04 December 2010

Yoichi Kotabe’s Top 20 Animated Films


I recently posted the late Reiko Okuyama’s Top 20 Animated Films, as listed in the 150 Best World and Japanese Animation poll of 2003. It seems only fair to also share with you the 20 choices made by her husband, the legendary animator Yoichi Kotabe (小田部 羊一, b.1936 in Tapei, Taiwan).  Kotabe’s career spans over 50 years he has been both a close collaborator and personal friend to both Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata for many decades. Kotabe’s name appears in the credits of a great many of the films that made the 150 Best list.

To learn more about Kotabe’s career, check out the Biographical Notes on Anido’s website. I also highly recommend their publication of his collected drawings: Yoichi Kotabe: Legendary Animator – His Animated Drawings. It’s pretty pricey, but it’s a collector’s item – a beautifully bound book weighing in at more than 2 kilos with a total of 300 pages. The reproductions of his sketches are a rare treat for fans of 1970s anime classics. For those who can read Japanese, the book also contains interviews with the artist himself.

Kotabe’s list of favourites is given in no particular order and is practically identical to Okuyama’s. The order is different, but then neither of them was placing any value on rankings. Okuyama lists more independent animation than Kotabe. Where Okuyama lists Frédéric Back’s Crac! (1981), Bretislav Pojar’s A Drop Too Much (1953), Karel Zeman’s The Fantastic World of Jules Verne, and the complete oeuvre of Taku Furukawa, Kotabe includes more works directed by Isao Takahata such as Panda! Go, Panda! and Heidi, Girl of the Alps. Both are projects that he worked on. Other films on his list that he worked on include Horus: Prince of the Sun and Animal Treasure Island (read Jasper Sharp's review of this film).  Kotabe also added Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit claymation films.

Snow White And Seven Dwarfs / Disney
[Limited Low-priced Edition] [2Blu-ray+1DVD]

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
(白雪姫, David Hand, et al., USA, 1937)
Le roi et l’oiseau 
(王と鳥 やぶにらみの暴君, Paul Grimault, France, 1948)
Jiri Trnka Film Worls / Animation
Geneon DVD of Vol.5 of Trnka's Collected Works
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
(真夏の夜の夢, Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1959)
Hedgehog in the Fog 
(霧につつまれたハリネズミ, Yuri Norstein, Russia, 1975)
Tale of Tales 
(話の話, Yuri Norstein, Russia, 1979)
The Man Who Planted Trees/L'homme qui plantait des arbres 
(木を植えた男, Frédéric Back, Canada, 1987)
Norman McLaren / Animation
Master's Edition DVD Box
Blinkity Blank 
(線と色の即興詩, Norman McLaren, Canada, 1955)
The Snow Queen 
(雪の女王, Lev Atamov et al., Russia, 1957)
The Snowman 
(スノーマン, Dianne Jackson, UK, 1981)
The Wallace and Gromit films 
(ウォレスとグルミット, Nick Park, UK, 1989-present)
The Spider and the Tulip 
(くもとちゅうりっぷ, Kenzō Masaoka, Japan, 1943)
Hakujaden (The Legend of the White Snake) / Animation
Legend of the White Serpent on DVD from Toei
Legend of the White Serpent 
(白蛇伝, Taiji Yabushita/Kazuhiko Okabe, Japan, 1958)
Horus: Prince of the Sun 
(太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険, Isao Takahata, Japan, 1968)
Taro The Dragon Boy 
(龍の子太郎, Kiriro Urayama, Japan, 1979)
My Neighbour Totoro 
(となりのトトロ, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1988)
Panda! Go, Panda! 
(パンダコパンダ, Isao Takahata, Japan, 1972)
Tadanari Okamoto Sakuhin Shu / Animation
Tadanari Okamoto's Complete Works Vol.3 from Geneon
The Restaurant of Many Orders 
(注文の多い料理店, Tadanari Okamoto/Kihachiro Kawamoto, Japan, 1991)
Dojoji Temple 
(道成時, Kihachiro Kawamoto, Japan, 1976)
Heidi, Girl of the Alps 
(アルプスの少女ハイジ, Isao Takahata, Japan, 1974)
(どうぶつ宝島, Hiroshi Ikeda, Japan, 1971)

Related Posts:
Reiko Okuyama’s Top 20 Animated Films
Kenzō Masaoka ‘s The Spider and the Tulip (くもとちゅうりっぷ, 1943)
Laputa's Top 150 World and Japanese Animation (2003)
Laputa's 100 Best World and Japanese Animators (2003)
Takashi Yanase's Top 15 Animated Films

© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2010

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