TamaGra Animation (2012)

Categorization

An annual showcase of student films from Tama Art University’s Department of Graphic Design (TamaGra) under Prof. Nomura Tatsutoshi, who got the job in 2012.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture series

Entry:

“Cycle” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Matrioshka animals.

Commentary

Pretty. It reminds me of Pokemon-style worldbuilding for cognitive simplicity, but the water colours obviously required a lot of effort.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Drop” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A little fish imitates the clutter on the ocean floor.

Commentary

Not nearly as jazzy as the director’s “Garden” (2012).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Garden” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Mostly arthropods.

Commentary

Vibrant, fluid, beautiful and engaging. Norman McLaren would have loved it.

References here: “Drop” (2012).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Internal Organs University” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse. Paper cut-out animation.

Subject

Anthropomorphic internal organs usurp their own kind in sleeping humans.

Commentary

The sun prefigures the later memetic Gritty the mascot.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Love-Hate Relationship” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

A bit lighter than Igor Kovalyov, but also more poorly made. A bad case of strobing water-colour backgrounds.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Monocyclic Flower” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A mad bike race through town.

Commentary

The combination of water colours and vector animation is simplistic but effective.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“New Tokyo Ondo” (2012)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A man and a girl find a coin worth a fortune in the desert outside New Tokyo. Maybe they go to the movies.

Commentary

It holds my attention, but the flat-colour MS-Paint-style animation is pretty annoying. For a student film it’s very much like an uncommonly high-effort post in an amateur animation forum, down to the director’s pseudonym, ぬQ.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Airy Me” (2013) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

It looks like (lightly coloured) draft animation, which is an interesting look.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Anal Juke” (2013) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Lo-fi flat-colour cel-style grotesquerie.

References here: “Summer’s Puke is Winter’s Delight” (2016).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Popping, Mixing” (2013)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse.

Commentary

Like Igor Kovalyov with the benefit of digital composition, but with even less storytelling.

References here: “Waiter” (2013).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Someday” (2013)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A bulldog man’s everyday life in a near-monochrome world.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Tayutaum” (2013)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

Professional and mainstream traits, as far as the character design and cel-style animation go, but there’s no substance to it.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Waiter” (2013)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A three-headed man hits his coffe cup with a baseball bat. Later, there are more of the man, hitting itself. Some other people appear to have soft-boiled eggs for their single heads.

Commentary

Like the animator’s “Popping, Mixing” (2013), it makes me think of Igor Kovalyov. This one is even dim and sinister like early Kovalyov. The flickering dirt is coarsely grained, not the natural byproduct of the animator’s style but an affectation.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Yokosobokudesu Selection” (2013)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Children with rosy cheeks and knees dance to simple songs.

Commentary

A slightly weirder and more interesting version of common toddler programming. The base of the title, 「ようこそぼくです」, means “Welcome; it’s me”.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“A Friend in the Memories” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Paper cut-out animation over scale-model backdrops.

Subject

Anthropomorphic animals deal with ethnic strife and bullying in what looks like developing Africa. A brittle friendship develops across preconceived lines.

Commentary

The two species/races/breeds look very similar, but perhaps that’s the point. It’s clearly made with a lot of emotional intelligence, shining through the somewhat crude scripting and model work.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Balloon Vendor and Weeping Girl” (2016)

Entry:

“Bonkei: Miniature Garden” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

An old man waters his miniature garden. A rock in it comes alive. At night the old man dreams of sitting in his bonsai and looking at the moon with the living rock, like the Totoros.

Commentary

Roughly in the style of My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999). The visuals are carefully crafted and it’s quite relaxing, but the characters are weak and the story is non-existent. Prefer the similar “Ohana & Osora” (2016).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Drowsily” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Playing with fire.

Commentary

Poor anatomy.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Gimme Milk” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A little honey bee is jealous of its newborn sibling. They have to share the mother’s milk.

Commentary

Drawn in a set of distinct visual styles that follow the plot well, such as it is. Also, the bees have hexagonal TV and hexagonal mirrors; this is good.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Illuminate” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

Points of light discover a forest around them at night.

Commentary

A neat illustration of mostly basic ideas about animation as a medium.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“In the Forest” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse animation.

Subject

The monkeys keep pelting the white troll with rocks because it kills everything it touches. So lonely.

Commentary

Good concepts. The animation is well conceived but the execution is flawed, both in revealing the fruit baby and in the numinous climax.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Moment of Truth” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

A large amount of watercolour paintings tell a broken, evidently symbolic story of a flower-faced red deer woman and a blue man who are both birds.

References here: “Tan: The Dream of a Young Actor” (2016).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Ohana & Osora” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Subject

A pink bunny tends a sprout in the last days of winter.

Commentary

Neat. Anthropomorphic A Star Is Born (1937) for toddlers, and a meditation on fragility.

References here: “Bonkei: Miniature Garden” (2016).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Oldman Youngman” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse cut-out animation.

Subject

Grandpa has to take care of the baby until it’s taking care of him.

Commentary

Neatly composed and completely derivative.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Summer’s Puke is Winter’s Delight” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Pop-art psychedelia.

Subject

Food, vomit, feces, semen.

Commentary

It’s got an inkling of an idea beyond the mere grotesquerie: A high-density meditation on broken relationships with the body. This is an improvement over the animator’s previous “Anal Juke” (2013). Both are competently composed.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Tan: The Dream of a Young Actor” (2016)

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

More coherent than “Moment of Truth” (2016) but not coherent enough and visually less accomplished.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Feed” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse animation.

Subject

Food preparation and masked yin-yang bears counting trees.

Commentary

Meditative.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“Kaijū Bath” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Arthouse riff on pop culture.

Subject

A clay-flute-headed man pukes at the taste of celery.

Commentary

Fine craftsmanship: Simple colours, highly detailed line-art backgrounds with lots of tiny gags like “Yamadayama Whiskey”. The story is predictably nonsensical in a wholesome sort of way.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture

Entry:

“So Near Yet So Far” (2016) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Commentary

Like one of Norman McLaren’s abstract musical shorts but with an excess of Gaussian blur filtering.

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture