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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Wednesday, October 6, 2004

02:20:30 pm , 463 words, 1173 views     Categories: Mind Game

Japanese Animation Horizons

A new book on the current state of animation in Japan came out in August. It's called Animation no Genzai: Japanese Animation Horizon (sic). It sports an image from Mind Game on the cover, but the coverage of Mind Game is presumably limited to the first section, a discussion of this year's deluge of major new anime films. The rest of the book's 126 pages are devoted to interviews and essays on a range of subjects, from trends in digital technology to independent animators to the state of anime studies overseas. Mind Game's place on the cover of such a book shows that the film is rightly viewed as the vanguard of animation in Japan among scholars over there. Other, more ballyhooed films take a more high-tech but also a more conventional approach, where Mind Game goes in truly new directions with everything that's been done up until now, blending different media in a bold new way, and taking traditional animation to a whole new level that ridicules the myth that 2D animation is dead.

The first revival screening at the Baus Theater was a success, so they've decided to screen the film for another several weeks. The screening was held in the biggest hall in the theater, a 70-seater, and was sold out, with people standing in the aisles. The response to Yuasa's question as to how many had already seen the film revealed the presence of a number of repeat offenders, apparently some on their fourth count. Yuasa and Hosoda made some observations about each others' work, and to add a tempering note to Hosoda's copious praise for his film, Yuasa noted that not everyone felt the same way, and that opinions varied dramatically about the film (though he has often hinted that he himself is truly satisfied with the way the film came out, something directors often are not). He revealed that he himself was an avid film buff, seeing more than 70 films a year in the theaters, but that his own favorite picks rarely overlapped with prevalent opinion, with some of his favorites even being trounced in online reviews. But isn't it like that for any film? I don't even bother to read reviews for some of my favorite films, because I can predict the negative things people are going to say. We all run along different rails and like films for different, unpredictable reasons. It should be interesting to see the reaction to Mind Game because, as Mark Schilling noted in his review, the film seems to sweep aside the sort of critical quibbles that usually divide people. Yuasa said the film was like a work-in-progress: incomplete, a smattering of random parts, assembly required. The essential thing is for everyone to assemble in their mind however they see fit.


1 comment

Ben [Visitor]

Yes, it’s a Japanese book, so you’d have to look on The books I mention here are usually all Japanese.

10/08/04 @ 05:20