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Entries in Lu Over the Wall (1)

Saturday
Dec292018

The 2018 Animation Contenders: Two films by Masaaki Yuasa

Each Saturday, Tim has been taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Today, two of them by the same artist.

Masaaki Yuasa is, to my mind, the most interesting director working in animation today. Ever since his first feature, 2004's Mind Game, he has subjected himself to a nearly constant process of self-reinvention, with every one of his major projects shifting to a new style, genre, or most likely both. He's mostly worked in television, but he had a very phenomenal 2017 with two extremely well-received features. Both of those were released in the United States in 2018 by distributor GKIDS, and both are among the most stunning, even radical pieces of animation available on any screen of any size in the past twelve months.

The first one produced, though the second one released by GKIDS, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is also the more openly startling in pretty much every way. Stylistically and thematically, the film is a successor to Yuasa's 2010 television series The Tatami Galaxy, but this is no mere retread. It's a story of two nameless college students in Kyoto: an anxious boy who has a crush on a girl just starting to find her footing in the adult world. The film tells their stories using highly expressionistic animation, in which everything about the whole world bends itself around their subjective experiences of one incredible night that seems to stretch on for months...

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