Fanart Friday returns, never forgetting how much of a pain in the ass it is to move. Last week, we galloped headlong into the Year of the Horse, but this week we're celebrating Studio Madhouse, one of the most respected and prolific anime studios in all of Japan.
We had Dethklok last week, so no kickass Tsuneo Imahori guitar riffs--here, enjoy something from NANA's excellent soundtrack!
Originally founded by animation heavyweights Masao Maruyama, Osamu Dezaki, Rintaro, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Madhouse pretty much animates everything--great original movies, adaptations of games and manga, and even anime of western properties like DC and Marvel Comics heroes, Supernatural, Wakfu, and Disney's Stitch. Unsurprisingly, a lot of their titles have made their way outside of Japan, so there were a metric f**kton of requests--sorry, I couldn't get 'em all. Still, this Fanart Friday's a little bigger than normal--let's get started!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
Okay, so I do understand why people ask why I forgot such-and-such title, even though we've been doing this song and dance for almost two and a half years and you guys know that you can ask for stuff in the comments and I will do my absolute best to meet your requests. But y'know what? I always appreciate it when I get to do it to you. We're talking about Madhouse, a studio founded by big names like Rintaro and Kawajiri, AND NOBODY ASKS FOR NINJA SCROLL? Jeez, guys, it's like I gotta write my own column or something.
Seriously though, this installment had a buttload of requests, and one of the top requests was Dennou Coil, one of Madhouse's coolest original works. There have been (and are currently) quite a few shows that deal with a "real" and "virtual" world, but Dennou Coil is one of the few titles to handle it with as much thought and care.
Redline was a big favorite a couple years back, and rightly so--while I really love quieter anime movies like Hosoda's work (more on that later), I honestly kinda miss spectacular balls-to-the-wall rides like this.
Madhouse also has a big stable of adaptations, among them extra-long-running boxing manga Hajime no Ippo. The first series was handled by longtime industry vet Satoshi Nishimura (of TRIGUN fame, also including TRIGUN's Tsuneo Imahori and his bitchin' guitar for the soundtrack), but the next two installments were directed by Jun Shishido, who's done a lot of storyboarding and individual episode direction on other Madhouse shows like Chaos;Head and Needless.
The studio also has no shortage when it comes to OAVs, including the perennial favorite Record of Lodoss War series (along with the TV series that is less loved). The Lodoss War OAV is on that short list of anime that I'll never actually get tired of.
Hellsing is a big (eventual) Madhouse favorite that did double duty, first as a one-cour GONZO-produced TV series that ended with an anime-original ending, and then in the Hellsing Ultimate OAVs which retold the whole story of the manga from beginning to end.
Imagine my surprise, finding out that Stein's;Gate and Chaos;Head have nothing to do with each other (besides taking place in the same universe)! While I wasn't a big fan of Stein's;Gate, this series actually sounds like it be more up my alley.
Madhouse also has a long-running relationship with CLAMP, and has handled a lot of their work, starting with Tokyo Babylon, to the X movie I love that everybody hates, to Chobits here! Makes you kinda sad that Bee Train got Tsubasa, eh?
We have two Nobunaga-related titles this season, both taking the historical figure to kind of... strange places, but we could always talk about The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, where it turns out that the famous historical general is a cute girl. Oh yeah, and all the other famous historical generals, too.
RIGHT, I'M DONE, BACK TO SENGOKU BASARA I GO
Usually, historical epics are built around epic battles and grandiose scheming, but Saiunkoku Monogatari (the anime of which amazingly saw a US release by Geneon!) dealt with the dangerous dealings in court, the polite backstabbing and fierce maneuvering that you only sometimes hear about.
Continuing with the "Madhouse is the studio you go to for CLAMP adaptations" thing, Cardcaptor Sakura got a long anime adaptation that's still very fondly remembered today. Still, let's not talk about Card Captors, okay?
Needless is a series that I initially wrote off as a second-rate Gurren-Lagann, but that's kind of an unfair comparison. It has dynamic art and over-the-top action and shitloads of fanservice, but it goes off in a completely different (and far less insane) direction.
There ain't nothin' out there like Chihayafuru, though. I talked about the different types of karuta in It's All in the Game Edition, but I didn't mention just how glad I am that Madhouse animated this series (or really, that it got animated at all). It's a breath of fresh air!
When I'm not in the mood for superpowered battles, or heavy coming-of-age drama, or goofy gag comedy, there's always Chi's Sweet Home. Now, I'm a dog person, but I still love cats--there's always something especially endearing and relaxing about this series.
by 月夜 シ干
This one actually made me kinda sad. Y'see, in 2010, Satoshi Kon passed away, and he was one of Madhouse's greatest talents. Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent, Paprika--I've literally just listed everything he's directed right there (although he's worked on a bunch of other titles as an animator, as well as layout and storyboard work) and it's all solid gold. Rest in peace, Mr. Kon, your work will always be celebrated.
I wasn't surprised when an anime adaptation of Death Note was announced, but when I heard Madhouse was handling the animation itself, my immediate thought was "perfect." Madhouse had previously adapted the psychological thriller Monster (although both titles were helmed by different directors), and I knew the studio's workmen could get Death Note's grim visual style down.
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION!
A lot of readers requested Sunday Without God (one reader even using its Japanese title), and I'd honestly never even heard of this series (which is kinda messed up because I know our library pretty well--I did recognize the promo image, though). I saw the usual cutesy art, but was surprised at just how grim the story sounded--a world where children stopped being born, where people can't die? It's Children of Men, only somehow more depressing.
Although really, TRIGUN's planet of Gun-Smoke isn't the cheeriest place either, as death can come quickly and casually. It's a good thing that men like Vash and Wolfwood (and women like Meryl and Milly) are around to keep people (mostly) safe.
Hey, I was just watching the Kurapika-Uvogin fight earlier today! Sarah, who helps me every week with Fanart Friday, has only seen parts of Hunter x Hunter (and read an early chunk of the manga), so we've been watching the recent anime from the beginning. Madhouse's updated, manga-faithful version blows the old Nippon Animation version (which is still pretty good on its own) out of the water, in my humble opinion.
Before The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Mamoru Hosoda was a relative unknown to me--sure, he'd worked on the sixth One Piece movie where Luffy punched a guy so hard the world's color flicked off for a second, but it was this bittersweet story of an ordinary girl who's suddenly gifted with an extraordinary power that made lots of people stand up and take notice.
To me, Black Lagoon takes a lot of what I know Madhouse for--gritty storytelling and stylish violence--and keeps the production values really high. They're pirates, but more in the Captain Phillips sense, minus "heroic" cargo ship captains, and these pirates somehow get involved with every nasty criminal organization under the sun. Thank God for Russian mob connections, right?
Of course, aside from Hajime no Ippo, Madhouse is still making great sports titles, like Ace of the Diamond here. I am really, really behind on this one, and I'm getting sick and tired of seeing the smug grin of the guy on episode 4's promo image on my queue, so maybe this is next on the watchlist.
There's a lot of Kobato art that has the same dreamy, flowy-hair quality of CLAMP's, but I think this one really captures the dorky, lighthearted fun feel of the series.
The Tatami Galaxy is one of those rare shows that only comes along once in a while, completely subverting all your expectations and giving you one hell of a show to watch from beginning to end. And then, y'know, lighting strikes twice and The Eccentric Family comes along shortly after (and animated by a different studio), but that's okay because they're both by the same author.
As this train's leaving the station, let's end with another melancholic look back at Paranoia Agent.
And that's everything for this week! We had a whole ton of requests last week, and I wasn't able to meet 'em all, but keep commenting with your requests and I'll do everything I can to get 'em up here! What are your favorite Madhouse shows? Sound off and let us know!
Like I say every week, your art is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just send me a PM with a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on FEBRUARY 14th, we're doing the totally obvious thing and going for our third Valentine's Day theme, specifically looking at LOVE TRIANGLES, suggested by CR user BlatantLies! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on FEBRUARY 21st, we're doing another semi-regular thing for the year looking at voice actors, starting with STEVE BLUM! DWARVEN CRAFTS! GET YOUR DWARVEN CRAFTS HERE!
-On FEBRUARY 28th, we take on another voice actor that's known to many of you here on Crunchyroll, with his soothing voice that has perfected a certain former samurai's bored tone (or appropriately synthesized voices, in some instances)--it's a full installment dedicated to TOMOKAZU SUGITA!
Thanks for coming by and checking out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by again next week!