Justin Flaherty
Blades of Fate
Inspired by anime and action games, Justin Flaherty is an animator obsessed with the medium’s capacity for visual storytelling. This obsession lays the foundation of Blades of Fate. This animation features two characters engaging in a climactic battle, delving into themes of creation, destruction, and the balance between the two. Art itself is an iterative process of creation and destruction, and this piece aims to convey that process through both its form and content.
Artist/Thesis Statement
As an entertainment medium, animation is often overlooked for its storytelling potential. Animation combines the principles of film and illustration to create something entirely new. It allows for the creation of imagery that cannot be conceived in live action while also conveying movement and life that cannot be captured in a single drawing. This is especially true of action and battle animation. Expressive fight choreography can be paired with dynamic camera movement to create incredibly memorable action set pieces. Used effectively, action animation can tell a story without the need for dialogue or exposition. Inspired by other great works that achieved that exact goal, this project is a love-letter to the medium of animation and its fans.
Blades of Fate is a story told entirely through action. It features two characters: Hephas, a 17-year-old artist, and Kaliva, a 3,000-year-old warrior, as they engage in a climactic battle to the death. The two combatants have a long history and it is clear this is not their first confrontation. However, the viewer does not need to know any of that history going in. All of the emotions and motivations of the characters are conveyed through both their facial expressions and the way they fight. As the two fighters exchange blows, the viewer should come to understand their antagonistic relationship and how desperate they are to succeed.
Beyond the technical appeal of the project, the animation also delves into themes of creation and destruction. Hephas, the protagonist, was originally an artist; a profession synonymous with creation. He wields the Blade of Creation, which allows him to summon and create anything he can put his mind to so long as he has access to enough matter to create it. Kaliva, on the other hand, is an ancient warrior; a profession synonymous with death and destruction. She wields the Blade of Destruction, which allows her to slice through anything in her way. The opposite forces clash but also complement each other. These themes are also relevant to the medium of animation itself. Art itself is an iterative process of creation and destruction. For every frame drawn, a sketch is erased and replaced. For one to create anything, one must also be willing to discard something else. This project aims to contextualize that process through both its form and content.

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