9 Jun 2012

Creator Spotlight: Ishida Hiroyasu

Image from myanimelist.net

Sometimes, a talented individual can spring up from nowhere and wow the world. Enter 24 year-old (born in 1988) Ishida Hiroyasu, now an alumni of the famous Faculty of Manga at Kyoto Seika University. His 2 animation works, posted on Youtube in 2009 and 2011, drew a lot of attention and praise for not only the animation quality but also his directorial skills.

His first work, Fumiko no Kokuhaku (Fumiko's Confession), was a short, fun, but also highly ambitious piece. Having taken up nearly every single role in production himself, he nevertheless had the help of 2 other students for the backgrounds and 3D CG due to the sheer size and complexity of the town he created in the storyboards. Another student animator, Kawano Tatsurou, also helped out with some of the animation (he later went on to work at Gainax and is currently doing 2nd Key for Medaka Box). Although a lot simpler than his later work, Fumiko no Kokuhaku showed his uncanny knack for timing, setting, and movement animation. Kind of reminded me of Fuujin Monogatari (Windy Tales) with its movement, though the animation styles are miles apart. It went on to become a hit internet sensation, acquiring 2 million views and 10,000 likes on Youtube.

Nearly 2 years later, on 3 March 2011, Ishida Hiroyasu uploaded his graduation film rain town onto Youtube. This piece took more than 2 years to complete with fellow student Yoshida Shogo. I'm not sure how to credit this work, but it seems like it's pretty much an Ishida film. The art style chosen here is reminiscent of the painted feeling of Studio Ghibli's experimental Iblard Jikan or the European styling of Oscar-winning La Maison en Petits Cubes. This suited the film really well as the focus on 'rain' brought his water-colour paintings to life. The entire film is moody, a complete turnaround from his previous fun and exciting work. However, he still remembers to contrast the quiet rainy town to the busy bright city, a juxtaposition technique seen several times in Fumiko no Kokuhaku. The strength of his direction, the perfect music score and sound design, the meticulously animated movements of the characters, the beautiful backgrounds, the artful framing... everything came together masterfully in his work and I cannot praise it enough.

If there was a point to critique, it would be his inability to pull that final emotional trigger to bring this on par with the Oscar-winning piece I compared it with. But that would be like expecting a child, who has just learned to walk, to be able to run as fast as Usain Bolt. The Fumiko no Kokuhaku short has won a YouTube Video Award, Tokyo Anime Awards' Student Award of Excellence, Japan Media Arts Festival's Excellence Prize, Grand Prize at the 9th Independent Animation Festival, and a special mention at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The rain town short also won the Grand Prize at the 10th Independent Animation Festival. Having won the praise of Director Hosada Mamoru, I hope some studio takes him in and gives him some guidance and freedom to create something special.

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