These days most entertainment exported from East Asia, whether it’s a pop band or the next film wave, comes out of South Korea. However, one market they still haven’t conquered is animation, a medium that Japan still has on lockdown. But that doesn’t mean Korea hasn’t tried to steal their crown. The King of Pigs, a 2011 film about school bullying, is Korea’s first international splash into the animation world–and boy is it intense.
In the movie, two high school friends reunite to discuss an emotionally scarring school year that still haunts them. Relentlessly bullied as teens, they seek friendship and safety with Kim Chul, the so-called “king of pigs,” who makes it his life mission to defeat the bullies. But, as expected, it all ends terribly.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, June 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
For those who love advice columns and animation, here’s something for you. This series, produced by The Guardian and animated by Beakus Studios, show the troubles of individuals who call a helpline to ask famed psychotherapist Philippa Perry (aka Agony Aunt) for help. Similar to “call in” shows like Loveline or Dr. Judy, each caller is honest as they describe personal problems that range from unemployment to relationships to depression. Although the advice Perry gives seem a little “duh” to us, we love the way the videos use animation to show each person’s dilemma. We’re also a sucker for candid, real-life stories. The video above shows a caller who doesn’t know how to rekindle an old relationship. Perry scolds him and calls him a possible commitment-phobe. Ha! You can watch the other episodes via The Guardian. Eat your heart out, Ann Landers.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, May 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
Singer-songwriter Lia Ices’s 2014 album Ices was a psychedelic pop voyage with a noticeable bohemian flair. But she gets in touch with her inner spirit animal in this music video for single “Creatures.” Directed by Tom Jean Webb, the animated video is aesthetically an extension of Ices‘ artwork, going far and wide to represent nature and mysticism with a raw animal spirit. “The song celebrates this wild woman archetype that is connected to the Earth and the senses,” she explained to Nowness. “ I think that’s something Tom I and both celebrate in our work.” But symbolism aside, the animation here is top-notch and recommended for those who like abstract imagery paired with drowsy melodies.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Hayao Miyazaki, the masterful animation director who is responsible for more well-known releases such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, has a long list of filmic achievements — but if you ask me, there’s one movie in particular that tops the list. Howl’s Moving Castle is an adaptation of the 2000 British novel by Diana Wynne Jones, but thanks to its serene qualities and artistically breathtaking imagery, it’s oh-so-much-better.
While the plot of this film follows a young hat maker’s journey aboard a giant, mechanical castle that travels the rural hills under the guidance of an extremely beautiful (and extremely vain) prince, the themes of this movie go deep, revolving around issues of pollution, love, aging, and power. This film may be of great entertainment value to children, but I can almost guarantee you that any age individual will find his or her eyes glued to the screen. With moments of pure aesthetic perfection and quiet realizations sprinkled throughout this film, it truly is one of Miyazaki’s bests.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, April 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
These days it’s a little too easy to poke fun at society’s smartphone obsession. We get it. Phone usage is out of control–yes, we know. But this short satirical animation takes it to a whole other level. Created by Chinese animator Xie Cheng Lin, the short takes a darkly humorous look at what happens when a phone-obsessed society stops caring around real life. With mild violence and a bizarre ending, it’s clear what message Lin is trying to convey. It might be a tad over-the-top for some, but I prefer to think the short is a lot more tongue in cheek than it appears. Will technology really be the death of society? We don’t know, but at least we can sit and laugh at the possibility. (Hat tip: Catsuka)
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, April 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
This 2002 short film by animator Koji Yamamura brought attention to the “experimental anime” genre back when Western audiences still didn’t know it was a thing. The Academy Award nominated short film takes a darkly humorous look at society, lampooning both wastefulness and public consumption. In the film, a tree sprouts out of a man’s head, attracting the attention of loud, obnoxious salarymen/women who are obsessed with hanging out around the tree. Weird and hilarious, it’s classic Yamamura. If you like this, don’t forget to check out The Old Crocodile and Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, April 16th, 2015||No Comments »|
Adult Swim’s 4 a.m. show devoted to weirdness and animation (the same show that brought us Too Many Cooks), premiered this mind-bending video for Dan Deacon’s ode to death, “When I Was Done Dying.” With the help of nine animators, including The Absolute fave Jake Fried, the epic video goes on a surreal journey through the afterlife. Flowing from one animation style to the next, the video is a sprawling opus that can be watched again and again. We liked it so much, we whipped up a couple of GIFs to highlight how stunning this thing is. Of course, you can watch the video in full below. Don’t forget to check out interviews with each animator via Off the Air’s tumblr.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, March 26th, 2015||No Comments »|