If you are interested in the animation industry, you might know something about the style of stop motion animation. Or at least you have heard about Pinocchio, the animated film directed by Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro last year.
Stop motion animation is the process of filming subjects frame by frame as it is moved in small increments and then showing them in succession, so that they appear as if they're moving when played back at normal speed. You may give a watch of the video below on how Pinocchio was produced behind the screen.
And more recently, a very experimental Japanese stop-motion animation short, HIDARI, has attracted widespread attention after it was released.
| About HIDARI
The stop-motion animation "HIDARI" is directed by Masashi Kawamura, creative director of Whatever Co, and co-produced by top animation teams from the stop-motion animation industry TECARAT, Dwarf Studio, and Whatever Co.
- Synopsis -
Sa Jingoro, a skilled carpenter, was framed by his colleagues due to an "accident" caused by a political conspiracy while repairing Edo Castle, and lost his right arm and father. Decades later, he sets out on a vengeance journey with his partner Sleeping Cat and a weaponized prosthetic.
People started calling him Jingoro "Hidari", which means "left-handed" in Japanese. Sa Jingoro finally defeated all the enemies who betrayed him, but he learned that the Tokugawa shogunate was behind the scenes and began to investigate. He searched for clues along the way, fought against armies of mechanical soldiers, and finally met the mastermind behind all the crimes.
The story is set based on a legendary sculptor Jingoro Hidari, who is said to have existed in the Edo period (17th century) of Japan. According to the lengend, the animals that Jingoro carved were so lively and real and will come to life at night. Tourists may still find sculptures in many places that are said to be Jingoro’s work if you pay a visit to Japan now.
| Team Behind the Screen
Masashi Kawamura, who served as the director of the film, was mostly active as a creative director at the forefront of global advertising companies before. His creative advertising works have won many international awards, such as the Cannes Advertising Festival and the Annecy International Animation Festival in France. In addition, he was selected as one of the "50 Most Creative Elites in the World" by the American magazine "Creativity".
In project HIDARI, Masashi Kawamura plays the role of original planner, screenwriter, and director, and this stop-motion animation is also his first feature film after establishing Whatever Co.
Inspired by the legendary Japanese sculptor Sajingoro, the film is said to combine fantasy with historical facts, boldly reconstructs the story of this craftsman and incorporates elements of samurai action, and strive to produce a stop-motion animation period drama. It is reported that "HIDARI" has already been put into production in July 2022. After the non-stop shooting and editing by the behind-the-scenes team, it officially released a 5-minute pilot clip in March this year and started crowdfunding at the same time.
| A Different Visual Style – Utilize with Wood
One of the reasons that the pre-announced short film aroused so much discussion is its unique style of expression. Based on the character setting of the protagonist of the film - a one-armed woodcarver, the main creative team chose to use woodcarving to make a fixed animation, and the animation studio TECARAT from Tokyo, Japan was responsible for the woodcarving and doll part of the film.
In this film, all the characters and scenes are made of wood carvings. Under such a setting, how to distinguish between living things and non-living things has become an interesting and difficult point, such as Sa Jingoro's left hand is real, the right hand is a prosthesis, and there is a distinction to be made between the two.
In order to solve this problem, the woodcarver added gears to Sajingoro's fake hand at first, but change to regard the rope as the tendon of the hand to make them alive, because the gears seem too high-tech if take background of the times into consideration.
Such a prosthetic design successfully combines the beauty of machinery and physical structure, but because it is much larger than the real arm, and the carvings of the left and right prosthetic hands are different, this size difference becomes a pleasant "Discomfort", and finally presented this kind of prosthetic setting and effect that surprised the audience.
In addition, Sajingoro's eyes used 3D printed cylindrical socket parts. In order to prevent the eyeball from touching the inner side and scratching the pupil paint, a space margin of about 0.5mm is reserved. The socket part of the cylinder is dug out according to the shape of the eyeball, and a magnet is installed in the center, and the size of the magnet is used to adjust the magnetic force to control the eyeball and achieve fine eyeball performance.
The project is currently recruiting funds, you may click here to view more details!