NATSU GA HAJIMARU — AN ANIMATED SHORT RECOMMENDATION

Today, I salute you with a quick post on a short web movie I came across while I was going through Aoki Jun’s works. I previously did two shorts compilations; my top 5 animated ads and another short selection from last year, because I love the form. Today’s pick is basically a web movie for CalorieMate. Even if one doesn’t usually watch sports anime, I’m sure we’ve all come across the product in anime, just with a close-enough name that will help the studio avoid a lawsuit. It’s a nutritional energy bar/gel food. 

I love sports anime. It makes my heart race and brings excitement tears to my eyes. Watching characters put whatever they have to realize a common goal and making friends and memories along the way, joined with the adrenaline-inducing excitement I get from the matches hits me just right. What astonishes me essentially is the aesthetic pleasure I get from watching bodies in motion. The way they sway, extend, jump, or crouch with other bodies. Or just by itself. A feast for my eyes. And here’s Natsu ga Hajimaru.

Natsu ga Hajimaru also made my heart race for the very same reasons, and a bit more. First of all, there are many different names included in the project because different sports clubs have different character designs and animation styles. It’s highly energetic and overall very interesting to watch, bringing many different flavors together seamlessly. Another point I could highlight is the emphasis on the pandemic’s effect on sports practice. Not only the physical space practitioners have to put in between, let’s say when they are running for warming up, but also the training regimes changing. Practicing alone and focusing on different types of elements instead of training together.

When it comes to physical activity, I’m someone who is motivated by other people, and watching this short reminded me how going through something together alone made the effort worthwhile. The web movie of course ends in a positive, hopeful tone. Still, I loved the bits that subtly underscored the aftereffects of physical distance we are forced to put between us.

What did you think about the web movie? Which of the stylistic choices was to your liking? Are you a more team sport or an individualistic sport kind of person? Let me know in the comments! Below you can find the credits, and see you!

♪ Surges
Lyrics / Composition: Orangestar
Song: Kase Ruwan

Director / Storyboard: Takumi Shiga (CAVIAR)
Animation director / storyboard / director: Jun Aoki (Space Cat Company)
Character design / animation director: Keiko Matsuda
Assistant animation director: Hanane Sato
Original picture / video: Liu Yang
Video / Finish: Kaori Liang
Video / Finishing / Art: Huang Satoshi
Art setting assistant / color setting: Kichichou
Image board / art: Akiko Kazeto
Art: Sena Yaguchi

Original picture assistant / art: (Swimming club): Chen Xi Space Cat Company (Tennis Club) Hidekazu Ohara (Baseball Club) Saranrappu (Soccer club) Paul Williams (land club) Nitro (Table tennis club) Minami Kitamura (Chibi character) Tsuda (in the bus) Kiyogo Yamashita (Brass band) syo5 (Tennis club) Suien (Basketball club) Liu Yu Tatsu (Volleyball club) Masanobu Hiraoka (Kyudo Club) Aaron Formilleza (Cheerleaders) Rémy Clarke (Swimming Club) Uh (Canoe Club) Dried squid (Judo club) Nomura Ikutan (Baseball club manager)

For more on staff, you can check out the Anilist page.

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