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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Thursday, September 23, 2004

03:24:18 pm , 332 words, 1973 views     Categories: Animation

Darger + Studio 4°C's latest

One of the films that opened the VIFF today was a fascinating documentary on the life of Henry Darger entitled In the Realms of the Unreal, after the now-famous recluse's magnum opus, supposedly the longest work of fiction in the world. I managed to make my way through all 2500 pages of The Story of the Stone, but 30,000 pages is asking a bit much. So banzai for the cinema! We now have a handy 80-minute condensation of the novel and man. I more or less knew the basics of his life story before seeing the film, but as a film it was a truly satisfying experience. Disturbing, yes, but dramatically presented, well-rounded and moving. Not just a documentary, but a fascinating narrative that makes interesting use of animation to bring Darger's pictures to life, weaving between his mad fantasy world and the all too dreary and depressing life from which it sprang.

On a different note, Studio 4°C yesterday announced that their next project will be a TV series entitled Kimagure Robot (Capricious Robot) consisting of adaptations of the short-short stories of famous sci-fi writer Shin'ichi Hoshi. Each episode will be two minutes long, and Seiichi Yamamoto will be providing the music. The first ten episodes will be made available for free on Yahoo! Japan, but the series will continue thereafter, and the studio hopes to be able to make at least 100 episodes - possibly even 200, depending on the response. After the first ten episodes, the rest of the episodes will be produced not only by 4°C but also by various artists from around the world, so that the series is in fact intended to eventually become a sort of showcase of a variety of animation techniques and styles, like a sci-fi version of Nihon Mukashibanashi. With most new anime projects increasingly stale and inbred, here is one that actually attempts to face the world and do something daring and original. It sounds extremely promising, so it's worth looking forward to.


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