originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/679633...
So, because I spent so long on Houseki last week, I haven’t been very well prepared this week. I have a couple of ideas in the pipe - German animation (yeah really! did you know The Neverending Story is German?), Yuri Norstein, and the British traditional animation studio that I entirely forgot existed which is Cosgrove Hall to name a few.
However I don’t have any of those on my hard drive yet, and by the time I’d done a writeup, eaten dinner, and downloaded the films it would be very late indeed…
Instead, let’s follow up on a recommendation that @anarcha-catgirlism made me during the pretentiously titled ‘solicit Bryn’s anime opinions’ ask meme. We’re gonna watch Kyōsōgiga, the original net animation turned anime TV series directed by “Izumi Tōdō”… the collective pen name used by a number of Toei Animation producers. “Tōdo” is, if you can say a pseudonym for an ambiguous set of people is ‘best known’ for anything, best known for the renowned Pretty Cure (usually abbreviated PreCure) magical girl series - something I will one day investigate in depth but not this day.
So while this may be a collective creation of Toei “Only Anime Studio That Still Has A Union” Dōga, the main name attached to the series is actually Rie Matsumoto. Prior to Kyōsōgiga, she had indeed mostly worked on PreCure starting with assisting with direction of 18 episodes of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star in 2006 at age 21, working her way up through episode direction to direct a movie, HeartCatch PreCure The Movie: Fashion Show in the Flower Capital…. Really?! in 2010 (try saying that fast). It seems she soon got a reputation as one of the youngest directors in the anime industry, although that may not be true anymore.
So what’s this all about? Here’s what I dug up last time upon receiving the rec:
Kyōsōgiga (an allusion to ’scrolls of frolicking animals’ which are seen as a precursor to manga) starts with a priest who creates a kind of alternate dimension using his power to make drawings that come to life, centred on the ‘Mirror Capital’ 鏡都 Kyōto, a hard-to-translate pun on once-capital of Japan 京都 Kyōto. There, he draws a rabbit character who comes to life and some highly Buddhist shenanigans take place:
One of his drawings, a rabbit named Koto, whom he drew as the God of the Mirror Capital, came to life upon striking a deal with a Bodhisattva. Lady Koto managed to win the love of Myōe. After finding a war orphan, Yakushimaru, and taking him under their wing as an adoptive child, the family dimension hop to Kyoto for a better life. Myōe draws two siblings for Yakushimaru. Yase, and Kurama. The five of them live happily together until Lady Koto, having fulfilled her end of the deal with the Bodhisattva, has to be taken away. With their time as a family at its end, Myōe leaves Yakushimaru the title of high priest, and his prayer beads, telling him that he will return with the beginning and the end in tow.
The anime picks up (I presume?) when a girl called Koto stumbles into this alternate world, and seeks a way to get home, while Kurama seeks to bring back the original Lady Koto - but unfortunately to reopen the connection between Kyōto and the real world is a big threat to the multiverse. Of course Koto must be connected to the original family somehow.
Emily Rand gives a more thematic description:
Kyousougiga is many things. It’s the television directorial debut of Rie Matsumoto, who had previously worked at Toei Animation across a variety of the Precure franchise. It’s stunning, with amazing visual and audio direction as well as storyboarding and cinematography. Like many anime series and pieces of media in general, Kyousougiga is also a look at the idea of home and family.
“Home” in Kyousougiga is first established as the Mirror Capital, a drawn replica of Kyoto that High Priest Myoue created to escape the world with his family. But “home” is also the near-empty room where Koto meets her mother and sees her father’s face for the first time. It’s the hill where they watch the city and sunsets together. Or a ruined garden at the so-called end of the world, after a much-needed airing of grievances. “Home” isn’t a place but the people you love isn’t a new narrative, but Kyousougiga tells it so beautifully, with characters you want to root for, and the stunning visual setpieces that Matsumoto loves.
The animation in the clips I’ve found looks vivid, stylish and energetic so I’ve got to say I’m really excited. It’s not entirely clear to me what the best viewing order is: apparently the first episode of the TV series is “A re-airing of the original ONA with some cuts and a new soundtrack.” and it seems the recommendation is that this is redundant with the ONA, so we’ll take the revised version plus the 5-10 minute OVAs. However, if somebody knows better, please let me know the ideal watch order!
Phew, finished that in record time, leaving the whole evening clear to enjoy some anime! Since we’ve got a whole cour and some ONAs to get down the hatch, we’ll be starting p much immediately, so please take your seats in the Animation Night Cinema of twitch.tv/canmom while i run and warm up my chilli!