Swimming by Shiho Hirayama

In Swimming by Shiho Hirayama (b. 1979), a chubby boy’s imagination transforms an awkward swim class into a magical experience. This short really sneaks up on the viewer. It didn’t seem much at first glance but its simple honesty grew on me quickly and left a lasting impact. Charming character animation, a playful visualization of space and distance, and elegant sound design come together to make this one of the more memorable shorts in recent memory. There are more examples of Shiho’s animation on her website including a cute piece located on her “about me” page.


  • http://www.comicartoon.blogspot.com Víctor Cartoon

    Amaizing animation and so good tipical sounds of Japan. Fantastic short!

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    The moment where the kid first jumps into the pool, the perspective, underwater, is fascinating.

  • http://www.frankrause.com Fran Krause

    I like the underplayed surreality.

  • Carl

    Best film you’ve posted in a while.

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    Absolutely lovely. The sound in particular, was perfect. I felt like I was there. Even with the simple look, I could almost feel the water around me. A beautiful short.

  • Saturnome

    Wow! Cool. I loved the sound in particular.

  • http://www.twinkleland.com Gary Leib

    Thanks so much for featuring this! Inspiring use of line
    and sound, great stuff.

  • http://powpowcomics.com Brooks Michael Williams

    The sounds were fantastic. This animation really sidestepped the boring heaviness other films would fall into if they attempted this same topic. Absolutely wonderful.

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    Very nice, although I found the first half more interesting than the second. As everybody else has mentioned, the sound was great. I’ll definitely visit her website.

  • http://www.dancinglineproductions.com anik

    fantastic work!

  • http://pierrefontaine.webs.com Pierre Fontaine

    I also thought the first half was more interesting than the second half, especially once the fantasy started. But seriously, that’s nothing compared to the shear beauty of the experience. Very inspiring work and as most have said already, the sound design is just sublime.

  • http://www.seezen.net/ Daev

    Beautiful. I think I’ll go to the pool now.

  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Adam VM

    This woould have been so easy to make corny, with a goofy soundtrack, or silly ‘lol fat people’ humor, but she deftly avoided that. This is simply wonderful.

    Also, he sure can hold his breath.