The race is on to complete the finale…before Musani winds up embarrassing themselves by not delivering the episode on schedule. Will they make it in time?
What They Say:
Episode 12: “Exodus Christmas”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, the mahjong game from last week proceeds, with the publishing bigwig phoning “Mitsuaki Kanno” and letting him know that Aoi is on the way to see him, followed by Watanabe bringing up the Third Aerial Girls Squad deal, the big property he hopes to secure for Musani to work on next. And here, here is where people who have not been paying attention will begin to learn the “business” of animation production and adaptation. For the publishing boss lays out the status of his hot property. Major animation studios including “Studio Canaan, GI Staff, The Born, Barmedéa” have all made offers (in addition to Musani), though he wished “Gibli” would have taken the project on. Further, he wishes the show to be in an earlier time slot in order to have as large an audience as possible—so that the sales of the original (print) work will increase. But…he appears to be leaning towards Musani now (thanks to the success of Exodus, so now Musani must draw up a formal proposal for him to look at and show to the other stakeholders. Thus does the “production committee” system work.
As for Aoi herself, she goes to the apartment of “Kanno” where she sheepishly asks for help. Here we have the identification of the man made all the more apparent. Not just appearance, but when he asks her how old she was when the TV version of “Ava” was on: back in 1995, Aoi was 2. So, she’s not seen all of Ava, though she has seen the theatrical versions on DVD. And here we learn something amusing: Kinoshita, the director at Musani, was an episode director for the original TV series of Ava. Though that doesn’t mean he’s going to take the job. Instead of that, he gives Aoi some very good advice: think about why you’re asking him, or any animator, to do this. Animators want to feel wanted: “We want to be told ‘You’re the only one who can do this!'” If you want a big flashy scene of a fighter airplane destroying the pursuing police cars, Kanno would be your man, but this is a scene involving horses. Speaking of horses, Kanno lets Aoi in on a lead (with a
resolution I and most others might expect). Not many can draw horses these days, except there might just be someone…at Musani.
Watanabe decides to call an “all-hands” meeting that night, since the final episode is in a serious crisis. Aoi has not been able to get all of the key frames assigned. At this point, it’s the producer who must take charge. As it is, they might need to cut or edit down the climax of the girls running away with a herd of horses. They can’t do it in 3D (the 3D staff is already heavily burdened) and none of the animators in-house were willing to do the cut involving horses. Honda argues vehemently against cutting the climax, but the alternative is to fail to complete the episode on time. It looks bad until Aoi steps in with Kanno’s advice: Sugie can do the climax. Apparently, he has some experience with horses, having done the entire opening of Aoi’s favorite anime, Andes Chucky, by himself in three days. (And apparently, Kanno is a major Andes Chucky fan). So, Aoi goes to ask Sugie after work and he agrees to do it. The finale may well be saved.
It’s going to take teamwork. Sugie can work quickly, but he won’t be able to finish all of the cuts by himself in the required time. So, Ogasawara and Iguchi, the two lead animators at the studio, will do the 2nd Key Animation (cleanup) based upon Sugie’s rough sketches. So, the entire animation team gets to work on the climax with Sugie taking the lead. For the younger animators, it’s actually a very good experience, as he teaches them many things about movement and animation that they don’t seem to have learned too well themselves. For Sugie, it’s a new breath of life at Musani, where he had worries about being “extra baggage.” He’s not, of course.
Crunch time. The episode’s completion is really cutting it down to the wire. Every retake, every adjustment, every delay sends shivers down the spines of the director and the producers. The final edit of the episode does get completed on time, so it looks like they won’t be facing any kind of disaster. Time to party a bit.
As the season is winding down to its completion (but not this show; there is another cour to follow), we have something of an appropriate ending note. While the situation itself is a bit of cliche, with the senior man seemingly put out to pasture being called back to save the studio, this was well-executed. We had already been given some signs throughout the season that Sugie was not some washed-up has-been, but instead a talented animator of an older generation still capable of teaching the younger ones some old tricks and new skills. Now we see all of those breadcrumbs gathered together as Sugie steps in to complete the tricky and all-important final cuts to the finale of Exodus.
With every ending, there is a new beginning. Watanabe and Kitsuragi, the producers, have apparently worked enough to win the commission to make an adaptation of Third Aerial Girls Squad, which after the success of Exodus, could well confirm the renaissance of Musashino Animation, which had been in a seven year drought. Sugie, seemingly headed for the exit doing children’s animation for another company, got to contribute again to Musani and even more, has won the respect of the junior animators who wish to learn more about animation from him. And Aoi has leapt over the barrier that could well have spelled disaster for her, not because she would be blamed for what happened, but because the experience could have proven traumatic, haunting her as Jiggly Jiggly Heaven haunted Kinoshita, until now where it would seem that Exodus has seen him overcome that memory.
The “white box” has appeared for the end of Exodus. It will be interesting to see what direction things will take in the second cour.
Aoi manages to get the final episode of Exodus completed thanks to very high-powered help, as she gets important advice from Mitsuaki Kanno, the director of Ava. It appears that the animator she, and everyone else at Musani, needed to talk to in order to create Director Kinoshita’s over the top ending with horses, was right in their midst the whole time: the veteran Sugie. While he’s not one for the new era of moe, he has a great deal of experience with animals, including horses, something most younger animators are not familiar with. With his help and experience, the finale is completed.
As the first cour comes to an end, so does the show-within-the-show, Exodus. That does not mean that the story is over. It’s on to the next thing.
Episode Grade: A-
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
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