Shaka Zulu wrote:
Agreed. This is why there needs to be a new show, with new or original characters, and why I've been a staunch supporter and booster of Star Trek Aurora despites its being made with DAZ Studio, because despite being made with that program, the show works quite well. Just writing great stories isn't enough for an animated science fiction series if the animation is poor.
A new show, fine. But not a wholesale replacement of the artwork in the original show, certainly not if it's motivated by a rejection of its design sensibilities.
Sometimes, I wonder and wish that Roddenberry had taken a look at Japanese studios and had the show be animated in Japan, either in the anime style or in a Western style based on the design of the original cels; we might have gotten a better show that way (I'm thinking in particular of the style used on Gatchaman: Science Ninja Squad [aka Battle of the Planets outside Japan], or the style seen on Space Battleship Yamato, aka Star Blazers.)
In 1973, Japanese animation was barely on the radar of anyone from America. There had been a few imports up to that time, like Speed Racer
and Astro Boy
, but it wouldn't be until the late '70s and the '80s that anime (or "Japanimation" as it was then known) would begin to become a prominent part of the US television landscape. And it wouldn't be until the '80s that American studios would begin subcontracting their work out to overseas studios. In '73, there were still plenty of domestic animation houses to choose from, so why look elsewhere?
Anyway, I think it would've been the animation studio's decision whether to do the animation domestically or overseas. The production/writing/acting/design/storyboarding/layout end is still done here in the US, most of the time; the actual frame-by-frame animation is subcontracted out because it's more on the technical side of things than the creative side (although good animators do bring their own style and creativity to the work within the parameters defined by designers, storyboarders, layout artists, background designers, etc.). So even if overseas subcontracting had been done at the time, Roddenberry would still have been choosing between various American production companies.
And Japanese TV animation was cruder then too. I recently rewatched Star Blazers
and was struck by how poor its animation was compared to more modern anime. Sure, it had more movement and variety than Filmation's '70s work, but the art was much sloppier with lots of dirty/scratched cels, and there was plenty of recycled animation and stock footage just as there was in Filmation shows.