Animation Styles Guide

内山(うちやま) 正幸(まさゆき)

Masayuki Uchiyama

General Information

Birthdate: Sometime in 1952
Affiliation: Last House
Work: Animation Supervisor, Key Animation Artist

Animation Supervisor Credits:
DB: 3, 6, 11, 16, 20, 23, 27, 31, 34, 38, 41, 44, 46, 49, 52, 54, 58, 62, 65, 69, 72, 78, 84-85, 87, 91, 93, 96, 101, 105, 109, 111, 115, 118, 120, 123, 127, 130, 134, 137, 140, 144, 147, 151
DBZ: 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 18, 22, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 42, 45, 49, 53, 55, 59, 62, 67, 72, 74, 79, 83, 85, 88, 92, 96, 100, 102, 105, 108, 113, 118, 123, 128, 132, 136, 141, 145, 149, 151, 156, 161, 165, 169, 172, 178, 181, 186, 190, 194, 197, 203, 208, 212, 218, 223, 228, 233, 238, 243, 248, 254, 259, 265, 269, 273, 278, 283, 288
GT: 2, 7, 12, 18, 23, 29, 34, 39, 41, 45, 50, 53, 55, 58, 62

Masayuki Uchiyama was involved as an animation supervisor and key animator for the entirety of all three Dragon Ball anime TV series. In fact, of the 508 animated episodes that make up all three series, he supervised the animation in just over a quarter of them. However, he also by and far receives the most criticism of any animator by fans for providing subpar animation quality. Many even blame him solely for the horrible animation quality that began creeping into Dragon Ball Z near the end of the Freeza arc. Fortunately, Toei Animation must have realized this and he was never asked to supervise any animation for higher budget productions, such as movies and TV specials.

Uchiyama began his career in 1969 at the just then established Neo Media studios, and studied under former Toei Animation animator Kei’ichirō Kimura (character designer and animation supervisor for Cyborg 009). After working on a few projects, he left the studio and worked for a short while as a freelance animator until he joined Studio Z around the same time as legendary animator Yoshinori Kanada. Uchiyama would later go on to help establish the Last House animation studio and would eventually become its main animator. Last House studios would go on to be quite active throughout the 1980s and 90s, mostly due to a heavy workload from Toei Animation.

Before working on Dragon Ball, Uchiyama had been an animation supervisor and key animator for Toriyama’s previous series, Dr. Slump – Arale-chan. Prior to that he had worked on numerous other projects, including Space Battleship Yamato, Cyborg 009, and Galaxy Express 999. By the time Dragon Ball went into production Uchiyama was enjoying his seniority status within the Last House studios, meaning he was given the position of animation supervisor on numerous anime projects because of his age and not for having superior work. Uchiyama was also known to work on numerous anime series at the same time, which most likely effected the quality of much of his work. For instance, during Dragon Ball Z‘s run he supervised the animation in nine other series, although not all at the same point. Following his involvement in Dragon Ball, Uchiyama would go on to be the animation supervisor for numerous other anime series up until a month before his abrupt death on 31 August 2010 at the age of 58.

Although Uchiyama was known for providing fairly fluid and smooth animation, it typically lacked quite a bit of detail. His animation is often referred to as being rather “cartoony” and less realistic looking in comparison to other animators. Also, depending on the key animators assisting him, the animation detail and shading would often vary. As discussed below, any above average animation seen under his supervision can almost always be attributed to the skilled key animators working under him.

Animation Gallery

This gallery serves as a small example of the animation seen in episodes supervised by Masayuki Uchiyama and may not be representative of his entire body of work during his involvement in the series.

Dragon Ball Episodes

Dragon Ball Z Episodes

Dragon Ball GT Episodes

Animation Team

The animation team under Masayuki Uchiyama’s direction was actually quite talented, and for the most part made Uchiyama look much better than he ever was. Throughout the entirety of Dragon Ball and part way into Dragon Ball Z Uchiyama only maintained the animation supervisor role, never really doing much key animation himself. However, as many of his talented key animators began being plucked away to work on other projects he had to actually start doing key animation for the episodes he was supervising. By the time the Artificial Humans appear in Dragon Ball Z, Uchiyama and Tai’ichirō Ohara were the only two animators from Last House animating episodes, and it remained that way up until the bitter end of Dragon Ball GT. It was at this point in Dragon Ball Z that the episodes under his supervision took a drastic hit in quality, making it quite obvious just how talented his key animators had been.

Not only did animator Tai’ichirō Ohara remain on under Uchiyama for the duration of the three series, but he also filled in a few times in Dragon Ball (episodes 76, 80, and 98) as an animation supervisor. Some of Uchiyama’s other key animators would eventually stop working with him, but still remained involved with the series under other animation supervisors. However, some of the key animators just completely left the series altogether.

For instance, Naotoshi Shida worked under Uchiyama up until Dragon Ball Z episode 141, but stayed on and began working under other animation supervisors. Shida was also involved as a key animator on almost every Dragon Ball Z movie. There’s also Tetsuya Saeki, who worked under Uchiyama before leaving the series, but then later returned for the later part of Dragon Ball Z only to work under other animation supervisions. While Saeki wasn’t involved with any movies, both he and Shida did stay on as key animators under other various animation supervisors in Dragon Ball GT.

Main Animation Team General Series Involvement
Tai’ichirō Ohara (小原太一郎) DB: 1 – 153; DBZ: 1 – 291; GT 1 – 64
Akio Katada (片田亜起夫) DB: 1 – 153; DBZ: 1 – 59
Naotoshi Shida (志田直俊) DB: 1 – 153; DBZ: 1 – 141
Yasuhiro Kinda (金田康宏) DB: 1 – 58
Hidehiko Kadota (門田英彦) DB: 1 – 96
Tetsuya Saeki (佐伯哲也) DBZ: 1 – 105

Uchiyama usually stuck with his main animation team and only enlisted a few supplementary key animators throughout the series’ when needed. Many of these key animators only worked on a few episodes under Uchiyama, but had no other involvement with Dragon Ball. Note that their general involvement listed only applies to their work under Masayuki Uchiyama, not necessarily for their entire involvement with the series.

Supplemental Animators General Involvement (Count)
Tetsurō Sano (佐野啓郎) DB: 91 – 127 (2)
Hiroshi Mochizuki (望月啓史) DB: 91 – 127 (3)
Naoki Mishiba (三柴直樹) DB: 91 – 153; DBZ: 1 – 178 (3)
Manako Itō (伊東美奈子) DBZ: 118 – 178 (2)
Youko Arai (新井洋子) DBZ: 118 – 178 (2)
Hiroaki Shimizu (清水博明) DBZ: 178 (1)