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Dam Keeper Animated Short Series Airs on NHK

posted on by Karen Ressler

NHK announced last week that its NHK-E network will air Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems (Pig: Oka no Ue no Dam Keeper or "Pig: The Dam Keeper at the Top of the Hill"), the series of animated shorts based on Tonko House's Oscar-nominated short film "The Dam Keeper." The series began its broadcast on Friday.

Hulu Japan produced the series, first announced under the title "Dam Keeper no Nakama-tachi" (The Dam Keeper's Friends). It debuted at the Short Shorts Film Festival event in Tokyo in June, and began streaming on Hulu Japan in August. The animation has ten 5-minute episodes.

Tonko House describes the story:

Pig lives at the top of a hill in a town surrounded by a destructive, dark cloud. Before Pig's father leaves to find a solution to the cloud, he builds Pig a small wooden dam to protect him and the town. The dam's windmill keeps the cloud at bay, and Pig now has the responsibility to care for the dam. Young and alone, Pig finds love and family through his friendship with Fox, and continues to care for the townsfolk in a variety of ways. However, Pig struggles with the absence of his father, and his desire to search for his father competes with his need to keep the town safe.

Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi (Hayao Miyazaki's nephew-in-law) and Robert Kondo, both former Pixar art directors, founded Tonko House in 2014 and debuted the 18-minute "The Dam Keeper" film the same year. Tonko House is partnering with Fox Animation for a feature-length version.

Former Pixar animator Erick Oh directed the series of shorts at Tonko House's headquarters in Berkeley, California. Oh previously supervised animation for the original short film, and left Pixar to join Tonko House in September.

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