An Anger Most Beautiful: Belladonna of Sadness

Belladonna of Sadness is a film that would not be made today.

Partly this is due to its unique artistic genesis. Though Osamu Tezuka certainly wasn’t the first to create anime, it was his low-image-count innovations and ridiculously cutthroat episodic pricing that allowed it to become a commercial TV medium. You can thus almost blame Tezuka for some of the massive limitations the medium still suffers under, from its criminally depressed animator wages to its emphasis on cost-cutting at the expense of the final product. Tezuka’s innovations were often mercenary ones: “how few frames will it require for this to present the illusion of movement? How much of this episode’s animation can be stored in the bank for later episodes?” Much of what would become anime’s recognized “visual vocabulary” was built out of necessity, choices made to mitigate the artistic limitations of these harsh restrictions.

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