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, December 15, 2006 ›

02:47:24 pm , 381 words, 1495 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.

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3 comments

Régis
Régis [Visitor]

Hi Ben,

Thank you so much for this post! I checked out both of the Cornelius’s videos and was amazed. These are beautiful films and so engaging as well. It’s great to see work that deals with the things we interact in our daily lives and gives them new meaning. Both videos really reminded me of the PS2 game Katamari Damacy. As for Tokikake, I hope it appears somewhere in this side of the world. I’m glad Mamoru Hosoda is receiving more recognition outside of animation circles (or so we hope.)

12/15/06 @ 15:12
Ben [Member]  

Oops, I just realize my links were wrong in this post. I had mistakenly liked Tone Twilight Zone when I meant to link Beep It, but the point is moot since both are equally awesome. Fit Song is a little more sophisticated, but I really enjoyed exactly what you noted about Tone Twilight Zone, that simple idea of taking a stroll around the landscape of everyday objects that surround us.

12/15/06 @ 15:39
Justin Sevakis
Justin Sevakis [Visitor]

Dying to see Tokikake. Saw a little bit at the Kadokawa suite at this year’s AFM. (twitch)

I did see that reconstructed version of the Thief and the Cobbler a few months ago. It’s good – the animation is nothing short of spellbinding. And yet, had it been released that way it would have still tanked. The narrative is very slow, meandering and all-over-the-place. Since it’s essentially an animator that did the writing and directing as well (without a strong producer to reign him in), I can’t say I’m surprised he put visuals over storytelling.

Then again, it WAS reconstructed from a rough cut, so it might not be quite fair. Cheers to Garrett for all of his effort – his restoration was phenomenal.

12/16/06 @ 17:30