The Subway Time by Dongzhen.Li

Our “Saturday Morning Cartoon” this week is an amazing student film mixing CG backgrounds with hand drawn “anime”. The Subway Time was created by Dongzhen.Li, a student at the Beijing Film Academy. Watch the film below, then check out The Making-Of Video.

(Thanks, Dekku)


  • http://one1more2time3.wordpress.com hans bacher

    amazing?

  • Kate

    Yeah, I’ve just about had my fill of shorts about a guy entranced with random chick put in peril. Give her something new to do!

  • manny

    I find it quite refreshing… and some of the shot compositions reminded me of 5cm/sec. But they should have spent more time animating – it could have been quite good.

  • E. L. Kelly II

    Oh, so this is the result of the training of a future TV anime worker! On that level, its nice.I admire ow he could move his 2-d characters all over his 3-d train model. And the mass transit riders were amusing.
    But Kate’s right, and I think the story reveals the animator’s obsession. Female shortage in China must hurt….

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    Yeah, it’s not that great, but it would be nice to just call the animated elements ‘animation’ not ‘anime’, it conjures up bad thoughts and categorises things in unnecessary ways, in my opinion. Just call it animation.

    Categorising such things as coming from a style allows them to get away with certain tropes. The film plays like a Frankenstein’s monster of stereotypical anime shots and angles. Saying ‘it’s anime’ would allow someone to defend that it’s ‘the anime style’ when in fact it’s just boring and inbred. Technically, it’s made well enough, it’s just nicer to see things with outside or unexpected influences rather than studio4C and other current anime trends. I sense more creativity in the animators than the director.

  • Josef

    Pretty good for a student film. I’m sure he had a deadline for class and that’s the reason he couldn’t finish animating everyone in his film. It may also explain why the little creatures look unfinished. A great effort overall.

  • http://www.adamtoewsonline.com Adam

    Looks like they studied any movie produced by Studio 4c in the last 15 years, from Tekkonkinkreet to Mind Game. Well done, and hats off – at the student level, be it undergrad or masters, that’s a pretty top notch presentation.

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    I don’t get why people are talking about animation being ‘unfinished’. I mean, the lines were all cleaned to consistent standard, besides it’s drawing on influences that are rooted in economically limited animation. Whatsmore, what small-team student films don’t have limited animation? Recent calarts efforts have been actively embracing tome-e and limited devices, why call out this guy?

  • purin

    I’ve long felt the subway was a great place for things about the subconscious and dreams….

  • Lola

    The angles were fun, the backgrounds were great, the intro was interesting… But I feel the story fell off as soon as it started. Considering it was a student I’ll let the awkward animation slide but c’mon kids. gotta think about the stooorrryy.

  • NC

    I’m just glad to see that anime is now embracing the VISUAL art form. No more close up shots of the character explaining what’s going on. It seems they’ve finally realized you can tell a story without an excessive use of dialogue. So yeah the story may not have been original but at least it was told well.

  • http://tresswygert.blogspot.com Tres Swygert

    This is a wonderful project to be hold. Not only was the project fun to watch, it was also fun to watch the progress. Didn’t know Photoshop was used to check out the animation process. It was a fun watch.

  • http://www.comemeetjesus.blogspot.com Chris Powell

    Im glad I watched it all, The ending made it kinda make more sense.

    Much props for the production value. very nice for a student film and loved the color and more subtle bits of animation at the beginning.

  • Caresse

    I Love It! Great work! The 2D was worked into the 3D in a very clever way. If you nitpick anything, you can always find flaws. But overall, this Dongzhen Li gets my vote of confidence.

  • h park

    I have to agree what Hellohue’s statement on labeling this student film as “animation”, not “anime”. It seems like any animation that follows visual style of Japanese animation, tend to get labeled as “anime” because it doesn’t look like western 2D animation’s visual standard. I find this remark very unpleasant to the point of discriminatory tone. In Japan, the word “anime” simply means “cartoon”.

    Oh, I just watched Disney anime called Peter Pan. I wonder how many people will get upset.

    It seems like people tend to forget that all art forms have duality. East vs West, traditional vs modern, color vs design, full animation vs limited animation, over-design vs under-design, 2D vs 3D, and so on.

  • Gabe

    I don’t really care where this film is from. This stuff should really just be viewed and commented based on the quality of content.

    that being said there were some great parts. I kind of wish the animation was a little more solid though. The CG background and hand drawn animation combo is always in interesting combo. I just feel that the animation portions of this film were not always done with as much attention and care as it should have been. If you’ve got something of quality such as the CG background, everything else has to be just as good if not better. Otherwise any portion lacking in quality will simply stand out among all the good things.

  • tlockh20

    I agree with Hellohue, it’s unnecessary to label it as anime, animation is animation no matter where it comes from, good or bad. As for this film I wouldn’t neccessarily call it amazing, there seemed to be some shortcuts taken but there were some good points like the style and use of color as well as some of the characterizations. The little demons were quirky and interesting.

  • Micki St James

    I watched to the end, and in these days of Short Attention Span
    youtube grazers that’s not a given. So Props 1. Plenty of characters, sharply drawn, any one of whom could carry another
    short … the kid eating the rubber sandwich, the i-am-the-leader-come-to-find-my-queen type. Props 2. Subways are always interesting and this was real and familiar enough with just a touch of the truly bizarre. Leveraged audience expectations and then defied them. Props 3. Really well done, I thought.