Animation Styles Guide

海老沢(えびさわ) 幸男(ゆきお)

Yukio Ebisawa

General Information

Birthdate: Unknown
Affiliation: Studio Live
Work: Animation Supervisor, Key Animation Artist

Animation Supervisor Credits:
DB: 5, 12, 18, 25, 33, 39, 45, 56, 63, 70, 77, 81, 86, 92, 99, 106, 113, 124, 131, 138, 145, 152
DBZ: 6, 13, 20, 27, 33, 39, 46, 51, 56, 61, 66, 71, 75, 80, 84, 89, 94, 99, 104, 110, 115, 121, 126, 131, 135, 139, 144, 148, 153, 158, 163, 167, 171, 176, 183, 189, 193, 198, 204, 210, 213, 217, 224, 230, 237, 244, 250, 256, 262, 270, 275, 282, 290

Yukio Ebisawa served as an animation supervisor and key animator for the entirety of the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series. In fact, of the 444 episodes that make up the two series, he supervised nearly 17% of them. Combine that with the workload of Masayuki Uchiyama, and these two men provided roughly 43% of the animation for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Unfortunately, neither were extremely great animators. Ebisawa himself is credited as providing key animation in nearly every episode he supervised, but his work was quite variable as he almost never had a consistent team of animators working with him. Some of his animation is quite good, while in other places it was rather subpar. While this can all be attributed to his key animators, it ultimately came back to his talent as a supervisor.

Like many of the other early animation supervisors in Dragon Ball, Ebisawa had been an animation supervisor and key animator for Toriyama’s previous series, Dr. Slump – Arale-chan. He was also involved in numerous other series animated by Toei Animation, such as Cyborg 009, Galaxy Express 999, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and Digimon Adventure. By the time Dragon Ball went into production Ebisawa had reached seniority status within Studio Live, meaning he was given the position of animation supervisor because of his age and experience, not because he exhibited superior work.

Many fans often refer to Ebisawa as the “Triangle Guy”, however many of the episodes cited as examples of this style were actually supervised by Masayuki Uchiyama. Therefore this uncomplimentary title should be thought of as more of an encompassing style rather than something attributed to just one animator or studio. Either way, the naming of this style stems from the overtly triangular facial structures used. The style is also often associated with anything overly pointy looking.

Oddly enough, if you pay close enough attention to some of the episodes supervised by Ebisawa you’ll notice that the animation style within the episode itself wasn’t always consistent. Often times, moreso toward the middle of the Dragon Ball Z series, Ebisawa’s episodes contained two contrasting animation styles; a smoother round animation and a pointy triangular animation (example shown below). The smoother animation in these episodes was drawn by Toshiyuki Kan’no, while the triangular animation was the work of Ebisawa. The fact that both animation styles would appear together in a single episode indicates that at some point Ebisawa stopped correcting Kan’no’s key frames, although it would be pure speculation to guess why this happened. Regardless, Toshiyuki Kan’no is the main reason why many of Ebisawa’s episodes in the middle of the Dragon Ball Z series remained halfway decent looking, and why it didn’t take quite as severe a dip in quality as Masayuki Uchiyama’s animation during that period.

DBZ Episode 153 (Part A)
Toshiyuki Kan’no

DBZ Episode 153 (Part B)
Yukio Ebisawa

DBZ Episode 158 (Part A)
Toshiyuki Kan’no

DBZ Episode 158 (Part B)
Yukio Ebisawa

After being so involved in the franchise, Ebisawa left the series following Dragon Ball Z for unknown reasons and had no hand in creating its sequel series. However, Studio Live was still contracted by Toei Animation to provide animation services for Dragon Ball GT. That being the case, key animator Toshiyuki Kan’no, who had worked under Ebisawa throughout Dragon Ball Z, was promoted to animation supervisor to fill the role.

Animation Gallery

This gallery serves as a small example of the animation seen in episodes supervised by Yukio Ebisawa and may not be representative of his entire body of work during his involvement in the series. All animation examples for Dragon Ball GT were supervised by Toshiyuki Kan’no.

Dragon Ball Episodes

Dragon Ball Z Episodes

Dragon Ball GT Episodes (Toshiyuki Kan’no)

Animation Team

Yukio Ebisawa had one of the most interesting animation teams, as animators were constantly replaced and shuffled around. Many of these animators would work under Ebisawa for a few years and then leave the series entirely for other projects. This inconsistency ultimately led to the noticeable variability in his animation quality, being sometimes quite good and sometimes rather bad.

The most talented of his key animators was Toshiyuki Kan’no, who joined the animation team early on in Dragon Ball Z. Oddly enough, Kan’no stopped working under Ebisawa following Dragon Ball Z episode 256, but continued working on the series as a key animator under numerous other animation supervisors. Shortly after, following Ebisawa’s departure from the series, he was promoted to fill Ebisawa’s role as animation supervisor in Dragon Ball GT. However he only stuck around long enough to supervise a total of four episodes, all of which he was additionally credited as a key animator in, and eventually left the series following episode 21. Unlike before, no other animator from Studio Live stepped in to fill the role.

Main Animation Team General Series Involvement
Satoru Kusuda (楠田 悟) DB: 1 – 92
Mari Tominaga (富永真理) DB: 12 – 145
Emiko Uesugi (上杉恵美子) DB: 45 – 81
Takahiro Yoshimatsu (吉松孝博) DB: 86 – 113; DBZ: 6
Hiroshi Takeuchi (竹内浩志) DB: 124 – 153; DBZ: 1 – 20; 282
Tomoya Handa (飯田倫也) DBZ: 27 – 144
Toshiyuki Kan’no (菅野利之) DBZ: 46 – 256
Hideki Inoue (井上英紀) DBZ: 148 – 204
Yūko Inoue (井上優子) DBZ: 148 – 256
Ayako Kurata (倉田綾子) DBZ: 262 – 290
Mayumi Fukushi (福士真由美) DBZ: 275 – 290
Yoshifumi Miyaji (宮司好文) DBZ: 275 – 282

On occasion Ebisawa would bring on some additional key animators from other animation teams to help his team finish up an episode. Note that their general involvement listed only applies to their work under Yukio Ebisawa, not necessarily for their entire involvement with the series.

Supplemental Animators General Involvement (Count)
Shizuo Kawai (河合静男) DB: 81 (1)
Toshiyuki Fujisawa (藤沢俊幸) DB: 81 (1)
Taketoshiji Kudō (工藤誉寿治) DBZ: 27 – 39; 282 (4)
Takeo Ide (井手武生) DBZ: 84 – 94 (2)
Hideko Okimoto (沖本日出子) DBZ: 84 – 94 (2)
Aiko Nozaki (野崎愛子) DBZ: 262 – 270 (2)
Masatoshi Hakata (博多正寿) DBZ: 275 (1)
Hiroaki Yoshikawa (吉川博明) DBZ: 275 – 282 (2)