Animator Expo: Season One

I recently did a marathon of Animator Expo’s three seasons. I recommend you see them if you are able. They don’t take much time and are worth it. Although not all of them hit the mark (for me at least), they are fresh sights for sore eyes and there’s generally something in each short to admire. And the ones that do hit the mark hit it well and with expert aim.

So, I am going to record my favourites from each season. Here we go! First stop, Season One!

Admittedly, as a fledgling anime fan I am still largely ignorant to much of the industry, particularly those who tirelessly work as animators. After I gain my anime-industry wings, I will fly back to Animator Expo and speak more on the makers and perhaps have greater insight into the technical elements of these shorts. But for now, here are my thoughts…

#3: Power Plant No.33

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The setting is a steampunk-esque city surrounding Power Plant No.33. We are quickly introduced to the Kaiju: creatures who produce some form of energy and are used as a resource to power the city (so maybe the setting is kaijupunk… can I say that?) The things that stood out in this short were the motifs of freedom and captivity. Just as the giant Kaiju of the power plant was confined to produce energy, in the very first scene we see a clutter of energy-using devises practically imprisoning the main girl. Even the city itself is cluttered and crowded. And at the end (spoilers! sorry), when the giant Kaiju sheds his bonds and meanders into the sunset after protecting the town, we see the girl breathe the fresh air around her after evacuating the city, shed her suit, and state “That felt so stuffy….” Perhaps this short was expressing a theme of not being enslaved to technology and of not enslaving others out of a desire for it. At least, that’s what I got from it.

#2: Tomorrow From There

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This was, without a doubt, the most relatable short for me. It involves a girl becoming discouraged and emotionally run-down, forgetting her reason for being where she is. It isn’t until she is reminded of the world of possibility, or perhaps of her own goals, that she realizes her life can be so much more; that she too can, in the figurative sense of the word, soar. With this realization, she is able to prevail and return to her everyday life uplifted and full of hope. The colour scheme is beautiful and it changes when the outlook of our protagonist does, which was perfectly fitting in every way.

#1: 20min Walk from Nishi-Ogikubo Station

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My favourite of the first season. Our main character wakes up on her sofa, but all is not as it should be. She has shrunk. To the size of a cockroach. Even worse, her significant-other only sees her as a cockroach, or (more accurately) she actually became one. Filled with spectacular action, humour, and heart, this story is lovingly and expertly told. And it lingered with me, especially the ending. The art and animation are stunning. Absolutely perfect. This animation and art style reminded me of Kaguya-hime, which is high praise coming from me considering my adoration of that film. Definitely check out this short! You will thank me!

 

Honourable Mentions:

ME!ME!ME!

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Not my cup of tea, but it is edited well. And perhaps there are more things being said than I give it credit for… or at least more things being interpreted from it than I give it credit for… but… it still isn’t my cup of tea, and if you’ve seen it you can probably give a decent guess as to why.

until You come to me.

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I haven’t seen a single Evangelion thing, aside from this short. So naturally I have no idea who anyone is or what is being referenced and symbolized. But, it was pretty to watch and it pulled on my heart strings with a lovely Oh Danny Boy. I liked it as an experience, but I’m sure having knowledge of Evangelion would help make this more enjoyable. One thing it has done is further enticed me to get my butt in gear and watch the series and movies soon… hopefully soon…

 

Well, that’s all for now. Do you have a favourite from Animator Expo’s first season that I didn’t mention? Or something more to say about the ones I did? Speak away, good reader, speak away…

 

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7 thoughts on “Animator Expo: Season One

    • I have indeed. Like many, Ghibli’s films were my gateway into Japanese animation. I love them all to pieces (though there are still four films that I haven’t watched). It was through critics calling an Irish animator I like a “new Miyazaki” (the Irish animator was Tomm Moore) that clued me into Hayao Miyazaki’s existence.

      Your son-in-law is an animator? And at Disney?! That’s incredible! Congratulations to him! He must have a ton of talent.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. kaijupunk – great term. First time I’ve seen it!

    Great round-ups. I tweeted the Animator Expos when they first came out to remind people that in every director, writer and animator is the urge to come up with something mindblowing and original. I am bored with the drumbeat of negativity from anime bloggers 😛 If the wider industry took more chances and allowed these voices the chance to speak then I think a healthier industry would emerge.

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    • Perhaps it’ll catch on and the media will be flooded with kaijupunk entertainment. 😀

      And thanks so much! Animator Expo certainly is imbued with originality and risk taking. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching these shorts. It’s nice that there are projects like this that allow the creators to create what they desire without the (sometimes oppressive) demand for commercial success. I wish that there were more chances like this too because I love hearing these voices and the things they have to say. It definitely would make the industry a bit more robust.

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