Transistor Studios for ESPN

Transistor Studio’s James Price has the incredibly useful talent of being able to adapt his vision to the needs of the client. The result is an eclectic but highly polished body of work. With this in mind, check out the latest addition to the Transistor portfolio, a strange, cross-cultural promo for ESPN’s coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships.


Honestly, I was initially turned off by the anime style. I’ve never dug the whole anime scene. The convoluted plot lines and excessive use of expository monologuing to provide background info on characters are, for me, annoying narrative quirks of the artform. (I’m going to catch hell for that one, I bet.)

But the anime approach makes sense for this promo. First, the World Figure Skating Championships were held in Tokyo. Second, figure skating routines often employ the melodramatic narrative devices found in anime (and classical ballet, for that matter). Third, the use of anime is an attempt to include a younger audience. I’m no marketing specialist, but I think it’s safe to assume that figure skating typically attracts an older demographic. By leveraging anime, perhaps ESPN was trying to snare that golden 18-35 demographic.

The spot itself is impeccably well put together, beautifully blending 2D and 3D. I’m reminded of Buck’s excellent work for G4, which utilized a similar strategy.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



One of thoses transitions, The zoom into the ink, is the exact same as a digital kitchen spot for xbox Jade Empire.
Exact camera move and ink style too.


Is that Carradine on the VO?

Marc B.

Not sure if this clip deserved the long post. Maybe something for the Quickies.


Nice piece.
That does sound like David Caradine on the VO, with a bit of Kung Fu, The Legend Continues theme at the begining, and a sound effect(During the red ink blot) that reminds me of a Doom powerup item. :-)

I like the anime theme. A lot of the organic movement that one might see in anime action sequences relates pretty well to figure skating IMO.


james price is very talented. nice spot thats well done, nice design, good execution.

im not a fan of cheezy, fruity scripts and VOs like that, sounds like a student project trying to be overly emotional, but different strokes for different folks. The spot to me is much better without volume. As for the camera move and transition that Greg mentions, im not sure what he is talking about, but remember that james isent a traditional anime artist, so for him to draw and design all of this, we can let the camera move and transition slide ;)


i’m just glad to read a post from someone else who isn’t an anime fan. i thought i was the only one.

Joe Clay

mks43094, you’re not alone. I’ve seen a few that I’ve enjoyed, but most of them, and the culture surrounding them, annoy me.

That said, this spot is beautiful. I love the bamboo scene in the beginning. Bamboo forests are always beautiful. There was an especially good bamboo forest scene in Memoirs of a Geisha.

Joe Clay

By the culture surrounding Anime, I don’t me Japanese culture in general. I mostly mean people that take it to an extreme, or don’t realize that not everyone loves Anime. I also hate the non-word “pwn.” Those two are usually related :)


i agree with you joe clay,I think it is mainly because of the baggage that anime comes with, it doens’t seem to bother me in fantasy characters non-realistic people

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