18th Animation Division Critiques
The Evolution of Animation Technology and Reflections on Individual Expression
This year's festival brought together rich talent in animated feature films, TV series, and short films, reconfirming the depth of animation expression, while also reminding us of the difficulty of forging new ground in the medium. With the Japanese works the difference between professional and amateur was evenly balanced, and they shared a somewhat similar character. I felt that this is related to how the world has become closer and the borders between countries have disappeared. However, while I could recognize that animated short film is a field of expression capable of exhibiting something unique, the year as a whole seemed to lack punch in terms of the diversity of expression. In the age when the individual can use CGI and when the viewer can easily see animation and video works all over the Web, how can we elicit reflection and empathy from the viewer in regard to theme and creative form? This is a dilemma that arises in any age and field whenever you aspire to express something, and yet I could feel through the works that we still need to consider this more deeply and challenge creativity.
This year's Grand Prize-winner, The Wound, richly ponders in an original style the theme of the dialogue with one's own Self as it exists in humanity, a subject pioneers have long attempted. It is a superb example of how the key to unlock new doors of expression often lies within reach. It's not because everything has been tried. It's about how to refine things. How to put what only you can feel into a form and convey it? I want to train the eye to refine creativity, the root of artistic expression. Personally, I felt that this year's "limited animation" works such as KILL la KILL, Crayon Shinchan: Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes Back, and PING PONG, were enjoyable and had the appeal of expression that can only be found in animation's verve and, in a good sense, its reckless techniques of direction.