Yoshimi Itazu/ Japan/ 2015/ 28 mins
@Glasgow Film Theatre, Sat 15 Oct 2016, as part of Scotland Loves Anime Festival
Scotland Loves Anime Festival celebrates its 7th year in 2016 and has become renowned as the UK’s top festival for Japanese animation.
The 28 minutes short-film Pigtails marks the debut of Yoshimi Itazu as a director at Production IG. He is known as the gifted character-designer and Chief animator on Miss Hokusai by Keiichi Hara. The film is based on the manga Mitsuami no Kamisama by female artist Machiko Kyō who the New Artist Prize at the 18th Annual Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizes (2014).
Recreating Kyō’s original manga, the story takes place in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. The film centers around a pig-tailed girl who lives alone in a solitary house standing by the scarred seashore at the very limits of the exclusion area.
The mail is no longer delivered there but this morning a pig-tailed girl is hanging out the laundry. As she calmly pursues her task, the new white clothes pegs start an argument against the old breakable red ones. Here, objects have a life and opinion of their own. In the bathroom, a young toothbrush is discussing the utility of keeping the tousled ones as their circle of life is complete. One day, somebody knocks at her door to deliver a letter. Pigtails’ routine will be shaken as she will now be confronted to a choice.
The film is an thought-provoking fable on a nation affected by a disaster, leaving it haunted by a loss of the fateful day. Nothing is explicitly stated, which is the force of the narration. We are embarked with Pigtails on a strange and mysterious journey, giving enough space for our imagination and interpretation to spring out. The anime adaptation creates a contrast between naïve-looking designs, vivid impressions of landscapes, and the story’s intriguing twist. It is delicate and poetic, letting hope and rebirth seep into a cruel world after an unnamed disaster.
The film was followed by Q & A with director Yoshimi Itazu at GFT in Glasgow.