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PAPRIKA trailer


Click here to see the exciting trailer for the new film by Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers), Paprika.

Watching this trailer only reminded me about the sorry state of hand drawn feature length animation in the United States. The word moribund comes to mind.

The dictionary definition of moribund is

1. in a dying state; near death.
2. on the verge of extinction or termination.
3. not progressing or advancing; stagnant

Yep, that word sums it up.

The Japanese continue to advance the possibilities of animation in the feature film arena. They seem undisturbed by the CG/Mo-Cap blockbuster-mentality that Hollywood has embraced. The highest grossing film in Japan last year was Studio Ghibli’s traditionally animated Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea) by Goro Miyazaki.

I’m optimistic enough to believe it will turnaround here, in time.

Till then, we’ve got The Simpsons.

  • that looks amazing, when is it going to be released in the US?

  • Victor Boehringer

    This looks amazing! The Japanese are pushing the boundaries of strory telling and the imagination, I can not wait to see it.

  • Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the animation for the Simspons (not the boards or timing, but the actually animation) done outside of the USA? If so, I wouldn’t consider it US animation production, even though it starts and finishes its production cycle here.

  • Good Lord. That looks gorgeous. If its anywhere near as good as Tokyo Godfathers was, we are in for a treat.
    That is, if it ever comes to the U.S.

  • Floyd, there is animation from the Simpsons being produced in the US. Granted, there’s still a lot of overseas animation being done on the feature as well.

    Still, even if there wasn’t animation being done on the film in the US, the cartoon is conceived and directed creatively in the States. Just like the TV series, it’s an American cartoon, though like most animation produced nowadays, people all around the globe work on it.

  • As an animation student, I am hoping that someday, one of my peers will help get this current state of hand-drawn animation back on its feet (in America that is).

    The trailer looks interesting, even though I can’t tell what its about. Then again, that’s kind of a good thing, because it shows that the movie wont be too predictable. And being too predictable is a problem with most animated films today.
    And while some people I know like to copy anime, they aren’t copying them totally. Anime is at times underestimated as to why it is so popular.

    It’s because they take more risks that we do. And risk is key when putting out commercial animation.

  • Daniel

    It is indeed coming to the US, limited release June 1st 2007

    I hope it gets to Europe though, that would be nice.

    This trailer looks really cool, especially in High Definition. The only Satoshi Kon film I’ve seen is Perfect Blue and I really wasn’t impressed, ersatz Hitchcock with very very strange character designs with a story that could have been done in live action (in fact is almost was, but that 1995 earthquake derailed the live action.)

    However this film really looks like it beautifully exploits the freedom of animation. Looking forward to it.

  • I’m not a fan of anime, but I’d definitely like to see that. I’ve been thinking a lot about American animated feature films since seeing the latest Simpsons trailer. The only ones we have are ones based on a franchise such as that, or 3D. America needs more traditional 2D feature films that aren’t based on something already existing.

  • I saw a screening of this film for Oscar consideration (as i assume you did Jerry) and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did my wife who usually can’t sit through Anime. I gave this film and Renaissance good ratings. But I’m sure to some of the ‘purists’ Madhouse’s use of rotoscope would found offensive as well as the mo-cap in Renaissance.

  • Kelly Tindall

    Absolutely amazing. The trailer made my heart absolutely soar. Thanks so much, Brewmasters!

  • The one thing I hate about foregn animated movies is that they’re given a limited release. How are Americans going to stop thinking animation’s just for kids if people aren’t given the opportunity to see this everywhere?

  • Ellen Yu

    I hate how Sony entered Paprika for the Oscars when it had no chance due to the limited release. They should have submitted this for next year.

    I’m really looking forward to this. Kon’s movies always has a strange psychological transition in the plot and often deals with social situations most anime don’t talk about.

  • Relevent

    I’ve been waiting for this film to come out in the US for a long time. I’m even hooking my friends on it, too. I really wish it could have gotten Oscar attention, or at least a wide release, to take back animation from the “kids only” status!

    This has really inspired me to keep going at my animation education.

  • Something great to look forward too! linked to Susumu Hirasawa’s website.
    He’s the amazing composer and is offering a couple of free mp3 downloads from “Paprika”.

  • here_and_now

    With all due respect, Jerry, I do not think that 2D animation is moribund. I think that it fell victim for a few years to Michael Eisner and his lack-of-vision (I am reminded of his insistence on the Beauty and the Beast DVD special features that he would make a live action version of B & B). I think that John Lassetter–he being an artist himself–being at the helm of Disney will spark a 2D renaissance. (They already have a couple 2D films in the works.) I am optimistic about the fate of all mediums.

    Lately, the Brew has been very pessimistic about mo-cap (which, to me, is like being dismissive of–and feeling threatened by–rotoscope, a valid medium, and one worth celebrating and exploring), 2D animation, and the general state of the industry. I personally have trouble condoning this attitude: I feel that perhaps it contributes to the general sentiment instead of fighting against it; instead of inspiring new challenges, it concedes to the trends.

  • If you take a look at all of the young Flash animators and Flash animator community’s you can see, there is light in the end of the tunnel with the next generation.

  • Beautiful.

    However, i don’t like the implication here, that American animators aren’t even TRYING.

    DAMMIT, I’ve been pushing, pitching, and trying to get more adult stuff made every day for the last 15 years. It’s the brain dead execs who control the money who are keeping us back.

  • Paprika looks amazing. Truly.

  • cynders

    Wow, that looks absolutely stunning. Satoshi Kon is consistently amazing with his feature films.

    Another Japanese animator/director to keep an eye on is Makoto Shinkai. His latest, ByÃ…?soku 5 Centimetre looks quite stunning from the trailer that’s up at the official blog:

  • One only needs to look at the work of Bill Plympton, Don Hertzfeldt, etc to see that 2D animation in the US is far from dead. I think 2D theatrical animation is hibernating.

  • I sure hope it wakes up SOON.

  • Susi

    I don’t quite get where the notion that japanese animation heavily relies on rotoscope comes from. If you think that this is the reason for its realism, think again: the budgets are so small there that to shot the film with live actors and then use it for rotoscoping would simply be impracticable.
    I’m quite annoyed when I read that around, cause a casual sentence tossed like that, without any evidence, simply dismesses the hard job and efforts of hugely talented animators.

    If you are serious about getting to know the work of the best japanese animators here is a good starting point

  • I saw this yesterday on, and thought that it looked so wonderful, that I had to post it in my blog (by the way the release date there is May 25th).
    They also have a great looking website…

  • Well said Susi! I love all of Satoshi Kon’s films. Almost every sequence is amazing because of the brilliant individual animators that they’ve got working at madhouse. (and that’s a great website for that info!)

    I do wonder if this film will be like Millenium Actress in structure.

  • I agree, the trailer looks stunning. I’ve seen Kon’s other features and am working my way through an anime series he’s done — Paranoia Agent. I think he’s very good.

    As for why they can do this in Japan, but not here. I do not know. But it’s not a question simply about traditional cel animation vs. newer techniques or adult themes vs. kids and family. It’s about culture. After WWII we went one way and the Japanese went in the opposite way. We clamped down on comics, hard, and narrowed animation to cartoons-for-kids (which wasn’t what they were in the beginning) and the family feature market — which was mostly for Disney. The Japanese opened up the market for comics — in the form of manga — and did the same for cartoons (starting in the 60s).

    Satoshi Kon is working in a world where everyone reads manga and anime is all over TV. The whole environment is different. And it doesn’t depend on constant technical innovation — though there is some of that as well. In this country Hollywood is acting as though the primary selling point of feature animation is new technology. You can’t build the animation marketplace on gadgetry.

    Yadda yadda yadda . . .

  • Steve G

    Susi…first, I never said that Anime heavily relied on rotoscoping. Most don’t. But after 30 years of using rotoscope myself AS an animator and after ACTAULLY having seen the entire film I can absolutley guarantee you that this film has some rotoscope in it. Not a lot, but it does have some. AND I certainly wouldn’t imply that it still isn’t hard work to translate rotoscope into good animation. that’s your implication and not mine.
    Secondly, I did not use that term to try to deride Japanese animators or Madhouse.. I was just pointing out that some would find the use of rotoscope or mo-cap (as Renaissance did) as a crutch and consider it not real animation. I disagree with that. I have not problem with artists using whatever resource they need to make a successful film.
    Third, if you think in this day and age of easily accessed computers and film programs and printing software that rotoscoping is dificult or expensive than I have news for you. I was printing out simple rotoscope stats to use over 4 years ago with no budget and very little time or effort and assume it’s only become that much simpler.

  • Steve G

    More importantly…I highly recommend this film as well as Renaissance. I would’ve been pleased if either of these films had reached nomination status for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

  • Régis

    I personally have no reason to plug Anipages Daily besides the fact that it is THE blog on Japanese Animation out there (Ben Ettinger really deserves more praise in the online animation community I think.) Since checking it out years ago (thanks to Cartoon Brew of course) I’ve learned so much just by identifying animators to their scenes and the numerous YouTube animator videos that have come up since then. If nothing else it has only made me happier and positive to be working on my own independent student films (yes, here in the US.) Needless to say that Gainax (FLCL, Evangelion) puts out key animation collection books of most of their series and features, clearly showing how the process is anything BUT rotoscoped. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to see more books like that here (besides your usual “Art of_____” book), perhaps in the same vein of the Ghibli storyboard books.

  • What is the biggest obstacle to american animation being half as interesting as international animation? Is it money? imagination? the fact that once americans become wealthy and/or successful they develope massive distaste for their audience and their craft ?

    Not that american animation isn’t good. it’s pretty okay some of the time.

    i am still in a haze from watching that paprika trailer. I hope it is as good as it seems.

  • crankbunny

    the french site (and trailer) is nice.

    bande annonce for trailer – VO for the english dub.

  • Note, however, there’s no dialogue.

  • Dave

    I’ve seen this in Singapore, and love it, though I do prefer the amazingly insane Mindgame that was truly mind-blowing.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    – As for why they can do this in Japan, but not here. I do not know. But it’s not a question simply about traditional cel animation vs. newer techniques or adult themes vs. kids and family. It’s about culture. After WWII we went one way and the Japanese went in the opposite way. We clamped down on comics, hard, and narrowed animation to cartoons-for-kids (which wasn’t what they were in the beginning) and the family feature market — which was mostly for Disney. The Japanese opened up the market for comics — in the form of manga — and did the same for cartoons (starting in the 60s).

    Still, Bill made a lot of good points over the differences between American and Japanese culture in how their comics/animation industry had developed long after WWII. I only wish we had that sort of thing happen here than to have been given the long and hard trek up a hill, or perhaps a mountain. There was one movement in comics in Japan during the 60’s called “Gekiga” that would put the efforts we’ve seen in the underground books to shame with their story and plot elements, prior to that, most Japanese thought of comic books as childish or for kids that couldn’t tell stories of adult content/nature. We should just be glad they never imposed a “Comics Code Authority” there like we’ve seen happen in the 50’s.

  • H Park

    I know that this is a year old post. I have to say something about rotoscoping which some people commented. Japanese animation industry take great pride in their works. Mentioning of rotoscope really offends them. Because they never do it. Period. except their CG/video game animations.
    I don’t know why Steve G claims that there is some rotocopes in Japanese 2D animation. Veteran Japanese animators of 20+ years of experience definitely fooled his eyes. In my opinion, Japanese animators are experts of subtlety, which rotoscope can do the same thing but much less control. However, in rotoscope, subtle gestures and it’s timings are very different from hand drawn subtle gestures. Rotoscoped animation tend to have subtlety in all over the image and timing of movement is restricted by filmed live images. In traditional rotoscoping, you can’t alter a person’s proportion and volume easily. Also it’s not easy to control all kinds of tiny subtle movements happening all over the filmed person.
    A good example is Ralph Bakshi’s “Lord of the Rings”.

    In Japanese animation, subtlety is focused on areas of attraction and animators determine how many frames and seconds of that animated movement.
    Like all animators, Japanese themselves use live footage for reference. Satoshi Kon’s “Perfect Blue”‘s opening dance animation is a good example. They filmed actual live dancers as reference. I saw side to side comparison of it and there was a difference between the live shot and the animation. Instead rotoscoping, they studied the movement thoroughly and reproduced the dance animation with their draftsmanship.