12th Animation Division Excellence Award
Animated TV series / Animated series or films released in home-video formats [Japan]
This work depicts a world where it has become possible to compile memory data, and the death of the body does not mean the death of a person. Memories are preserved in a databank. Society is in chaos, with the transfer of bodies, and the trading and stealing of memories widespread. One day, a man awakens from sleep in a destroyed room. The name of the man, who appears to have lost his memory, is KAIBA, and he suffers a series of attacks. This is an ambitious work, which dynamically depicts a battle about memory.
Reason for Award
I could not take off my eyes off this. I found this work irresistibly exciting in the way it brought together a classic visual style and dynamic animations, and colored them with an intensity and freedom exactly suited to the modern age. The artist constructed an unprecedented interpretation of the world. It is also surprising that this work was produced as an animation series for TV, and yet it has the highbrow theme of the polarization of life and death and body and mind, and looks primitive at first glance. The director, Yuasa, has persisted in his quest to create animations free from commercial shackles since the first work he directed, MIND GAME, which won the Grand Prize in the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival, and then KEMONOZUME in 2006. I am very taken with his unyielding stance. If such ambitious animations continue to be produced for and accepted by an adult audience, I would like to see this as a proof of maturity. Also in the hope that the financing and production system of such works will be ongoing, I would like to generously applaud his daring challenge.