12 December 2010

Kihachiro Kawamoto’s Animated Shorts on DVD


There are two options for buying Kihachiro Kawamoto’s animated shorts on DVD. One can order the 2007 Geneon release The Collected Works of Kihachiro Kawamoto (川本喜八郎作品集/Kawamoto Kihachirō Sakuhinshū) from Japan or the 2008 KimStim release The Exquisite Short Films of Kihachiro Kawamoto (1968-1979) from the States.

Which one should you buy? There are positives and negatives to both options.  In terms of image and sound quality, the DVDs offer a fairly similar standard.  If you want all of his films with English subtitles than you need to buy them both.   The KimStim collection omits Kawamoto's work of the 1980s and has no extras.  The Geneon DVD is a complete collection of Kawamoto's short independent works, however, two films have no subtitles and the extras are Japanese language only. 

Here’s a film by film rundown:

The Breaking of Branches is Forbidden (Hana-Ori, 1968, 14')
Available on both DVDs. The KimStim DVD has optional subtitles, the Geneon DVD does not have subtitles. Then again, the subtitles are not crucial to the understanding of the film. 

Farce anthropo-cynique (Kenju Giga, 1970, 8')
Available on both DVDs. French language narration. Optional English subtitles on the KimStim DVD. Optional Japanese subtitles but no English subtitles on the Geneon DVD. 

The Demon (Oni, 1972, 8')
Available on both DVDs with optional English subtitles.

Travel (Tabi,1973, 12')
Available on both DVDs. This film has no dialogue. As a bonus, the Geneon DVD also includes the 4-minute version of the film.

A Poet’s Life (Shijin no Shōgai, 1974, 19')
Available on both DVDs with optional English subtitles.

Dojoji Temple (Dōjōji, 1976, 19')
Available on both DVDs with optional English subtitles.

House of Flame (Kataku, 1979, 19')
Available on both DVDs with optional English subtitles.

Self Portrait
 Self Portrait (1988, 1')  film review
 Only available on the Geneon DVD. No dialogue.

To Shoot without Shooting (Fusha no Sha, 1988, 25') film review
Only available on the Geneon DVD. Optional Japanese or Chinese dub. Optional English subtitles.
 
Briar Rose, or The Sleeping Beauty (Ibara-Hime matawa Nemuri-Hime, 1990, 22') film review
Only available on the Geneon DVD. Optional Japanese or Czech dub. Optional English subititles.

Extras
  • Kimstim DVD: NONE
  • Geneon DVD: filmography, biographical information (both on disc and in packaging), introductory paragraph screen for each film (all extras Japanese language only).

Other works of Kawamoto on DVD in Japan include the complete Romance of Three Kingdoms, the complete The Tale of Heike, Winter Days and The Book of the Dead. The Book of the Dead is the only one with English subtitles.

Also available in the States: The Book of the Dead (English subtitles for dialogue but narrator Kiyoko Kishida however is dubbed over with an English narrator).

Related Posts:
The Passing of a Puppet Master: Kihachiro Kawamoto
Kihachiro Kawamoto’s Self Portrait
Kihachiro Kawamoto Absolute Vodka CM
Kihachiro Kawamoto’s Puppets of Chopin and George Sand

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