Studio 4°C Animates Short About Kanji Aptitude Test

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Short features mysterious boy fighting "Unknown" creatures

The official Youtube channel of the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Public Interest Foundation (Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei Kyōkai) began streaming an anime short by Studio 4°C titled "Chiryokumaru" on Monday to promote the Japan Kanji Aptitude Test (Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei, or "Kanken").

The short centers on a mysterious boy who fights creatures called "Unknowns" born from people's fear and uncertainty over what they don't know. He fights them with the help of an energy charger in his back, but runs out of energy at a critical moment. But remembering the kanji allows him to recharge and defeat the Unknowns.

The "Kanken" tests an individual's knowledge of kanji, the Chinese characters that form part of the Japanese writing system. The test has 12 levels, with the last two being so difficult that fewer than 2000 people take it every year, and fewer than 15% pass. The highest level of the test judges, among other categories, the individual's ability to recognize and relate ancient kanji forms to modern ones. The short features some of these ancient forms, including oracle bone script, "kinbuntai," and seal script, which are all forms of writing that were commonly in use in China from 2000-1000 BC (variants of seal script are still used decoratively today).

Takahiro Tanaka (UTOPA, Toukiden 2) directed the short, and also wrote the script and drew the character designs. Akiko Saito (UTOPA, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King) was the CG director. Osamu Hasada (UTOPA, Toukiden 2) was the art director, while Kumiko Naruke (Harmony, UTOPA) was in charge of color design. Kanako Takeuchi (UTOPA, Toukiden 2) was in charge of checking in-between animation.

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