Friday, 18 July 2008

Makoto Shinkai & King Bee Animation - Two Train Journeys

Two electric train journeys today. I have reviewed one of Makoto Shinkai’s movies before. His short commercial for the Shinano Mainichi Shimbun newspaper is fascinating for the photographic quality of his work. I wish I understood Japanese as I have no idea of the relationship of the girl on the cycle to the departing man in the train. I guess he is her father. The same commercial is presented with different music, one and two. Leave-taking has an emotion pull all of its own: add a child's tears, parent's anguish, lovely countryside, sunlight and we have a tiny gem. The ad is to mark the opening of a hybrid electric train in Makoto's native Kōmi. It certainly makes one want to ride on the gleaming locomotive. Which is more than could be said for the sort of train journey I'm more used to here in the UK, certainly on the busy commuter routes. Off the Rails was produced by London based King Bee Animation Studio. It is used as an example of their work for marketing purposes. Every conceivable distracting noise is represented in the very funny short. Scratching, guzzling, bawling, sound blaster - well, almost every conceivable sound as I can't remember a mobile phone going off and my train journeys simply would not be the same without them. The tunnels are special fun, there's a very English politeness and a reminder that the train is also electrified. A contrast in styles and journeys. Postscript: do read the comment below that adds a deal to my understanding of Makoto's work. And thanks for that, dellyrio.

1 comment:

dellyrio said...

Makoto Shinkai is a genius of the new wave of anime directors. His style is certainly unique because he can create such beautiful and emotional scenes with computer graphics. While we're used to seeing cg animation being somewhat cold, artificial and mechanical, he can pass his work as traditional animation because he seeks to emulate and revigorate that style. I agree with everything you said, but you forgot to mention his trademark: the clouds. Boy, what breathtaking clouds this man can create.

She is indeed his daughter. She screams "father" when she's pursuing the train and then whispers something that cannot be heard initially. Later when she stops, we hear a soft "thank you". The lettering, in a delightful handwritten font, says "transmit the important things". This 'transmit' can also be 'transport', which is a link to the train.

Beautiful commercial! I'm a Makoto Shinkai fan and had no idea this existed. Thank you! (and I recommend his feature film 5cm Per Second for more of the same style)

And by the way, interesting combination of different styles. It is quite the contrast :p