Tatsumi

Dir: Eric Khoo

Singapore

2011

96

15

Eric Khoo’s (Be With Me, Mee Pok Man) best film to-date is a gorgeous grown-up animated love letter to Manga legend Tatsumi Yoshihiro.

Khoo has adapted Tatsumi’s autobiography A Drifting Life, intercutting Tatsumi’s own voice-over with a series of beautifully animated, perfectly formed short stories from his hugely influential and ground-breaking work.

Each of the five short stories are realised in a different style reflecting the artist’s own evolution as a world-class talent. Starting out as a young boy revering Tezuka (the Japanese Disneyesque creator of Astro Boy) he quickly grew frustrated by the Manga conventions of the day and their cutesy childish story-telling.

Transforming the genre, Tatsumi coined his own term, ‘gegika’, to differentiate his new work aimed at an adult audience.

Immaculate, thought-provoking and a world away from the teen-Manga or anime worlds of tentacled monsters and hyper-kinetic cutting, Tatsumi brims over with humanism providing a moving insight into a Japan seeing itself going through seismic changes in the latter half of the 20th century. A flawless masterpiece.

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