[spoiler]You're totally entitled to that opinion, but I do wanna take this opportunity to reiterate that this is 100% an intentional style, and absolutely not accidental. I appreciate you weren't necessarily implying that, so please take this rather lengthy post as a general topic, rather than a direct response.
To break form, you first need to really understand it, and I think it's clear that Tate absolutely does. I think his old work on Dragon Ball Z
demonstrates that well enough. Yes, some of those earlier scenes are corrected, but once you hit the Boo arc (~8:30), he's mostly left to his own devices. Once you understand form and how things move, you can begin to break it down and start to play around with it, really pushing the boat out on the freedom that animation offers. You cannot do that if you lack the fundamental basics.
I was talking to Olympia
about Tate a little while ago. While I'm an artist myself, I'm certainly no professional, and I wanted the opinion of someone who does this stuff for a living (and frankly, is pretty damn good). She found the idea that Tate was bad or lacked a strong artistic ability pretty ludicrous. In fact, she went through and did a study of his work to really understand his decisions and style.
She said that it was clear that he draws with absolute confidence and precision, and that trying to replicate that was really hard; he creates effortless looking drawings that are actually surprisingly complex in their construction. When we spoke about why it is that a lot of fans aren't 100% on board with it, she acknowledged that it's really very different from the typical approach Dragon Ball artists tend to take - it's much softer, looser, and round, and therefore jarring for those with a very rigid idea of what Dragon Ball should look and move like.
I've gone over how he developed this style many times, but I suppose I've never spoken about his success with it, or others like him. Off the back of this style, he landed himself his own movie: One Piece Movie 9
, where he was given 100% free reign to take the visuals where he wanted. With him at the helm, he attracted many other animators in the industry who shared this style. Hironori Tanaka produced one of the nuttiest things in One Piece's history for this film.
It even brought in huge names like Hisashi Mori.
Outside of people associated with him, you have legends like Shingo Yamashita
who are arguably even looser than Tate.
On the very extreme, you've got old masters like Shinya Ohira
who have been doing this stuff for decades. While I appreciate some of the examples there are in works that are built from the ground up on that aesthetic, that's not always the case, and you can find these guys across all kinds of different productions.
Just like Tate, the average viewer doesn't always react well to their work. Across all parts of life, people are very averse to deviations from the norm. There are some really interesting studies on it
, in fact. Ultimately, the longer something's been around and the more common it is, unconsciously, that's seen as the definitive option. While that's absolutely rational in many cases - if something's stood the test of time, there's probably a good reason for it - but that's not always true. Longevity and conventions aren't necessarily an indicator of quality -- how long a particular style has been around shouldn't dictate what's aesthetically pleasing. While walking around in the latest high street brands might be the norm, that doesn't invalidate the beauty in high fashion designs. Someone walking down the street in crazy catwalk outfits is going to stand out against the norm and place all eyes on them -- that's exactly what these animators are, and that's exactly why in many cases, they're chosen for these big moments. They're impressive, they're unapologetically boisterous, and they're exciting... to some people, at least.
The common retort to this argues that something shouldn't stand out so much as to be distracting, and absolutely shouldn't deviate to the point of feeling foreign. I totally understand and appreciate that point of view, and I think that's ultimately where you have to draw the line in the sand and accept that not everyone's going to respond the same way as you. At the same time, I do think it loops back around to my point about familiarity and preconceptions of what something should
be. This opens up a whole complicated can of worms about franchise identity vs animator identity - and that's just not something everyone's going to agree on. We all have different ideas about that. I know some folks have commented in the past saying, "Well, Tate's Goku doesn't look like Goku, to me", and I just can't process that. The recent reveal of Funimation's Super Blu-ray cover has had similar accusations, and again, I just cannot for the life of me see how people don't think that looks like the character. That's the crux of it, and that's why I find these conversations so frustrating. To you, the exaggerated body shapes and smears are sloppy, while to me I see something's that interesting, creative, and making full use of the art form.
Art has always had this issue. Abstract art is often belittled by the general public, and even by those within the community itself. It's an unsolvable 'problem', and I think it comes down to the fact that some people just think in different ways -- one is not necessarily better than the other, to be clear. I remember reading an anecdote a while ago about someone playing pool with an engineer; one guy's approach was to simply aim and let fate decide, while the other wanted to calculate the perfect angle. When the guy told him to just imagine where he wanted the ball to go, the engineer responded, "I have no imagination. I see things for what they are, not for what they might be." I think that applies to art, too. Some people want art to imitate life - whether the character's doing things that aren't possible is irrelevant, so long as they're doing it 'realistically'. To others, that's not even remotely important, and ultimately they want to express an idea through other means -- in this case by taking a principle of animation (squash and stretch) to the absolute extreme. That doesn't mean that every instance of that is good - you don't get a free pass on poor work simply because you're different - but you do have to criticise with a full understanding of intent.
Unfortunately, not everyone does
get it, and that's why you end up with hostility in threads like these. Notice the few regulars of this thread who do understand these aspects and didn't 100% appreciate this week's work aren't being met with any animosity. Their posts are reasonable and they show a fundamental understanding - there's nothing for me to really say other than, "Well, I disagree!" The posts that are disrespectful, hyperbolic, or missing the point are being challenged. I don't think it's that everyone's out there to change minds, I just think people are desperate for opinions to be formed with all of the information well understood. I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation.[/spoiler]