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Tenshi ni Narumon: Step 19 (The Bu Bu Bloomers Episode)

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Ruka, the tomboy inventor of Noelle's family, has invented a flying device that works on internally generated gases. Unfortunately, she learns, to produce an adequate supply of fuel, you have to eat large amounts of yakiimos, or roasted sweet potatoes, which like baked beans are noted for producing flatulence. [Ruka is certainly onto something here: Tsou and Yang, in their definitive ISHS Acta Horticulturae study Flatulence Factors in Sweet Potato, found that feeding sweet potato starch to laboratory rats did indeed lead to significant production of gases that would be theoretically useful as alternative clean energy sources.] In so doing, Ruka comes into conflict with Eros, Silky's infatuated minion, who has gotten the idea that he will win his mistress's heart by obtaining large quantities of the same treat for her.

From this unlikely premise comes Step 19 (Power of Love), one of the great Tennimon episodes. By chance I've gotten an unusually large number of sketch sets from this plot, which are easier to appreciate when they're put together, alongside the cels I've been able to nab. Some of these are hidden to keep this gallery to one page, so go to "Private Area" and enter the password "seemorestuff" if you want more.

Tennimon is a bit like Forrest Gump’s mother’s box of chocolates, full of surprising guest turns from important anime figures on their way up in the industry. In this case, the script was courtesy of Michiko Yokote, a promising writer with credits for work in Ranma ½, Rurouni Kenshin, and Cowboy Bebop and at the time busy producing scripts for Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. She was also one of the pair of scriptwriters responsible for the Ah My Goddess Movie .

After scripting Tennimon’s Ep. 19 (along with that for Ep. 20, “Close Dream, Far Person,” another TnN classic) she moved on to more serious assignments as overall script supervisor, determining the overall course of a series and outlining all the episodes in advance. (This job is officially credited as “series composition.”) The list of series storylines Yokote helped create includes several classics, including Gravitation, Princess Tutu, Genshiken, xxxHOLiC, Kobato, and Squid Girl. Yokote most recently won a Kobe Animation award in 2016 for the screenplay for Shirobako.

The episode’s storyboard was by Tsuneo Kobayashi (1965-2015), a Pierrot figure on the rise who was soon to gain prominence as the overall director for Twelve Kingdoms/Juuni Kokki, Midori Days, and Emma: A Victorian Romance . He also did storyboarding for both NieA_7 and Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee. Kobayashi sadly died prematurely; a post-mortum appreciation of his work was given by Anime News Network’s Mike O’Toole.

However, the identity of the director and of the animation direction are both mysterious. Officially, the director was listed as “Sei Matsuda,” and episode animation direction was credited to “Nobuhiko Kobayashi.” The Japanese anime wiki, usually a comprehensive source for tracking down the careers of artists, lists only these single assignments under each of these two names. Neither job is an entry-level assignment, given to newcomers, but normally go to staffers who have served an extensive apprenticeship in less prestigious positions.

Perhaps pseudonyms for two artists contracted to another studio, neither of whom wanted to be credited by name? Or . . . (see more discussion of this twin mystery in the notes to the first item.)

 Ruka explains how the Bu Bu Boomers work

  “I’m gonna fly!”

 Papa Helping Noelle Fly

 Noelle Tries out the Bloomers: Gengas

 Noelle Tries out the Bloomers: Reanimation

 Noelle Tries out the Bloomers: A10 cel

 We Do Not Have Liftoff

 Noelle needs more gas

 Refining the Flight Plan

 The Great Eros/Ruka Chase

 The Great Eros/Ruka Chase

 The Great Eros/Ruka Chase

 Ruka Grabs Eros: Layout and Rough

 Ruka Grabs Eros: cel and douga

 Ruka Grabs Eros (alternative version)

 Dizzy Eros and Irate Ruka: A1/B1 cels

 Eros Dazed: Rough and layout

 Sweet Potato Duel Spectators: 1

 Ruka in a Rage: Genga and Rough

 Ruka in a Rage: A1/B2 cel layers

 A Misunderstanding: Storyboards

 A Misunderstanding: B1/D4 cel layers

 A Misunderstanding: B5/D4 genga

 A Misunderstanding: B6/D5 genga
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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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Presentation 8.80/10   Collection 9.45/10   Overall 9.02/10   Votes 81 votes
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