07 November 2018

NC2018 Animated Shorts 4: Slowly Rising by Hideki Inaba

Nippon Connection 2018 Animated Shorts 4: Slowly Rising by Hideki Inaba 

Hideki Inaba (稲葉 秀樹, b. 1988)’s Slowly Rising came to my attention because the film was part of the Jury Selection at the Japanese Media Arts Festival 2017. Inaba is originally from Ibaraki Prefecture but is now based in Tokyo where he works as a freelance video artist. He has had a lot of success in the past couple of years, participating as part of the filmmaking team that did the animated special effects for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Getaway Tour and having his work featured at many international festivals and online media platforms.

Slowly Rising from kanahebi on Vimeo.

Slowly Rising is a music video for the Dutch artist formerly known as BEATSOFREEN, now using the moniker Stan Forebee (Beatsofreen is an anagram of this name). Forebee is based in Melbourne, Australia. He describes himself as a beatmaker and multi-instrumentalist who grew up immersed in jazz and classical music in a musical family in the Netherlands. In March, he released his debut jazz album Jazz Sessions and he promises another album in the near future. 

On the Japanese Media Arts Festival Website, Inaba describes the music video thusly: “Under the sun that is the source of life, a single seed is born. Seeking light, the seed forms a group that gradually increases in numbers, then dies off. Another seed then grows in its place. The creator brings a cel animation touch to a story that overlays human relations in the corporate world with the rise and fall of living organisms.” (source). 

The film begins as simply as the music, with plant-like fronds waving against a starlit, other-worldly galaxy. As the music becomes more layered, the variety of imaginary organic creatures multiplies – some resemble plants, others pulsing sea creatures, and still others flying insects. They fill the screen like a colourful, ever-changing kaleidoscope. The result is a hypnotic video as entrancing as the music itself. 

Learn more about Inaba (username: kanahebi): 

Daibutsu Animation Club: 

Learn more about Stan Forebee: 

2018 Cathy Munroe Hotes

NC18 Animated Shorts 3: How Low Sympathy by Decovocal

Nippon Connection 2018 Animated Shorts 3: How Low Sympathy by Decovocal  

How Low Sympathy (ハロウシンパシー) is a music video for the three-piece Japanese band Scenarioart (シナリオアート). The band is from Kansai and features Kōsuke Hayashi (@kosukedao) on guitar and vocals, Kumiko Hattori (@drumkumiko) on drums and vocals and Yakahisa Yamashita (@yamapio) on bass and vocals. Their music demonstrates the influence of rock, electronica, and shoegaze pop. Their first single, Raincoat Man was released in 2013 and their single Sayonara Moon Town featured in the end credits of the popular anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. The single How Low Sympathy can be found on their debut studio album Happy Umbrella.

How Low Sympathy | ハロウシンパシー from Decovocal on Vimeo.

How Low Sympathy is animated by the husband and wife team Decovocal (デコボーカル): Tomoyoshi Joko (上甲トモヨシ and Hiroco Ichinose (一瀬皓コ). I wrote about Ichinose and Decovocal in my last post about (read here), so for this post I will focus on the other half of the team. Like his wife, Joko also studied at Tokyo Polytechnic University where he was mentored by art animator Taku Furukawa (古川タク). I first wrote about him back in 2011, when my kids fell in love with his animation short Lizard Planet (read more). Joko has a remarkable ability create fantastic visual worlds using simple line drawing and computer colouring techniques. In addition to Lizard Planet, his film Buildings (2008) is clever and engaging. 

This combination of originality of design and colourful aesthetic has led to a successful carrier in commercial animation design. In addition to music videos, Decovocal make animation for television and advertising. 

Check out the work of Decovocal on their official channels: 

Learn more about Scenarioart: 

2018 Cathy Munroe Hotes 

24 September 2018

Geidai First Year Works 2015 (YouTube Playlist)

Geidai First Year Works 2015 (YouTube Playlist)
一年次作品2015  (YouTube Playlist)

The 2015 first year works of Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai)  graduate students are almost all now available on YouTube.  These are the students of the graduating class of 2016, which went by the moniker 07YELL.  Tomoko Takaya graduated with the class of 2017 (08ZOOM).  Yuriko Noda has not yet graduated from Geidai's MA programme, but took time out to improve her stop motion animation skills in Ghent.  She just graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) this year and returned to Japan.

Only the trailer of Takoto Katayama's work Melting Down is currently on YouTube, but you can watch it in full on Vimeo - click here.  I have included the students' descriptions of their films below with short bios and links to their social media profiles.  Enjoy the animation!

Animator Profiles:

 “In a dimly lit kitchen as a chunk of meat is sliced, bugs creep out from the cut. Ordinary action like cooking transforms [it in]to the weird and the creepy.”

Hitomi OHTAKARA (大寳ひとみ, b. 1988) did her undergraduate degree in Design Informatics at Musashino. You can follow her on tumblr, vimeo, and twitter.

I Wanna Be Your Friend

“For friendship it is the most important to be cooperative.”

Iku OGAWA (小川育) was born in Tokyo. He has a degree in Graphic Design from Tamabi (2012). You can follow him on twitter, blogspot and tumblr.

Melting Down 
Sugoyaka-na Yugami

“The fear to be ruined calmly without any conscience. Everybody is getting distorted soundly and gently.”

Takuto KATAYAMA (片山拓人, b. 1989) was born and raised in Fukushima, where is experienced the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and its ensuing disasters. He studied design at Nihon University (2012). He does illustration and design in addition to animation. Check out his profile on vimeo or YouTube, or follow him on twitter.

Will Hatching Day Come? 

“This is a story of a little girl who believes she can hatch an egg one day if she keeps warm.”

K. Chayanit (K・チャヤーニット/ Kiatchokechaikul Chayanit / b. 1990) is from Bangkok, Thailand where she graduated from Sipakorn University with a degree in Decorative Arts (2012)

Fair Winds 
Haru no Kaze 

 “One day when I came home, I found my mother [had] become a cat. Unfamiliar appearance of the parents confuses the child. Yet, the time of the parents and the child passes quietly like a spring breeze.”

Eri KINOSHITA (木下絵李, b. 1991) is from Fukuoka. She has a degree in Design from Kyushu University (2014).


“One morning in the rainy season. A woman with curly hair wakes up. Phantasmagorical images of self-hatred come to her one after another.”

Tomomi KOMAZAKI (駒﨑友海, b. 1991) was born in Tokyo and studied Visual Design at Joshibi (2014). You can follow her on tumblr and vimeo.

Crossing Sight

“Various visions of life and death, as seen from an operation table. Did the operation succeed? Is the patient still alive?”

Xueqing SHAO (邵雪晴 / ショウ・セツセイ, b. 1991) is from Beijing where she studied animation at the Beijing Film Academy (2013). Check out her work on YouTube.

Color Blots 
Shimi Asobi
“A game to find image in a chance. In this Aleatoricism there are much more potentials than what I have moved.”

Saori SUZUKI (鈴木沙織, b. 1988) is a painter and sculptor in addition to making animation. Follow her on tumblr.

A Black Cat 
Kuroi Neko 

 “It consists of only [a] woman who keeps caressing a resisting cat.” yourself.”

Mika SEIKE ( 清家美佳, b. 1974) is from Kansai. She started making independent animation films in 2001. After working for many years in the field of education, Seike rejuvenated her animation career at Geidai in 2014. Learn more about her through my reviews of Thinking and Drawing: Japanese Art Animation of the New Millennium and Face to Face (お向さん2007). You can follow her on twitter to learn more.

Rain Shower 

“Rain showers briefly bring back flashes of color to a shopping [trip].”

Tomoko TAKAYA (高谷智子, b. 1992) was born in Tokyo, A graduate of Musashino Art University's Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Takaya graduated with the Geidai class of 2017.

Misfit Lil’ Sparrow 
Chunko no Nande? 

 “A little sparrow, Hanko, cannot make her head still like other sparrows. She wonders why.”

Yuriko NODA (野田ゆり子, b. 1992) is from Chiba. She has a majored in oil painting during her undergraduate studies at Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai). Upon graduation she began her MA studies in animation at Geidai in 2014. She has recently graduated from the animation programme at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK Conservatorium) in Ghent which was founded by Raoul Servais. Follow her on twitter or instagram.

and, end 
En en 
 “‘Someday, this will end. I hate it. I wanna live forever,’ murmurs a girl over and over again. Does she repeat the same moments, or does she move forward? It looks and sounds either way. A wordplay animation.”

Mio YAMANAKA (山中澪, b. 1990) was born in Ehime and graduated from the Department of Human Expression at Kobe University (2013).

The Yellow Ball 
“A mysterious yellow ball falls down into the present city across time and space. It involves many people and unfolds various dramas.”

Xinxin LIU (刘新新 / リュウ・シンシン , b. 1989) was born in Dalian, China. She studied animation at the China Academy of Art (2012). Check out her work on vimeo.

mind scape
“The things are formed in the mind from the casual scenes of daily life. These [imaginings] accumulate and make an assembly of fantasy.”

Kaori RYŌ (梁佳緒里, b. 1991) was born in Tottori. She graduated from Musashino in 2014.


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