Thursday, November 29, 2012

December Previews: More Miyazaki and Finally Back To Color Analyses

While preparing a lecture on HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE I have come across many aspects of Miyazaki's earlier films some of which I would like to further explore on this blog. And since my preoccupation with color analysis is the one thing that sets colorful animation expressions apart from other animation blogs, I will soon launch a loose series of posts about complimentary colors - in particular red vs. green and magenta vs. green.

Aware that most people in the USA have yet to discover Takahata's 1974 TV adaptation of Heidi I nevertheless come back to it once more. There is quite a difference in how it is presented to Japanese and European kids in terms of voices and music.

Comparison of German DVD and Japanese Bluray.

Studio Ghibli Colors
Color designer Michiyo YASUDA is one of those great unsung Studio Ghibli employees whose work is admired across the world but who is hardly known to Western fans. From Nausicaä (1984) to Ponyo (2008) her extraordinary flair for color compositions has been on display in many a Ghibli feature including Grave of the Fireflies (1988) where she was responsible for character colors. There is a Japanese book dedicated to her work (unfortunately the text is in Japanese only so far) but not much information available in English.

Candy colors for pirates in Laputa.
Color work in Miyazaki's films is sometimes taken for granted because it looks rather realistic and changes occur far more subtle and unobtrusive than in flashy anime like Metoroporisu (2001). However close the final films reflect Miyazaki's watercolor image boards, upon closer examination films like Laputa - Castle in the Sky (1986) or Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) demonstrate Yasuda's stunning sense of color.

In-your-face complementary colors in flashy Metoroporisu...

...and Michiyo Yasuda's more subtle use in Kiki's Delivery Service.
The Colors of Holly and Mistletoe
Red and green are the colors most often found in American Christmas illustrations. So December seems to be a good month to start a loose series of posts about this ubiquitous pair of complimentary colors that was especially en vogue in early Technicolor films.

Norman Rockwell's typical use of red and green for Christmas illustrations.
Gene Tierney with red lips against an emerald backdrop in Leave Her To Heaven (1945)
Giulietta Masina in her husband's first color film Giulietta Degli Spiriti (1965)

1 comment:

Phillip Jackson said...

Awesome, I think I found your site because of one of your old color theory posts. Can't wait to read this one.