09 July 2015

Geidai Animation: 6th Graduate Works 2015 (DVD)

Geidai Animation: 6th Graduate Works 2015 (DVD)
東京藝術大学大学院映像研究科アニメーション専攻第六期生修了作品集 2015

Nippon Connection’s presentation of a selection of animated shorts by the Tokyo University of Arts (aka Geidai) Animation Department’s graduating class of 2015 was sold out again this year.  For those of you who could not be there, the Geidai DVD of their 5th year of graduate works is now available to order online.  

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The works were presented this year by Yūichi Itō, who is one of Japan’s top stop motion animators (learn more).   The class of 2015 was also taught by the Oscar-nominated director Kōji Yamamura, the animation producer Mitsuko Okamoto, and Taruto Fuyama of the Koma Koma Lab

In addition to these supervising professors, animator Hiromitsu Murakami is an Assistant Professor in the MA programme and Ilan Nguyen is a lecturer.  Hiroki Kono (Geidai 2011), Yuanyuan Hu (Geidai 2012), and Hakhyun Kim (Geidai 2013) provided additional assistance.  Sound instructors for the films were Tatsuhko NishiokaToru KamekawaYuichi Kishino, and Hiroshi Takayama.

Each Geidai graduating class is given a pithy one-word theme.  This year’s theme is “DAWN”, which is an inspired idea in the way that it evokes the promise of a new generation of animators.   At the graduating class’s screening event in March, talks were held with special guests including Tomoyasu MurataSumito Sakakibara, Masaki Fujihata and the Dutch-Canadian animator Co Hoedeman.

Of the 12 students graduating this year 2/3 of them are women, which is a trend at many animation schools in Japan suggesting that the era of male dominance of the animation industry in Japan may finally be coming to an end.  

Some of the students that I have my eye on for future greatness include Shishi Yamazaki, whose sensual works featuring self portraits such as Yamasuke Yamazaki (2013) are a breath of fresh air. 

Yukie Nakauchi is also one to watch.  I featured her adaptation of Niel De Ponte’s Celebration and Chorale (2013) at this year’s Nippon Connection as an example of one of Tamabi’s top recent graduates.  With her abstract works she demonstrates a great understanding of the relationship between music and animated movement. 

Satomi Maiya’s graduate film has a more mainstream appeal.  The soft watercolour look and character design in A Place to Name reminded me of the renowned children’s picture book author Chihiro.  

There are two stop motion animators in this graduating class who also attracted my interest: Kohei Takeda and Ataru Sakagami.  Sakagami’s stop motion of the interior of his old family home, with its tatami floors shredding up and filling the room is brilliant and he is definitely one to watch out for in the near future. 

I will review some of my favourite films from this graduating class in the near future.  The consensus at the Nippon Connection selected screening was that there were not as many exceptional works as last year, but the quality of animation is solid and they are certainly a very talented group of animators.  

Note: The film descriptions below are by the filmmakers themselves.  I have made a couple of improvements to the spelling / wording but I have not corrected everything. 

Graduate Films
収録作品  第三期生修了作品

Scutes on my Mind
かたすみの鱗 / Katasumi no Uroko /  8’58”

“The scutes glisten in the corner of her mind and she starts to dig her memories up.  What was like the museum director she encountered when she was lost?”

Note: "Scutes" is the zoological term for bony external plates or scales overlaid with horn, as found on the shell of a turtle, the skin of crocodilians, and the feet of birds.

Megumi Ishitani (石谷恵, b. 1991) was born in Hyogo.  She also has a degree in Intermedia Art from Geidai (2013).  Check out her website, or follow her on tumblr, twitter, and vimeo.

Wild Boys Advance
超ラジオ体操 / Chō Rajio Taisō /  5’12”

“An ensemble play with men full of distorted energy.”

koya (b. 1990) was born in Aichi and is a graduated of Musashino Art University (2013).  He leads the video production group KENJA.  Follow him on twitter, instagram, and vimeo, or check out his profile here.

A Place to Name
その家の名前 / Sono ie no namae / 4’31”

“This place is where my grandparents, my parents, and I once lived.  Even though I lose my memories and feelings of it, it does exist there and keeps to be in existence.”

Ataru Sakagami (坂上直, b.  1986) is from Niigata.  He graduated from the Kyoto University of Art and Design with a degree in Video and Performing Arts in 2010. You can find him on twitter.

Fox Fears
きつね憑き/ Kitsune Tsuki / 7’38”

“In the evening of a village festival, a young boy named Bunroku goes to the festival with his friends and visits a clog shop on the way.  There he learns an old superstition about the fox.”

Miyo Sato (佐藤美代, b. 1989) is from Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture.  She graduated from the School of Design at Nagoya University of the Art (2011). Check her out on tumblr.

Moonlit Night and Opal
月夜&オパール / Tsukiyo to Opāru  / 3’21” 

“Half asleep with my eyes closed, my conscience flies beyond time and space and I transform myself to all the life forms existing.  I become the universe and the universe becomes me, until I fall asleep.  .  .  It is a song to pray for the existence of heart and soul at an awakening.” 

Shishi Yamazaki (シシヤマザキ, b.1989) is from Kanagawa.  She has a degree in Design from Tokyo University of the Arts (2013).  Follow her on twitter, check out her website, or buy products that feature her art from Kotobukisun Shop.

Holy Shit!

“One elephant lives in a mountain.  He spends his life drawing pictures and fishing.  Pigs with swollen crotches live in the city.  The city is full of towers.  One day a tower is built near the elephant’s cabin, the elephant starts to climb it. 

Takashi Shibuya (澁谷岳志, b.1988) is from Fukushima.  He has a degree in Geology from Shinshu University (2012).  Follow him on twitter and vimeo, or check out his website.

Helleborus Niger
“A story of a father and a daughter.  The father projects the images of [his] former [him]self on his daughter.  Their feelings start to merge as his memories get clearer.”

Kohei Takeda (武田浩平, b. 1990) is a stop motion animator form Ibaraki.  He graduated from the College of Education at Ibaraki University in 2013.  Follow him on tumblr.

I’m Here
“One doesn’t know where to go but has to move forward.  He has to go to his goal.  Always transforming himself, his heat and mind drift and run towards the goal when he finds it.”

Yukie Nakauchi (中内友紀恵, b. 1989) was born in Hokkaido.  She graduated from Tama Art University in 2013.  Follow her on twitter or check out her website.

Tepid Bath 
“The borderline of water, a body, or a bathtub gets more and more unclear.  All are mixed together in the lukewarm water.”

Tsumugi Harunari (春成つむぎ, b. 1983) is from Ishikawa.  She graduated from the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS) in 2008.  Follow her on twitter or check out her website.

Missing You
白いうなばら / Shiroi Unabara / 6’25” 

Satomi Maiya (米谷聡美, b. 1990) was born in Miyagi.  She studied animation at Tokyo Polytechnic University (2013).  Follow her on tumblr, vimeo, or twitter.

Hollow Mind
/ Shina / 5’29” 
“The mind grows hollow leaving the body behind.  Soon she is almost swallowed by the swelled one.  The fruit that failed to fruit.”

yagi (山羊, b. 1990) is from Aichi.  She graduated from the School of Design at Nagoya University of the Arts (NUA, 2012). http://yagigoya.wix.com/228

ズドラーストヴィチェ! / Zudorāsutovische / 5’36”

Yoko Yuki (幸洋子, b. 1987) was born in Aichi.  She has a degree in Visual Media from Nagoya University of the Arts and Sciences (NUAS, 2010). http://yokoyuki.com/

First Year Films (2014)
一年次作品 2014

Reinventing the Square Wheel
四角い車輪の再発明 / Shikakui Sharin no Saihatsumei / 2’24”

“On various forms expanded in all the direction[s] and a dance by a man in tights.”

Yasuaki Adachi (足立靖明, b. 1986) did both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Tokyo University of the Arts.  Follow him on twitter or tumblr.

Oh Dear
あらら / Arara

“Naoko had a fight with her brother over a trivial thing and pushed him away.  She knew she was childish but she ran away from home.”

Megumi Ishitani (石谷恵) – profile above


“A boy’s spoon falls on the floor when he is having a breakfast.  The moment he is trying to pick it up, the boy is thrown into the [a] different world.  There he begins the adventure to take his spoon back.”

Yikun Wang (王禕坤 / オウ・イコン, b. 1991) was born in Shanghai.  He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tokyo and a degree in Design from Tokyo University of the Arts.


“Signs such as circles, points, and lines get together to make the shape of a ‘bear’.  ‘The bear’ starts to walk to find the concrete places and comes across animals in the forest.  We tend to find a story in the relationship between ‘The bear’ and other animals.”

koya – profile above

Return to Dust

“A skeleton is tied with red threads and stuck by clay.  How much control do we have in our own actions?  And what does hinder these actions?”

Ataru Sakagami (坂上直) – profile above

Through the Windows

“The gaze of a woman from a window to  [at other] windows leads to a recollection of the various scenes.  The metamorphosed windows transfer, expand, reflect, conserve, and sometimes shine like a lighthouse.”

Miyo Sato (佐藤美代) – profile above

aaH / Hee
ああ/良い / aa / ii / 2’12” 

“When the mind says aah, the body says hee.  I dance around the confusion and the consensus, and my whole life is getting composed of these dances.”

Shishi Yamazaki (ししやまざき) – profile above

/ Ryō/ 3’ 
Ai Sugaya (菅谷愛) belongs to the animation group Onion Skin along with other Geidai students Toshikazu Tamura, Onohana (Geidai 2014) and Yewon Kim (Geidai 2014).

“[A depressed] and isolated mind is similar to the sense of floating in the water.  Underwater as a man’s mindscape and the real occurrences at the beach are portrayed”

Kohei Takeda (武田浩平) – profile above

tumbled cat
“A record of sensation and sign[s] of watching tumbl[ing], moving and then floating.”

Toshikazu Tamura (田村聡和) belongs to the animation group Onion Skin along with other Geidai students Ai Sugaya, Onohana (Geidai 2014) and Yewon Kim (Geidai 2014).

Scape Escape
ぜんぶわかってる / Zembu wakatteru / 1’59”

“A man wanted to escape.  He wanted to stay unaware but he found them all.”

Yukie Nakauchi (中内友紀恵) – see profile above.

The Closet

“A young girl takes it into her head that her mother is taken by her newly born sister.  Out of jealousy she hides her baby sister in darkness.”

Satomi Maiya (米谷聡美) – see profile above


“The everyday life of an elephant and a woman, his wife in a lakeside house.  Their life together with a certain distance repeats itself.  The traces of the passing time cover the familiar landscape.  One day an accident happens to the couple living together with contradictions and secrets.” 

Madoka (円香, b. 1990) is an animator, filmmaker and illustrator.  Before coming to Geidai, she studied animation at Tokyo Zokei University (2011).  Check out her website.

My Dear

“At the waterside surrounded by factories and the [waste] lives a white frog.  It loves a goldfish who also lives in the neighbourhood.  Recently the goldfish appears to be in poor health, which worries the frog.”

Yagi (山羊) – see profile above.

Mind Game
形而上の無限思考 / Keijijyō no Mugenshikō / 4’50”

“The devices not used for a story are fed and then destroyed.  This is a reproduction of reminiscence when a heroine runs about a neuron in a moment of waiting for the world that didn’t happen.”

Risa Yamashita (山下理紗) is in her early 20s.  She only lists rather vague information about herself in her profile on her website.

See ya, Mr. Banno!
黄色い気球とばんの先生 / Kiroi Kikyū to Banno Sensei / 4’23”

“One day out of [the] blue Prof. Banno of next class came to school with his hair shaven.  Students made fun of his bald head.  Prof. Banno flew in a hot air balloon the other next day.  Nobody knows anything about what happened to him afterwards after that.” 

Yōko Yuki (幸洋子) – see profile above.

Cathy Munroe Hotes 2015