The Anime Mirai Project was a screening of series of 4 short anime films screened at the Scotland Loves Anime Film Festival at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. Anime Mirai is translated as ‘The Future of Animation’ and was a project by the Agency of Cultural Affairs in Japan to train young and up and coming animators by funding them to create short films. The Japanese Animation Creators Association selected the four projects and each has its own distinctive and creative style.
The first film was the heavily Studio Ghibli influenced ‘Juju the Weightless Dugong’. This anime was directed by Hiroshi Kawamata and the visual style was a classical look with a fantasy theme that intertwined with a real life setting. The story was fairly fundamental – a busy father has no time to take his daughter to the seaside. Exciting visuals kept the story progressing and the relationship between the father and daughter was well conceived. Overall a great short anime from a young director.
The second film (‘Pretending Not To See’ – Directed by Shinpei Miyashita) had a more serious tone and tackled the important subject of bullying and how ignoring the problem can be seen as being just as bad as taking part. The target audience for this anime is definitely young school children. The setting takes place in a Japanese primary school and the visual style was loose and illustrative. This was definitely the highlight of The Anime Mirai Project screening and stood out with its subject matter and original visuals. Although the tone was serious it did feel like a compliment to the other films and very much had its place within The Anime Mirai Project.
Li’l Spider Girl was the penultimate film and was directed by Shinpei Miyashits at Production I.G. This studio had several screenings at the Scotland Loves Anime Festival (Blood C The Last Dark, Tokyo Marble Chocolate and Mass Effect). Li’l Spider Girl was a dark tale about an antique shop owner who uncovers a little girl who happens to be a spider. Initially she appears sweet and nice, but turns into something a lot more sinister and deadly. The anime starts with a prologue showing a demon hunter fighting a deadly spider, we are then taken several centuries forward to the discovery of the girl. Overall Li’l Spider Girl was the most visually stunning anime within The Anime Mirai Project, but a straightforward and predicable story let it down, especially when compared to the other 3 animations at the screening.
The final film was ‘Buta’ – Directed by Kazuhide Tomonaga and was an anthropomorphic animal tale focussing on a pig. Buta had a Saturday morning kids cartoon feel about it. The story involved a well-off fox family and how a young fox had a much-cherished map that was sought after by a group of evil pirates. The backbone of the story was the relationship between the young fox and a vigilante pig and how they attempt to escape the clutches of the pirates. Buta was a fine adventure tale that would mainly appeal to children and it was the perfect conclusion to The Anime Mirai Project.