Vann Oba is a Sudanese 2D animator who has worked on major Japanese anime projects including One Piece, Zombieland Saga: Revenge, Pokémon Journeys, and cartoons like Netflix Castlevania.
Oba shared the differences between Japanese and western animation styles. In an exclusive interview with Arab News Japan, he also shared his inspiration for anime and manga.
“Studio Ghibli’s animated movie ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ inspired me to become an animator. From there, it paved the way for me to research,” he said.
“My favorite manga is ‘Slam Dunk’, And when it comes to anime, It’s Naruto,” he added.
Regarding his visit to Japan, Oba said: “Actually, I have never been to Japan, I work remotely at the moment. But, hopefully one day I can visit Japan once things settle down with COVID.”
Oba admires the work ethics in Japan, and their strict adherence to meet deadlines, as he feels “it teaches you how to be more on time. it’s very unusual since in our culture things are a bit more relaxed.”
Oba started in early 2019, and shared how “the first project that I worked on in the animation field was I would say the commercial for the anime ‘Fate/Grand order’, which was my entrance to the Japanese animation industry.”
Oba also outlined the challenges he faced when working on projects, primarily not being able to speak Japanese, as well as “understanding the pipeline, especially the timesheet, since Japan still uses paper. There is a lot of things you need to learn such as, how to read the storyboard and the camera terms or instructions”.
About the differences of animation style between Japan and Europe, Oba said: “I would say the direction or storyboards is stronger in Japan and, there is more freedom” for the animator but “usually there is more room to breathe and add your own touch.”
Oba shared his upcoming projects including Star Wars: Visions, which is a collaboration between Lucasfilm and several Japanese animation studios. He also worked with Science Saru on one of the shorts called To-Bi that will be released on September 22th.
“There are more projects on the way in the upcoming months!” he added.
Oba advised that anyone who wants to be an animation artist or to work in Japan for animation projects should aim to learn the language as well as observing and studying the fundamentals of animation.
Oba assured aspiring animators that having talent opens doors overseas, asserting that “if you want to get into anime, now is a good time,” he added.