Kanada between 1973 and 1974

Many thanks to retrosofa and dragonhunteriv for their help and information. This text also owes a lot to two Twitter conversations, one with Shinsaku Kôzuma, and the other between Jun Arai, Numidameleagris and myself.

This article is an annex to this piece.

One of the most difficult periods to retrace in Kanada’s career is his early days. His first credit dates from late 1970, as an in-betweener on the Tôei series Mahô no Mako-chan. He then did in-betweening and maybe key animation until his first credited key animation on Akado Suzunosuke #41 and #48 in late 1972 (the episodes aired in early 1973). Kanada had already joined Studio Z, and it’s around then that the chronology gets blurry.

Tôei’s Cutie Honey started airing in November 1973. However, it seems that Shingo Araki, who did the character designs and animation direction, left Studio Z months before that to prepare the production of the show in Tôei proper. Because of that, Studio Z divided in multiple sections before disbanding in early 1974. Kanada seems to have been working in two sections at the same time.

On the one hand, he worked as an in-betweener directly under Araki on Kôya no Shônen Isamu between August-October 1973 and January 1974. On the other, he was alternatively in-betweener and key animator with Masami Abe on The Gutsy Frog, from late 1972 to March 1974.

Then, in October 1973, two things happened. The first is that Takuo Noda, from the newly-formed Studio N°1, made up of former Tôei staff, contacted Kanada and Shin’ya Sadamitsu to ask them to help out and make in-betweens on Dororon Enma-Kun. They probably knew each other from Tôei, but that was their first real and recorded contact, and probably the moment when Kanada left Z, probably to go freelance at first. The other event is that Cutie Honey started airing. Some information contends that Kanada worked, uncredited, on episodes 6, 13, 16 and 24 of the show.

Chronologically, it would seem to fit, as both the Yoshinori Kanada Special and Great books indicate that Kanada started working on Honey in October 1973, that is around the time episode 6 was in production. He was most probably invited there by Satoshi Jingû, a former Studio Z animator who had left for Anime Room around late 1973, probably to join Honey’s production. Jingû was key animator on episode 6, and animation director on all  the episodes Kanada is presumed to have animated on, as well as the confirmed episode 25. But since Jingû was himself from Z, it’s possible that the early Kanada-isms we see in those episodes are just stylistical traits taken from the Z style.

This is further clouded by the fact that Masami Abe claimed that Kanada, along with Shin’ya Sadamitsu and Kazuo Tomizawa, didn’t work for Anime Room after they left Z, but as in-betweeners for Dôga Kobo. The problem is, there is no more information than this and we do not know what show they might have worked on. [Edit: I got confirmation that at least Tomizawa had joined Dôga Kobo: in 1975, he worked with the studio’s creator Megumu Ishiguro as key animators on some episodes of Ganso Tensai Bakabon.] Abe had joined Anime Room when Z disbanded, and in the same interview (that I sadly haven’t been able to track down), he claimed that Kanada worked on Honey thanks to his connection with Anime Room member and ex-Tatsunoko animator Kazuhiko Udagawa, who was animation director on episode 6. It’s also probably him that invited Kanada to work on Yamato, and the link between the two men seems to have been close. These claims are further confirmed by Shingo Araki himself, who mentions that, at the time of Honey‘s production, Kanada was “helping out” at Udagawa’s place – which means he had probably not joined Anime Room proper but was certainly working with them, explaining why he may have gone uncredited.

Whatever happened, in June-August 1974, that is 4 months after Cutie Honey #25, Kanada worked as key animator on Majokko Megu-chan #16, once again with Jingû as animation director. All sources claim that Kanada did this work from Studio N°1. If this is true, it may mean that Jingû had joined N°1. But then it means that, just like Z  and many other subcontracting studios, N°1 had divided into two sections, one led by Jingû and the other by Noda since, at this point, Jingû disappears from Kanada’s career, which becomes associated with Takuo Noda for the 3 years to come.

Unless new testimonies and documents come out (which is very unlikely), we probably never will have a complete and accurate timeline of all that happened. The biggest question remains the uncredited Cutie Honey episodes. There is a strong possibility Kanada worked on them, but no certainty. There is one sure thing, however: it’s that Kanada himself didn’t care much about Cutie Honey: he never mentioned it in any interview, and the only comment he left on the illustration I used as a cover for this annex was “I don’t remember much, but there she is”.

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