CWRU meets anime at Sakuga Night

“Sakuga” is a Japanese term meaning “drawing picture in a vivid way.” It is the term used in anime to describe moments when the animation quality increases, usually for the sake of making a dramatic point or bringing more life to the scene.

Sakuga Night took place on Monday, Sept. 25 at Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern, with this edition exploring the works of Yoh Yoshinari, the key animator on “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” “Kill la Kill” and “Gurren Lagann.” The format was more of a presentation, with a speaker using a projector and a large screen to show examples of the animations to the audiences.

Sakuga Night is a program propagated by Museum of Contemporary Art and created by Brandon Baker, Ryan Serafin and Kory Dakin. The goal of Sakuga Night is to explore and highlight the bodies of work of individual animators whose efforts often go unrecognized by casual viewers. According to the Facebook page, a “Sakuga Night consists of writer, illustrator and storyboard artist Brandon [Baker] giving a high-level presentation, accompanied by full HD video and ending with a screening of the highlighted animator’s work.”

Baker first introduced Japanese animation and the anime industry overall, and showed several examples of Japanese and South Korean anime. After the brief introduction, the presenter then focused on Yoshinari, a director and animator that is widely recognized by his exaggerated style of animation.

Baker showed a brief video on how Yoshinari created his animes. After the introductory video about Yoshinari, Baker began showing some of his famous work.

“It is a fun event, we originally came here for the Happy Dog Monday discount and happened to join in,” said Sean Baxley, fourth-year student at Case Western Reserve University.

Baxley had seen a few anime series and felt excited to know more about the nuances of Yoshinari’s style.

Fourth-year CWRU student, Arjun Nandy was also at the event and considered the Sakuga Night interesting.

“The giant screen held everyone’s attention…,” said Nandy. “I have never watched an anime before but have a couple high school friends that do. However, it was pretty interesting to learn the animation process.”

However, both Baxley and Nandy agreed that the Sakuga Night is not well known by the CWRU community.

“[It is important for this event to] increase the student outreach. Large groups of Case students are interested in this kind of event but did not hear of this,” commented Nandy.

There is at least one club focused on anime at CWRU.

“The event fit pretty well,” commented Baxley. “It has a good atmosphere and [Happy Dog] is a good place to get drink and know something that you will not learn inside your classes and lectures. This is an unique experience at CWRU.”