Over at Metafilter, Kári Tulinius has a posted a nice selection of experimental short films by the great Japanese animator and manga artist Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka died in 1989, and although he’s most famous in the US for children’s cartoons like Astro-Boy and Kimbo the White Lion (better known to everyone but the Walt Disney Company’s lawyers as The Lion King), his achievements extended well beyond those two US hits. In his home country, The God of Manga is rightly considered a national treasure, and his massive body of work includes a manga adaptation of Crime and Punishment, a 12-volume fantasy saga about immortality, and the world’s first feature-length animated porn movie.
These shorts provide an excellent introduction to Tezuka’s many moods and styles, from the innocent whimsy of Mermaid (1964), about a boy who falls in love with a mermaid at sea….
… to the caustic humor of Memory (1964), a biting meditation on our rose-tinted view of the past:
…to the light exuberance of Jumping (1984):
… and finally the full-blown apocalyptic darkness of Push (1987), as relevant now as it was 25 years go — if not more so:
See also: Male (1962), Broken Down Film (1985), Drop (1965), Story of a Street Corner (1962), Genesis (1968), Muramasa (1987), and this interview, in which the Tezuka discusses his short experimental films…
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly