I haven’t had a chance to dig into these yet, but the Film Center at Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art has posted 64 classic shorts — basically, examples from the birth of animation in Japan — online. More details in this article from The Hollywood Reporter.
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.
Following on my 80s anime playlist, I re-watched the two Daicon shorts, which I still find to be fantastic, especially the second one. These are animated shorts that were created for two conventions — Daicon III and IV — and have never been released commercially since they liberally borrow from all sorts of famous properties. Daicon IV is especially glorious, with its use of ELO’s “Twilight,” and was created by a who’s who of now famous anime directors — it was also the inspiration for the opening to the Train Man (Densha Otoko) series. Here are versions on YouTube: Daicon III & Daicon IV.
I just watched a fantastic collection of animated shorts called Ani-Kuri 15. Produced for NHK back in 2007-2008, it’s comprised of 15 1-minute shorts each directed by some of the top names in the animation field, including Kon Satoshi (pictured), Mamoru Oshii, and Makoto Shinkai (in fact, it’s while searching for works by Shinkai that I came across this project). Just a fantastic collection, and incredibly imaginative.
After watching Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second film, I followed it up with this 6-minute short. Like with 5 Centimeters, it incorporates a hyper-real world, beautiful scenery and colors, all in a fun little near-future tale of a woman dealing with growing up and the relationship she maintains with her father. I recommend watching this as well.
This is one of the best things I’ve seen from Disney in forever. Such a fantastic collection of shorts, and it just made me realize how much I wish we got more things like this – not movies, not TV shows, but just shorts that allow for interesting bursts of creativity. Also, it makes me long for the days of 2D animation. Of all the shorts included here, the two weakest are the Tangled and Frozen ones, and the CG-animated shorts that do work the best are the ones that are made to look like traditional animation (like the absolutely fantastic “Paperman,” pictured above). It’s also a reminder that behind the giant conglomerate that is now Disney, there’s still an amazing tradition of animation that hasn’t completely disappeared. Can’t recommend this enough.