July 5, 2008
One of the first films that ever screened at Fantasia was the animated adaptation of Katsuhiro's Otomo's Memories, produced by Studio 4°C. Over the years, the studio has produced some notable feature-length narratives and shorts in omnibus films, including but not limited to Cat Soup, The Animatrix, Mind Game, Tekkon Kinkreet, and Batman: Gotham Knight. They have a powerhouse of talent that has allowed them to create some of the most interesting animation anywhere.
In Kenji Ishimaru's 2007 interview with studio CEO Eiko Tanaka, she mentions that all of this hard work was to get to one point: to be profitable enough to create what became Genius Party.
These seven stories are as distinct as they are breathtaking. Shanghai Dragon, Dethtic4, Limit Cycle and the opening sequence Genius Party (also a self-contained short) are the shorts that are seared into my brain. Almost every short has perfect pacing, a great aesthetic, and an interesting story.
The project grew large enough that this is the first of two omnibus films, the other being Genius Party Beyond. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Genius Party plays again on Sunday, July 6th at 1:00pm at Montreal's Fantasia film festival.
Previously on fps:
2008 Fantasia Festival Animation
Interview: Eiko Tanaka
Interview: Masaki Yuasa
May 27, 2007
If you've gotten even remotely near an animated robot in the last 25 years, there's a good chance you've bumped up against a Shoji Kawamori design. He's been designing mecha for 25 years, mostly for animation (his two most recognizable designs are Super Dimension Fortress Macross's transforming Valkyries—aka Robotech's Veritechs—and the toy that would become Transformer's Optimus Prime). His latest client, however, is none other than automaker Nissan, who commissioned Kawamori to design a powered suit as part of the promotion for their Dualis SUV (the Dualis is known as the Qashqai outside of Japan). The ten-foot tall model will be on display at the Nissan Gallery in Tokyo's Ginza district until June 13.
This is a case of life imitating art, but it wasn't too long ago that Nissan bumped up against anime in a case of art imitating life. Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society prominently featured two Nissan concept cars, the Sport Concept and Infiniti Kuraza.
The official, Japanese-language Dualis page is here, featuring a little bit of animated CG mecha action. You can also catch a video clip of Kawamori introducing the Dualis mecha here, and a whole mess of photos here.