'Jam' Mirai Mizue 'Jam' Mirai Mizue

In this ongoing series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today — the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.

This week’s subject is Japanese animator and artist Mirai Mizue, whose visually scrumptious, kaleidoscopic wonders dazzle the eyes and ears.

In a paragraph: Mizue was one of the new talents to emerge in Japanese animation in the early 2000s alongside other notables such as Atsushi Wada and Kei Oyama. His work regularly features a maze of multi-colored shapes combined with upbeat rhythmic soundtracks to explore abstract ideas, but also the beautiful chaos that is humanity and biology.

Where to start: Wonder (2014). Mizue loves to challenge himself and resists roaming down the same roads too often. With Wonder, he made a one-second film (24 images) each day for one year. At the end, he transforms the 8760 images into an eight-minute abstract… wait for it… wonder.

What to watch next: Jam (2008). Simply put: a hypnotic colorgasm of harmonic chaos, or is that chaotic harmony? Best to just sit back and take it in and decide for yourself.

Other key works:  Lost Utopia (2007), Modern (2011), Chaotic Order (2011)

Influences:  “Abstract paintings by Joan Miró, Paul Klee, Tarō Okamoto, etc. 1980s fantasy movies such as The Neverending Story,  Labyrinth, and Return to Oz. Special effects work such as Ultraman and Godzilla (especially works by Ishirō Honda).”

Says: “I’m really interested in myself: Of what am I made? My body consists of 60-trillion cells but I am always wondering which cells are allotted to be my mind, soul, or feelings? I feel sure that there are other things in myself other than cells. Some invisible elements. Not visible elements like cells, but invisible elements that make us create something like society, culture, songs, drawings, or something like that.”

Currently working on:  “I am currently developing my first feature-length animation project, a sci-fi work based on Journey to the West. As part of that, I recently completed a 21-minute short animation, Eternity.”

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Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson is a writer and Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Robinson has authored thirteen books including Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2006), Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008), and Japanese Animation: Time Out of Mind (2010). He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning animation short, Lipsett Diaries.