こねこのらくがき - Koneko no Rakugaki is charming black and white short film of approximately 12 minutes. This Toei Animation production of the year 1957 was directed again by Yabushita, Taiji (like: Kuroi Kikori to Shiroi Kikori).
A funny little story about a tiny kitten that for the very delight of his mouse friends paints with a pencil on a white wall. But the hustle and bustle came to an abrupt end as suddenly the owner of the house appears. He is, of course, not pleased at the unintended embellishment of his dwelling, and while the kitten is sentenced to scrubbing, the two mice have nothing
better to do than to "borrow" his pencil, and they obviously enjoy the part with intending to do 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 that debuted in 1940.
The characters are maybe simple but due to the shortness and lacking of voice acting, it's harder to develop complex characters. The kitten is perchance a bit naive and the mice are clever. The setting has a moral lesson that individualism will be punished. It's idealistic but it fits into its time and is combined with fun.
The Visuals bears the signature of Mori, Yasuji, already known as an illustrator of children's books, he became a master of his craft and first developed the then very popular style, inspired by American characters (mainly Disney), anthropomorphic, speaking animals as figures for the films. This style has been already used since the beginning of the Japanese animation but for his cute animal figures, Mori-san is still famous. On the other hand the animation is interesting also because of the experimental mixing of drawing styles and the animations, which were quite extensive work for the time. For example the deforming of the scrawled railroad carriages under the weight of the kitten, when the kitten is climbing on them. Objects rotate in front of the camera or even a scene is not animated in classic side-view, but from a persecutors perspective. In contrast to the side view, where you only need to drive with the camera over a long, static background image, the persecutor perspective have to completely animate the character, but also its environment. Decades later this was still evaluated as an optical highlight.
The background music was composed for the film by Ito, Senji so it matches to the story pretty well. Just one minor feature but the sound of the canned fish that one mice does pull on his tail behind him changes in corresponding to the differs in the environment.
Finally, to answer the question "should I watch this?" If you are really interested to explore how animation has evolved through the decades till today, you should. You have time to watch shounen with over 100 episodes then at least you should also have those 12 minutes.
Have fun watching!