31 August 2016

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 3

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 3
Saturday, August 20  
8月20 日(土)

Japanese Animation Special 10: Japanese Animation Today

The Japan Animation Today segment of the 16th Hiroshima International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016 features contemporary established young animators as well as up-and-coming animators such as students.  Q-rais is the nom de plume of a Tokyo-based illustrator and animator.   Jérôme Boulbés is a French 3D CG animator based in Kyoto (see: Kobutori).  Musashino graduate Hiroyuki Mizumoto is a mixed media experimental animator whose works mix live action with a variety of experimental techniques.  Shunsaku Hayashi studied at Goldsmiths, University of London on a research fellowship from the Japan Cultural Ministry.  Atsushi Makino first studied animation at UMPRUM in Prague and then went on to hone his skills at Geidai (learn more) where he graduated in 2011.  His innovative work can be found on Vimeo.  

Akie Ishii studied animation at Kyoto Seika University.    Tomoki Misato is a Musashino graduate and is currently a student in Geidai’s graduate animation program.  Director / screenwriter Makoto Nakamura made waves in 2010 when he revived the popular Soviet animation character Cheburashka for a series of stop motion films.  The character first appeared in a 1966 children’s storybook by Eduard Uspensky, followed by a series of stop motion animations by Roman Kachanov of Soyuzmultfilm (1969-1983).  The armatures for Cheburashka were designed and built by Korean armature specialist Wuchan Kim of Thinking Hand.  Haruna Asahi is a young animator from Okinawa who studied at Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts in Naha.  Yoshihisa Nakanishi is a Musashino grad who makes amazing stop motion animations using complex paper cutouts.

1.  The Lost Breakfast (2015), Q-rais
2.  Ghost Tracks (2015), Jérôme Boulbés
3.  A Memory, Record and Present (2015), Hiroyuki Mizumoto
4.  Remember (2015), Shunsaku Hayashi
5.  The Synesthesia Ghost (2015), Atsushi Makino
6.  Daijōbu (2015), Akie Ishii
7.  Look at Me Only (2016), Tomoki Misato  
8.  Cheburashka Goes to the Zoo (2015), Makoto Nakamura
9.  The Adventure of Flip, Haruna Asahi
10.  gymnasiumany (2015), Yoshihisa Nakanishi
11.  geometricube (2014), Yoshihisa Nakanishi

1. 失われた朝食 キューライス
2. ゴーストトラックス ブルべス ジェローム
3. きおく きろく いま 水本 博之
4. Remember 林 俊作
5. 共感覚おばけ 牧野
6. だいじょうぶ。 石井 章詠
7. あたしだけをみて 見里 朝希
8. チェブラーシカ 動物園へ行く 中村
9. フリップの冒険 朝日 はるな
10. gymnasiumany 中西 義久
11. geometricube 中西 義久

Japanese Animation Special 11:
Shin’ichi Suzuki, Keiichi Tanaami, Tatsuo Shimamura, Seiichi Hayashi, Nobuhiro Aihara

The animators in this screening belong to what I call the Sōgetsu Generation.  Those are animators who began making a name for themselves as indie animators at the Sōgetsu Art Center Animation Festivals of the 1960s and 1970s.  Shin’ichi Suzuki began his career in animation working at Otogi Pro for Ryūichi Yokoyama.  He then went on to co-found Studio Zero in 1963.  Learn more about him in my reviews of Dot (点 /Ten, 1971) and The Gourd Bottle (ひょうたん/Hyōtan, 1976).  Suzuki is director of the Suginami Animation Museum.  Keiichi Tanaami is a renowned pop artist who has been making experimental films and animations since the early 1970s.  His films use symbolism and sensual movement to create meaning.  Tatsuo Shimamura is the founder and president of Shirogumi.  His film Four Seasons of Japan (1985) won a prize at the first Hiroshima festival in 1985.

Seiichi Hayashi is an avant-garde mangaka most famous for his 1970 manga Red Colored Elegy (赤色エレジー, 1970-71) which was serialized in Garo magazine and he also made it into an animated short in 1970.  Hayashi designed this year’s festival poster. 

The late Nobuhiro Aihara was one of Japan’s top experimental animators.  In addition to his independent work, he often worked as an inbetweener and animator for major anime studios such as Oh! Pro.  Read his obituary here, and a review of Karma (カルマ, 1977).

1. Dot (Ten, 1971), Shin’ichi Suzuki
2. The Gourd Bottle (Hyōtan, 1976), Shin’ichi Suzuki
3. The Laughing Spider (2016) Keiichi Tanaami
4. Four Seasons of Japan (1985) Tatsuo Shimamura
5. Apocalypse of Megalopolis (2009) Tatsuo Shimamura
6. Shadow (1968) Seiichi Hayashi
7. Demon Love Song (1971), Seiichi Hayashi
8. Red Colored Elegy (1970), Seiichi Hayashi
9. Yamakagashi (1971), Nobuhiro Aihara 
10. Karma (1977), Nobuhiro Aihara 
11. Twilight (1985), Nobuhiro Aihara 
12. Wind (2000), Nobuhiro Aihara 
13. Memory of Red (2004), Nobuhiro Aihara

鈴木 伸一、田名網 敬一、島村 達雄、林 静一、相原 信洋

1. 点 鈴木 伸一
2. ひょうたん 鈴木 伸一
3. 笑う蜘蛛 田名網 敬一
4. 花鳥風月 島村 達雄
5. メガロポリスの黙示録 島村 達雄
6. かげ 静一
7. 鬼恋歌 静一
8. 赤色エレジー 静一
9. 山かがし 相原 信洋
10. カルマ 相原 信洋
11. 逢魔が時 相原 信洋
12. ウィンド 相原 信洋
13. メモリー・オブ・レッド 相原 信洋

Japanese Animation Special 12:
Katsuo Takahashi, Toshio Kinoshita, Takashi Itō

Katsuo Takahashi was a stop motion animator famous in Japan for his 1977 film The Wild Rose (野ばら1977).  Not widely known outside of Japan, his daughter Kariko Takahashi carries on his legacy.  Toshio Kinoshita started out as a mangaka in the 1950s for children’s magazines and also worked as a journalist before trying his hand at animation.  He produced the opening sequence of Astro Boy and in 1965 founded Kino Pro, where he continues to act as president.   

Takashi Itō is a rather strange addition to this screening – his work would have been more at home in Japanese Animation Special 11 with Aihara and Tanaami, or Japanese Animation Special 16:Contemporary Directors Collection ①.  He is one of Japan’s top experimental filmmakers, with Oberhausen 2014 doing a complete retrospective of his works.  Learn more about him on the Image Forum website.  Read my review of his Image Forum DVD at Midnight Eye.
1.  Kaguya Hime: The Princess of the Moon (1972), Katsuo Takahashi
2.  The Wild Rose (1977), Katsuo Takahashi
3.  The Cock Who Turned Red (1993), Toshio Kinoshita
4.  Spacy (1981), Takashi Itō

髙橋 克雄、木下 敏治、伊藤 高志

1. かぐやひめ 髙橋 克雄
2. 野ばら 髙橋 克雄
3. まっ赤になったにわとり 木下 敏治
4. SPACY 伊藤 高志

Japanese Animation Special 13:
Toshifumi Kawahara, Tadanari Okamoto, Yoichiro Kawaguchi, IKIF, Kōji Yamamura, Keita Kurosaka

Toshifumi Kawahara is an award-winning CG animation pioneer with an MA in Art and Design from UCLA.  He is currently president of Polygon Pictures.  The late Tadahito Okamoto is one of Japan’s great puppet animation masters.  He is famous for using different materials and techniques in each of his films.  The Magic Ballad (おこんじょうるり, 1982) is considered one of his greatest films.  Yoichirō Kawaguchi is a pioneering computer graphics artist and professor at the University of Tokyo.  He is an expert on “the GROWTH model, a self-organizing method to give form to one's rich imagination or to develop one's formative algorithm of a complex life form. As the art or a time progression, a program generates a form and this form is allowed to grow systematically according to a set formula” (source).  IKIF (Ishida Kifune Image Factor) are a husband and wife animation team (Sonoko Ishida  and Tokumitsu Kifune) who have been working together since 1979.  They began making films in 8mm, then in 16mm and by the 1980s were experimenting with CG animation.  Kifune teaches at Tokyo Zokei while Ishida teaches at Tokyo Polytechnic. 

Kōji Yamamura is one of Japan’s most internationally acclaimed independent animators, having won the top awards at festivals around the world from Annecy to Ottawa.  His film Mt. Head (頭山, 2002) was nominated for an Oscar and this year he became a member of the Academy.  Franz Kafkaʼs A Country Doctor (カフカ 田舎医者, 2007) is one of his most profound films to date.  Yamamura is a professor at Geidai (Tokyo University of the Arts).  Keita Kurosaka is an experimental artist whose hand drawn animated works demonstrate a wide range of influences from classical art to the modern grotesque.  The two films in this selection are music videos for the Japanese metal band Dir En Grey.  Kurosaka is a professor at Musashino. 

1.  In Search of Muscular Axis (1990), Toshifumi Kawahara 
2.  Bolero (1992), Toshifumi Kawahara 
3. Michael the Dinosaur (1993), Toshifumi Kawahara
4. The Magic Ballad (1982), Tadanari Okamoto
5. Growth: Tendril / Yoichirō Kawaguchi
6. Growth Land-Growth: Mysterious Galaxy / Yoichirō Kawaguchi
7. animandara2 (1986), IKIF
8. Troreminica (2011), IKIF
9. Mt. Head (Atama Yama, 2002), Kōji Yamamura
10. Franz Kafkaʼs A Country Doctor (2007), Kōji Yamamura
11. Atama (1994), Keita Kurosaka
12. Agitated Screams of Maggots (2007), Keita Kurosaka
13. Rinkaku (2012), Keita Kurosaka

河原 敏文、岡本 忠成、河口 洋一郎、IKIF、山村 浩二、黒坂 圭太

1. 筋肉座標軸を求めて 河原 敏文
2. ボレロ 河原 敏文
3. 恐竜マイケル 河原 敏文
4. おこんじょうるり 岡本 忠成
5. グロース:テンドリル 河口 洋一郎
6. グロース・ランド―グロース:ミステリアス・ギャラクシー―
7. 阿耳曼荼羅(二) IKIF
8. Troreminica IKIF
9. 頭山 山村 浩二
10. カフカ 田舎医者 山村 浩二
11. ATAMA 黒坂 圭太
12. Agitated Screams of Maggots 黒坂 圭太
13. 輪郭 黒坂 圭太

Japanese Animation Special 14:TV Programs

This selection highlights episodes from early ground-breaking television animation.

1. Moleʼs Adventure (1958), Hiroshi Washizumi
2. Astro Boy (1963), Osamu Tezuka
3. Kimba the White Lion (1965), Eiichi Yamamoto
4. The Star of the Giants, Ep.83 "A Homer" (1968), Tadao Nagahama

日本アニメーション大特集14:TV 番組

1. もぐらのアバンチュール  わしずみ ひろし
2. 鉄腕アトム  手塚 治虫
3. ジャングル大帝  山本 暎一
4. 巨人の星 第83 話『傷だらけのホームイン』 長浜 忠夫

**Note: films for which no image are available are represented by Lappy, the Hiroshima Animation Festival Mascot.

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 2

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 2
Friday, August 19
8月19 日(金)

On Day 2 of the 16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016. the Focus on Japanese Animation continued to explore early anime history.  On Day 1, early works by anime pioneer Mitsuyo Seo were shown including examples of the Private Norakuro series from the 1930s, Duck Brigade, and one of his best works, Ari-chan (Learn more here).  Seo is best known for directing the wartime propaganda films Momotarō's Sea Eagle (Momotarō no Umiwashi, 1943) – some sources give 1942 for this film – and Momotarō's Divine Sea Warriors (Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, 1945).  Momotarō, a popular Japanese folk hero, was such a successful propaganda tool that films using him and other popular folk tales were actually censored by the American Occupation in the immediate post-war years.  It is interesting to study these films alongside their American, Canadian, British, and German counterparts, to see how this relatively new medium of animation was used to fabricate notions of nationalism and to support the war effort.  Read review of Momotarō's Sea Eagle (1943) to learn more.  I also recommend the Dutch documentary Ducktators (Guus von Wavern & Wolter Braamhorst, 1998) about animated propaganda done in Hollywood during World War II.

Japanese Animation Special 6: History Mitsuyo Seo

1.  Momotarō's Sea Eagle (Momotarō no Umiwashi, 1943), Mitsuyo Seo 
2.  Momotarō's Divine Sea Warriors (Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, 1945), Mitsuyo Seo 

日本アニメーション大特集6:歴史 瀬尾 光世

1. 桃太郎の海鷲 瀬尾 光世
2. 桃太郎 海の神兵 瀬尾 光世

Japanese Animation Special 7:History

This section of films recognises early Japanese innovators in animation.  The first four films are examples of early puppet animation for educational purposes.  Before Tadahito Mochinaga and his studio MOM Pro were hired by Rankin/Bass in the 1960s to make what have since become American stop motion TV classics (learn more), Mochinaga had already been making animation in Japan and in China.  This selection features two of his early puppet animations The Melon Princess and the Amanojaku (1956) and Little Black Sambo (1956) (Read review).  Mochinaga did not make his works alone.  He had help from many talented animators including Hiroshima 2016 Jury Selection Committee member Fumiko Magari and Yoshitsugu Tanaka, among others.

The publisher Gakken, also got into the animation for education scene in the 1950s.  This selection features works by their two top animator/director/producers: Kazuhiko Watanabe and Matsue Jinbo.  In celebration of their 70th anniversary, Gakken has been posting their back catalogue of innovative puppet animation on YouTube.  Read the reviews of   The Dove and the Ant (1959) and The Musicians in the Woods (1960), to learn more.

The final film in this screening is Fukusuke (ふくすけ, 1957) by legendary manga-ka and Otogi Pro founder Ryūichi Yokoyama.  Unlike the other films it does not use puppet animation, but it does use stop motion using cutouts for some of the effects. 

1.  The Melon Princess and the Amanojaku (1956), Tadahito Mochinaga / Yoshitsugu Tanaka
2.  Little Black Sambo (1956), Tadahito Mochinaga 
3.  The Dove and the Ant (1959), Kazuhiko Watanabe
4.  The Musicians in the Woods (1960), Matsue Jinbo
5.  Fukusuke (1957), Ryūichi Yokoyama

1. 瓜子 姫とあまのじゃく 持 只仁、田中 善次
2. ちびくろさんぼ・さんぼのとらたいじ 持 只仁
3. ありとはと 渡 和彦
4. もりのおんがくたい 神 まつえ
5. ふくすけ 横山 隆一

Japanese Animation Special 8: Yōji Kuri, Osamu Tezuka, Kihachirō Kawamoto

This selection features innovators in animation who came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s.  Yōji Kuri is an iconoclastic artist who founded the Animation Group of Three (アニメーション三人の会/ Animation Sannin no Kai) with his fellow artists Ryohei Yanagihara and Hiroshi Manabe.  Learn more about them here.  Kuri has been a regular at the Hiroshima festival since its inception.  Read reviews of his films Love (愛, 1963) and Two Grilled Fish (二匹のサンマ, 1967).

Osamu Tezuka is most famous as a manga-ka and for his ground-breaking anime series like Astro Boy, but he also tried his hand at what he called jikken animation (experimental animation).  Although not experimental in technique, they were certainly innovative in terms of narrative and style and brought Tezuka much acclaim.  Tezuka was at the first Hiroshima festival in 1985.  Learn more about it here and here.

Kihachirō Kawamoto was, along with his friend Tadanari Okamoto (who features later in the programme), one of Japan’s great puppet animation masters.  He was at the first Hiroshima animation festival in 1985 and was a regular guest there until his passing in 2010.  Read his obituary and a review of Dōjōji Temple (道成寺, 1976) to learn more.

1.  Love (1963), Yōji Kuri
2.  Au fou! (1967) Yōji Kuri
3.  Two Grilled Fish (1967), Yōji Kuri
4.  Tragedy on the G String (1969), Yōji Kuri
5.  Mermaid (1964), Osamu Tezuka
6. Memory (1964), Osamu Tezuka
7.  Jumping (1984), Osamu Tezuka
8.  Broken Down Film (1985), Osamu Tezuka 
9.  Breaking of Branches is Forbidden (1968), Kihachirō Kawamoto 
10.  Dōjōji Temple (1976), Kihachirō Kawamoto 

1. 愛 久里 洋二 
2. 殺人狂時代 久里 洋二 
3. 二匹のサンマ 久里 洋二
4. G 線上の悲劇 久里 洋二
5. 人 魚 手塚 治虫 
6. めもりい 手 治虫
7. ジャンピング 手塚 治虫
8. おんぼろフィルム 手塚 治虫
9. 花折り 川本 喜八郎
10. 道成寺 川本 喜八郎

Japanese Animation Special 9: Feature Animation

The final event of Day 2 of the Japanese Animation Special was Ryo Saitani’s feature film Cesium and a Tokyo Girl (2015) which uses a mixture of live action and animation to follow central protagonist Mimi and the seven gods in search of Mimi’s grandmother’s myna bird Hakushi.  The film was made in partnership with the Laputa Art Animation School.  Saitani is a long time animation fan and critic, who became known for his work for the magazine COMIC BOX (コミックボックス).  He made a documentary about early animation innovators in Japan called Here We Go with Yoji Kuri! (2008).

Cesium and a Tokyo Girl (2015) by Ryo Saitani
『セシウムと少女』 才谷


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