High Speed Discourse I: Thoughts on the work of Yasuhiro Takemoto

Once again, Yasuhiro Takemoto took a show, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, that I had absolutely no reason to be interested in and made me like it. It’s well known that Everyone likes The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and Hyouka because they are “Good” (and they are). I liked them too, so it was easy for me to conclude aha, Takemoto is a good director because he directs things that are good and things that are of interest to me. But then, when they announced he was directing Amagi Brilliant Park, my reaction was like “Uh ok? That’s kinda weird but we’ll see, I guess?”

Of course, it turned out to be good too and I started to realize that maybe he’s good, as in he could direct anything and I’d like it. I mean, AmaBuri is not something I’d probably have enjoyed if it was in the hands of anyone else and in retrospect, that’s how I felt about Hyouka before it started airing. Remember, that back then, we were still in the whole KyoAni means moe slice of life with girls mode, so a very natural reaction was kinda like “What the heck is this thing? Why, KyoAni?” When it was airing, Maidragon confirmed that feeling that Takemoto could direct any random shit and I’d enjoy it, because his style is so attuned to my sensibilities.

And yet, even though everyone thinks Disappearance and Hyouka are amazing it feels like he’s still incredibly underrated. My guess is that it’s because everything he’s worked on is really different from each other, so it’s hard to pinpoint his style, in the superficial sense. That is, while you can watch something and go, “oh that’s a Yamada kind of work”, it’s not quite as clear what a “Takemoto work” would be about. And so you can watch a show and go “oh it’s good” but there’s no obvious theme or motif that stands out for you to connect with his other works.

Obviously if you know to look for it, you can see his influence. They’re obviously not going to be 100% the same but the stylistic difference between Utsumi’s Free! and Takemoto’s High Speed make this clear, since unlike the other things he’s directed, this is something that’s really easy to directly compare to. But that’s something for another day.

Because this is obviously a pitch for you fuckers to watch High Speed. If you enjoyed Hyouka or Maidragon or AmaBuri or whatever, then chances are good that you’ll like High Speed too. After all, if you’re weird enough to have Takemoto as your favourite KyoAni director instead of Yamada, you understand what I’ve been talking about. Or even if you’re a general KyoAni fan, if you like Takemoto’s style, do yourself a favour and check out his take on Free!, especially it’s so similar in style to Hyouka and the last thing that made everyone rave about Takemoto was Hyouka.