Asia In My Mind: Nobuaki Doi

1 Oct

On Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, the Toronto Animated Image Society and Japan Foundation Toronto presented a talk and screening called Asia In My Mind, on recent Japanese Independent Animation by Tokyo based critic, curator, researcher and writer Nobuaki Doi.


Invited to speak in Toronto by TAIS President Madi Piller, Nobuaki screened 10 short animated films. The films spanned the formation of the CALF group of Animators that Nobuaki co-founded, to films created recently by a younger generation of Japanese Animators.


I was delighted to finally meet Nobuaki in person. We corresponded by email earlier this year, to come up with the following list of films screened Friday evening:

1) In A Pig’s Eye (Atsushi Wada, 2010,10 min.)

A huge pig is lying down in front of a house. Inside the house lives a family consisting a father, mother, grandfather, six children and a dog. 
Everyone knows about the huge pig, and the pig is aware of the family, but none of them understand each other.
 The mother doesn’t understand the father, etc.

2) Beluga (Shin Hashimoto, 2011, 5:32 min.)

A poor girl suffers even in her own dreams.  Co-written by Nobuaki Doi.

3) A Gum Boy (Masaki Okuda, 2010, 4min.)

I love this crazy, anarchic film.

A primary schoolboy named “Kuchao” is the most hated person in his class. When everyone in his class releases balloons to fly away, he won’t part with his. After school, he springs out of the school in at full speed with his balloon. When he begins to chew bubble gum, he enter the world of his imagination. His balloon becomes a face and it begins to chew  gum as well, changing into various things. His balloon carries him higher and higher until a bird approaches and…

4) Futon (Yoriko Mizushiri, 2012, 6min.)

A whimisical film about a woman wrapped in a futon.

5) KiyaKiya (Akino Kondoh, 2011, 6.5 min.)

A wonderful film by artist Akino Kondoh, with music by John Zorn. I first saw this film at the 2012 Shinsedai Cinema Festival of Japanese films in Toronto and just had to see it again!

Here’s very, very, very, very short clip from it:

6) The Tender March (Wataru Uekusa, 2011, 4:49 min.)

This was one of my favourite films shown at the 2012 London International Animation Festival in England, which I attended last October. Nobuaki was gracious enough to include it in this package. I love its trippy feel and crazy logic.

7) YAMASUKI YAMAZAKI (Shishi Yamazaki, 2013, 2 min.)

Shishi Yamazaki creates animated films by rotoscoping video footage of herself dancing, with delightful results.

8) Monotonous Purgatory (Saori Shiroki, 2012, 6 min.)

A beautiful paint on glass animated film about a girl on rooftop of a sanatorium watching shooting stars.

9) HANDSOAP (Kei Oyama) 2008, 16 min.

A calm yet sultry animated film about a family with a growing adolescent son. He’s insecure and obsessed with his body to the dismay of his ill-at-ease family.

10) AND AND (Mirai Mizue) 2011, 7 min.  A dynamic, abstract films, with fractal-like paisley patterns.

Sunday night I was pleased to have Nobuaki and TAIS Administrator Janice Schulman over for dinner at my house and studio.

Many thanks to the Toronto Animated Image Society and Japan Foundation Toronto for putting on this event. Thanks to Nobuaki Doi for a great presentation.


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