Japan Media Arts Festival Overseas Promotion

Screening Program

Inspired and Audacious: Women Creators in Japanese Animation

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The program showcases nine works, from distinctive short films, heartwarming feature films, and innovative TV animations to energetic music videos, all created by inspiring and audacious women creators in Japan. We have compiled their works into a single collection of female creators making waves in Japan, including Award-winning works at the Japan Media Arts Festival.

The Heike Story describes the glory and decline of a samurai clan. A Bite of Bone shares the ritual of biting bones after cremation. I’m Late, a piece showing how missing periods can bring out all sorts of emotions in people. Looking for Magical Doremi, a film based on an anime series for girls.

Enjoy the beautiful, adventurous, quirky, bold, relatable, and diverse world in their works.

Program title: “Inspired and Audacious: Women Creators in Japanese Animation”
Curator: OKAMOTO Mitsuko (Producer / Vice President, Tokyo University of the Arts / Professor, Department of Animation, Postgraduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts) / SEKI Hiromi (Producer, TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD.) / WAKAMI Arisa (Animation Artist / Associate Professor, Tokyo Zokei University)
Production: Japan Media Arts Festival Overseas Promotion
Film length: 1h14m09s
copyright: © 2022 Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan All Rights Reserved.

Looking for Magical Doremi (Official Trailer)

SATO Junichi, KAMATANI Haruka

2021 / Animated Feature Film / 0:91:00(0:06:00)
25th JMAF Animation Division Jury Selection

©Toei / Toei Animation

University student NAGASE Sora living in Nagoya wants to become a teacher but lacks confidence and is confused about his career path. YOSHIZUKI Mire returns to Japan from abroad, gets the job she wanted in Tokyo as an office worker, but faces difficulties in fitting in. Part-timer KAWAYATSU Reica of Onomichi is saving up money for her dream of going to college, but her loser boyfriend messes her life up. They have nothing in common, from age, personality, to place of residence, but they all can’t see the future that they have envisioned and are deeply lost in life! Somehow Magical Doremi brings them together?! After their fateful encounter at the Maho Dou (Magic Hall), a western-style building in Kamakura where witch’s apprentices used to gather, the three set out on a journey to Hida-Takayama, Kyoto, and Nara, all the places associated with Magical Doremi! The three spend an irreplaceable time laughing, crying, and supporting each other, realizing that Doremi and her friends have always been with them.

Original Story: TODO Izumi
Director: SATO Junichi / KAMATANI Haruka
Screenplay: KURIYMA Midori
Music: OKU Keiichi
Character Designs / General Animation Director: UMAKOSHI Yoshihiko
Animation Directors: NAKAMURA Shoko / ISHINO Satoshi / SATO Masayuki / BABA Mitsuko/ NISHII Terumi / URAGAMI Takayuki
Storyboards: KAMATANI Haruka / SATO Junichi / IGARASHI Takuya / TANI Azuma
Production Manager: MURAKAMI Akihiro

Anxious Body

MIZUSHIRI Yoriko

2021 / Animated Short Film / 0:05:47
25th JMAF Animation Division Jury Selections

©MIYU Productions, New Deer, Yoriko Mizushiri

Living things, artificial things, geometry shapes, and lines. When these different things collide, a new direction is born.

Animation: MIZUSHIRI Yoriko
Scenario, Script: MIZUSHIRI Yoriko
Set: MIZUSHIRI Yoriko
Image: MIZUSHIRI Yoriko
Film editor: MIZUSHIRI Yoriko
Mix: ONO Seigen
Soundtrack: Yuka C. HONDA
Production Company: Miyu Productions
Co-Production Company: New Deer

Yushi no Ko (“A Child of Yushi”)

ISSHIKI Azuru

2009 / Animated Short Film / 0:02:35

©Azuru Isshiki

The Japanese word “yushi” means “traveler” or “passenger”. The name is symbolic, comprising the Chinese character meaning “to swim” or “to play”.
Yushi no Ko (“A Child of Yushi”) is a film about a girl who oscillates playfully between her child and adult form in an abstract world.

Director and Animation: ISSHIKI Azuru
Music: SHIMA Ken
Digital support: KUTSUZAWA Gen / TAKAHASHI Hiroshi
Special thanks: YUZAWA Haruki / YUZAWA Ari / WADA Toshikatsu

Pokémon Special Music Video 「GOTCHA!」

MATSUMOTO Rie

2020 / Music Video / 0:03:14

©2022 Pokémon.
©1995-2022 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.

A collaboration between Pokémon, Bump of Chicken and animation studio Bones Inc., GOTCHA! is a special animated music video, directed by MATSUMOTO Rie, for the song “Acacia” written by rock band Bump of Chicken. The video features all the main characters, rivals and champions who appeared in the long-running series, reenacting many of the battles and character relationships that unfolded within the game. The most veteran of Pokémon fans are left the most moved by this animation, which attracted massive attention upon its release. With cutting-edge expression owed to its narrative’s kinetic pace and experimental production, this animation aspired to reboot Pokémon’s original representation.
The video was released on the official Pokémon YouTube channel in September 2020, with its lyrics subtitled in nine languages. As of May 2022, it had exceeded 60 million views and continues to garner heartfelt messages from fans all over the world.

Music: “Acacia” by BUMP OF CHICKEN (TOY’S FACTORY)
Director: MATSUMOTO Rie
Character Design: HAYASHI Yuki
Animation: BONES INC.
Planning and Produced by KAWAMURA Genki, HATANAKA Masami

Blink in the Desert

SOEJIMA Shinobu

2021 / Animated Short Film / 10:34

©2021 ShinobuSoejima

Malice comes up abruptly as if it were a blink and capricious like a flapping insect. One day a young hermit finds a winged insect and crushes it out of disgust in the desert. Meanwhile, the elephant sees what he has done to the winged insect but says nothing. From that day on, the boy is chased by shadows of the winged insects.
The title Blink in the Desert means “a moment of flapping in the desert.” A blink of evil sprouting in the middle of a lonely wilderness. This abrupt moment of malice attacked the protagonist like a tempting devil appearing suddenly before a person in his prayers.

This work, which was filmed in stop motion, expresses the complicated inner workings of the human mind such as mental conflict and fear by intentionally using a doll that has no facial expressions and instead using the angle and shading of its face. The dirt that accumulates in the doll shows the changes in deep and delicate emotions, which is her technique of visualizing negative emotions. Please pay attention to how the dirt and scars change on the doll at the end of the story.

Director: SOEJIMA Shinobu
Music: Marty HICKS
Sound Design: NAKAOKA Hisako / TAWARATSUMIDA Nao
Producer: ITO Yuichi / Tokyo University of the Arts

Sonny Boy (Official Trailer)

NATSUME Shingo

2021 / Animated TV series / 24 min 30 s × 12 episodes
25th JMAF Animation Division Excellence Award

©Sonny Boy committee

On a seemingly endless summer vacation one August 16, Nagara and a group of fellow third-year middle school students suddenly find themselves caught up in an unimaginable situation—Nagara’s school is swept into another dimension, taking with it 36 of his classmates, including the mysterious transfer student Nozomi, as well as students Mizuho and Asakaze. They are also bestowed various “special abilities” in the process. Some students are wrapped up with their superhuman abilities and run riot; others opt to become leaders and attempt to guide other students. The remainder desperately search for ways to return to their own world. Surging distrust, irrepressible jealousy, and clashes resulting from a desire to control ensue. Confronted by a series of mysterious encounters, the boys and girls are suddenly thrust into survival mode as Nagara and his friends endeavor to conquer this world and return safely home.

Director, Screenwriter and the Creator of the Original Story: NATSUME Shingo
Original Character Design: EGUCHI Hisashi
Animation Production: MADHOUSE
Character Designer: KUGAI Norifumi
Art Director: FUJINO Mari (Studio Pablo)
Color Designer: HASHIMOTO Satoshi
Composite Director: FUSHIHARA Akane
Editor: KIMURA Kashiko

I’m Late

KABUKI Sawako

2021 / Documentary Animation / 10:35
25th JMAF Animation Division Jury Selections

©MIYU Productions, New Deer, Sawako Kabuki

Have you or your partner ever had an experience where you missed your period or been “late”?

Director: KABUKI Sawako
Animation: ZHOU Xiaolin, UMEBAYASHI Ikumi, SHIMIZU Haruka
Film editor: Albane du Plessix
Soundtrack: Hikariko
Production Company: Miyu Productions
Co-Production Company: New Deer

A Bite of Bone

YANO Honami

2021 / Animated Short Film / 09:45
25th JMAF Animation Division New Face Award

©Honami Yano/Au Praxinoscope

There are a number of regions scattered throughout Japan that practice the tradition of honekami (lit. “biting the bones”). Honekami involves eating the bones that remain after cremation so that the deceased becomes part of you, in an attempt to overcome one’s grief. For better or worse, there were families who practiced this tradition on the island I come from. And in my own first experience with death – the death of my father – I too was encouraged to eat one of his bones, but could not bring myself to do it. Still very young, I had no way to come to terms with and accept my father’s death. My memory of the experience is traumatic; the bone I did not eat stayed with me, as if stuck in my throat, and I found myself unable to express the experience in words or forget it.

An old wartime ammunition dump still stands on the island where I was born. The fact that it was an ammunition dump, rather than an air raid shelter, near my childhood home made me feel that I was on the side that imposed death and ruthless violence, rather than on the side that was subjected to it. Reflecting on this experience as an adult, I found there to be a link between my father’s remains and the ammunition dump, and so I decided to confront honekami again.

Through this project, I wanted to face up to the bones I could not eat before by blurring the boundaries between life and death.

Animator and Director: YANO Honami
Producer: YAMAMURA Koji
Assistant Producer: sanae
Production: Au Praxinoscope
Voice: TANO Ayamo
Sound Designer: TAKINO Masumi

The Heike Story
Episode 1: “Those Outside the Heike Do Not Matter”

YAMADA Naoko

2021 / TV Animation / 19:50 (total of 11eps)

© The Heike Story Project

This is the first TV anime adaptation of the great classic “The Tale of the Heike”, which was handed down by Biwa Hoshi, the traveling storytellers and had a great influence on literature and theater in later years. Some of the best creators in the industry based this adaptation on the overwhelming narrative style of FURUKAWA Hideo’s modern translation. At the end of the Heian period, the Heike clan is about to achieve prosperity in every aspect of political, military, and financial power. Taira no Shigemori, a man who can see the dead, meets a Biwa Hoshi, a girl named Biwa, who can see the future. Biwa prophesies that his clan will perish soon. Fifteen years of dramatic change in Japan’s history, affecting everyone from aristocratic to samurai society, begin. A story of prayer bridging 800 years, lyrically depicting a great epic poem through the eyes of a young girl.

*The program will show episode 1: “Those Outside the Heike Do Not Matter”
*Streaming on Crunchyroll

Original Work: “The Heike Story” published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha
translated by FURUKAWA Hideo
Director: YAMADA Naoko
Scenario: YOSHIDA Reiko
Character Creation: TAKANO Fumiko
Music: USHIO Kensuke
Animation Production: Science SARU
Character Design: KOJIMA Takashi
Art Director: KUBO Tomotaka
Director of Inbetween Animation: IMAI Shotaro
Color Design: HASHIMOTO Satoshi
Composite Director: IZUMITA Kazuto
Editing: HIROSE Kiyoshi
Sound Director: KIMURA Eriko
Sound Effects: KURAHASHI Hiromune
History Supervisor: SATA Yoshihiko
Biwa Supervisor: GOTO Yukihiro