23 May 2018

1964: Best Japanese Animated Shorts

Year in Review

1964 was the year that saw animation combined with live action in Disney’s Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson) and the release of the first Pink Panther short The Pink Phink (Friz Frelang/Hawley Pratt). In Japan, Mushi Pro tried to make more money from their budding Astro Boy franchise by editing together three episodes of the popular TV series into a feature film called Astro Boy: Hero of Space (鉄腕アトム 宇宙の勇者/ Tetsuwan Atom: Uchū no Yūsha, 1964). They jazzed things up for the cinematic release by adding colour to the sections of the film adapted from episodes 56 and 71. Rintarō (who was still using his real name, Shigeyuki Hayashi), Yoshitake Suzuki, and Eiichi Yamamoto are credited as directors.

The career of stop motion animation pioneer Tadahito “Tad” Mochinaga reached a pinnacle with the release of the Rankin/Bass TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Larry Roemer) (Learn more). While the story and character designs were all conceived of in the United States, Mochinaga’s MOM Productions made and animated the puppets. Since its debut on NBC on December 6, 1964, it has been televised annually becoming the longest continuously running Christmas TV special in the United States.

The independent animation scene was blossoming in Tokyo and the Animation Group of Three (アニメーション三人の会) expanded into an Animation Festival (アニメーション・フェスティバル) which ran from September 11-26 at the Sōgestu Cinematheque 11 (草月シネマテーク11). From my research so far, the films that screened at the festival that year included:

The Button (ザ・バタン , Yōji Kuri, 1963)
Man, Woman and Dog (男と女と犬, Yōji Kuri, 1963)
Ring Ring Boy (リングリングボーイ , Yōji Kuri, 1963)
AOS (アオス, Yōji Kuri, 1964)
Moon Story (月のはなし, Ryōhei Yanagihara, 1964)
The Strange Tale of Ichinosuke (女一条助異聞, Ryōhei Yanagihara, 1964)
Submarine Cassiopeia (潜水艦カシオペア, Hiroshi Manabe, 1964)
Memory (メモリー, Osamu Tezuka)
Mermaid (人形, Osamu Tezuka) La fête blanche (白い祭, Akira Ono, 1964)
Anthology, No. 1 (アンソロジーNO.1, Tadanari Yokoo, 1964)
Kiss Kiss Kiss (Tadanari Yokoo, 1964)
Murder (Makoto Wada, 1964)
Bon Bon Bon (ボン・ボン・ボン, Hayashi Masamichi)
Zuraw (Daitaku Furukawa - better known today as Taku Furukawa)
Night on Bald Mountain (禿山の一夜, Alexander Alexeieff, 1933)
Faces and Fortunes (Morton Goldsholl, 1959) (watch: Chicago Film Archives)
Dissent Illusion (Morton Goldsholl, 1963) (watch: Chicago Film Archives)

Although she is not mentioned on the Japanese programme notes, the experimental film Dissent Illusion was co-directed by Mort’s wife Millie Goldsholl (1920-2012), who also wrote Faces and Fortunes. Millie ran the film division of the family’s Chicago-based design firm Morton Goldsholl Associates. Her animation Up is Down (1969) is a rare anti-war gem. Night on Bald Mountain was, of course, co-produced by his wife Claire Parker

This was also a significant in the career of independent Japanese animator Fusako Yusaki (湯崎夫沙子, b. 1937). In 1964, she moved to Milan to study sculpture and found that clay animation was her métier. Her first films were made in the early 1970s and she is now considered one of the pioneers of stop motion animation in Italy.

The winner of the Noburō Ōfuji Award for 1964 was Makoto Wada (和田誠, b. 1936) for his droll hand drawn animated short Murder (click here to learn more). These days Wada is best known for his illustrated book covers and movie-themed art.

Best Japanese Animated Shorts of 1964:

 Satsujin – Murder
殺人 Murder
Makoto Wada (和田誠, b. 1936) 

Tokuten Eizou Anthology No. 1
特典映像 アンソロジーNO.1
1964年 /7'
Tadanari YOKOO (横尾忠則, b. 1936)

1964年 /2'
Tadanari YOKOO

Submarine Cassiopeia
Sensuikan Kashiopea
1964年 / 3’
Hiroshi MANABE

The Chair
1964年 /10’
Yōji KURI (久里洋二, b. 1928)

1964年 /9'
 Yōji KURI

1964年 /8'

1964年 /6'

Shiroi Matsuri: La fȇte blanche
白い祭 La fete blanche
シロイマツリ ラ・フェット・ブランシェ
Aquirax UNO (aka Akira UNO / 宇野亜喜良, b. 1934)

The Crying Red Giant
Naita Aka Oni
1964年 /17'


Moon Story 
Tsuki no hanashi 
Ryōhei Yanagihara (やなぎはら りょうへい, 1931-2015)
1964年 /6'

The Strange Tale of Ichinosuke 
Ryōhei Yanagihara
1964年 /7'

Cathy Munroe Hotes 2018