28 September 2009

Tomoyasu Murata's Tomorrow (2007)

© Tomoyasu Murata Company

Tomorrow is a very upbeat little puppet animation by Tomoyasu Murata. It would not be out of place in the NHK’s Minna no Uta series. Animated to the song ‘Tomorrow’ (uncredited, sung by a girl), which children of the 1980s will remember from the Orphan Annie musical, the three-minute short features a young girl with a red kerchief on her head. She has set up a picnic blanket in a European-esque town and prepares to throw a party. The town has that slightly bleak, worn-out feel to it that is very typical of Murata (ie Indigo Road), but it has been cheered up a bit by pastel touches to doors and shutters.

© Tomoyasu Murata Company

Using crayons and paper, the doll-like girl draws all of the food necessary for the party. She then opens her bag and some magical CGI stars fly out to decorate the invitations. She delivers the invitations to all the doors in town, but as night falls she grows sad as no guests have joined her yet. As she embraces her doll and closes her eyes with sadness, a 2D animated character tugs on her dress. Suddenly the sky is filled with 2D translucent characters that float down to join the party.

© Tomoyasu Murata Company

Most of Tomoyasu Murata’s films are for an adult audience, but this one appeals to all ages. My four year old daughter simply adores it. The song is very catchy and she is enraptured by the colourful array of dolls that join the girl’s party. There is an interesting mixture in this short film of the kawaii (cute) and the creepy (canted angles, the ghostliness of the towns and the 2D characters), but all great children’s work seems to balance a bit of both. It’s a beautiful, very memorable little piece. I have been particularly enjoying Murata’s mixing of media (puppet, cel, computer animation) in his recent films. Like the late, great Tadanari Okamoto, he doesn’t like to do exactly the same thing twice.

Tomoyasu Murata Sakuhinshu - Ore no Michi / Animation

© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2009