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Hyper Police Sketches: Natsuki (and Sakura)

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Natsuki and Sakura on Assignment 1
Source: TV
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Added 11/13/2005
Updated 12/26/2017
Ep. 14 (Samurai Japan), c. 9B. This genga was intended to be the first in a long cut that show Natsuki and Sakura out on a new job, staking out a dangerous-looking alleyway. As a reward for completing the previous job (safeguarding the monk), they’ve each been given a reward: Natsuki has a brand-new golden catgirl bell, and Sakura has a more sophisticated revolver that shoots mithril-tipped armor-piercing bullets. At the start of the scene, they are each admiring their gifts, but the chat soon turns into an quarrel.

With this sketch pack, I got two sets of rougher sketches, one a series of roughs on light green paper, the other a run of full shuusei on yellow paper. As both sets of roughs show considerable comic flair as this scene develops, I’ve generously sampled images from both the roughs and shuusei.

Here I’ve displayed the genga, with the rough and shuusei in the thumbnails. Notice, however, that the numbering of the Sakura image has been changed from D1 to D2. Evidently, the director decided to begin this scene with Sakura looking out toward the audience, then turn to cast a jaundiced eye on Natsuki. So, as you see in the next image, the animator had to create a new opening key image for her.


Episode Director: Yoshiko Shima [島 美子]
Storyboard: Yoshiko Shima
Script: Yukiyoshi Ohashi [大橋 志吉]
Animation Director: Kazumi Ikeda [池田 和美]

This was one of several Hyper Police episodes subcontracted by Pierrot to the newly founded Kyoto Animation Studio, headed by Tatsuya Ishihara. Yoshiko Shima was credited for directing/storyboarding this episode; she directed many of KyoAni‘s subcontract episodes during this period. For instance, this artist also worked on KyoAni's contribution to Pierrot's Fancy LaLa, directing six episodes of this series. As Takahiro Omori served as overall series director of both Hyper Police and Fancy LaLa, it's not surprising that many of the same animators worked on both shows, including Shima, Tatsuya Ishihara, Takashi Yamazaki, and Issei Kume. Shima soon after resigned from KyoAni, but Ani no Miyako provides more information on her influence on later animators.

The screenplay was one of eight contributed by veteran scriptwriter Yukiyoshi Ohashi, who also worked extensively on the Pokemon franchise and on Gegege no Kitaro (3rd and 4th series). Ohashi was also responsible for series composition of Ayashi no Ceres and Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files.

The episode animation director, Kazumi Ikeda is a familiar KyoAni figure: after doing animation direction for her requisite six episodes of Fancy Lala (the same six as Shima), she worked on several major projects directed by Tatsuya Ishihara. This included being character designer and chief animation director for both Clannad and the 2006 remake of Kanon. She was animation director for three episodes of AIR and contributed to several versions of the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise, often with her younger sister Shôko Ikeda (some of whose outstanding work you can see in my Inuyasha galleries).

The Ishihara-tachi (as I call this circle of animation artists) never did anything less than thoroughly, so it's not surprising that there are so many complete shuusei for this minor, comic cut. Both the roughs on green paper and the shuusei on yellow must be Ikeda's work, and so I've been generous in imaging them in the following items I've sampled from this cut.

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