American History: An Off-Kilter 1992 Student Film from South Park Creator Trey Parker

Here’s a lit­tle exer­cise:

Spend five min­utes record­ing your­self recap­ping every­thing you know about Japan­ese his­to­ry.

(Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies majors and Japan­ese cit­i­zens, please sit this one out.)

Most of us will wind up with a pas­tiche that’s heavy on pop cul­ture and rel­a­tive­ly recent events. The aver­age Japan­ese school­child should have no dif­fi­cul­ty iden­ti­fy­ing the glar­ing holes and fac­tu­al errors in our nar­ra­tives.

If this idea amus­es you, you’ll like­ly enjoy Amer­i­can His­to­ry, above, South Park cre­ator Trey Park­er’s ear­ly ani­mat­ed short, a 1993 Stu­dent Acad­e­my Award sil­ver medal­ist.

Parker’s Japan­ese-born Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado class­mate, Junichi Nishimu­ra, pro­vid­ed the nar­ra­tion, begin­ning with Christo­pher Colum­bus in 1492 and end­ing with the “Japan bash­ing” 41st pres­i­dent, George H.W. Bush. High­lights along the way include the Salem Witch Tri­als, the Boston Tea Par­ty, the assas­si­na­tions of Pres­i­dents Lin­coln and Kennedy, Leave It to Beaver, and that time Bush barfed at a state din­ner host­ed by Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Kiichi Miyaza­wa.

He also remem­bers the Alamo, prov­ing one Red­dit wag’s hypoth­e­sis: If there’s one thing peo­ple remem­ber about the Alamo, it is to remem­ber the Alamo…

And then….

Park­er and anoth­er class­mate, Chris Graves, his soon-to-be DP on Can­ni­bal: The Musi­cal, ani­mat­ed the results using the most rudi­men­ta­ry of paper cut outs. It’s easy to spot the fledg­ling South Park style, as well as Python ani­ma­tor Ter­ry Gilliam’s influ­ence. This may be Amer­i­can his­to­ry, but the anony­mous top hat­ted hordes bear an awful­ly close resem­blance to South Park’s res­i­dent Cana­di­ans, Ter­rance and Phillip.

If the pho­net­ic spellings of non-native speak­er Nishimura’s pro­nun­ci­a­tion makes you uncom­fort­able, it’s worth not­ing that he not only worked as an ani­ma­tor on South Park, but also rep­re­sent­ed his coun­try by play­ing “Pres­i­dent” Hiro­hi­to on the extreme­ly fun­ny (and NSFW) “Chin­pokomon” episode.

Amer­i­can His­to­ry will be added to the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion,

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Zen Wis­dom of Alan Watts Ani­mat­ed by the Cre­ators of South Park, Trey Park­er and Matt Stone

Watch Can­ni­bal: The Musi­cal–The First Movie & Musi­cal by Trey Park­er, Cre­ator of South Parkand The Book of Mor­mon

John Green’s Crash Course in U.S. His­to­ry: From Colo­nial­ism to Oba­ma in 47 Videos

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Read her most recent dra­ma-in-real com­ic on Nar­ra­tive­ly. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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