In one of the most innocuous scenes you can imagine, I’m not sure if Girlish Number provided brilliant meta-commentary, or just a sad coincidence.
The scene in question is at 17:30 of episode five. The animation director for Millennium Princess x Kowloon Overlord, the show-within-the-show, is contemplating quitting because he’s working himself to death to create some low-quality animation. As this is happening, the animation of the scene depicts a still image of the characters from behind. No movement; no lip flaps; no animation at all, unless you count a slow camera pan.Watching this, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this meta? Or just budget constraints?
Now, panning shots with no real animation is nothing unusual for anime. Hell, I remember it being the standard for certain episodes of Kill la Kill. But at the end of this scene we get a pretty strong verbal reaction from afro-assistant there, the kind that you would expect to accompany at least a little movement. Not even expensive movement. Just a little flinch, or twitch, or depressed face-palm.
Yet despite the reaction from the voice actor, the animator sticks to his guns. Those guns being this static frame.
Now, I don’t seriously think this is meta, at least not intentionally. But if it’s not a deliberate directorial choice, then it’s a budget (or deadline) choice, which actually makes the point better than any deliberate message could. That point being…
We could afford to get the voice actor to react. But we couldn’t afford to get the animation to do the same. In short: Voice work is cheap.
That actually goes a pretty long way in a show primarily about voice acting. Voice acting for Millennium Princess x Kowloon Overlord, an anime depicted as being so mismanaged, so poorly budgeted, that the studio can’t get half decent animation for it and is relying just the voice actresses to push sales.
It looks like I may have to stick around with Girlish Number for a few more episodes, if these are the kinds of fun little details it’s continuing with.
Don’t Lose Your Way