Hitori no Shita anime had set the standard for action choreography in anime – Have the recent anime live up to it?

still rom Hitori no Shita anime Season 3

Vincent Chazard’s name may not be immediately recognizable to most anime fans, but his work is responsible for some of the most breathtaking action sequences in recent years. As a renowned martial arts choreographer and animation director, Chazard has brought an unmatched level of fluidity and realism to animated fight scenes across a diverse range of hit shows.

From the kinetic hand-to-hand combat of Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 to the epic clashes in the latest season of One Piece, Chazard’s deft touch can be felt in every frame. His ability to blend styles like kung fu, karate, and even capoeira into cohesive, visually arresting battles has raised the bar for action choreography in anime.

However, long before his work on mainstream hits, Chazard was delivering jaw-dropping martial arts animations in a more understated 2016 series – Hitori no Shita: The Outcast. This underrated gem showcased Chazard’s talents for bringing visceral, beautifully choreographed fight sequences to life through his distinct animation style.

The Outcast’s Third Season: A Marvel of Martial Arts Animation

Hitori no Shita anime fight sequence in Season 3
Hitori no Shita [Image via Crunchyroll]

It’s important to note that Hitori no Shita, or The Outcast, is technically a donghua – the Chinese anime industry’s output. Donghua productions have gained a reputation for often delivering higher animation quality than standard Japanese anime series. Yet even by those lofty standards, The Outcast’s third season raised the bar substantially higher.

  • Viewers going into the first two seasons expecting the same breath-taking style as the viral fight scenes from season 3 will be disappointed, as the earlier seasons didn’t quite have the same flourish. However, if the third season is any indication of what’s to come in the fourth, The Outcast is definitely worth experiencing.

The season 3 highlights, particularly the clash between Ouya and Mascarados, showcased action choreography reaching incredible new heights. Imagine the intricate hand-to-hand combat of Naruto but executed with even more grace, dynamism, and hyper-realistic physicality – that’s the level of excellence Chazard brought to these sequences.

New Gen Anime Meeting Hitori no Shita’s Challenge

  • While Hitori no Shita (The Outcast) raised the expectations for fluid, meticulously choreographed martial arts animation, the new generation of hit anime have stepped up to meet that formidable challenge.
  • Acclaimed productions like Demon Slayer Season 3 and key moments from Jujutsu Kaisen’s latest season have delivered smooth and dynamic action sequences on par with The Outcast’s best.

Take One Piece for example! The Wano arc and subsequent episodes have featured some of the most impressive, animated fight choreography in the show’s history. This is likely no coincidence, as One Piece’s production committee brought in none other than Vincent Chazard himself to help choreograph many of the arc’s major clashes.

Can the New Gen Do Better? The Issue of Clarity in Hyper Animated Fights

 

While recent hits have undoubtedly raised the technical bar for martial arts animation, one could argue that Hitori no Shita still holds an edge in one crucial aspect – balancing hyper kinetic action with clarity and coherence.

  • A frequent critique levelled at many of today’s popular action anime is that the fight sequences, while visually dazzling, can become too disorienting to follow at times.
  • The relentless cuts, rapidly shifting camera angles, and sheer speed of the choreography often leaves viewers struggling to understand what’s actually happening.

In contrast, Hitori no Shita managed to deliver hyper realistic, intricately choreographed fights while maintaining a through-line that kept the audience anchored. There was a seamless blend of impressively rendered technique and readability.

Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer

Ryomen Sukuna Vs Mahoraga in Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
Ryomen Sukuna Vs Mahoraga in Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 (Image via MAPPA Studio)
  • It’s a delicate balance that some of the new gen productions have struggled to strike consistently. Take Jujutsu Kaisen’s Sukuna vs. Mahoraga for example – while undeniably epic in scale and ambition, many fans found the opening barrages a bit too hastily cut together.
  • This issue extends beyond just JJK as well. Series like Demon Slayer have also prompted similar feedback about losing coherence amidst the visual spectacle. Flashy effects, hyperbolic power scaling, and the sheer absurd speed of the fighters contribute to this perception.

So, while the new era has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with 2D animated action, there’s an argument that it could still learn from how Hitori no Shita grounded its kinetic scenes with remarkable choreographic clarity.

A Hopeful Future for Action anime

 

As the new generation of anime continues pushing the boundaries of animated action, the impact of ground-breaking works like Hitori no Shita: The Outcast persists. While recent hits have delivered unparalleled visual spectacle, The Outcast’s ability to blend hyper-realistic choreography with clarity is a standard they could still learn from. Nonetheless, the future of marquee fight scenes has never been brighter.

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