What It Takes To Animate This Animator From JapanHiroyuki Okiura, 34, the director of the Japanese animated film "Jin-Roh," was not a talkative person when he first came in for an interview at the Production I.G. offices in suburban Tokyo. Just like Fuse, the main character in his first animated film, he seemed to be constantly adrift in his own world.
Mr. Okiura has been receiving much attention from critics these days, ever since "Jin-Roh" won the Best Animation Award at the Portugal International Film Festival. Yet he did not seem to care much about the rave reviews his work has received. When asked about his reaction to his new-found popularity, he merely answered with a subtle smile.
Then, when asked about his plans, Mr. Okiura casually replied, "The only thing I can think of right now is what I shall eat for dinner." It was difficult to tell from his aloof answers whether his lack of interest lay in the interview or if this was his general attitude toward life.
But he became a totally different person when we began to talk about the film itself. Suddenly, his eyes began to shine as he openly shared his opinions on animation. According to Mr. Okiura's artistic philosophy, every animated film should have its own form of expression, depending on the theme and subject.
Mr. Okiura's life as an animation artist began immediately after he graduated from junior high school. He was only 15 at the time, but he did not want to waste any more years continuing his formal education.
Like him, there are many young people who devote themselves to animation at an early age. These "young bloods" are the main motor behind Japan's propulsion into a top position in the animated film industry. Mr. Okiura commented that "we Japanese animators have strong spirits, even though we have no better working environment than the animators in Hollywood."
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