Whisper Me a Love Song #3 – Confession and Hesitation



Staff List

Nami Ootomo
Harume Kosaka
Episode Direction:
Aya Kawamura

Chief Animation Direction:
Minami Yoshida
Animation Direction:
Studio Shigure

Key Animation:
Studio Shigure

Yes, you saw the staff list correctly. There is no real individual listed for Animation Direction or Key Animation; all of it is just credited to Studio Shigure. Is this something to worry about in the future? Maybe. How did they do in this episode, though? It was quite a significant step down from the last 2 episodes.

I don’t want to just dogpile the episodes, as if you’re reading this, you are probably a fan of Whisper Me a Love Song and have already noticed or heard others talk about the issues. The animation quality in this episode dropped tremendously, with a lot of shots looking like they’re missing in between frames almost. Plus, even with Yoshida trying her best, a lot of janky models still managed to get through the final cut of the episode. Hopefully, the model issues and even some errors (like Yori having long sleeves in one scene) will be fixed in the Blu-ray, but the animation plus the PowerPoint-like boarding will likely not. However, I did not mind the panel-style transitions used, as it’s a common trend in Akira Mano‘s series. You can look at Ghost Hunt. I’ve just never been one to mind those types of boarding.

As I said, I don’t want to just repeat what others have been saying. Let’s talk about whether this is a worrying concern for future episodes. We started quite strong with a full set of staff for the first two episodes and pretty good work to show for it. This one is a significant step down for it and reflects on the production issues that Yokohama Animation Lab and Cloud Hearts (to a lesser extent of time) seem to both have been suffering recently. Maru Animation did more of the animation in The Witch and the Beast than Yokohama’s actual staff did, and they seem to also be doing heavy lifting on The New Gate which is by both Yokohama Animation Lab and Cloud Hearts also airing this season. So it is very possible that Whisper Me a Love Song can be headed in a very similar situation if I had to be blunt, but I believe there are some definite aspects of Whisper Me a Love Song that put it in a more favorable outlook than both of those shows.

For one, none of the animators from the first two episodes were even involved in this episode, so they’ll likely reappear. And if they do, I’m sure the work will return to a satisfactory level. It’s not like a production where the outsourced studio and the regular animators seem merged. Secondly, even if there are still episodes of this quality, I’ve asked the live performance director (Tsumori Shindo) about the live performance (or rather all singing scenes) on Twitter. He assured me that he would be handling all the scenes in future episodes. This is a very positive sign, mostly because the live performance staff for episode 1 was listed separately from the rest of the staff, suggesting it’s almost a different crew leading it. Shindo is a very talented director and storyboarder, and last time he worked with Shouya Gotou and Miyuu Ookubo. If the same team returns, I’m quite confident we’ll get the same level of quality, at the very least for the performance scenes themselves. Even if those exact animators don’t return, I trust Shindo enough in his boarding abilities to create something that would uphold the quality of the two initial performances.

Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, especially considering Yokohama’s more recent works, but it feels like there’s been a better allocation of staff and a greater display of effort in this show compared to any of their works in the last two years. We have a dedicated Live Performance director and team who are doing a great job. We even have a Cooking Animation director for the first episode, for just 20 seconds worth of food. The key animation features one of the fullest sets of staff you’ll see in a Yokohama/Cloud Hearts production, with many of them being newer in the industry, who I believe did great work. It’s far too early to discount this anime adaptation; this might just be a bump in the road. I believe we’ll get a clearer picture of the production, whether it turns out good or bad, once the next episode rolls around. Thanks to the type of series that Whisper Me a Love Song is, I can’t say that the production made me not enjoy this episode because there are still many aspects I enjoyed, but it was definitely a bit of a hindrance.

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