16th Animation Division Excellence Award
The Life of Budori Gusuko
Animated feature film
SUGII Gisaburo [Japan]
A boy named Budori lives happily with his parents and sister Neri in the beautiful Ihatov Forest. But following a devastating bout of cold weather, Budori suddenly finds himself alone. Deciding to leave the forest, Budori goes to work in Akahige’s marsh land, but not long afterward the crops there are also destroyed by the cold. Wandering aimlessly, Budori eventually arrives in the city of Ihatov. There he meets Doctor Kubo, who helps him get a job at the Volcano Of fice. Budori works diligently and grows strong. But once again the region is attacked by the cold. Thinking to himself, “This sort of thing should never happen twice. There must be some way I can help,” Budori vows to protect his beloved homeland and the people so dear to him. Based on the manga version with cat characters created by MASUMURA Hiroshi , this is a new realization of MIYAZAWA Kenj i’s world.
Reason for Award
This work mobilizes all the special qualities of animation to surmount the daunting challenges of bringing one of MIYAZAWA Kenji’s fairytales to the screen. From the anthropomorphized feline characters, to the rich artwork depicting mountains, fields and forests, to the enchanting sensation of liberating one’s imagination from everyday reality, to the warmly futuristic world of Ihatov, to the fear brilliantly conjured by messengers from the realm of the dead – the film visually arouses the emotions as it aims straight at the heart of the original work. MIYAZAWA based his story on a cold snap that devastated the Tohoku region at the turn of the last century, but the film’s release just after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 shows how relevant it is today. Director SUGII’s work strikes one as a further deepening of his film adaptation of another MIYAZAWA tale, Night on the Galactic Railroad.