originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/619368...

A note from the future: hello traveler, and welcome to the Animation Night Archive!

A more substantial introduction will be posted soon, but to briefly summarise, this is a weekly film night I have run since May 2020 showing all the most fascinating, moving, strange and beautiful animated films I can find, from bombastic franchise films to obscure past gems. These first few weeks, my writeups are kind of scant, in the process of being rewritten. But stay with me and you'll soon hit the deep dives...

Tonight the theme is anime short film compilations, over the last four decades.

the last three films of the Japan Animator Expo (2014-15)!

Since we didn’t quite finish it last time. We still have left “Ragnarok” Hello from the Countries of the World, Robot on the Road, and Casette Girl! No idea what to expect from these, but the Expo has been a blast so far.

Robot Carnival (1987)

A collection of gorgeously animated short films on the rather broad theme of robots, from a variety of directors. Almost all shorts feature music by Joe Hisaishi of Studio Ghibli film! Some highlights include…

Still of the Robot Carnival, a gigantic tracked machine with the title in massive letters, on a sand dune.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s darkly comic intro and outro! Though Otomo did the storyboards, this short was actually mostly directed by Atsuko Fukushima since Otomo was busy on Akira. We’ll see her again later on Genius Party and Neo Tokyo!

Still from 'Chicken Man and Red Neck', with a skinny robot in a red cloak on a scooter.

The dreamlike, surreal dance of Chicken Man and Red Neck! Directed by Takashi Nakamura, who we previously saw direct Bubu & Bubulina in the Animator Expo.

Still from 'Cloud', with the robot boy standing in front of a beautiful pencil drawing of a cloud.

A beautiful scratchboard walk through history in Cloud

(A note from the future: Cloud is the work of Manabu Ohashi, also known as Mao Lambdo, who would go on to key animate in a variety of classic anime films of the 70s and 80s including The Dagger of Kamui, Space Adventure Cobra, The Sea PRince & The Fire Child, Neo-Tokyo, Venus Wars and Sailor Moon. Tragically, he died in February 2022 at age 73. I recommend this lovely interview with him where you can get a sense of what kind of guy he was.)

Still from 'Strange Tales of Meiji Machine Culture: Westerner's Invasion', showing a samurai-styled steampunk robot.

and on the other end of the tone spectrum, a Meiji-era mecha fight! Plus some more including some animators really flexing…

Memories (1995)

Adaptations of three short stories by Katsuhiro Otomo, who’s best known as the director of Akira! Also features writing by Satoshi Kon, known for a lot of famous anime films such as Paprika, Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent and Tokyo Godfathers. Alongside those big names are directors Kōji Morimoto (who mostly works in short films - we’ll be seeing a lot of over the course of these animation nights [note from the future: because he co-founded Studio 4°C!! might wanna mention that]) and Tensai Okamura (otherwise known for Wolf’s Rain).

Still from 'Magnetic Rose', with two astronauts maneuvring in zero-gravity.

We have a kind of hard sci fi ghost story in Magnetic Rose, one of the masterpieces of the 90s 'realist' movement…

Still from 'Stink Bomb', with an anxious salaryman riding a moped through a cloud of smoke.

a very amusing spin on a sort of kaiju disaster story in Stink Bomb

Still from 'Cannon Fodder', with a gigantic red cannon pointed at the horizon.

and one of my favourite Otomo films, Cannon Fodder, a satirical story about a society oriented entirely around the firing of enormous cannons at a rival city

Genius Party (2007)

I haven’t seen any of these yet, but Genius Party is another short film compilation like the Animator Expo, featuring a variety of directors and themes.

Feel free to drop by any time - these things have so far lasted about five or six hours (though the films themselves run about four and a half hours, the breaks in between for discussion add up). If we end up having time to fill, we will continue watching the wonderful list of animated videos that @cyborg-sevalle​ made me.

My plans for future animation nights can be found here. Suggestions for short films (especially in compilations), music videos, OVAs, and other experimental projects are still extremely welcome!

In particular, I’ve recently been able to source some big collections of Russian and Polish animation, and a friend has helped compile a list of notable European short animated films which will go into the spreadsheet soon, but I don’t currently have a lot of non-Japanese Asian animation, African animation, or South American animation.


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