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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Friday, January 18, 2008

06:50:44 pm , 516 words, 1795 views     Categories: Animation, Shinya Ohira

Animation from father to child

In most cases, I suppose, the time eventually comes in an animator's life when he or she becomes a parent. I can think of at least one case of a great piece of animation having been produced as a result of the conjunction of newfound fatherhood and artistic brilliance - Panda Kopanda. It's a film that seems soaked in gentle paternal love. I'm sure there must be other instances. A film I've been looking forward to for quite some time now is apparently another such instance - Wanwa, the new short by Shinya Ohira to be included in Genius Party 2. When Ohira was asked to participate in the project three or four years ago, he apparently came up with the idea for this story, about a young boy and his puppy, because he wanted to create a film he could watch with his son, who was then 2-3 years old.

I've seen some images from the film in a recent issue of Animation Note, and it's truly stunning stuff that has little to do with anime and everything to do with great animated art. Ohira is creating the backgrounds himself in addition to doing all the animation. He's not only drawing but also gluing origami paper and string and other assorted materials directly onto the paper to create a very rich and beautiful texture. Sections of animation are even being animated using crayons. The crayoned keys will be inbetweened in a conventional manner, however, and not with crayons. The film will be made using many of the same materials that might be littered around the house of some pint-sized Picasso, in other words, extending the thematic underpinning to the materials used to make the film. It's an approach that's unusual for a studio production, to say the least. I can only say that each of the individual images he has created are of stunning beauty and seem like they would function just as well framed on a wall as photographed in sequence. Ohira continues to go to that next level with his art, and this will no doubt be his summum opus, and then some, with his unmistakable sensibility molding every parameter of the screen in a way we've never seen before.

Brother in arms Shinji Hashimoto, meanwhile, has just published a delightful picture book for small children, no less. The title can be roughly translated as Yucchu and Meppi in the Starry Playground. I can't comment on whether Hashimoto finds himself in the same situation, but it's interesting to see these two great 'realistic' animators suddenly take a left turn to create a piece for small children. As in the case of Wanwa, however, there is no question of stylistic dumbing down. The picture book is delightfully bizarre and abstract, with cute but slightly disconcerting scribbly animal characters of mysterious species zooming around in adventures in the sky. The style of drawing channels Hashimoto's very identifiable meandering line through the mind of a child, as it were, and does a remarkable job of creating a style that has the unforced authenticity of a child's drawings.

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4 comments

manuloz
manuloz [Visitor]  

It seems we have the same timing. I scanned those picture from the Animation Note. You can check them here :

http://www.manganimation.net/news/?p=278

and thx for the additionnal info ^^

01/19/08 @ 01:01
Benjamin Sanders
Benjamin Sanders [Visitor]  

Those images look absolutely amazing, thanks for posting them Manuloz.

Ohira is on a different planet it seems to the rest of the animation world, and it’s just brilliant. I can’t wait to see the film when it comes out.

Is this Animation Note magazine easy to buy then and if so where can it be purchased?

01/19/08 @ 03:59
Random person
Random person [Visitor]  

I don’t know about Ohira being on a different planet from the rest of the animation world, but in terms of commercial anime that’s for sure. Those images were fantastic, manuloz. I was instantly bowled over by the background shown.

Animation Note is not a particularly obscure magazine, I think, because I have seen a few copies of it lying around in Kinokuniya with the other usual anime mags. And now I absolutely have to get this one, despite those sounds of my wallet protesting…

01/19/08 @ 06:02
Benjamin Sanders
Benjamin Sanders [Visitor]  

True, I was really meaning the rest of the anime world, but my enthusiasm got the better of me.

Having said that, I think graphically speaking at least there are few people in the wider world of independent animation producing such interesting and unique work.

01/19/08 @ 06:29