21st Animation Division Critiques

Ensuring Ex- pressiveness in Animated Films

This is the first year that I have participated in the festi- val as a juror, so I cannot make simple comparisons, but my frank opinion after screening the submitted works is that overall there is a sense of decadence. This is because many of the works had a motif of loneliness and despair, and there were a few works that had ended without leaving any hope at all. I'm not sure whether this mirrors a society that senses a restlessness in the air. Representational art reflects the atmosphere of its time, and while it is fine to reflect trends, even the settings resembled each other, and I was left feeling dissatis- fied with the diversity of the works. I'd like to see these works take a wider range of starting points.In this regard, In This Corner of the World was bril- liant. The viewer's own experience will change the way in which he/she perceives this film, but I think that this was done on purpose. Despite this, all viewers will ar- rive at the same main theme. The same can be said for Night is Short, Walk on Girl. It did not win an award because it was directed by the same director as Lu over the wall, but it is an impressive film with a wide entry point but narrow depth.I also felt that many of the animated films relied on their pictures, perhaps because the sophistication of digital technology in recent years has enabled artists to create pretty pictures and powerful cuts. This is not just the case with the entrants in this festival, nor the case with the latest animated films. I include myself in this remonstration, but I am always worried that the expres- sive ability of animation overall is declining every year.For this reason, I was happy to see works such as The Great Passage, MADE IN ABYSS, and Your Voice -KIMIKOE-, which are conventional animated films with tight productions. I was also drawn to works such as Colorful Ninja Iromaki, which are aimed at children but are quite strong. COCOLORS, which depicts its drama without ever showing the characters' expressions, was also impressive. I hope that works like these will gain an even wider audience. It is with that hope that I recom- mended these films.

UDA Kounosuke
Animation Director
Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1966, UDA graduated from the Animation Department of Tokyo Design Academy. Starting off as an assistant director trainee in the feature animation film Transformers: The Movie in 1986, he became the assistant director and production assistant of the TV anima- tion Transformers: The Headmasters in 1987, and has since directed many Toei Animation lms including SAILOR MOON and YOUNG KINDAICHI'S CASE BOOK. He also directed several TV animations and animated feature lms including Galaxy Kickoff, GALAXY EX- PRESS 999 Eternal Fantasy, ONE PIECE THE MOVIE, Rainbow Fireflies (a Jury Selection of the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival) and Onagawa Chuu Basuke Bu: 5-nin no Natsu (The Summer of the Five Members of Onagawa Junior High School Basketball Team).