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: December 2006, 15

Friday, December 15, 2006

02:47:24 pm , 381 words, 1525 views     Categories: Animation, Misc, Indie, Movie

Tokikake takes the Bunkacho

Among the more notable prizes won by Mind Game was the prestigious grand prize at the Bunkacho's Japan Media Arts Festival in 2004. Mamoru Hosoda's latest film Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The girl who leapt through time) has taken the prize this year at the 2006 edition of the Japan Media Arts Festival. This award is but the latest addition to the film's rapidly growing trophy shelf. One of the other films that won, albeit in another category, is the great music video for Cornelius' Fit Song. You can also see another cool vid by the same director, Koichiro Tsujikawa, for Cornelius' Beep It.

I recently had a chance to watch The Thief and the Cobbler thanks to the restorative efforts of Garrett Gilchrist, who put together a "Recobbled" cut that can be downloaded here. I'd been holding off watching any of the bowlderized versions for years now, hoping a better version would come out, and I'm glad I did. In Garrett's version you can finally fully appreciate the reason for all the superlatives that have been thrown at the project over the years. Even in patchwork form it comes across as an tour-de-force of animation that any fan of animation needs to see. One sequence stands out as being among the most intricately animated and inventive I've ever seen - the destruction of the war machine at the end of the film, which tragically is the section of the film that's in the worst condition. I would love to see this section in pristine quality one day to be able to appreciate all of the maniacal detail that was packed into it. Perhaps my favorite sequence in the film is the chase after the shoe that comes early on, which uses optical illusions to wonderful effect. It actually vaguely reminded me of Masaaki Yuasa's early approach to animation, with lots of freewheeling soaring through a bevy of unexpected tricky ideas and movements, best exemplified by the car racing clip from the Chibi Maruko-chan film. To me it's in these intricately staged sequences that the film really shines, though there is almost not a moment of the original work that isn't interesting. Garrett's commentary is also fascinating listening for those who are interested in learning about the animators who worked on the film.