I can watch this film many times and with every view I get fascinated by something new. Kafka’s story is by itself very mysterious and Koji Yamamura gracefully plays around an open piece of literature. He creates a world that contrasts between the peaceful, spiritual mood that one can find in traditional Japanese films and a building anxiety of a world that pushes this country doctor into a merciless place. The decision made for the character animation style are very particular. Bodies are constantly morphing, a simple walk cycle becomes a complex gesture of the body instead of natural human movements.
The animation takes advantage of the liberties that hand drawn animation allows. The study of mirror neurons expands in greater detail on how we empathize with someone else be reading the body gestures. I think that a great success in 3d character animations these days responds to their ability to control even the most microscopic detail that is so complicated to do in other animation techniques. The sensation of realism in CG animation does not come merely by the look of hyper-realistic rendering, but by the possibility to control gestures that we find so familiar at an unconscious level. What happens in Yamamura’s film is that he does not approach gestures microscopically but goes to the other extreme and exaggerates them and really brings them to our attention. I find it very successful use of hand drawn animation and will go back to it more when I start compositing my piece.