There were 473 entries to the Animation Division this year, the largest number of entries to date. Characteristically, we received more short animations than long animations, TV animations and OVA's. The trend could be connected, to the spread of animation production software for PCs and an increase in the number of young people studying animation in institutions. Considering that China and South Korea encourage the development of the animation industry, the trend might be a good sign also for the Japanese animation industry, whose position as forerunner in the field has become rather precarious. Even a work that already enjoys high public regard needs to go through the regular application procedure for Japan Media Arts Festival in order to be judged. SUMMER WARS, the Grand Prize winner, was one of the topical works this year, and was worthy of the prize both in terms of content and production technique. The director, HOSODA Mamoru, unanimously won the Grand Prize for a second time. After a lively exchange of opinions in selecting the Excellence prizes, the opinions of the jury eventually converged on works that showed distinctiveness in expression and content. Among those selected were two works from overseas, underscoring the fact that the festival is now well known internationally. The three Japanese works are all characteristic: an experimental one; a work that deals with the tragedy of an unpredictable mega-quake and involves a warning message; and a love story developed in a nostalgic setting. Lastly, there were also quite a few other fine works that were unfortunately unable to earn places due to the limited number of prizes.
Born in Nagasaki City, SUZUKI Shinichi started submitting his works to magazines, like "Manga Shonen" when he was a high school student. In 1955, he lived in Tokiwa-so, Tokyo with fellow manga artists. In 1956, he joined Otogi Production presided by YOKOYAMA Ryuichi, the author of Fukuchan, and ventured into animation. He worked for productions of Fukusuke and the first TV animation series in Japan Instant History. He established Studio Zero in 1963 with FUJIKO F Fujio, FUJIKO Fujio (A), ISHINOMORI Shotaro, TSUNODA Jiro, AKATSUKA Fujio and others. He also produced Osomatsu-kun, Pa-man, and others. He co-directed four films, including Mina no Egao by the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO with LAT, a Malaysian manga artist. Currently he is visiting professor of Bunsei University of Art and Director of the Suginami Animation Museum.
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