Shunsuke Tada, director of the popular sports anime, Kuroko’s Basketball, explains why anime studios often opt to use CG over 2D animation.
Kuroko’s Basketball Director Shunsuke Tada recently explained why CG is so prevalent in the modern animation age.
In an interview with Mipon, Tada discussed animated and his sci-fi anime, The Legend of The Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (often abbreviated as DNT), a reboot of the 1988 series Legend of the Galactic Heroes. DNT used a good deal of CG, especially when animating the show’s battleships. Although Tada’s animation team had reservations about using 3D/CG animation, Tada explained why he made the call to use it.
“It’s [3D/CG) actually a more efficient process than hand-drawing,” Tada said, “the bar that’s set for quality, and the standards we have to meet, are just so high nowadays that hand-drawing isn’t feasible in terms of time or budget. While 3D/CG takes a lot of time in the pre-production phase, the process is ultimately faster. A 3D/CG cut will cost quite a bit of money. But here’s the thing–you can reuse them…the upfront costs are enormous but being able to reuse cuts ultimately works out cheaper than having to pay X-amount of yen every time. Still, there is no denying that the initial pre-production phase of DNT is very time and resource-intensive.”
While Tada’s choice to use CG animation ultimately means less work for his animation staff, as the director mentions, this typically means a more difficult pre-production stage. Due to the use of 3D/CG, and because Tada wanted DNT to have a “live-action, Star Wars type of look and a cel animation look,” while using a different animation method, it took over a year for the staff to decide on DNT’s style. Tada also encountered some resistance from members of the animation team that wanted to give up on 3D/CG animation.
“That happens a lot in the production process–when the staff doesn’t know exactly what to aim for, it becomes a lengthy laborious process of trial-and-error, and I’d get a lot of complaints..they wanted to stick with the cel-animation style, in which they could hand-draw the battleships and color them more easily. But I was very stubborn and asked them to tough it out. Because of that, the process took more than a year.”
In addition to his directorial work on DNT and Kuroko’s Basketball, Tada also served as Director and Episode Director for multiple installments of the Prince of Tennis franchise. DNT, Prince of Tennis, and Kuroko’s Basketball are all available to stream on Crunchyroll.