こねこのらくがき - Koneko no Rakugaki is a charming black-and-white short film about approximately 12 minutes length. The Toei Animation production of the year 1957 was directed again by Yabushita, Taiji, as it was already the case in the Anime "Kuroi Kikori to Shiroi Kikori".
A funny little story about a tiny kitten that to the very delight of his mouse friends, paints on a white wall with a pencil. But the hustle and bustle came to an abrupt end as the owner of the house suddenly appeared. Of course, he is not pleased about the unintended embellishment of his dwelling, and while the kitten is
sentenced to scrubbing, the two mice have nothing better to do than "borrow" the pencil, and they obviously enjoy the part, with intention of doing some mischief. Thus begins a wild chase between friends, in which imagination and reality soon begin to mingle and it reminds us a little of Tom and Jerry, who made their debut in 1940.
The characters may be simple, but due to the shortness and lack of voice acting, it's harder to develop complex characters. The kitten may be a bit naive and the mice are smart. The story seeks to impart some moral guidance to their young viewers, within a funny tale. It may be idealistic, but whether idealistic or humorous, straightforward or a little bit like the hunt for a rainbow: it fits in with its time.
The visuals bear the signature of Mori, Yasuji, who was already known as an illustrator of children's books. He became a master of his craft and the one who first made the later very popular style of anthropomorphism presentable, inspired by American animation films (mainly Disney). Anthropomorphism means the attribution of human traits, emotions or intentions, e.g. to animal characters. This style has been already used since the beginning of the Japanese animation, but Mori-san is still famous for his cute animal figures. On the other hand, the animation is also interesting, both because of the experimental mixing of drawing styles and because of their animations, which were quite an extensive work for the time. For example, if the kitten is climbing around on the scrawled railroad carriages and under its weight those carriages are deforming, or objects are rotating in front of the camera, these animations have been requiring a lot of time-consuming work. To give another example, a scene that was not animated in classic side view, but from the perspective of the pursuer. In contrast to the side view, that required only moving the camera over a long, static background image, it is necessary for the pursuer's perspective to animate the character as well as its surroundings completely. Decades later, this was still considered as an optical highlight.
The background music was composed by Ito, Senji for the film so that it fits well with the story. Only a small feature, but the sound of the fish-can, which a mouse pulls at its tail behind it, changes its sound according to the different environmental conditions, e. g. by running into a piece of drainpipe.
Finally, to answer the question, "Should I look at this?" If you are really interested in exploring how animation has evolved over the decades to date, you should do so. You have the time to watch "Shounen" with more than 100 episodes, then you should at least have these 12 minutes time.