PUPARIA Short Film
PUPARIA is a short animated film recently posted to YouTube, created and directed by Shingo Tamagawa and featuring music by Steve Reich. Just under three minutes long, it is a hauntingly beautiful piece exploring different environments and characters. There is lots of insect and animal imagery and a couple different …
PUPARIA is a short animated film recently posted to YouTube, created and directed by Shingo Tamagawa and featuring music by Steve Reich. Just under three minutes long, it is a hauntingly beautiful piece exploring different environments and characters. There is lots of insect and animal imagery and a couple different characters, including two girls, a man with a glass eye, and a mysterious magical being.
At first, it seems like a collection of disconnected scenes; there are some girls in front of complex backgrounds, a man reaching for a door, some different environments here and there. But towards the end, we are introduced to a young adrogynous being, whimsical and magic-like. Their white hair contrasts against the dark night sky, and as they turn, we find a huge crowd of people staring at them, expecting something. We pan over the crowd, full of men and women, young and old, all staring in the same direction. Finally, a butterfly flies past a young boy’s face, and we see the mysterious being again. They look directly into the camera, smiling at us, before turning away to a sky that’s just starting to turn red. Then the film ends.
For a little more background, Shingo Tamagawa is a Japanese animation filmmaker—-they also worked as an animator at Studio Sunrise. While Tamagawa has contributed to projects such as Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Aquarion Evol, PUPARIA is an independent short film. You can find progress photos on their Twitter and Instagram!
If I were to describe Shingo Tamagawa’s work in one word, it would be “breathtaking.” Between the gorgeous detailed backgrounds and the beautifully smooth animation, no other word describes PUPARIA better. There is an air of mystery throughout the video, something being held back that we don’t know, something that’s coming. Complimented by Reich’s mallet music, PUPARIA has an eerie vibe to it that only makes me more intrigued.
One of my favorite aspects of PUPARIA is how the people are drawn, specifically their eyes; they are so detailed and beautiful that they almost look glassy and fake, reminding me of dolls’ eyes. The haunting gaze from the crowd of people makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, not because it feels like they’re looking at me, but because it feels like they’re looking right through me.
The story that PUPARIA is trying to tell is still a bit of a mystery. Tamagawa’s description for the piece is simply “Something is about to change drastically. We can only be witnesses to it.” Poetic and concise, just like PUPARIA.
All Images © 2020 PUPARIA by Shingo Tamagawa