Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: April 2005, 16

Saturday, April 16, 2005

08:55:56 pm , 476 words, 1223 views     Categories: Animation

Brush & Ink

Movement (2003) by brush and ink animator Reiko Yokosuka, a retrospective of whose 20 years of work as an independent dubbed The Sound of Wind, Drawn in Ink was shown during a snowstorm over in Sapporo last February 10. Her interesting short for Winter Days, in which she put traditional brush and ink into motion within a book of traditional Japanese paper by photographing the drawing on each page in sequence, made me hungry for more, but this is all I've found. She seems prolific, and each work looks original and appealing. Her work has a real sense of assuredness and technical mastery that places her among the more outstanding independents active today in Japan, though after all this time she still seems relatively unknown, an independent's independent. She handles a small number of lines deftly to hint at the elided object, with a great sense of form and balance and rhythm. If a DVD came out, I'd buy it. Her latest film, animated since she moved to Sapporo a few years ago when her husband was transferred there, was shown two weeks ago at a yearly amateur animation screening.

As one who couldn't get enough of Te Wei's brush and ink animation, I was pleased to see the several minutes of tests done in preparation for Where is Mama (1960) included on the DVD set mentioned here. Though the animation feels slightly tentative, to untrained eyes the quality is still amazingly close to the complete film. It's a real treat to find a film you like suddenly extended by a few minutes. It's a shame for the precious minutes to have been hidden from view all this time. The documentary that was included was informative about the period, though it felt like it could have been moreso. I wanted more technical details about how the actual animation was done. The surprise of the selection was one of his early films. Before he started experimenting with brush and ink animation, he produced Good Friends 好朋友 (1954), done in a completely different style closer to the early Toei Doga films by Yasuji Mori than to anything he did later. The contrast helps to see his talent more clearly, because it throws into relief the common thread. The film is conventional in style and content, but what makes it great is the same close observation of behavior and attention to small psychological details that gives his later films such richness. I haven't seen many animated films that managed to portray children in a way that felt real and convincing the way this film does, and that's a trait he shares with Yasuji Mori, who seems to never have lost what it felt like to be a child.

Sapporo Reijou - brush and ink animation of a different kind, by Hidekichi Shigemoto.

Bloomy Girls - fantastic trance-inducing abstractions blooming around a face. Link via Phil.