Creative use of cels in Fist of the North Star Episode 23

I sat down to watch a disc of Fist of the North Star today, as I have been almost every day this week, when I came across something that seemed kind of neat. In episode 23, a group of bandits from the Fang Clan attack a village that Kenshiro and co. have just arrived at. After they are soundly thrashed and exploding, one bandit survives long enough to spout a few words and his death is given more attention than the rest of his gang’s. What’s interesting was the decision to (sort of) show his death from a first person perspective, and how that was accomplished. Since the dude’s head was convulsing and whatnot obviously it would distort his vision, and this is what it looked like:

Obviously it’d work better if you could see it moving, but how they chose to create the effect was simply by flapping the cel with Kenshiro on it up and down while capturing the image. ┬áIt’s an interesting way to create the effect, likely done to save money by not actually having to animate it. Of course, there are some problems with it, namely the light reflecting on the cel, the background remaining completely static, and the cel being lifted off the background causes Kenshiro to cast a shadow on it, but it still struck me as interesting.

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