Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Poulette's Chair" From Studio Ghibli Veterans

Charming Anime for Everyone

Poulette's Chair

Let me bring to your attention something you would never know about otherwise.

"Poulette's Chair" (also translated "Pullet's Chair" from "Pullet No Isu") is a short created to commemorate 10 years of Noitamina (Animation spelled backward). Noitamina, which you probably never have heard of if you aren't Japanese, is a Fuji TV programming block with a special mission: to open the world of animation to girls and older viewers, expanding the demographic beyond the young males who are the traditional viewers of anime.

There is absolutely nothing wrong about past anime, and little chance that most anime will change from what it has been. However, anime has developed a bit of a reputation as somewhat hard-edged and masculine, and shorts such as "Poulette's Chair" aim in a different direction. It has a warm, welcoming feel that stands with the best of Studio Ghibli. It is not a stretch to compare the quality of "Poulette's Chair" with beloved Studio Ghibli classics "Kiki's Delivery Service," though of course as a short, it is in a completely different league.

"Pullet's Chair" is directed by Hiroyasu Ishida (who also did the short "Rain Town"). It was animated with the supervision of former Studio Ghibli colleague Yojiro Arai and has beautiful music by talented video-game composer Masashi Hamauzu.

It is an enchanting story of the friendship between a precocious young girl, Poulette, a transfer student to a new school (which is why her name is written on the blackboard), and her magical chair. The theme is to never lose your youthful enthusiasm.

This is something a little different, a very low-profile short that you most likely would never hear about otherwise. However, while it may not be widely publicized, the quality is very high, as would the case with anything even remotely connected to Studio Ghibli.

Give "Poulette's Chair" a whirl, it's only 3:36 long. You might find that there is enjoyable Japanese animation beyond the major studio releases, and we are happy to give talented unknowns a view.


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