Sayo Yamamoto: Butterflies and Flowers
While Sayo Yamamoto only has two series to her name, she’s responsible for a lot of opening and ending animations. They’re always stunning to look at, and often work as theme showcases or practice runs for later projects. One theme she returns to often is flowers, and over the course of her work you can see how her uses of flowers as a symbol evolves into a subversion of a lot of feminine symbols.
Her first ending was for the sci-fi series Texhnolyze. She storyboarded and directed several episodes, but in viewing them, I didn’t (yet) detect a voice that was clearly hers. The ending is different, though, as it’s clearly a Yamamoto work. Here, the psychic girl who sells flowers seems to be silenced by her own goods.
Yamamoto also storyboarded and directed the ED to yakuza schoolteacher anime The Gokusen. Here we see flowers mixed with images of powerful femininity.
Yamamoto was not familiar with the story of Rozen Maiden, and when asking about what she needed to know to direct the OP to the second season, Traumend, she reports she was told “everybody dies”. In response, she created this surreally threatening fairy tale landscape that would be further explored in Fujiko Mine. The ball jointed dolls of Rozen Maiden resemble the Hans Bellmer dolls used in Fujiko’s nightmares.
In contrast, check out the much more pleasant wonderland for Hanamaru Kindergarten’s first ending sequence. Still, it’s not hard to find similarities to Fujiko Mine here, either.
Coming full circle, flowers are once against used as a symbol of silence and control, a prominent theme in Fujiko Mine.
Yamamoto has directed many, many other openings, and I intend to explore those, as well.