Japanese anime is unquestionably a cornerstone of Fantasia’s programming. Over the years, in addition to high-profile feature presentations, the festival has always made room for imaginative, high-quality short anime films. This year, the festival introduces a dedicated program for such works, a showcase for original anime shorts on par with any theatrical feature in their high production standards. The debut edition of this showcase features a trio of impressive creations, all three Canadian premieres, which arrive on the Fantasia screen with admirable credentials.
A meditation on mortality among those whose lives have just begun, SUMMER GHOST marks the directorial debut of loundraw, a celebrated young character designer and illustrator of light novels. With striking sensitivity and economy of storytelling, and a masterful use of rich, saturated colours, SUMMER GHOST elevates an important new talent in the field of anime. A GIRL MEETS A BOY AND A ROBOT is a sentimental sliver of the apocalypse marking a dramatic change in visual style for its director, the celebrated Shinichiro Watanabe (COWBOY BEBOP, SAMURAI CHAMPLOO). It’s also the debut of a promising new animation anthology project called TAISU, a Chinese production telling four interlinked tales of animated sci-fi by directors from Japan, China and USA. In 2021, Fantasia’s closing-night audience was the first in the world to get a brief taste of DEIJI MEETS GIRL, the charming anime micro-series directed by Ushio Tazawa, a veteran of numerous Makoto Shinkai films. As promised at the time, DEIJI MEETS GIRL returns to Fantasia this summer as a complete series, its 90-second episodes bundled together and bursting with fantastical, tropically twisted fun! – Rupert Bottenberg