Here is on of the full rigged and ready to use character.
I am still not sure about the amount of the the images, i guess 64 for each of the 8 directions is very much.
But it is also possible to make it really smoth with 32 images, you can see it in the youtube video. Looks only faster but to slow down the image changes really helps.
For those who are interessted in 3D ... here is an link to the animation on youtube:http://youtu.be/qmilEWstvOU