This was the first time in the 15 years of the Japan Media Arts Festival that I was able to serve as a member of the jury. Rarely being able to come into contact with such a broad range of the animation work being produced today, I found the opportunity most appealing. Most of all, I had hoped that I might be able to draw some creative energy from the work of so many active animators.
In the last few years, and for a variety of reasons, production conditions in the animation-as-entertainment industry in which I work-- theatrical animation and television series-- has grown appreciably worse. So I was very surprised at the large number of entries. I was also impressed with the resourcefulness with which creators overcame the production conditions given and took on challenging content. Animated short film entries were received not only from Japanese creators but also from those in other countries such as France and South Korea.
Animation methods and technique continue to evolve with each passing year, and I sense that computer graphics technology is now firmly established in the realm of animation as cinematic expression. Looking to the future of animation culture, one issue for the Agency of Cultural Affairs will be how to ensure that efforts like the Japan Media Arts Festival are more than mere events and lead to support for artists and the industry.
Born in Shizuoka, 1940. SUGII Gisaburo is an animation director. He entered the field of animation at the age of 19, and worked as animator on Japan's first feature-length animation, Hakujaden (Legend of the White Snake). He directed Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy) at Mushi Production, established the Nihon Mukashi Banashi (Old Tales of Japan) series, and traveled all around Japan. After a ten year hiatus, he returned to directing with works by Mitsuru Adachi including Nine and Touch. He received unqualified praise for the 1985 Ginga-tetsudo no Yoru (Night on the Galactic Railroad). Currently, he is working on Gusukoubudori no Denki (The Life of Gusukou Budori) by the same author, Kenji Miyazawa.
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