March 5, 2021

POSTED BY

Anabelle Accetta-Beman

CATEGORY

Shingo Tamagawa: Making PUPARIA Documentary

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Shingo Tamagawa’s film PUPARIA was uploaded to YouTube November 20 of 2020. Just three minutes long, it’s a gorgeous animated short with its description simply being “Something is about to change drastically. We can only be witnesses to it.” PUPARIA features a lot of mysterious but intriguing characters, as well …

new york branding sports graphic design company

Shingo Tamagawa’s film PUPARIA was uploaded to YouTube November 20 of 2020. Just three minutes long, it’s a gorgeous animated short with its description simply being “Something is about to change drastically. We can only be witnesses to it.” PUPARIA features a lot of mysterious but intriguing characters, as well as meticulously detailed backgrounds that add to the overall aesthetic of the film. In a previous post, I discussed my thoughts about this animation more in depth, as well as theorized what its possible meaning or story could be. However, with the release of a recent documentary, posted on YouTube by the channel Archipel, we can gain more insight as Tamagawa himself explains his artistic process.

Entitled “Three Minutes, Three Years: Making Puparia,” this documentary says everything in its name: it took three years to create three minutes of art. We get to see not only how Tamagawa created his film, but what his intent was, as well as his experience and feelings towards animation. Instead of a traditional interview format, “Three Minutes, Three Years” feels more like a continuous train of thought. Tamagawa narrates over footage of him working, his art, and other b-roll, featuring lots of sketches, hand drawn animations before they were adapted digitally, and beautiful backgrounds done in mediums like colored pencil.

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Sketching the image traditionally
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The scanned version of it
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Sample background and assets drawn traditionally

Tamagawa produced PUPARIA entirely by himself—-the idea, the storyboard, every frame and every smoothly animated scene was done by him alone. Considering the immense amount of detail, it’s no wonder the film took three years to create. Tamagawa goes on to discuss the importance of artistic expression, the ability to explore ideas and emotions that have never been explored before. Instead of focusing on how efficiently we can animate, Tamagawa suggests that commercial value can come from pursuing new and more beautiful works of art.

“Three Minutes, Three Years: Making Puparia” is definitely worth a watch—-it’s only about 20 minutes long but it gives so much more depth to the original film. It’s in Japanese, but there are subtitles available for English, Arabic, Bulgarian, simplified Chinese, French, and Brazilian Portuguese. The YouTube channel Archipel has produced other insightful documentaries on various Japanese creators, like manga artists and video game designers.

I think there’s a different kind of awe for a piece of art when you first see it versus when you understand the process it took to create it, and after this documentary, I think I understand and appreciate PUPARIA a little better.

All Images © 2021 Shingo Tamagawa and Archipel