by Ewa Nowogorski
The age of hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation is slowly coming to an end as 3D computer generated animation takes over. Disney’s last 2D animated film was The Princess and the Frog, and it was released in 2010. 3D film has slowly seeped into Japanese anime as well over the past 2 decades, with portions of anime being 3D and portions being 2D. Some series have successfully blended 3D art into 2D scenes, and some anime have been made completely in 3D. Even studio Ghibli is still years away from producing its next 2D animated film due to the long time it takes to complete. And because of time and money, they too have delved into the world of 3D. Recently, they have released their first ever fully 3D movie, called Earwig and the Witch, and it was a complete failure.
Other mixed CGI anime that were notoriously bad were the 2016 Berserk anime and the 2018 anime series Ex-Arm. One internet search of these titles and you will understand what I am talking about.
Despite discontent from audiences worldwide, there is a continued push to produce anime in 3D because it is cheaper and faster. It may not be long before 2D animation is dropped completely. Japan is still quite behind the US when it comes to this field, and it will still be a while before 3D anime is produced successfully with the common Japanese anime aesthetic that everyone knows and is familiar with. Perhaps the only way Japanese anime will be successful in CGI is if they change the aesthetics completely and adopt a new style altogether.
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