14th Animation Division Critiques

Need for a more fulfilling environment for production

There were 425 entries to the Animation Division including works from overseas. One of the characteristics of this year's entries was that the number of feature length animations such as movies increased, while the number of works in the short animation, TV animation, and Original Video Animation (OVA) genres was about the same as the previous year. There was a slightly higher number of entries from overseas, especially the number from France sharply rising to 56 from 21 last year.
Japan Media Arts Festival only screens the entries, which means that works that are not submitted will not go through the screening process. We hope to see continuous cooperation of those who involved in this festival.
While we hear voices that TV animations are losing their vigor these days, The Tatami Galaxy by director YUASA Masaaki has an overwhelming development of the story backed by dynamic movements and unconventional graphics. It is a new and highly amusing entertaining work with a good plot.
Mai Mai Miracle by director KATABUCHI Sunao and Colorful by director HARA Keiichi were also the masterpieces of this year. In the genre of short animation, works of great variety were entered into the competition from around the globe, which spoke of the many creators behind the works.
There were many works among entries from overseas dealing with social themes, which were produced with subsidies. This may be an indication of the difference in production ability between Japanese and overseas works. For better or worse, Japanese short animations have more personal themes, and it is difficult to find a good arena to take advantage of this feature.
The situation has not changed much since the time we experienced 50 years ago except that artistic short animations are produced independently nowadays. The majority is TV programs for children or TV commercials. Maybe we have seen an increase in the number of promotion videos and web-related works. I wonder if there are any good ideas to change this situation.

Animation Artist
Born in Mie Prefecture in 1941, FURUKAWA worked at TCJ and Kuri Jikken Manga Kobo, then became a freelance panel-manga writer, illustrator and animation creator. He has received numerous prizes, including the Special Jury Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival , the 25th Bungeishunju Comics Award, the Excellence Prize of the Japan Media Arts Festival, and the Medal with Purple Ribbon. He is currently a visiting professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University. Recent literary works include his manga anthology Buru Buru (Bungenko) and a picture book in the Kagayake Shi series, Kangaerunotte Omoshiroi (It's Fun to Think; Akane Shobo, 2008, edited by KOIKE Masayo).