24th Entertainment Division Grand Prize
ON-GAKU: OUR SOUND
An animated feature film based on Ongaku to Manga (Music and Manga, Ohta Publishing, 2009) by OHASHI Hiroyuki, a manga artist known for City Lights (Kodansha, 2011-12) and Natsu no Te (Hands of Summer, Gentosha, 2012). The story begins with a group of delinquent students who are absolute beginner musicians forming a band. It has a humorous vibe, created by the dialogue and the offbeat direction, which changes drastically by the dynamic animation at the end. The artist spent about 7.5 years independently making the film, adhering to hand drawings. The film was made by rotoscoping (drawing on live picture), enhancing the presence of OHASHI’s unique characters. Its production employed flexible ideas, such as setting up an outdoor stage to film a live music performance with an audience. The voice acting is also its highlight, including rock singer SAKAMOTO Shintaro as the main character, and the supporting cast (KOMAI Ren, MAENO Tomoya, SERIZAWA Tateto, HIRAIWA Kami, and TAKENAKA Naoto). A simple pursuit of entertainment, the film was well received and had a long run.
Reason for Award
Numerous films have depicted a band’s journey to financial success or cultural failure. Nevertheless, until now, none seem to have succeeded in capturing the uplifting feel when a band makes its first sound—an ineffable moment, like life being breathed in. The fact that the artist spent seven years on storyboarding and hand drawing all on his own is not unrelated to the outcome being a superb entertainment. But it is not inevitable, as many artworks have been created with similar painstaking efforts. In an era with many advanced technologies, it is interesting that this animation produced by the classic rotoscoping technique, not by VFX or AR/VR, most vividly captured an ineffable moment. I am proud to have selected this work as the Grand Prize winner in my last year as a judge. (KAWADA Tom)