by Charles McCarter
When the Ghibli ga
Ippai box came out last August, there was much rejoicing among
anime fans. Not only did it have restored and remastered versions of
Miyazaki classics like
LAPUTA, not only did it have a special interview with Miyazaki
and Kurosawa Akira, but it also had Ghibli's latest productionthe
music video ON YOUR MARK, by popular singing duo Chage & Aska.
The other notable detail of this video is the use of computer animation. While the CG is obvious, it does not distract from the story nor stand out as flashy and out of place. It is rumored that this video was used to test the limits of CG, especially considering how much of it was being used in the then-in production MONONOKE HIME.
The storytelling here is also very well-executed. With no dialog at all, the story is told only with the visual action, and yet, the emotions and thoughts of the characters are always as clear as if they had been saying what was on their minds. The expressiveness of the characters is nothing short of remarkable.
And even within such a serious story, there is room for humor. While both of the policemen are serious, one is reminiscent of LUPIN III's Jigen; he is unflappable but not without a strong sense of humor that shines through at even the darkest moments.
Then, of course, there is the music. Chage & Aska are not idol singers; they are established singers with a long career. As a result, they can actually sing. The song itself is compelling and positive, much like the animation that accompanies it. Together, the music and animation create a very strong combination.
There are two other tracks on this LD. The first is the "Leica Reel," which is basically the storyboards set to music. Done in the quintessential Ghibli style, with rough ink sketches and watercolor, it makes for an interesting "behind the scenes" look at how the video evolved to its final form.
The third track is another Chage & Aska video, "Something There." While not
animated, this video is also interesting, as it demonstrates that the
Japanese music industry is capable of producing high-quality videos . This
video has the duo performing in some unnamed underground club that seems to
take place in a less than reputable area of a large city.