Software graphics developer Softimage's special projects department is currently working with animator Koji Morimoto (Robot Carnival: Franken's Gear, Ghost in the Shell, Akira) on an anime adaption of Taiyo Matsumoto's manga Black & White, best known to American audiences from serialization in Viz's adult manga magazine "Pulp".
Softimage's Michael Arias started the project as a short CG exercize, which then came to the attention of Morimoto, who then agreed to work on the project on the Softimage 3D software. A few months later, Visual Director Wilson Tang and Animation Supervisor Lee Fulton introduced a five-minute pilot to the Softimage staff, made entirely on computer with a staff of only 12.
"It features some of the most stunning computer animation I've ever seen, precisely because it takes advantage of 3D's capabilities, and yet retains the look and feel of traditional, two-dimensional anime," said Softimage's Emru Townsend on a message to the Nausicaa.net mailing list. "It would be impossible to do this by hand with without phenomenal man-hours, but it took fairly little time using a few animated cycles and 3D's particle animation system--and it looks hand-drawn."
The final product is unknown at this point, but it will almost certainly be a motion picture or at least an OAV. The pilot was assembled to show at SIGGRAPH '99 to generate interest from both potential fans and investors, and still had some rough edges, but new Softimage product is predicted to fix any existing problems.