This is an age when the "heart" has become important. Sweet Blue Flowers, though not selected, skillfully reflects the spirit of the times. In our lifetime, most people hear the phrases, "It's not you," or "You're wrong," uttered again and again. Sweet Blue Flowers, however, presents us with a miraculous encounter whose message is, "You can stay just the way you are." The jury disagreed in judging HAND SOAP. It has a grotesque style, which has already become apparent in contemporary art, and which, I thought, has started to appear in animation representation. The discussion centered on whether the jury considered the style as interesting or unpleasant. Though not selected this year, it is an outstanding piece of work in terms of a broadened expression. Many short animations create a "movie-like" impression after they have been viewed, which could be an influence of The House of Small Cubes, last year's Grand Prize work. Will this improve the quality of short animations or lead to the production of similar works? The trend in short animations from this point on is worthy of great attention.
IKUHARA was born in 1964 and graduated from Kyoto College of Art in 1985. In 1986, he entered Toei Doga Company and in 1992, joined the production of TV animation series Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, in charge of rendition. He directed the film Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R in 1993. After that he left Toei Doga Company in 1996 and in 1997, started to be in charge of planning, writing the original story, and directing the TV animation Revolutionary Girl Utena in 1997, Revolutionary Girl Utena/Adolescence of Utena in 1999, Storyboarding of the video animation Top wo Nerae 2! in 2005. In 2007, IKUHARA created the OP animation for the TV animation, Nodame Cantabile. Other activities include writing novels and offering original stories for mangas.
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