Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Animated Classics of Japanese Literature - The Izu Dancer|
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Breathtaking artwork on display in animated literary tales
Brian Camp | Bronx, NY | 01/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some of the episodes in the "Animated Classics of Japanese Literature" TV series from 1986 are so beautifully designed and executed they're like watching traditional Japanese art unfold in motion across the screen. This is especially true of two episodes on this disc. "The Izu Dancer," from a story by Yasunari Kawabata, focuses on a high school student traveling through the country region of Izu who is drawn to a girl from a family of traveling dance performers. It features a series of lush background paintings of the mountainous Izu region in all its autumnal glory, as well as detailed renderings of the resort towns where the family stops to perform.
"Ghost Story" is based on a story by Lafcadio Hearn (a Greek-born American writer credited here under his Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo) about a blind player of the "biwa" (a four-stringed instrument like a lute) who is called on to perform the tale of the brutal end of the Heike (or Taira) Clan before a ghostly audience. The story is grounded in memories of the historic battle to the death between the Heike and Genji clans in 1185 and takes place in a village near the site of the battle. The artwork draws on traditional paintings of Japanese occult lore and includes the famous scene of the Buddhist monk writing holy sutras in ink all over the body of the blind musician in order to ward off the ghosts (a scene also recreated in Masaki Kobayashi's live-action film version from 1964, KWAIDAN).
The other story on this disc, "The Dancing Girl," by Mori Ogai, takes place in Berlin in the late 19th century and tells of a romance between a Japanese man working as a translator and a poor German dancer and the difficulties faced when the man's employers seek to send him back to Japan. While it's not as steeped in Japanese culture as the other episodes in this series, its visual style recalls many other Japanese animated works based on European literature, most notably the 1970s TV series, "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" and "Dog of Flanders."
The DVD transfers enhance the imagery and allow it to shine in a way that couldn't be appreciated as fully on VHS. The linework is stronger, the colors brighter, the subtleties of the shading more visible and the overall effect more breathtaking. Fans for whom anime has spurred a deeper interest in Japanese art, culture and history should seek out this series for the insights it offers into Japanese customs, social codes and ways of life that existed during the years when Japan had one foot in the modern world and one in the feudal era. We sincerely hope that the 21 additional episodes previously released on tape will join the 12 that have so far made it to DVD (in four volumes).
Wonderfully poignant/beautiful animation/fun way to learn Ja
Sparks | United States | 05/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Im very happy with this DVD. The Japanese is simple and slow enough for a beginner student (4 months) to understand and the storyline is sweet. Although each movie is only 30 minutes long, the stories are mature and full bodied enough to intrigue adults. Price is right too :)"