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Watch This: Puparia


We cover a lot of short films on AFA. And we cover a lot of Japanese animation. But for some reason, it's quite rare that we see these two combine. It's not that there aren't Japanese artists working in the short form. But somehow, it rarely comes across our desk, and it's not that often we come into contact with it in the wild. Perhaps it's just not as glamorous as the features and TV series that most animation fans consider to be 'anime'.

And it's a shame, as in the short form is where we'll find Japanese animators working in a wider variety of styles and mediums. Stop-motion is rarely used in mainstream Japanese animation for example. But even in 2D animation, Japanese short filmmakers use a much more varied style than in the more commercial side of the industry.

Independent Japanese animator Shingo Tamagawa showcases this masterfully in his new short Puparia.  The visuals may not be as far away from mainstream anime as more abstract filmmakers, but neither does it look like anything you'll see on Crunchyroll anytime soon.

The style has a gorgeous hand-drawn look to it, but it seems closer to the art style seen in Japanese comics than anything normally seen on the screen. While Japanese comics and animation have had a close relationship ever since 'God Of Manga' Osamu Tezuka first took his manga characters onto TV, the art of manga typically has to be simplified considerably for animation, largely down to budget and time constraints.

Working in the short form, and independently, Tamagawa has created something that looks like it could have sprung forth from the full-colour splash pages or cover from a manga graphic novel or magazine.

The short has a horror/supernatural tone and seems to involve some sort of strange lifeform emerging from a giant pupa or chrysalis. It could easily be a trailer or teaser for something much bigger but stands alone as a complete work of art. Tamagawa has a bright future ahead of them.

The featured music is Mallet Quartet Fast by Steve Reich. Follow Shingo on Twitter here for more art (Japanese language).

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