Interview: Animator’s Corner

Earlier this year we saw the rise of Animator’s Corner, a new resource in crediting the animation staff who worked on a particular episode of anime. While the selection of shows at Animator’s Corner may be roughly delegated to newer airing series, the site has proven to be an invaluable resource in identifying those responsible for their amazing work.

I originally wanted to feature this interview in podcast format, but given the language barrier, a written Q&A was the most appropriate course of action. That being said, I would encourage you all to follow Animator’s Corner on Twitter at @AniCorner – and please send your words of praise for what a wonderful job that is carried out every week.

The following interview was conducted and translated from Spanish.


 

Josh Dunham, WMC: First I want to thank you for accepting the invitation – I am very excited to share your work with all the anime fans that are trying to learn more about what they love.

AC: Thank you for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to know that there are people who take interest in what I do.

On a personal note, I have to thank you for adding Yu Yu Hakusho to your database. It’s be such a great help I can’t even express. Thank you!

AC: You’re very welcome! It’s a great series which a lot of consecrated animators worked on, that’s why I decided to add it.

So I have to ask, is Animator’s Corner a solo project led by one person or is there a group involved? Who is responsible for everything?

AC: I suppose you could say that it is mostly a solo project. I am in charge of adding all the information of a series, the staff for each episode, and credits on the opening and endings. I created the database and run all the updates and checks etc… The only help I’ve had (and still have) in in regards to the actual site itself where I have a webmaster who designed the site and made it function set it up to communicate with my database.

More or less I enter it into my personal database which is uploaded to the web.

Now, how did Animator’s Corner come into being? What was your motivation? How did you arrive at the idea to form a website like this?

AC: Well, it’s an idea I’ve had for a while. I was interested in the process of Japanese animation towards the end of 2007. It was around this time when a Naruto/Naruto Shippuden forum I frequented started addressing this very issue, and began posting the names of some of the animators who had worked on the series.

As the interest grew with the passage of time, I created a application that allowed me to form a database on my personal computer and from there I added the names of animators and animation supervisors (sakuga kantoku) of each episode. For a while, it was a resource I kept for myself out of curiosity.

But as far as I got in my own little world, I started to see that the application for what I had made was far to limited. So I embarked on the current project were the information could reach far more people. It was a big change, it meant leaving behind what I had already complied and start from zero with a considerably more complex database that would require more work to refill it, but the interest in obtaining more information made the burden a little lighter.

Back in 2013 I asked myself, “Why don’t I make this information available to everyone who’s interested?” That was when I considered moving the information from my local database so all the world could have access to all the information I had collected. At that time I made a Twitter account, thinking it would be the quickest and easiest way to expose this information and keep people informed of developments.

However, I had overlooked once crucial step. Being a desktop application, the way I had composed it prevented non-Windows OS users from running it, so it couldn’t be accessed from mobile phones, tablets, Apple computers, etc…

That was when I contacted a webmaster buddy of mine who helped me get the project to run as a web application, eliminating these limitations. It was a hard process for personal reasons, but we aimed for release in the Summer of 2014, but it wasn’t ready until November. So we decided we would wait until the new year, that it would be better to reveal it January 1st of 2015. And I hope it lasts for many years to come!

As for the present, we are working on several interesting things to the web which I hope to roll out before the end of Summer.

Every season there seems to be close to 50-odd new shows. How do you pick which ones will be added?

AC: Well, as you’ve said, with the amount of anime that comes out every season, it can be brutal. Basically, I tend to add whichever shows grab the most attention, but I try to see to others’ requests when they are made. it really depends on how much time I have since I don’t make a living off the project.

Last season, for example, I had a lot of free time to add a lot of series. However, this season my time seems to have disappeared and you can see that.

Being a recent site, obviously there are a lot of anime that have already completed. Are there any plans on adding info on all the millions of anime that exist? Or are you only going to attack new shows?

AC: On one side there’s what I want to do and on the other there’s what I can do. Quite honestly, I would love to add every series in the world, but it’s physically impossible to add them all. But I find myself more interested in current series because it’s  easier to add series that runs week to week, plus I find it more sincere to add them while they are airing. Neither takes prescience really.

But the idea to add both new and old has come up before.

What is the process do you follow when listing all the staff? Do you wait until the end credits roll then do the translation work yourself or do you cross reference with things like the Japanese Animator Wiki?

AC: It’s always good to have references, especially for the names that I can’t translate myself, or even to help me add the names much faster, but I’ve never added information for an episode based exclusively on external sites. I always watch the episode to check the credits myself and then compare what I see with my reference pages. A lot of the time there isn’t any reference for me to work off of; for those episodes I pull the names myself. I extract the names in Japanese (the kanji) to a text file and enter it into the program a mentioned earlier.

If there aren’t a lot of animators I can add an episode in about 10 minutes. A more costly process is adding a new series from scratch because you have to add everything: animator credits, make a banner for the site, find official logo for the series, opening credits, ending credits, etc…

What is your goal with the site? What’s your vision for Animator’s Corner?

AC: Honestly, I do not know. I don’t really have a concrete goal in mind. I do not set long-term goals. My only goal is to continue doing this as long as I enjoy it, I just hope that I continue to enjoy it for a long time!

If any one wants to help how can they do so? Do you find there’s a lack of assistance on the project?

AC: There have been people who offered me their help in adding this information to the web. I appreciate and am very thankful for the gesture, but at least for right now, I prefer to handle it myself.

I aware that if more people join the project, we could add a lot more information to the site, but don’t want this project to become a “job” or an “obligation”. I want to do it my way, and at my own pace. If I have a desire and time to add a few episodes today, then I  add them, and if not, there’s always tomorrow. Adding someone else in the equation with the way I do things would probably throw them off. That’s why I prefer to do it alone, I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.

But at the same time, I appreciate any message of support, any criticism to help improve the system, suggestions for series to add, and links to pages I may not know where I can find credit for older series. Those are hard to come by.

To wrap things up, are there any words or comments you would like to share with the Wave Motion Cannon readers?

AC: I would like to thank you and Wave Motion Cannon for the opportunity to have this chat with you. It is an honor and a pleasure. I’ll keep doing my very best, hoping to help the people interested in this fascinating world of animation. Thank you!

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