22nd Animation Division Critiques

Seeking Stimulation

Many of this year's animated feature films were very co- hesive. The winners of the Excellence Award--Penguin Highway, DRAGON PILOT: Hisone & Masotan and Okko's Inn--reached a high degree of perfection. But I was dis- appointed that few films were as stimulating as The Girl Without Hands. That said, there was so much variety among the animated short films--I really enjoyed those.La Chute, which won the Grand Prize, had an eerie worldview similar to the Jigoku Emaki (Hell Scrolls), and the loose shots ask the viewers what they are looking at and feeling. The strange string music also made me feel like something was off. It was really stimulating.I particularly recommend The Girl Without Hands, the feature film that won the Excellence Award. The depic- tion was very refreshing, and really made me think about what animation is. The simplified images reminded me of the Boy and the World, which won the 20th Excellence Award, but The Girl Without Hands cultivates a sense of unfinished roughness that really struck me. The film uses a minimalist approach in which the outlines are drawn in each frame, and then the picture appears as it moves. These rough and fluid images also reflect the main char- acter's emotions. I would especially like people used to animation full of excess information to see this inspiring film, which has lots of blank space.Among the short animated films, I recommend THE LOST GARDEN. The images reminiscent of a beautiful pic- ture book and the rich imagination presented here create a lovely story that is simple and never strident.Love Me, Fear Me is an animated film that uses clay. While simple, the full range of emotions is expressed skill- fully, and a deep reading of it makes it extend into the passage of time.I was also interested in Blue Flight, whose visual beauty makes it more than just an ordinary story, 32-Rbit, whose collage-like images and music create a chemical reaction that left a real impact, and the New Faces Award-winning Am I a Wolf?, which highlighted incredible drawing ability.DEVILMAN crybaby, a series distributed on the Inter- net, is extremely interesting for its multi-layered mix of human desires, including the kind of erotic and grotesque depictions that probably couldn't be shown on TV. This film is also interesting because it was made by a small group of people using Flash animation.

Visual Director
Born in 1953 in Tokyo Prefecture, NISHIKUBO joined the Waseda University Broadcasting Society in 1972, and joined Tatsunoko Production Company in 1976. After leaving the company in 1979 he worked under the guidance of DEZAKI Osamu. He then became a freelance director for TV and original video animations, films, commercials, promotional videos, and games. He worked as a director for the films Atagoal: Cat's Magical Forest, Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai, and Giovanni's Island; the original video animations Radio City Fantasy and Video Girl Ai; the animated TV series Miyuki, Red Photon Zillion, Legend of the Heavenly Sphere Shurato, and Otogi zoshi; the commercials Where Dreams Come True and NEXT A-Class; and the Yarudora game series. He has also worked as a sequence director in a series of works directed by OSHII Mamoru, such as Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Giovanni's Island has won 15 awards in eight countries, including at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (France), the Fantasia International Film Festival (Canada), the Mainichi Film Awards (Japan), and the Chicago International Children's Film Festival (United States).