristic in the anime production process : the layout. Until then, layouts had always been done by the animators themselves ; today, they still are in many cases, which is one of the key factors that enable the individual animators’ personalities to come out in their cuts. But they are also often done by one single artist at the start of production, just after the storyboard, which means that the individual animator can refer to three things when he’s drawing : the storyboard, the settei, and the layout.

Miyazaki was, in fact, the first dedicated layout artist in the history of anime. This system, which would be systematized for TV on Heidi with the Takahata (direction) – Miyazaki (layout) – Tomino (storyboard) trio doing wonders (7). For the team, this was only a natural move : on the one hand, it made full use of the friendship between the director, the layout artist and the most prominent animators, but also was the consequence of both Takahata’s and Miyazaki’s authoritarian direction. The layout is after all one more layer in the production hierarchy, and one more way to exert control over the final image – something incredibly important for those two.

Panda Kopanda was the real start of the duo’s successes : they would then go on to direct or animate many of Tokyo Movie’s shows and, before their departure for Zuiyo Eizo in 1973, where they started working on Heidi, they were key actors in A Pro and Tokyo Movie’s golden age – which I’ll cover in full detail in the next part of this series.

For anything Madhouse related, big thanks to @Toadette

Notes

(1) While less known than her peers, Ota was an experienced animator that had entered Toei as early as 1958. Along Reiko Okuyama, she was Japan’s first pro female animator. She quit animation early, during Hols, to care for the children she had with Hayao Miyazaki (who did not, obviously, stop his own career)

(2) Apparently, Mori was always the voice of authority among Toei’s staff : he corrected much more heavily than Daikubara, and established the highly hierarchical position of animation director ; moreover, he was the one who took away all the political or allegorical content from Hiroshi Ikeda’s 1971 Animal Treasure Island [Pruvost-Delaspre, 2014]. But he’s also the main creative figure behind 1969’s Puss ‘n Boots, on which animators were given a lot of freedom and Mori’s corrections were minimal – which is why it’s still one of Toei’s most impressive movies

(3) For reference, Daikubara only left Toei in 1980, after having led the studio’s training program ; he retired soon after, in 1982. The only major member of the Hols team that stayed at Toei was, against all odds (the direction had tried to make her leave by all means possible because of her feminist opinions), Reiko Okuyama : she only left in 1976 but completely stopped working as a subcontractor for Toei in 1979.

(4) For the anecdote, Reiko Okuyama apparently worked on Belladonna, under the pseudonym Reiko Kitagawa

(5) It’s naturally hard to track the number of people going freelance, but it seems the phenomenon was already common at the time ; and, just like creating a new studio, it didn’t mean a break with one’s former company but was rather a way to secure some independence. Rintaro’s example is a good one (he had no prospects at Madhouse at the time), but it seems that Dezaki himself left Mushi somewhere in the 60’s, but  kept working on the studio’s projects as if he were an employee. Basically, all of this shows that an anime studio is most of the time not something binding, but just a temporary place where people meet, work side by side, and occasionally together – that is on common projects with a shared creative intent

(6) This figure sounds believable enough, but I have to admit that it suffers from one big problem : most of the sources I used to make the count don’t precise if they only count the animators or the entire staff (which includes all the coloring staff, the editing and shooting technicians, etc.). 2,000 animators does seem like a bit much, so I can only believe it does include the entire staff, but please be aware that might as well not be the case

(7) This is as good a time as any to say that Tomino actually storyboarded almost all of Heidi, and was the most prominent storyboard artist of the late 60’s and early 70’s, working most notably on Ashita no Joe or Star of the Giants. The influences of Takahata and Dezaki are visible in his works, but what would be interesting would be to know what influence Tomino had on the shows he storyboarded ; in other words, is there a recognizable Tomino style even under such heavy creative presences like Takahata and Dezaki ?

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Sugino, A. (1998) “The Other Half of the Golden Combo : Akio Sugino Interview” Retrieved from https://karageko.com/2019/07/14/the-other-half-of-the-golden-combo-akio-sugino-interview-mushi-production-era-part-1/

2 thoughts on “The history of TMS – Part 3 : The watershed years

  1. Sorry, I’m here to point out typos again: there are two notes no. 4. In text only “Rintato” note’s number should be corrected, while in “Notes” section subsequent numbers are also off by one.

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