Atama Yama (2003) is a short anime with a duration of about 10 minutes by Koji Yamamura. Having a simple story that cool to live as full of meaning. Unlike Inaka Isha (2007) who may be visually confusing, it looks more simple and will make us realize how important it is to appreciate the environment. Is this a form of call/invitation or criticism, which obviously this anime has the unique delivery and good intentions.. Altough it only has a simple meaning but this anime will make you nods..
Yamamura Kōji has a way of making his work feel more like I am listening to a variation of Japanese
theatre with surrealistic images in the background rather than watching an anime, which is a large part of what makes watching it so interesting! This verve for stage direction comes mostly from his choice of story adaptation, seiyuu and musical directors as much as from his execution or art style, which often leave its viewer wondering what really happened there. And while his art style is unique, where Yamamura Kōji really shines is how he tells a story.
In my review for Inaka
Isha I mentioned the feel of Noh theatre in the work; for this adaptation of traditional Japanese rakugo* story Atama Yama, director Yamamura Kōji tells the story using another kind of traditional Japanese fare - rōkyoku (also known as naniwa-bushi), which is a genre of traditional Japanese narrative singing generally accompanied by a shamisen.
To help execute his vision, Yamamura selected rōkyoku singer and bluegrass shamisen artist, Kunimoto Takeharu, to play the narrator and various members of the cast. Kunimoto, who has a real vocal flare for the dramatic, transports us to contemporary Tokyo, Yamamura's choice of setting for his stage, where we are shown a man too stingy to let go and too greedy to leave behind. Is this another surrealistic perspective of man's eternal dilemma of Eternity and Death or simply a moralistic play about the dangers of greed? While it doesn't answer any of the fundamental existential dilemmas or make us grow in our interpersonal relationships, it is still interesting to watch, if only because of the insights we gain into Japanese culture and tradition.
One of the best parts about Yamamura's directing style is that he realizes how talented the people he hires are and basically lets them do their thing. This usually means that the seiyuu's skills at storytelling shine through with the first breath, and so it came as no surprise to me when the musical quality of Kunimoto Takeharu's voice took mine away. There were times watching this that I found myself unable to pay attention to the story because I was too busy listening to his narrative and the way he would change his voice or even how he paused to breathe. This alone would have been enough to capture my attentions, but when accompanied by the music of his shamisen, and at times a haunting violin as well, I went away chilled and thought to myself "I almost prefer to see this as a play rather than in it's animated form."
But see this once anyway, if only to hear the talented Kunimoto Takeharu tell you a story and listen to him play his shamisen.
*Rakugo (落語) is a type of Japanese verbal entertainment, originally known as karukuchi (軽口). A lone storyteller, called a rakugoka, (落語家) sits on a Kōza stage and using only a paper fan and a small cloth depicts a long and complicated comical story. The story always involves the dialogue of two or more characters, the difference between the characters depicted only through change in pitch, tone, and a slight turn of the head.
-- Information courtesy of Wikipedia
A very funny and good short, sort of like a Kabuki(themed) play (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki).
Pros: A great funny story with great sounds.
The story starts off like a kabuki style, with music and stlyized verbage. It has the narrator and a main protagonist, a cheap man who picks up food and other debris off the ground. One day he picks up cherries from the ground and decides to eat them all of them including the seeds. This somehow lets him grow a sakura tree out of his head. People magically appear on his head like it's the Sakura blossoms in Tokyo or even in Philadelphia and
they gather and leave garbage and interfere with his "Meal Time". He eventually gets fed up with all the noise and pollution, and rips the tree out of his head which leaves a hole which fills with water and now people go to it like a it's a pond. He finally has enough and runs through the city scared and confused and looks into a pool of water which is in his hat which is on his head and it goes in his head through the water and into his head again and repeat the cycle until he kills himself. Definately worth one watch
Indecisive is a grand word to express this work. Introduction was fairly simple hinting at what was to come and shortly after providing the pretext behind it. As the story progressed you seemed to know what was going on but it doesn't really pan out that way. In fact it bends into something else entirely. Somewhere in the bending out phase i was lost as a viewer with the plot. At first i thought i was seeing something similar to the making of a gardener only to have it morph into a visit from a therapist? I suppose i get it
but clearer wording for description is needed like for example psychological. For it is not just the plot that tells a story but the art as well. Conclusion, makes sense to what the show was leading up to but i feel a nicer end would have been more appreciative. Not that this ending chosen was terrible but more of a preference choice.
At least the moral in my eyes was kind and thought provoking. People no matter how you are always feel the need to expand. Much like a tree and its branches. Not like a rock that stands the same in not just its size and position. It is like we have an inner black hole that needs substance to maintain it. And the more we fret only seems to expand it further. In short it explains why letting things go is a good thing as opposed to bottling them up.
Was a major player to my confusion. If it wasn't mainly for the shoe deception i would find this anime easy to understand. For those that can't what i mean i will explain to a vague degree for not to ruin anything. If i give you a coin it is like a pebble. For you to come back to me and tell me its a boulder but at the same time still a coin you are crazy. Granted i could see what some of you are thinking about and no i am not talking about the invested growth viewpoint. Had i been it would ruin my example. The point being is things generally have limitations but to be hypocritical about that is confusing for it makes it harder if not impossible to fully understand anything that comes afterword.
The When Marnie Was There nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the upcoming Oscars 2016 is sure to provide a fair amount of exposure for Japanese animation. Let's explore the pioneers who opened up the door to the Academy Awards and gained attention and respect for our beloved medium.