“The Undertaker and the Dog” by Shin Hashimoto

Among the gems discovered this year in Ottawa was Shin Hashimoto‘s The Undertaker and the Dog, a student short made at Tokyo’s Tama Art University. The story, which incorporates elements of Snow White, turns fairly weird by the end. I particularly like its flowing ink animation style that transitions smoothly from scene to scene, as well as all the idiosyncratic and humorous touches that seemingly come out of nowhere (the flies being scared off the princess, the turtle who is being beaten, the dog tits). The tags on his YouTube video give us an idea of his artistic influences: Caroline Leaf, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Ryan Larkin, and David Shrigley.


  • RODAN

    No Silly Symphony that’s for sure…. quite depressing.
    Interesting style.
    Music, good.

    On a scale of 1-10….I give it a…..(ha!)

  • George

    Why do I feel like I was not supposed to have liked that as much as I did?

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

    A gem?

    What I would like to know is, have independent animators decided en masse that the concept of empathy is unimportant? How can a viewer relate to what is on the screen when you treat the characters in your animated short as doodles instead of real people with thoughts and emotions?

    • amid

      Niffiwan, thank you for showing the error of our ways and clarifying what we should all consider “real people with thoughts and emotions.” God forbid any one stylize the human figure and abstractly present human thoughts and emotions instead of literally spelling it out for everybody. You probably wouldn’t like this guy’s work either:

      Picasso

      • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

        You didn’t explain what you liked in the film’s message either, Amid. I gather that you liked the animation style and the “humorous touches”, but what about the underlying concept connected with you? How do you understand the big picture of what the film is about?

      • amid

        Art is not math. Artwork, including animated films, never have a single correct answer and can connect with people on different emotional and narrative levels. The story here is unconventional, and I may not even be fully grasping its nuances, but the film’s core concept of an undertaker who deals in death giving new life to someone is a powerful statement. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Like the rest of humanity, the answer isn’t clear-cut.

      • gingersoll

        Niffiwan, I greatly respect you writings and research of animation, but in this case I think you may be a little harsh.

        The understaker is a big dumb man-child. He is drawn as an adult version of a gag manga school yard oaf. The other adults in this world leer at him, he is obtuse and untouchable.
        Yet when he comes to the corpse, the bullied oaf becomes the bully. He has no empathy or kindness for those weaker than himself. His only smiles comes at the chance to do what he is obviously supposed to do: collect a corpse.
        Yet even this abused/abusive freak has the yearning for connection, watching the dogs and their funeral play establishes an empathetic link and reaches out the best way he can.

        No, it is not Shakespeare, but I think it is going too far to say it is only doodles without thought, emotion, or empathy. Clearly the animator attempted to achieve all three of these elements, though his success in this attempt is up to personal opinion, we must at least credit him with the attempt.

  • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

    That…was oddly charming! Though i’m a little skeeved by the dog taking a bloody bone fresh off a rotting corpse!

  • http://www.tubbirdbelty.com Barbara

    I love the way he draws faces. So cool…Here’s some more from the festival:

    http://vimeo.com/8334834
    http://vimeo.com/12602436
    http://vimeo.com/12448804
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu7jWJXZLHk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcV-TTmkJ-8

    Wettessen was my favorite..too bad there’s only a trailer..

  • http://www.celiabullwinkel.com Celia

    That you for posting the links, Barbara! I enjoyed seeing these again.