21st Animation Division Critiques

The Appeal of Standard Craftsmanship

This year's feature animation seems to fit more eas- ily into the standard framework than last year's works. The works we judged this year reaffirmed the positive aspects of standard craftsmanship, such as the film In This Corner of the World and the TV animation The Great Passage.In particular, In This Corner of the World used or- thodox methods to quietly depict the life of its main character, giving the movie a universal flavor. The sim- ple film production and the voice performance for the main character by Non also fit the work perfectly.The other Grand Prize winner, Lu over the wall, was quite a contrast. The dramatic story line and vibrant characters, music that harnessed the story, and unique flashback scenes make for a film that packs in a full range of interesting elements that is only possible in animation.The two Excellent Award winners that I would most like to recommend this year are Harmonia feat. Makoto and COCOLORS.Harmonia feat. Makoto artfully integrates a free- wheeling concept with the music and demonstrates the remarkable feats possible with animation. The images that bounce out of the screen and the beautiful coloring make for a film full of life.COCOLORS is particularly impressive for its ex- pression, making full use of computer graphics and its contemporary themes. The film's use of characters whose faces we cannot see to depict a sense of gloom and the subsequent release from this despair, using pictures to show a world with no color, the realistic movements of the characters, and the consist outlines of the drawing really made me hopeful for future CG works.I was also very happy with From the Same Thread, which skillfully combines images of thread with sound, and O Matko!, which uses line drawings and shade to express the complex relationship between parent and child. I was also impressed with the boldness of the short film Ugly, which was memorable for its unique form depicted using stray cats and its fascinating world view.

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).