Geidai Animation: 4th Graduate Works 2013 (DVD)
The class of 2013 was taught by Professors Yuichi Ito (Model Animation), Mitsuko Okamoto (Production), Takehito Deguchi (Screenwriting), and Koji Yamamura (2D animation). Assistant Professors were animator Hiromitsu Murakami and lecturer Ilan Nguyen. Hiroki Kono, Hiroko Tochigi and Yuichi Matsumoto provided additional assistance. Sound instructors for the films were Tatsuhko Nishioka, Toru Kamekawa, Yuichi Kishino, and Hiroshi Takayama.
As in the previous year, this DVD features strong animators from overseas – Hakhyun Kim from Seoul, who had also done his undergraduate in animation in Japan, has an original personal style and his film Maze King (2013) did well on the festival circuit. Among the first year films is a short by Yantong Zhu, a Chinese animator from the class of 2014. Zhu is one of a number up-and-coming young women filmmakers from Geidai. The DVD features impressive graduates such as Saki Muramoto, Yuka Imabayashi, Ayasa Kugenuma, and many more.
As Geidai only offers a graduate programme in animation, their students are always the cream of the crop, having already proven themselves as undergraduate students at other institutions. For the fourth year in a row, the work of Geidai students were warmly received at animation festivals around the world with many making the Jury Selection at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival. 2013 was the first year that Nippon Connection featured a selection of works by Tokyo University of the Arts graduates (learn more here) thanks to support from The City of Yokohama Frankfurt Representative Office (Yokohama and Frankfurt am Main have been sister cities since 2011).
One of my favourite animators from this graduating class is Kazuhiko Okushita, who is known for using a line drawing style that reminds me of Italian animator Cava (Osvaldo Cavandoli, 1920-2007), whose animated shorts series La Linea (The Line, 1972-1991) is a childhood favourite of mine. I first became aware of Okushita’s work when I saw his undergraduate film The Red Thread in 2010 (read my review). His Geidai works Imagination Trip and Watakushiritori (read my review) are outstanding and he has already been able to commercialize his talents as a successful freelancer. Check out the many commercials and logos he has designed on his official website. I particularly love the CD cover art Okushita did for musician Aoki Ken. Ototoy has an interview with Aoki Ken with sample tracks from this album including the ability to purchase the album online.
The film descriptions below, unless otherwise noted, are from the DVD booklet. The illustrations for the poster and cover art were done by Hakhyun Kim and Eri Kawaguchi. The opening trailer is directed by Saki Muramoto, with the animation assistance from her peers. The animator bios have been updated with current information including links to homepages, blogs, and other online profiles that I could find.
From a Stone
石から / Ishi kara / 2013年 / 02'56"
“Four years ago while out for a walk in Ome, I picked up an intriguing stone of 30cm across. Then I wanted to pursue its image until its ultimate end.”
Tatsuhiro Ariyoshi (有吉達宏, b. 1985) was born in Aichi. He has a BA from the Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Musashino Art University (2009) and completed his MA in Animation at Geidai in 2013. On his official homepage he gives links for all his various online profiles.
2013年 / 05'33"
“Increasing in number, small rabbits take care of a great dolphin. Can the dolphin get to sleep by rabbits’ gentle caress? May many people have [a] good sleep and sweet dreams tonight even in the world with whining sounds and wriggle of yin and yang.”
Asami Ike (池亜佐美, b. 1987) is a native of Tokyo. She has a BA in Design (2011) and an MA in Animation (2013) from Geidai. Check out her official website and online shop where she sells pins and bags made using her unique characters.
MyakuMyaku – Drops of Life –
みゃくみゃく—Drops of Life— / 2013年 / 06'05"
“Blood is circulated around, calmly replacing itself, making us alive. It throbs ceaselessly without any attention. It carries on.”
Yuka Imabayashi (今林由佳, b. 1985) is from Chiba. She has a BA in Painting (2010) and an MA in Animation (2013) from Geidai. Follow her on twitter.
Of Mice and Clockworks
ねじ巻き劇場とねずみ / Nejimaki Gekijō to Nezumi / 2013年 / 03'01"
“A rat happens to find a small theater and falls in love with a small wind-up doll girl there.”
Satomi Usui (臼井聡美, b. 1986) was born in Toshigi. She has a BA in Design (2011) and an MA in Animation (2013) from Geidai. Check out her official website for film clips and photographs of her work.
わたくしりとり / 2013年 / 03'55"
“One day is presented by shiritori, a word game of last and first. A chain of images in one line evolves the story of this game.” Read my full review of Watakushiritori.
Kazuhiko Okushita (奥下和彦, b. 1985) is from Ishikawa. He graduated from Kanazawa College of Art (2009) and completed his MA in Animation at Geidai in 2013. Since graduation he has had great success as a freelancer, check out his work on his official website.
2PM at the Glass House
午後２時、温室にて / Gogo 2-ji, Onshitsu nite / 2013年 / 07'23"
“A story of two boys told through a dragonfly specimen. Is the story told from the boy’s side? Or is this a dragonfly’s dream?”
Yumi Kawai (河井ゆう美, b. 1987) was born in Saitama. She majored in Animation in the Depart of Design at Tokyo Zokei University (2011) before doing her MA in Animation at Geidai (2013). Follow her on twitter.
Wild Wild Ham
底なしウィンナー / Sokonashi Winnā / 2013年 / 04'46"
“How to spend a ten-minute break at club activities. Let us take off [our] shoes and socks, and enjoy the fresh breeze between our toes. We are all flesh after all.”
Eri Kawaguchi (川口恵里, b. 1989) is a native of Yokohama. She did her BA in Graphic Design at Tama Art University (2011) and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai in 2013. Follow her on tumblr.
2013年 / 07'01"
“We cannot stay here any longer. We must leave tomorrow morning. A clown convinces and hurries the residents of an amusement park, a girl, a gay, a soldier, a dog, to be in time for the merry-go-round.”
Hakhyun Kim (キム・ハケン, 1982) was born in Seoul, South Korea. He did his BA in Animation at Tokyo Polytechnic University (2010) before coming to Geidai for his MA (2013). You can follow him on vimeo.
Marie’s Sugar Plum
コンペイトウのおまじない/ Konpeitou no Omajinai / 2013年 / 05'00"
“Marie has lost the precious memories of her mother and her magic spell. One day she meets a mysterious nutcracker in her dream and strays off into an extraordinary world.”
Risa Kimpara (金原里紗, b. 1985) is from Shizuoka. She has a BA in Animation from Tokyo Polytechnic University and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai in 2013.
2013年 / 05'40"
“Deep down in the forest there lived flower fairies in flower gardens, waking up with the sunrise, eating sweets, and chatting with each other. One day they had a visit from his and then. . .” Read my full review of The Blooms.
Ayasa Kugenuma (久下沼朱紗, b. 1987) was born in Tokyo. She did her BA in Graphic Design at Tama Art University (2011) and her MA in Animation at Geidai (2013). In addition to animation, Kugenuma does freelance animation. Check out her illustrations and other work on her official website.
きつね / Kitsune / 2013年 / 03'24"
“Some by walking, some by car or trains, or in the relay of vehicles, foxes get together for an annual assembly.”
Hitomi Nakamura (中村仁美, b. 1988) is a native of Tokyo. She completed her BA in Painting at Tama Art University (2011) and her MA in Animation at Geidai (2013).
やみのけ / Yami no ke / 2013年 / 07'08"
“Off-street mysteries. There are many things we don’t find in the main streets. We might find many happenings in the back street, which don’t happen in the main streets.”
Yuri Nakamoto (仲本有里) was born in Shizuoka Prefecture. She has a degree in Design from Tokai University. Before coming to Geidai, she studied puppet animation at Laputa Art Animation School. Follow her on tumblr.
Two Under the Grayish Sky
失われた空の下で二人 / Ushinawareta Sora no Shita de Futari / 2013年 / 09'15"
“This story takes place in future earth, where people are restricted to go outside because of radioactive pollution. In the dark room, the boy is dying to play outside, and his elder sister is full of anxiety. ‘Gray’ is one of the unit to measure radiation.”
Masataka Hiroyasu (廣安正敬) is from Tokyo. He has a degree in Economics from Keio University. While working as an office worker, he studied animation at Laputa Art Animation School. He completed his MA in Animation at Geidai in 2013.
キドモモドキ / Kidomomodoki / 2013年 / 05'04"
“Mimoptera has a nature to assimilate with its surroundings. It assimilates its own form into the environment to avoid the attention. What would imitation bring on? Will mimoptera keep imitating. . . life?”
Shizuka Miyazaki (宮崎しずか) was born in Kyoto. After studying sculpture and fashion design, she tried her hand at animation. She graduated from Geidai in 2013.
It’s Time for Supper
夜ごはんの時刻/ Yorugohan no jikoku / 2013年 / 08'28"
"Playtime ends at the five o'clock chime. And there comes the indefinable time between vanishing playtime and dinner time at home."
Read my full review of It's Time for Supper.
Saki Muramoto (村本咲, b. 1988) was born in Shizuoka. She did her undergraduate studies in the Department of Visual Media at Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences (2011) and has an MA in Animation from Tokyo University of the Arts (2013). It’s Time for Supper made the Jury Selection for the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival (2013). Follow her on twitter, her blog, and vimeo.
First Year Films
The Cloudy Dog Talk About
ほこり犬のはなし / Hakori Inu no Hanashi / 池亜佐美 / Asami IKE / 2012年 / 03'30"
“. . . The film is of the memory love and gratitude of the dusty dog, and many other dogs, tracing their senses and memories, dedicating to you who gave love to them.”
臼井聡美 / Satomi USUI / 2012年 / 03'03"
“The film is [about] the water cycle. Each of [the] rain drops transform. . . [as they follow] the cycle of nature, uniting [with] each other, parting, or being absorbed in the course of the[ir] journey.”
奥下和彦 / Kazuhiko OKUSHITA / 2012年 / 02'04"
“Visualization of the phenomenon one has [when one seeks] some inspiration. [A] female protagonist. . . goes on an imaginary trip to generate some ideas. She creates some new ideas with the [elements found on] that trip.”
Over Her Curtain
襖の奥/ Fusuma no oku /河井ゆう美 / Yumi KAWAI / 2012年 / 04'23"
“The theme [comes] from [unique Japanese] folklore, Red Uncleanness or defilement with blood. A girl, whose [thought] pattern jumps at a leap. . . confines her various thoughts [on] the other side of the mirror and inside the sliding doors to go outside.”
Flower and Steam
花と嫁 / Hana to Yome /川口恵里 / Eri KAWAGUCHI / 2012年 / 04'06"
“A bridge runs [at] full speed, with her veil flapping, and with steam. When you happen to encounter a bride in her wedding dress, you would love to bless her with a wave of your hand. Brides symbolize beauty and happiness. They are also athletes who won their happiness.”
キム・ハケン / Hakyun KIM / 2012年 / 03'30"
“A man is waiting for someone in a small boat. In loneliness he keeps waiting for someone. For whom, or why he is waiting is not very important. He wishes to see the sight of formless ‘happiness,’ which can vanish in a blink of an eye as long as possible.”
久下沼朱紗 / Ayasa Kugenuma / 2012年 / 03'30"
“There is a strange museum somewhere in the world. The museum is called HARAPEKO MUSEUM, or Hungry Museum. There are many kinds of colourful foods exhibited. At night they wake up in their frames and start to move freely. . .”
The Man Who Ate an Apple
朱彦潼 / Yantong ZHU / 2012年 / 03'57"
“An apple comes out of a man’s mouth. The man’s life goes backward, as video player is reversed. Many kinds of food accelerated to come out of his mouth and the man becomes younger and younger. Time goes back without end.”
中村仁美 / Hitomi NAKAMURA / 2012年 / 03'11"
“Tobacco has. . . fascinated people for centuries and does not allow them to stop smoking even when they want to. Even though you want to finish with smoking, the spirits of tobacco are just behind you. Let’s enjoy a trip to the world of tobacco.”
Feather Robe from Heaven
羽衣 / Hagoromo / 仲本有里 / Yuri NAKAMOTO / 2012年 / 04'22"
“Story of Hagoromo, or feather robe from heaven, is a legend of Miho Beach. An angel sets her foot on the beach to bathe in the sea. Watching her, a fisherman sneaks her robe out, but returns it [due to] feeling guilty. That makes the angel very happy and she flies up to. . . heaven, dancing in the sky.”
The Town Musicians of Bremen
ブレーメンの音楽隊 / Burēmen no Ongakutai / 廣安正敬 / Masataka HIROYASU / 2012年 / 03'38"
“A donkey has grown old and weak after having worked for [a] human being for a long time. Realizing his prime time has passed, the donkey decides to go to Bremen to join the town musicians. On the way there, he meets a dog, a cat, and a rooster, and they find the robbers’ house. Four animals scare the robbers away from the house. They make their new lives with their new home.”
宮崎しずか / Shizuka MIYAZAKI / 2012年 / 03'05"
“‘He’ has kept moving forward through his life. Nothing else bothered him. But, one day by chance he realized that he has definitely grown old. And eventually he makes a [complete] stop.”
People who are Eating
食べる人たち / Taberu Hitotachi / 村本咲 / Saki MURAMOTO / 2012年 / 02'58"
“People can show some other personality when eating. Some become like herbivores, chewing so many times. Some becomes like carp, crowing around [bait]. Some become like hamsters, with their mouths full, etc. Everyone is unique and worth observation.”
Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014