May 28, 2022
Shiroki Saori is an animator who paints oil on glass, and she must be most well-known for her more polished work in 2012 on the Monotonous Purgatory music video for Matryoshka. The aesthetic is lovely and not very many animators work in this medium, of which Aleksandr Petrov is probably the most known and celebrated artist. There's a great textural quality to the style, and there are often imperfections seen as the characters move, leaving outlines. Sometimes it's smoothed over, but I'm not really sure how much of the effect is for stylistic purposes or if there just wasn't enough time to smooth the animation
out with more frames, but it's generally a rather messy technique.
Personally, I'd like it if commercial anime used less conventional techniques like this more often—it could have interesting applications in a commercial context. I believe Mob Psycho is one example that used a variety of mediums irregularly.
There's an elegant look to the characters and the few exteriors and interiors. The sound design is minimalistic, and there's no dialogue. All of the storytelling is visual.
The story is simple: a young boy reads about the world, his mother is overprotective and smothering, and when he tries to leave her grasp and cross the fence, his mother forces him to stay home.
She, indeed, is a finger stealer, but she's also a toe stealer, an arm stealer, and... yeah, she can turn her son into a caterpillar—a pretty obvious symbol, as she's forcing her son to regress into a more primitive state. A caterpillar will go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly, but she will obviously not allow the son to grow. There really isn't any room for more interpretation than that.
The short is about completely subverting a child's nature (and I'd say abuse, but probably a legal form... it's difficult to tell because of the metaphorical nature of the short) by a parent—specifically a single mother, as there isn't a father or anyone else present. Not having two parents leads to worse outcomes for a child, and single mothers are one of the most toxic and emasculating influences a young boy can have, and it generally always seems worse for the boys than for the girls. Though producers love to present abusive single fathers in films often, they're not nearly as common as single mothers—whether they be advertently or inadvertently abusive. Most single mothers in Japan are divorcees who do the initiating, so she probably stole the house, just as we know she likes to steal fingers and everything else, kicked the father out, and turned her son into a creepy crawly to get back at the father. That'll show him! Strong independent waman. >: ^)
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