18th Animation Division Critiques
Devoting Yourself to a Rich Fatigue
This was something that obsessed me during the judging and still now, after it is over. What is the role for television animation in Japan? And also, what does it contribute? This was caused by my being in charge of judging this year's animated feature film/animated TV series/original video animation category, but it seemed that many of the entries had their origins in animated TV series. In my opinion, the significance of Japanese animation drastically changed before and after 1963. There is no need to set this down here but 1963 saw the first broadcast of the 30-minute animated TV series Astro Boy. Prior to this, animation was just animation in Japan. There were many excellent works. However, with the birth of Astro Boy, Japanese animation became something decisively different to its global counterparts. It was like the Cambrian explosion of anime. We have the label Japanimation, though its interpretations are various. For me, it means a diversity that you cannot see elsewhere in the world. There are indeed extreme robot action animations, but there is also genuine children's literature too. There is science fiction and fantasy, but also school sports stories, history and magic, otaku animation... Something for everyone. All manner of genre are fighting for viewers. Once established genres are tempered by fecund audiences, their quality improved as production continues. This seems to be something surprisingly rare in the rest of the world. Looking back at the winners for this year's animated feature films/animated TV series/original video animation entries, I cannot help but sense this even more acutely. And then turning to the animated short films entries, I was also astonished by the richness of the artistry and the level of perfection.