Violence Voyager Presents a New Direction in Animation
The animated film “Violence Voyager” wowed the audience with its innovative style and unpredictable story when it played on Saturday, October 13 at the Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu theater.
Director Ujicha appeared before the screening to tell the audience a little bit about what they were about to see. He said that he calls his process “geki-mation” a combination of the Japanese word for “theater” with “animation.” He explained that he paints characters and backgrounds on clear film, then moves them around like dolls. Comedian Tomohiro Takayama, who MCed the talk session, said the process must make it possible to work in a small studio. Ujicha said that the entire movie was filmed on the top of a desk and pulled out an animation cell about the size of a playing card.
However, the process is extremely time consuming. Ujicha said that it takes many, many hours to create just one minute of animation. In fact, he spent a total of five years working on the film. Comedian Naoki Tanaka, who voices one of the characters in the film, said that there are so many ways to make animation easier today, such as CGI, so he feels thankful to the director for having the dedication to do something so labor intensive.
Tanaka’s character in the film is an American living in Japan. While his wife is ill, his son Bobby is bullied by local kids and runs away to an apparently abandoned theme park. Bobby’s adventure takes one shocking turn after another while his father tries to locate him.
Naoki Tanaka leads a cast that also includes popular voice actress Saki Fujita and cult actor Tomorowo Taguchi. The director said he is thankful to Yoshimoto Kogyo, which produced the film, because of all the talent they were able to supply for the voice cast.
With its unique visual style and story, “Violence Voyager” will appeal to the international art house film crowd. Indeed, Ujicha told the crowd he is on his way to France to introduce the film to audiences there.
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