Geidai Animation: 3rd Graduate Works 2012 (DVD)
The class of 2012 was taught by Professors Yuichi Ito (Model Animation), Mitsuko Okamoto (Production), Takehito Deguchi (Screenwriting), Koji Yamamura (2D animation), and Taruto Fuyama. Assistant Professors were animator Hiromitsu Murakami and lecturers Ilan Nguyen and Eiji Otsuka. Sayaka Omodaka, Hiroko Tochigi and Yuichi Matsumoto provided additional assistance. Sound instructors for the films were Tatsuhko Nishioka, Toru Kamekawa, Yuichi Kishino, and Hiroshi Takayama.
Two trends in the Japanese animation community are present in this graduating class. The first animators from overseas – particularly other East Asian countries – coming to Japan to either study animation or work for Japanese studios. Yuanyuan Hu, from Nanjing, is strongly influenced by her native culture in both her aesthetics and her stories, but two years after graduation she continues to live and work in Japan including as a teaching assistant at Geidai. YungSung Song, from South Korea, has an abstract style all his own and also continues to live and work as a freelance animator in Yokohama.
The other trend is the growing number of women directors in the animation community. Women animators have long been represented in productions as inbetweeners, animators (both puppet and drawing), and producers, but more and more women are taking the helm as directors. As they are still early in their careers, many of the Geidai graduates already have a strong, recognisable aesthetic all their own. I am thinking in particular of 2010 graduate Saori Shiroki with her paint-on-glass technique, and from this graduated class Yuanyuan Hu’s colourful Chinese aesthetic, Aya Tsugehata’s puppet animation, Maho Yoshida’s strong visual storytelling, among many other talented young women.
The Geidai 2012 graduates' works were well received at domestic and international festivals, particularly at the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival. Two real stand-out films from this group of grads is Maho Yoshida’s Recruit Rhapsody (read my review), which not only received great critical acclaim, but became a viral video online. Ryo Okawara’s A Wind Egg (read my review) was also acclaimed at international festivals and went on to win the Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award at Stuttgart 2013. Okawara was also responsible for this year’s poster art and DVD cover, as well as the opening trailer.
Unless otherwise noted, the film descriptions below are from the DVD booklet. I have updated biographical information and added links to official websites, blogs, and social media accounts.
Open Play, Forgetting Eye
開かれた遊び、忘れる眼 / Akareta Asobi, Wasureru Manako / 2012年 / 8'39"
“The film is made with the Surrealist game ‘exquisite corpse’ as its core methodology. Pictures are. . . drawn repeatedly. After several days [he] forgets the images he has drawn himself. Through the accumulation of coincidences and contiguities the act of ‘combining the forgotten images together’ generates interstices, and finally this play gets its own rhythm and opens itself like a window through with the sunlight streams.”
ALIMO (b. 1977) started makes his own animations while working as a medical cameraman. After a student exchange to India, he developed his own original animation technique that combines painting and animation called “Animation Tableau”. He is a graduate of the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS, 2008). In 2008, ALIMO was honoured at the 11th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art. His graduate film for Geidai (2012), Opening Play, Forgetting Eye, made the Jury Selection at the Japan Media Arts Festival (2012). ALIMO is currently a visiting researcher at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Learn more on Studio Alimo’s official website.
Look at Me!
2012年 / 5'35"
“A high school girl [goes] to an amusement park in the afternoon. . . [and loses] her bear key-holder when she changed key-holders. [Believing himself to have been] abandoned, the bear tries to follow her. Can he really gain her love?”
Senri Iida (飯田千里, b. 1987) is a native of Kanagawa Prefecture. He began making animation as a high school student. Iida did his BA in the Department of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Musashino Art University (2006) followed by his MA in Animation at Geidai (2012). Check out his official website.
A Wind Egg
空の卵 / Kara no Tamago / 2012年 / 10'30"
“The film is about a family, [that] runs a chicken farm. The boy hankers after birds and his little sister keeps an eye on him. The father loves eggs. The mother loves somebody else. In the family fixture, each member stays there with bias or secrets.”
Ryo Okawara (大川原 亮, b. 1986) is from Yokohama. He has a degree in Design from Tama Art University (2009) and completed his MA in Animation at Geidai in 2012. His 2009 Film Animal Dance received an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival (2009). A Wind Egg won Okawara the Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award at Stuttgart 2013. Okawara is a member of CALF Studio. Follow Okawara on twitter and vimeo.
I am alone, walking on the straight road.
まつすぐな道でさみしい / Matsu suguna Michi de Samishii / 2012年 / 5'53"
“I tried to symbolize the emotion of loneliness with the motif of the poet, Taneda Santoka, who has broken the haiku form. Cutout method depicts subtle face expressions of the man who is slightly drunk in the mountain[s]. . .”
Masanori Okamoto (岡本 将徳, b.1985) grew up in Tokyo. He studied Design at Musashino Art University (2008) before pursuing his MA in Animation at Geidai (2012). He has shared samples of his work on youtube or vimeo. He has two tumblr feeds, peamar and marpea, and can also be followed on twitter. Check out his collaboration with the musician Saitone (サイトーン) on Hōhō (ホーホー).
浮世床 / 2012年 / 8'00"
“The film is based on Ukiyodoko, a rakugo storytelling piece. Hanzo, the hero, brags to his friends to make a party go. Human nature remains unchanged. . . We love meaningless conversations among boon companions. Different communication methods are visually tangled in. . . Edo and today. The theme is an ‘interchange between the transient and the immutable.’”
Kazuya Karasawa (唐澤和也, b. 1985) is from Tokyo. He has a BA in Animation from Tokyo Zokei University (2010) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2012). Follow him on twitter.
Sunset Flower Blooming
夕化粧 / Yugesho / 2012年 / 10'19"
“The film is set in China in the 1960s. An old woman cools herself in the garden. The sunset makes the sky orange. Sunset flower starts to bloom. The flower guides her to daydream. The woman dreams [of her] childhood memories and when she was young and beautiful.”
Yuanyuan Hu (胡 嫄嫄/コ・ユェンユェン, b. 1986) is from Nanjing, China. She has a degree in Graphic Design from Nanjing University of the Arts (2009) and an MA in animation from Geidai (2012). She continues to live and work in Yokohama. Sunset Flower Blooming was named to the Jury Selection at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2012.
Spirits from the Night
夜から来た人たち / Yoru kara Kita Hitotachi / 2012年 / 7'35"
“At night, the child sees the sandy figure coming into his room. It lures his stuffed animal away from the shelf and they are gone beyond the hill. Following them to get his stuffed animal back, the child goes into the deep darkness of the night. . .”
Hiroko Satsuma (薩摩 浩子, b.1987) is from Shizuoka. She has a degree in Information Design from Tama Art University (2010) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2012). Follow her on twitter.
かくれん坊 / Kakurenbō / 2012年 / 7'51"
“We covered the area surrounded by [sea] and mountains. Since that day, this town has been in complete darkness. Lights, roads home, a mother and a baby in her womb are hidden in this darkness. This animation depicts the truth hiding behind the facts.”
Keiko Shiraishi (白石 慶子, b. 1985) was born in Tokyo. She graduated from the Department of Moving Images and Performing Arts at Tama Art University in 2008. Upon graduation, she worked at as a CG animator at SUNRISE until 2010 before pursuing her MA in Animation at Geidai (2012). She now works as a freelance animator. Follow her on twitter and check out her official website.
2012年 / 8'20"
“Story of Qs. Three Qs and more make QQQ. QQQ spin and roll. And QQQ transform themselves, spinning. QQQ transform, spinning, rolling, swinging, turning, and traveling.”
YungSung Song (宋 永盛 / ヨンソン・ソン) was born in South Korea and did his undergraduate studies at Musashino Art University (2009). In his first year at Geidai, he made the abstract animated short PART BLUE (2010) and has an online magazine of the same name. Check out Part Blue Magazine (in Japanese / in Korean). Follow Song on vimeo.
The Surface of the Earth
2012年 / 6'03"
“Earth is the place and the established existence. Earth is also a ball of dust, and a capricious object. At the avalanche of time-layer, falling deep down into the ground, you can see the fallacious landscape far from reality. The body recognizes the reality of the world by touching the landscape to regain the reality. It is an adventure between the real and the unreal.”
Sonomi Takada (高田 苑実, b. 1982) was born in Tokyo. She has a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (UAL, 2009) and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai (2012). You can find sample of her works on her official website.
The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop
櫻本箒製作所 / Sakuramoto Hōki Seisakusho / 2012年 / 9'16"
“An old couple live in a Japanese village. The make [brooms] for a living. They have been together. . . and [worked together] for a long time. Recently, the husband [has] noticed [his] wife has had some symptoms of the disease which has caused some obstacles in their work.”
Aya Tsugehata (告畑 綾, b. 1987) was born in Saitama. She has a BA in Information Design from Tama Art University (2010) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2012). The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop made the Jury Selection at the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival (2012).
2012年 / 7'50"
“Red ribbon of [a] double helix is the [bond] to connect the girls; the transmitted touch of. . . soft hands, and the gentle memories only girls can inherit. Those dreamy moments abruptly end and the bodies transform regardless of their intentions. The ‘xx’ gives and takes. It is an inescapable thread of fate. This is a girl’s animation to warn the end of girlfriend to warn the end of girlhood. . . ”
Toyomi Morishita (モリシタ トヨミ) was born in Osaka. She has a degree in Graphic Design from Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design (UAL, 2000) and is also a graduate of the Inter Medium Institute (2005) in Osaka. She completed her MA in Animation at Geidai in 2012. Follow her on twitter.
トマトコンフィ / Tomato Konfi / 2012年 / 5'11"
“There once lived two brothers in a town. The elder lived alone. The younger lived with his parents. They did not get along well. . . They called each other occasionally. The elder one was impatient and emotional and [did] nothing but work. . . One day the elder brother’s face turned into a tomato. . .”
Mayuko Yamakita (山北 麻由子, b. 1986) was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. She has a degree from the Department of Moving Images and Performing Arts at Tama Art University (2010) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2012). Check out samples of her work on youtube and learn more about her on her official website.
就活狂想曲 / Shūkatsu Kyōsōkyoku / 2012年 / 7'27"
“The heroine has been living life as an undergraduate. There is nothing remarkable about her. However, she has noticed there [is] something strange about her friends recently. She learned that they were getting mad about ‘job-hunting’. Without realizing what [it] is, the [heroine also gets] drawn [into] the Nipponese job-hunting swirl.”
Maho Yoshida (吉田 まほ, b.1986) is a native of Tokyo. She did her BA in Design (2010) and her MA in Animation (2012) at Geidai. Follow her on her blog.
First Year Films
Island of Man
人の島 / Hito no Shima /2011年 / ALIMO / ALIMO / 6'32"
“A man dressed in a suit and wearing boots gazes at the beautiful ocean before him. He looks exhausted and gazes at the beautiful ocean before him. He looks exhausted and gazes at the beautiful ocean before him. Until a few days ago, he was endlessly going back and forth between the ocean and the sky. The story gradually trace[s] back into his life.”
From the Dolphin
イルカから / Iruka kara / 2011年 / 有吉 達宏 / Tatsuhiro ARIYOSHI / 2'09"
“The image of dolphins ties together this story.”
2011年 / 飯田 千里 / Senri IIDA / 3'34"
“Depiction of an incident that happened one night. . . as everyone returns to their hometown for the holidays, told from a child’s point of view.”
Fully Cooked for You
おにしめ おたべ / Onishime Otabe / 2011年 / 今林 由佳 / Yuka IMABAYASHI / 3'44"
“A mother making a traditional New Year’s vegetable dish for the family, and a child watching. The ingredients are [anthropomorphic] peas, carrots, burdock root and konjak. Enjoy the dish!”
2011年 / 岡本 将徳 / Masanori OKAMOTO / 2'27"
“BONNIE is something like the wind, and she was hoping that everything would get blown away.”
Ants in the Sky
空のアリ / Sora no ari / 2011年 / 唐澤 和也 / Kazuya KARASAWA / 6'05"
“There are creatures like this. In the sky. An ‘ant’ lost on earth and a man left behind. Hey, listen to the request! The man’s ‘ant gathering’ begins.”
2011年 / 胡 嫄嫄 / Yuanyuan HU / 4'15"
“A young man is drawing sketches of birds in the woods. The spotted pattern of the bird’s wings begins to scatter. He gradually becomes mesmerized by the pattern.”
The Grouse in Snow Mountain
雪山のライチョウ / Yukiyama no Raichō / 2011年 / 薩摩 浩子 / Hiroko SATSUMA / 5'19"
“A man blown by [a] blizzard on Snow Mountain wants to return to his warm home.”
いないいないばあば / Inai inai baa ba / 2011年 / 白石 慶子 / Keiko SHIRAISHI / 5'15"
“The old granny playing peek-a-boo is gone. Instead, a stranger appears and draws closer to the child. Peek-a-boo involves exercising memory, and looking directly at your partner.”
The Life of the Weed
草の一生 / Kusa no isshō / 2011年 / 高田 苑実 / Sonomi TAKADA / 2'53"
“A town flourishes on the sea, and a weed take[s] shelter there. From then on, the weed endlessly repeats its small and harsh life. The weed uses its own body to perform a dance that condenses the things perceived in that town over a lifetime.”
今村商店 / Imamura Shōten / 2011年 / 告畑 綾 / Aya TSUGEHATA / 5'16"
“There is an elderly woman who has run a store in a Japanese town for over sixty years. She marries into the Imamura Store and cares for the shop by herself, as she lived each day as the present.”
2011年 / モリシタ トヨミ / Toyomi MORISHITA / 4'58"
“A girl who loves to dance but has talent. ‘Talent’ is not something to be added on, but rather ‘complements what is lacking’. The important thing is to continually keep the easily wilted ‘flower’ blooming beautifully.”
玉響の夢 / Yamayura no yume / 2011年 / 山北 麻由子 / Mayuko YAMAKITA / 4'01"
“A girl is informed by her doctor that she is pregnant. Surprised by the unexpected announcement, falls into an anguish. The fleeting dream is a despairing dream.”
Al Dente Tango
2011年 / 吉田 まほ / Maho YOSHIDA / 4'08"
“The stage is a fancy restaurant featuring live tango performances. Both the cuisine and the clientele are impeccable, and everyone is fully content. But one customer’s visit disrupts the tranquility.”
Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014