Yuasa Masaaki, the director of Mind Game
, has been awarded the Noburoh Ohfuji Award for commercial animation at the 2004 Mainichi Film Awards.Makoto Shinkai
also won an Ohfuji award for independant animation with The Place Promised in Our Early Days
The Noburoh Ohfuji award is one of the most prestigious awards that a Japanese animator can hope to win. The Ohfuji Prize focuses on the skillfulness of the animation technology used in each film and not the cultural aspects or the nature of its vision. The award is named in honor of Noburoh Ohfuji, a Japanese animator who won an award at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival for his short animation "Whale." The award was first given out in 1962 when it was won by Osamu Tezuka
's Aru Machikado no Monogatari
. Other Ohfuji winners include Night on the Galactic Railroad
, Millennium Actress
The Ohfuji award is given in two categories, one for commercial animation, and the other for independant short films. Originally there was no category split and the award always went to independant animators, but in 1979 Hayao Miyazaki
won the award with Castle of Cagliostro
, the first time a commercial film took the award. Subsequently, as Studio Ghibli
films won the award year after year, it was split into two categories, once again giving independant animators a chance to be recognized.
The Mainichi Film competition is in its 59th year. The Mainichi Film Competition, now in its 59th year, is held annually and sponsored by news organizations and publishing companies in order to give commendations to notable achievements in literary works and movies.
The audience award, voted on by the competition's general audience, selected Howl's Moving Castle
the best Japanese movie overall, not just in the animation category.