Atsushi Wada

Atsushi Wada is one of my favorite independent animators in Japan. He learned animation at Tokyo Art University where my another favorite animator Koji Yamamura teaches.

The timing of his animation is so unique and strange.  To be honest, I don’t understand anything about the stories in his film. I’m not even sure if I want to understand the story, but it’s just always make me smile instantly and watch until the end. The weirdly satisfying sounds in his films are all done by himself.

Enki Bilal, The Knight of French Science Fiction

Enki Bilal is a French comic book artist/Filmmaker. Born in 1951 in Belgrade from a Yugoslavic family, Bilal moves to France at the age of 10. Remembering the misery of his childhood in Communist Yugoslavia, Bilal’s work mainly resides on critics of totalitarian regimes and Science-Fiction.

 

I find Bilal’s artwork beautiful, the colour blue is always present in all of his characters and stories especially on his female character who will often have blue hair, blue lips or both. In 2004, Bilal manage to find the funds to direct Immortal, a Science-Fiction/Apocalyptic love story based on his own comic book with the same title. Bilal using his comic as storyboard for his movie, the movie composition is incredible and we have this distinct graphic feeling throughout the whole movie.

You have to understand that dispite having a real identity in the comic book world with Enki Bilal, René Laloux, Jean Giraud, Alejandro Jodorowsky,  etc…French Science-Fiction is almost non existent. And Bilal is one of the very few filmmakers with Luc Besson and Michel Gondry who will fight for the right for Science Fiction to be more present in France.

A Child’s Metaphysics – Koji Yamamura

 

In this animated short “A Child’s Metaphysics”, Koji Yamamura represents the crazy imagination of children with his unique animation style and reminds us what it is to be a child.

This is composed with a series of very short animations, and each animation has a different child in it.  One child’s head is filled with numbers, another’s head turned into a giant book, another child forces their sad face turn into a smily face, another catches their own tears in a glass and put it inside their body, another character has an endless zipped mouth and can’t say anything, while another child tries to fit into a different shapes that is getting smaller.

Children are the constant subject in his animation. He has published many children book,  he has made some animation for children, and in his masterpiece , “Kafka’s A Country Doctor”, there is a sick boy who wants to die.

Koji Yamamura is one of my favourite Japanese animators of all time. He is probably known for his award-winning film “Mt. Head”.  However, in this animation “A Child’s Metaphysics” with his such a simple style, he made me realise this is what only animation can do.

 

 

Recruit Rhapsody

This is a final film that is made by an animator Maho Yoshida when she was a student at Tokyo University of Arts. I saw this film for the first time when I was a 2 year at my previous university, and I believe seeing this animation was part of why I decided not to look for a job like this. How Japanese students find their jobs in the final year of universities is shown very realistically in this Animation and I remember it became a viral hit between young recruits in the recruitment season.

After I did a facial expression exercise in this course, I rewatched this animation and amazed how expressive the characters in this animation are. She managed to show complex expressions and emotions without any lines. Especially the smiles they make at the recruiting fair scene always gives me goose bumps.

Octocat Adventure

Octocat Adventure is the series of animation that David OReilly has posted on youtube pretending as a 14 year-old boy Randy Peters.  Everyone believed that this is created by a little kids by the rough drawing that looks like it’s illustrated using MS Paint the drawing software everyone has used when their kids with terrible voice-over. the story is about Octocat’s quest to find his parents.

In the last episode of the series, OReilly revealed that it is not a child’s work by changing the medium to 3D. I saw this films at OReilly’s talk at the London International Animation Festival for the first time, but I thought I would have believed it was made by a child and empathised with the story if I find it on youtube.

About this project, he says

“…you’ve all proved one vitally important point: audiences don’t need polished, slick animation to find a story engaging. They are happy to follow the worst animated, worst designed and worst dubbed film of all time, and still laugh and cry and do all the things you do watching a so-called “high end” film.”

I think what he wanted to prove with this project apply to most of his work as well. For instance, one of his early work “RGB XYZ”

I’ve always interested in his work not only because of the way he uses 3D graphics in his animation but his perversity, and knowing about this project made me interested in his work more.

 

 

David OReilly. (2018). Octocat Adventures. [online] Available at: http://www.davidoreilly.com/octocat-adventures/ [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

David OReilly. (2018). Works. [online] Available at: http://www.davidoreilly.com/#/rgb-xyz/ [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].

Yoko Kuno

First of all, I would like introduce her graduation film this animator Yoko Kuno created when she was studying at Tama Art University (2012).

When I saw this animation for the first time, I was amazed by how she manage the camera movement with her constant morphing style.

She spent 1 year and a half, and has done over 3000 drawings by herself for this animation. For this graduation film, she also contacted the singer Cuushe asking to use her music in the film. After completed the film, they’ve collaborated throughout the years as Cuushe loved Kuno’s work so much. 

Kuno designed the cover for her albums and even another music video for Cuushe’s latest album.

She has experimented rotoscoping in this music video, and I was very surprised by the shift of the live action footage to her stylized character animation.

Satoshi Kon, Millennium Actress

The end of the last month, I went to a screening of an animated film called Millennium Antress (Sennen joyû, 2001) directed by Satoshi Kon one of the greatest anime directors of all time.

  

The animation in his films is always breathtakingly realistic.  However, the storytelling in this film is standing out from any of other animated films.

It is about the life story of a legendary actress Fujiwara Chiyoko who retired more than thirty years ago, told to a documentarian that decides to make a documentary about her.

Kon’s story is always told in a way where the line between reality and fantasy are blurred. This film is not an exception, the line between events of Chiyoko’s real life and scenes from her films is blurred and complex. What makes this film more interesting is that when the scene shift into Chiyoko’s past, the interviewer and his camera man also walk around in her past and interacting with people.

This is a film that probably could never work as a live action film because of the seamless changes between reality, memory and films and the transformation between a girl, a young women into an old woman.

The another remarkable point of this film for me is the running scene of the main character. There are a lot of different running scenes of her in this film as she is always finding the man she loves. I find the animation absolutely beautiful.

London Film Festival weekend

The one of the favourite things in London for me is that there are lot of film festivals that take place throughout the year. Last weekend, I saw three animated films at the London Film Festival. One of them was the Cartoon Saloon’s latest film The Breadwinner.

This film is about a girl called Parvana and her family in Afghanistan in the early 2000s.

I love every Cartoon Saloon’s movie and I was so excited to see their new film. From their films I always can learn cultures, people, and the world I did not know through the films. More than just a fantasy story.

I also loved the beautiful visuals in the animation. Especially the style they used for a story which Parvana tells to her baby brother.