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Asatte no Hōkō 2: Episodes 4-6

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Pensive Shōko: Layout and Roughs
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 3
Cel Number: A1 END
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Added 6/13/2018
Updated 6/13/2018
Ep. 5, cut 78. Seeing that Shōko is uncomfortable, Karada suggests that they walk together to the library, and the older-woman/child agrees. She finds herself in the “local history” section, where she hunts around to see if she can find any printed reference to the wishing shrine and how it works.

But she can’t help staring at her counterpart, now adapting to her adult identity with grace. “She wanted to grow up for her brother’s sake ...” Shōko thinks, adding, “I wonder if she knows...”

This set also preserved its early stages, including the layout and both animation directors’ contrasting roughs. Again I’ve featured Itō’s sketch above, and added the layout and Kinoshita’s first effort in the thumbs. Both are worth a look: the layout is static, with Shōko flatly staring directly out at the viewer. Kinoshita’s rough is a strong improvement, subtly more dramatic and complex. Notice how Shōko’s head is nudged just a twitch to the right, so that her stare is not out at the viewer but realistically over toward where Karada is standing. And Kinoshita captures that world-weary look that the more experienced woman is wearing.

But then go back to the featured rough shuusei and look at it long and hard. Itō-samaaaaa! The seasoned animator adjusts those expressive eyebrows and eyelashes, layering in a deep melancholy. “I wonder if she knows . . . “ Knows what?

Karada, for all her grace, is still an innocent, still living in a pre-sexual world in which her devotion to her oniisan is its own reward. What will happen when she finds out that she is not actually related to Hiro? Is Shōko thinking that Karada is doomed to a painful awakening when she learns the truth? Or, more transgressively, will Karada understand that she now can replace the chibified Shōko as Hiro’s legitimate sexual partner as well as his devoted little helper?

“I wonder. . . “

That melancholy look can be read many ways, and that is the visual genius of this shuusei. Note that it lacks the usual “T⅔” label, but the “A1” identifies it as Itō’s work. No other animation director working on this series circled just the number and not the letter as well, and Itō’s way of circling the “1” in a single tight clockwise motion is also unique.

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