22nd Entertainment Division Critiques

Artistic Expres- sion and the Artist’s Desire to Entertain

Works of Entertainment Division take many forms. This explains why so much of entertainment is work that does not fit neatly in other categories, leading to interdisci- plinary chaos. Our policy in judging such a mixed set of works was to judge two specific elements--the intention to entertain the audience and the work in terms of artistic expression. We also focused on originality in terms of the technical approach. Works in which technology is gener- ously used to create incredible results that the viewer does not consciously recognize resonated particularly strongly.This year's Grand Prize-winner, Chico Will Scold You! utilizes computer-graphics technology in a natural way to create a charming character and quality entertainment that is well-suited to a such a broadly popular medium as television broadcasting. Characters with exaggeratedly large heads are often adopted in Japan as an expression of cuteness, but here the technique is transformed with computer-graphics technology, making the character life-size and giving it a novel charm. The show's catch- phrase, "Don't sleep through life!" was nominated for the Buzzword Awards, and the reruns drew an even larger audience that the original broadcast, indicating that the medium of television is not over.Similarly, LINNÉ LENS utilizes AI as technology that goes unnoticed by the user to comfortably revolutionize the way the aquarium and zoo are viewed. Thanks to en- hanced information terminal technology, parts of the app function even without a server connection, implying that as long as technology continues to advance there will be no end of new possibilities for media art. By contrast, the incredible impact of a brute force approach to pre- sentation that is obvious to any viewer is also genuinely impressive. Perfume x Technology presents "Reframe" takes a bold, unpolished approach to create a world all its own, using projection mapping to cast shadows onto panels that move and shift. It may be that no group other than Perfume could pull this off, and that in itself makes this impressive work worth watching.Entries in the Entertainment Division fall into six different categories, through many of the works fall into more than one or alternatively do not fit neatly into any one category. KABUKI-CHO DETECTIVE SEVEN is a type of alternative reality game. However, the underlying concept of effectively using a theatrical style and actual real estate to allow the player to wander the streets of Kabuki-cho corresponds with artistic techniques of representation of space. This is the type of work that I imagine leaves the creator wondering which category to submit in. However, we must provide a framework that can properly evaluate any work that falls within the scope of entertainment, and I welcome con- troversial works that would cause problems for us as jury members.Another work that the jury discussed at great length was TikTok, which was submitted in the app category and not created purely for the purpose of entertainment. Rather, it represents a movement that was quite notable this year, one in where the participants themselves func- tion as content and the entertainment includes that of community. Ultimately, the jury decided that, even when new media is not in itself art, the Japan Media Arts Fes- tival should recognize and promote formats that create cultural scenes that can be used as tools to create enter- tainment art. The creation of new media in the future is indeed something to look forward to.The New Face Awards greatly value the vision of young artists. The potential for future growth from these young artists is clear in work that, though perhaps technically unpolished, is brimming with love of their craft. Live-action is submitted in the video works category, and the artistic vision in two short films was particularly compelling. With its mysterious costumes and non-computer graphic style, WEDNESDAY CAMPANELLA, "The Bamboo Princess" evokes the beauty that is possible when an artist does the most with what is within their means. In Spring, the audi- ence is captivated by the realism of the story and the raw performance of the actor playing the grandfather charac- ter.The festival is sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, and the works focused on Japanese culture created by non-Japanese artists were highly appreciated, not least because they offer guid- ance about submissions in the future. The creator of Pixel Ripped 1989 is a Brazilian woman whose work feels like a tribute to 1980s Japanese video games. Using virtual reality and other elements, she has created a cohesive work that does not feel at all dated, but rather creates a system that seems natural for the present day. Dressed in the cosplay of a game character to promote her work, the artist by all appearances loves not only Japanese games, but Japanese pop culture in its entirety.

ENDO Masanobu
Game Creator and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
ENDO is a pioneer among Japanese game creators. Since the 1980s he has created numerous works in a variety of fields and genres, including arcade games, home video games, PC games, card games, mobile phone applications, and smart phone applications. He is currently working on the development of game-related textbooks and the education of the next generation of game creators, while also active as a leading force in game research in Japan.