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Goin’ Japanesque!

3 Three-Minute Short Anime Movies for a Spare Moment

Sometimes you have a spare moment, waiting in line at a popular ramen restaurant, or waiting for a train or bus. Or you are feeling down, frustrated or just plain bored. We would like to introduce Japanese short anime that offers perfect distraction for such a moment. You can refresh your mood in no more than 3 minutes, in addition to killing time.

 

Ideal for Those Who Love Beautiful Japanese Anime

“Nội Bài Int’l Airport in Vietnam”, Commercial Film by Taisei Corp.

Currently in Japan, 30-second version is on air as a TV commercial message, but 4-minute variation also exists. Within a short duration of only 30 seconds, an inspiring story is hidden. Free viewing of this commercial message is available for a limited period on the website of Taisei Corporation.

Synopsis

The main character is a man in his 20’s.

In his childhood he looked up at his father’s big back with admiration, wishing to grow up to do the same job, catching up with him, and passing him some day. And he started working in the same job.

Now he is engaged in construction of an airport in a distant foreign land of Vietnam.

He is working for people, and for his own dream to work on a project that leaves a mark on the map.

Critique

It is a very beautiful work in which delicate, eloquent visual images moves in a perfect synchronization with music.

Japanese people are said to overwork themselves. However the film can easily gain sympathy from many people across national borders, as it focuses on universal theme of childhood “dream” and “father and son” relationship, expressed in a story of one young man.

The work combines seamlessly in one anime, a contemporary young man that can be found anywhere in the world, and lyrical landscape that is uniquely Japanese.

 

Please listen to the sound of the Japanese wind chime at the beginning of the anime, which is a summer symbol in Japan. This work expresses summer landscape in Japan beautifully.

 

For Those Who Are Interested in Japanese Ukiyo-e Drawings

The Story of Isobee Isobe ~Life Is Rough~ in 2013

This ukiyo-e style comic has been published in boys’ manga magazine in Japan, and this work condensed it into a short anime for about 30 seconds per episode.

The main character is Isobee Isobe, a good-for-nothing samurai, who is leading an aimless, lazy life. He is often scolded by his mother.

You can watch this free video on the internet, too.

Synopsis

Isobee Isobe lives in Edo City during the Edo Period(1603-1867). He planned to be a decent samurai, but unfortunately his plan remained as a plan.

As he is lazy, he talks but achieves nothing, just loafing around day after day.

We wonder when he escapes from his prolonged inactive period and starts walking on his path to be a decent samurai.

Critique

The stage of the story is set in the Edo Period, but outlandish scenes appear like they do in the anime “Gin Tama”.

This adds a surreal touch to the anime, which could be considered as its characteristic.

It is a unique comedy in which a loosely constructed story exquisitely matches with ukiyo-e style drawings that contain large blank background.

 

Isobee is a samurai in name only. How pathetic he is might find a vague resemblance in Japanese youth who live modern life today.

He throws away his normal pathetic self and makes great effort to see pornographic drawings, just like any other adolescent boy. That is strangely funny.

 

For Those Who Would Like to Relieve Stress by Having a Good Laugh

Cinema Keiba /Japan World Cup 2010 by Japan Racing Association

This work first appeared as a commercial message of Japan Racing Association.

It’s a 3 minute anime of a mock horse race, but the contestants were so ridiculous that it gained wide popularity and it was even made into a computer game.

The surrealistic yet highly technological design of characters was considered to symbolize the country of Japan well, and the video was posted on Internet and became a hot topic internationally, too.

Synopsis

The story starts and progresses as a normal horse race.

Though there is some speech from the broadcaster, it is a simple anime anyone can understand by watching the images only.

However, the contestants are not exactly normal.

Funny characters show up that you can encounter in nowhere but Japanese anime.

For example, a biped horse, a fake horse made of cardboard, a state-of-the-art (?) horse made from an oil barrel and high-tech machine, a horse dressed in a uniform, a horse disguised as a waitress in a maid café, a horse with “chon mage” hairstyle (braided topknot of samurai), and a horse wearing long stockings, and so on.

Such outlandish horses appear and compete in a race.

Critique

What happens when uniquely Japanese high-tech and comedy are combined?

“Cinema Keiba /Japan World Cup” offers one answer to this question.

“Enka” (a type of traditional Japanese popular songs), “yankee” (delinquent Japanese youth), “salaryman”, “maid café” are contemporary segments of Japanese culture, symbolized in the horses in the race, and they present unexpected punch lines.

You may catch a whiff of self-deprecating, humor in absurd guffaws. It comes from an outsider perspective, standing one step away from the creator’s own culture. And that might be uniquely Japanese.

 

Ridiculous overtime of “salaryman” and excessive idol worship manifested in strange “maid café” are Japanese cultural phenomena that Japanese themselves consider with mixed feelings. This film sublimates such phenomena into easy-to-understand laughter and humor, with Japanese uneasy feelings left untouched.

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