Anime at Nippon Connection 2020

You can’t have a festival dedicated to Japan without mentioning animation and vice versa as you see with the Annecy International Animation Festival every year (and last year which was dedicated to Japan). Nippon Connection has collected a nice selection of mainstream anime movies and indie shorts scattered in different sections and this post summarises all of the anime and animation on display. It’s the follow-up and last of the Nippon Connection highlight posts, following a look at Nippon Visions, Nippon Cinema/Classics, and Nippon Docs.

To find out more about the films, click on the titles.

Here are the films:

Hello World   Hello World Film Poster

ハローワールド Haro- Wa-rudo

Release Date: September 20th, 2019

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: Tomohiko Ito

Writer: Mado Nozaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Minami Hamabe (Ruri Ichigyo), Takumi Kitamura (Naomi Katagaki age 16). Tori Matsuzaka (Naomi Katagaki age 26), Haruka Fukuhara (Mirei Kadenokoji), Rie Kugimiya (Karasu), Minako Kotobuki (Ii Shizuka),

Animation Production: Graphinica

Website ANN MAL

This one is available to view in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Synopsis: In Kyoto in the year 2027, male high school student Naomi Katagaki, encounters a person who claiming to be him from 10 years in the future. The older Naomi warns his younger self that the love of their lives, Ruri, will die in an accident in three months time and that he is on a mission to save her. The two Naomi’s work together but the younger one doesn’t know the whole truth about the situation.


Her Blue Sky  Her Blue Sky Film Poster

空の青さを知る人よ Sora no Aosa o Shiru Hito yo

Release Date: October 11th, 2019

Duration: 100 mins.

Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai

Writer: Mari Okada (Script), 

Starring: Shion Wakayama (Aoi Aioi), Riho Yoshioka (Akane Aioi), Ryo Yoshizawa (Shinnosuke, Kanomura/Shinno), Ken Matsudaira (Dankichi Nitobe), Atsumi Tanezaki (Chika Otaki),

Animation Production: CloverWorks

Website ANN MAL

This one is available to view in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Synopsis: Ever since the death of her parents, Aoi has lived with her older sister Akane in the small town they call home. What eases her loss is music but Aoi feels guilty that she is the reason that Akane gave up her ambition of going to Tokyo with her boyfriend, a guitarist named Shinnosuke. One day, Shinnosuke returns to town for a concert along with his 18-year-old double for a series of events that spark love and changes for the sisters.

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

夜は短し歩けよ乙女 「Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome」

Release date: April 07th, 2017    The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Poster

Duration: 93 mins.

Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Writer: Masaaki Yuasa, Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay) Tomihiko Morimi (Original Novel),

Animation Production: Science SARU

Starring: Kana Hanazawa (Kurokami no Otome), Gen Hoshino (Senpai), Kazuya Nakai (Seitarou Higuchi), Yuuko Kaida (Ryouko Hanuki), Nobuyuki Hiyama (Johnny), Aoi Yuuki (Princess Daruma), Junichi Suwabe (Nise Jougasaki),

MAL     IMDB    Website

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl is the latest film from anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa and his studio Science Saru. One of two award-winning movies he released in 2017 (the other being Lu Over the Wall which took top prize at Annecy), this film is the very definition of the word exuberant in terms of story and style and should cement Yuasa as one of the best anime directors around. This is my second recommendation for the film festival. It was programmed at a fest I work for and I can say, without a doubt, that the audience has a riot of a time! Here’s my review!!!

Synopsis: The narrative is simple: a girl with black hair (voiced by the ubiquitous and super-talented Kana Hanazawa) is attending the wedding reception of a friend. As far as she is concerned the party doesn’t have to end there and she follows the Komagawa river and walks around the streets of Kyoto at night. From the alleyways and izakayas of Pontocho to the university campus, she makes detours along the way to many hidden events. She is pursued by a male admirer, Sempai (voiced by the musician Gen Hoshino who also played the hapless lover of Fumi Nikaido’s gangster girl in Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), who tries to catch her attention by appearing before her as often as possible. As this rather one-sided romantic dance unfolds they experience surreal magical-realist moments that grow increasingly absurd thanks to a cast of unique characters, all of which tests Sempai’s resolve in love and the girl’s capacity for drink and fun because all the while, everyone keeps drinking and having a good time.


Miss Hokusai   Miss Hokusai Film Poster

百日紅 ~Miss HOKUSAI~  Sarusuberi Miss HOKUSAI~」

Release Date: February 20th, 2015

Running Time: 89 mins.

Director: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo (Screenplay), Hinako Sugiura (Original Creator),

Studio: Production I.G

Starring: Anne Watanabe (O-Ei), Yutaka Matsushige (Tetsuzo/Katsushika Hokusai), Shion Shimizu (O-Nao), Kumiko Aso (Sayogoromo), Kengo Kora (Utagawa Kuninao),  Gaku Hamada (Zenjiro/Keisai Eisen), Jun Miho (Koto), Michitaka Tsutsui (Katsugoro/Totoya Hokkei), Danshun Tatekawa (Manjido), 

ANN   MAL  IMDB  Website 

Hokusai is famous but it is only recently that his daughter, a woman who assisted him all his life, has gained recognition for greatly contributing to his art and making wonderful works of her own. This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai’s daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.

Synopsis: The time: 1814. The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. It is the biggest city on Earth and is teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things. Amidst these characters is a celebrated artist now in his mid-fifties named Hokusai. He creates magnificent art, usually with the help of his daughter, the 23-year-old O-Ei. She has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness artistic skill. Her own art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble.

The next three are all in the Nippon Kids section. They are only available to view in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene  Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene Film Poster

魔女っこ姉妹のヨヨとネネ  「Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene」

Release Date: December 28th, 2013

Running Time: 100 mins.

Director: Takayuki Hirao

Writer: Hirarin (Original Creator)

Starring: Ai Kakuma (Nene), Sumire Morohoshi (Yoyo), Shoko Nakagawa (Bihaku), Miyuki Sawashiro (Takahiro), Kyoko Hikami (Oyomi), Rui Sasaki (Aki)

Website  ANN  MAL

Synopsis: Nene and Yoyo are sisters and magical girls who works as “noroiya” (cursers) in a fantasy world. Yoyo is a Picture Book Level witch while Nene is a Practice Book Level witch. One day a big tree appears in a forest, and tall buildings that look like they are from our world can be seen entangled in it. When Nene and Yoyo investigate they are transported to our world where they encounter two children whose parents have been turned into monsters…

The Piano Forest   

ピアノの森Piano no Mori

Release Date: July 21st, 2007

Duration: 101 mins.

Director: Masayuki Kojima

Writer: Ryuta Hourai (Script), Makoto Isshiki (Original Creator)

Starring: Aya Ueto (Kai Ichinose), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Shuuhei Amamiya), Chizuru Ikewaki (Reiko Ichinose), Atsuko Tanaka (Namie Amamiya), Junko Takeuchi (Hami),

Animation Production: Madhouse


Synopsis: Music-lover Shuhei Amamiya has transferred to a new school and finds it difficult to make friends and ends up the target of bullies. When they find out about his ability to play the piano,  they challenge him to play a “broken” piano hidden in a nearby forest. Shuhei searches and encounters a boy named Kai who says that he is the piano’s owner. Shuhei follows Kai to the instrument and listens to him play it, and this ignites a friendship based on music.

Summer Days with Coo    Summer Days with Coo Film Poster

河童のクゥと夏休みKappa no Kuu to Natsuyasumi

Release Date: July 21st, 2007

Duration: 138 mins.

Director: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Keiichi Hara (Script), Masao Kogure (Original Creator)

Starring: Kazato Tomizawa (Coo), Kouichi Uehara (Takahiro Yokokawa), Kousei Tomita (Toshio),

Animation Production: Shin-Ei Animation

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: A young boy named Koichi finds a Kappa when on a trip and decides to adopt it. He names it “Coo” and Coo becomes a part of Koichi’s family but is the extensive urban development of modern-day Tokyo really the place for a mythical creature more used to nature? In Coo’s search for a safe environment, he draws the attention of the whole city upon him and has to decide how he wants to live his life.

In the Nippon Visions: Shorts Category is:

Waaah「えーん, 2018, Dir: Sawako Kabuki, 1 min.Website

Everyone is born crying and as they grow up they continue to cry. And then what? There is no substitute for the ultimate pacifier.

Constant Metamorphosis – Independent Animated Shorts By Women

This selection of animated shorts was curated by Dr. Catherine Munroe Hotes (Nishitakaeiga) to celebrate the work of four independent women animators. Makiko Sukikara, Yoko Yuki, Lisa Fukaya, and Sarina Nihei. This is a prime opportunity to see something beyond the normal anime aesthetic. Makiko Sukikara’s Deep Sea Rainbow, is especially beautiful. Here are some trailers and some biographies

The films are available for audiences around the world to watch.

Rabbit’s Blood (Dir: Sarina Nihei 5 mins, 2017, UK/Japan )  Website.

Tokyo-based Sarina Nihei is a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art and now works as a freelance animator and illustrator. She has won awards and her RCA graduate work, Small People with Hats was the first student film to win the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s top prize for short films. She is inspired by entertaining and surreal films and lists the work of David Lynch and David Cronenberg as favourites in this  interview. Check out her Vimeo channel which has more of her films.

Two rival groups battle for survival underground – sinister cloaked men and neutralist rabbits.

Other films:

Small People With Hats (7 Min, 2014, UK).
Trifling Habits (3 Min, 2o13, Japan)

Mimi (Dir: Lily Fukaya, 4 mins. 2018, Japan)

Lisa Fukaya comes from Tokyo and mainly in producing 2D short films as well as music videos, motion graphics, and illustrations.

A Snowflake into the Night (Dir: Yoko Yuki, 6 mins, 2018, Japan)

Yoko Yuki, an animator who graduated from the Department of Visual Media at Nagoya University of Arts and Science, she finished her master in the Animation at the Graduate School of Film and New Media in Tokyo University of the Arts. You can find out more on her Vimeo page.

Synopsis: The snow eventually melts and transforms into an earthworm which wants to see the outside world so it transforms into a tree and so on as it desires to be something more powerful until it remembers what it used to be.

Other films:

Shimizu Bonno “Shara Bon Bon” 清水煩悩「シャラボンボン」 (2 mins. 2019, Japan)

100percentElectrical 電気 100% (15 mins. 2016, Japan)


Deep-Sea’s Rainbow 深海の虹 (Dir: Makiko Sukikara (11 Min. 2019, Japan)  
Osaka-based animator Makiko Sukikara (Website) Studied at Film School Zlin in Czech before returning to Japan to createe “humanistic stories with animals as the main characters”. You can see more about her on this NHK World programme.

Other films:

While The Crow Weeps カラスの涙 (8 Min, 2013, Japan) 
Wild Pear やまなし (9 Min, 2011, Japan)

More information and our complete program will be available on the festival homepage:

Previous coverage of Nippon Connection:

Nippon Connection 2015

Nippon Connection 2016

Nippon Connection 2017   Anime    Shorts   Features    Documentaries    Preview     Roman Porno

Nippon Connection 2018

Nippon Connection 2019

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