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Anime Tamago 2019 Shorts Screened in Ikebukuro

posted on by Kim Morrissy

The Anime Tamago (formerly Anime Mirai) shorts screened at the Ikebukuro HUMAX Cinemas in Tokyo on March 9. As in previous years, the anime shorts train young animators on the job, as part of the Japanese government's Agency of Cultural Affairs' "Young Animator Training Project."

At the screening, the main staff for each short, including the young animators, came onstage to talk about their work. They all emphasized what they learned through the project. In some cases, this was learning how to fuse 2D and 3D animation, which will surely be an important skill for the future. In other cases, it was learning how to preserve the legacy of traditional Japanese anime in the modern anime, such as hand-drawn robot animation.

Through the projects, the animators also gained a strong grasp of the process of animation production, from the initial pitching stage to the compositing and editing. They worked closely with the director and the other main staff instead of only focusing on their own parts. A strong understanding of the entire animation process will surely be useful when these young animators eventually come to direct or lead projects by themselves.

The four shorts in this year's project are below:

Wit Studio

Title: Hello We Go!

Director: Ryouji Masuyama (Blend S, Gurren Lagann Parallel Works)

Producer: Maiko Okada

Story: MechatroWeGo are robots that kids can pilot and operate. Satoru pilots an old WeGo that his grandmother gave to him as a gift. When the kids gather in their secret base to race their WeGos, Satoru can't take the first step. Satoru's classmate Akira invites him to race again. This is a story of boy and his robot, set in a seaside town in the near future.

The staff said that the idea behind this anime was to train the animators to draw 2D robots, which is a dying art these days as the veterans have gotten older, and 3D animation has become more prominent. This short features relatively simple yet appealing robot designs, but the running race gave the animators an opportunity to draw complex movements.

Keica, Griot Groove

Title: Tatakae! Space Attendant Aoi

Director: Kei Yoshimizu (Zumomo to Nupepe)

Producer: Yumiko Yamanaka

Story: In a future where space travel has been made possible, Cetacea Aviation has begun to employ "space attendants" who are skilled in hand-to-hand fighting due combat hijackers who use their own bodies as weapons. Aoi Musashino is one such space attendant, but is unskilled and even calls herself a "clumsy, awkward, but cute turtle." Another space attendant named Yasaki, who has recently been transferred from local to interstellar flights, gets to know a boy named Laika, who says that his songs bring people misfortune.

This is a CG work. The animators said that they felt as if they had learned a great deal about both 2D and 3D animation by participating in this project. They emphasized that being in close communication with the director helped improve their work.

Young animator Okuyama said: “I'd participated in various projects as a newcomer, but this was my first time participating from the start of the project to the end. It was a great learning experience.”

Nippon Animation

Title: Chuck Shimezō

Director: Eiichiro Nishiyama (animation director for Eiga Chibi Maruko-chan: Italia kara Kita Shōnen, Mysterious Joker)

Producer: Hirofumi Yamashita

Story: There is an honorable family of zipper yōkai who will close any zipper if they happen to find it open. Their son Chuck Shimezō is currently in training, but has so far not yet closed a single zipper. One day, he gets to know a boy named Hiroki, who forgot to close the zipper on his coin purse and lost 500 yen. They bond over talk of their nagging mothers. Together, they run away from home, and head to Hiroki's grandfather's place, but they are also stuck with Hiroki's sister Chie.

Young animator Yuki Nakano said that after each time going to the studio to work on the anime, there was “homework” to take home and work on. All of this “homework” was very difficult, but it was very helpful in building her skills.

Flying Ship Studio

Title: Captain Bal

Director: Masanori Numaguchi (Uchi no Oochopus)

Producer: Hiromichi Nakajima

Story: Bal, a poor boy living on an island, gets the idea to rig a makeshift boat, hoist a pirate flag on it, and become a pirate to get rich. He takes his pig friend Bu, his sister Muge, and the giant salamander Kuna as his crew. He plans to do all sorts of devious deeds in his quest to become a pirate, but ends up doing one good thing after another. What will Captain Bal and his crew do?

This is a CG work, but once again the animators found themselves applying both 2D and 3D techniques. They were also happy to be able to participate in all parts of the production process, even going to the voice acting recording sessions. It is more common for animators to work separately from the other parts of production.

This year's selection committee consists of:

  • Kenji Uchida (former president of Sunrise)
  • Seiji Okuda (executive producer for Shochiku)
  • Masao Takiyama (president of Animax Broadcast Japan)
  • Nobuo Tomizawa (Telecom Animation Film animator)
  • Mitsuru Hongo (anime director)
  • Hiroo Maruyama (assistant director at Mainichi Broadcasting)
  • The Japanese government's Agency of Cultural Affairs launched its "Young Animator Training Project" in 2010 with the aim of fostering the growth of domestic animation studios, and tackling the concern that more of the Japanese animation process is being outsourced overseas. The project has spawned such works as Little Witch Academia, Death Billiards (which inspired the Death Parade television anime), and Ongaku Shōjo.


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