Facebook posts from home bring out the genius of anime artist Renzo Rodriguez

ErenBy Cecile Caguingin-Ochoa

Having left Pasig almost four decades ago (except for three visits) I was pleased that Facebook keeps me in step daily with news from home.

The latest Facebook delight was from my 16-year old nephew, Renzo Rodriguez, son of my first cousin Dhona. They’re from my father’s hometown in Bulacan.

Renzo is an up-and-coming anime artist, having started drawing since he was four. I do remember sending chocolates for him since he was one year old, every time a balikbayan goes back. He not only loved the Hershey kisses but he also had the pleasure of turning the wrappers to little origami (the Japanese art of folding pieces of paper to make models).

“Kung anu-anong shape ng nature ang lumalabas sa crumpled foils ‘nya,” said his uncle Alex Santos. “He would produce dinosaurs, birds and other animals in a few seconds; I think he loved the wrappers more than the chocolates!” Alex laughed ( “lol”) during our PM exchanges.
Renzo’s origami work matured into sketches and anime. Pokeman games and cartoons captured his attention as a toddler and he started doodling shortly after. Under the pen name of anime Raizen, he surprised me one day with the intensity of strokes; sometimes with the 3-D depth of field.

“Pang-Hollywood!” I told myself.

Renzo Rodriguez

Renzo Rodriguez

With a few friends from high school, Renzo formed an anime community group for anime lovers/fans among his realm of childhood friends in Bulacan. Serving as its administrator with one other young fellow Rin Chan, Renzo says that he had “kicked out other members as admin because they are inactive.”

The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) has yet to discover Renzo, as the young talent has not thought about marketing.

“Bata pa po ako, I just started my freshman year BS Architecture at Bulacan State University,” he told TheFilamLA.

I showed Renzo’s work to a famous American cartoonist (name withheld) at a party two weeks ago in North Hollywood. He concluded that Renzo’s drawings are indeed very good. The nationally known artist and screenwriter said the Philippines has always been a popular country of out-sourcing for animators and anime artists.

ACPI states: “The sophisticated talent and creative instinct of Filipino animators make the Philippines the preferred outsourcing partner of big international production outfits worldwide”. Aside from this, Filipino animators are also able to render graphics in different platforms for the gaming industry (Nintendo, Sega, Game Gear, Game Boy and Sony Playstation).

The obvious cheaper costs of services is not the only reason why the Philippines has become a primary target of international companies for cartoons and animated films for the last 30 years including Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Addams Family, The Mask, The Jetsons, Dragon Ball Z, Captain Planet, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. The Filipino talents’ English proficiency, high work quality and efficiency in all facets of work are magnets to the entertainment industry in the likes of Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Cartoon Network, HBO, Marvel Comics, Hanna Barbera and producers of Japanese anime,” according to ACPI.

“Comics sales have been rising for the last several years,” said Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, Calif., and the founder of Free Comic Book Day.

Combined, all the superhero films of the last 14 years — from 2000’s X-Men to last month’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier — have generated billions of dollars worldwide at the box office. This is another reason why Renzo should go beyond Facebook and deeper into the world of comics, I wrote him a few days ago. One of the pioneering creators of Spiderman and He-Man from Marvel Comics in the ‘60s to the ‘80s is a Fred Carillo, who is a distant relative of Renzo from my maternal side.

For now Erza, Yoshino, Eren and Kirito, some of Renzo’s favorite anime creations, would have to delight Facebook audiences as they wait for Renzo Rodriguez to jump in to the widespread billion-dollar industry of animes and cartoons in Hollywood. And he says he doesn’t mind leaving home with his anime genius as his ticket to the lucrative industry.

I think I should look forward to change careers to become an anime artist’s agent one day soon.




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