Classics of Japanese Animation Now Online
April 28, 2017 7:45 AM   Subscribe

"The National Film Center in Tokyo is celebrating the centenary of Japanese animation this year...Thanks to funding from Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs as part of the National Project for the Sustainability of Born-Digital Cinema, the NFC has selected 64 works released between 1917 and 1941 and made them available for screening online complete with fresh subtitles by Dean Shimauchi (Rosemary Dean and Tetsuro Shimauchi)."
posted by MonkeyToes (6 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, this amazing! So cool to see stories I grew up with (in Hawaii) like Momotaro and Urashima Taro have film animations from this period.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:12 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

!!! Many thanks for this.
posted by the sobsister at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is way cool, thank you for posting! There's something that fascinates me/creeps me out about very old films/shorts in general - their rudimentary "special effects" and how they sometimes still manage to make movie magic with them, the sort of uncanny valley resemblance to modern film, plus the fact that almost everyone who was involved in making them is dead. (Stopped typing this comment because I just went down a Wikipedia hole of Our Gang cast members, so there you go.) To that, add the fact that I also grew up with a lot of these stories, and the very earliest of these films were made just about the time the last of my family members left Japan. (Not that I imagine they were screening any of them in snow country.)

I just happened to click on the 1918 Urashima Taro short because I knew the tale and the film was one of the oldest, but according to the first link, it's one of the "most exciting" ones in the collection because it was considered lost until copies were found in 2008. Amazing. I can't wait to watch the rest.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:48 AM on April 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

This is really cool. I did notice that I couldn't get the sound to work on my iPad, but it turns out many of these do have sound.

I also spent a while going down the rabbit hole of trying to find a way to watch Akage no Anne, mentioned in the recent Anne of Green Gables thread, but it appears not to exist with English subtitles. Wah!
posted by freecellwizard at 11:06 AM on April 28, 2017

The one part that makes these interesting for me is that they (being prewar) predate Tezuka and his utter reshaping of the animation industry in Japan. It's fascinating to see the artistry they have, and how different it is, being from an era before the language of Japanese animation was beginning to be codified.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:21 PM on April 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hey, I know the translators! They've worked on so many good Japanese movies, like most of (all of?) the works by Shion Sono. It's good to see fellow translators getting the recognition they deserve.
posted by misozaki at 1:54 AM on April 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

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