One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.
The latest episode of Toco Toco TV is definitely the weirdest one I’ve watched yet, featuring game creator Yoko Taro (Drakengard, Nier). It’s a fantastic episode, and fits Taro’s personality perfectly — from the strange scenes at home (pictured) to him typing nonsense on a computer at the studio (“I can’t see the cursor,” over and over again). I’d also love to visit that pinball place in Osaka. Anne has outdone herself on this one, and I can’t wait for the next episode, which will focus on Editmode, the company behind The King of Games clothing line.
Anne Ferrero is one of my favorite creators of video content (Branching Paths, Toco Toco TV) and she has just launched yet another series you can watch on YouTube called The Manga Concierge. As the title suggests, each episode takes a look at a few manga series. The first episode is themed on games, and includes the titles Banjo no Polaris (about chess), Final Re:Quest (inspired by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, with art that looks like an 8-bit game), and Gutshot (about poker).
Here’s a beautiful little short (wish it was longer) about visiting manga creator Takao Yaguchi (Tsurikichi Sanpei) in his hometown of Yokote, in Akita prefecture. It was in part produced by Anne Ferrero (Branching Paths, Toco Toco TV).
I haven’t posted about Toco Toco recently, but it continues to be one of my favorite web series, and so let me remind you that you should really check it out if you’re on the lookout for a beautifully produced series of documentary shorts covering Tokyo creatives. The last 3 episodes cover accessory designer KAE, fashion designer Nukeme, and animator ShiShi Yamazaki (pictured). And here’s also a reminder that director Anne Ferrero is also behind this year’s excellent feature documentary about the Japanese indie game scene, Branching Paths.
Toco Toco is an interview video series directed by Anne Ferrero (who also directed the fantastic Branching Paths documentary), and the latest episode features Guilty Gear director Daisuke Ishiwatari. The series was recently re-launched and currently focuses on game creators — the previous episode focused on Suda51.
This is a post to celebrate the release of the Branching Paths documentary, which I just love so damn much.
Go buy it here.
So what’s this Branching Paths thing all about then? It’s a just-released documentary directed by Anne Ferrero that takes a look at the growing indie gaming scene in Japan. Unlike in the west, where indies have enjoyed quite a bit of success over the past 7-8 years, Japan is still in the early stages of an indie revolution, and Branching Paths does a fantastic job of illustrating what this nascent movement is looking like. Even better, it’s beautifully shot, and so also does a terrific job of acting as a visual tour of Japan from the perspective of games and the people who power that space.
But for me, it goes deeper. Seeing this now, after being back in Canada for close to a year and a half, it reminded me of a world I left behind. The film is packed to the gills with interviews of people I love and call friends, and so not only did it serve as a nostalgic reminder of all those people that I don’t get to hang out with anymore, but also of the spaces and events that I cared about when I was there (Picotachi, Tokyo Indies, BitSummit, Tokyo Game Show).
It even reminded me of PauseTalk, as the first time I heard about this project was from Anne, the director, who made a few visits to my events.
I love that the very early stages of an indie scene that I saw while I was in Tokyo has continued to grow, and is at a point now where I think there’s no turning back – we’re in for a lot of new and fun gaming experiences from Japan, directly from the minds of of a whole bunch of interesting creators.
That’s something to be super happy and excited about.