Animation World
Cinematography: Japanese animation and food
February 20, 2022

Cinematography: Japanese animation and food

Our professional appointment Cinematography in Animation Industry today explores a very particular aspect of animated productions in Japan: food.
If you visit Japan you quickly understand the significance of food in their culture. Some call it a ritual, which surrounds every meal, but it is much deeper and more rooted. Wipe your hands with an Oshibori (small warm cloth), give thanks before the meal ("Itadakimasu!"), declare how delicious the food is while you eat it ("Oishii, ne?!"), and also give thanks after the meal ("Gouchisousamadeshita!"), are just examples.

Aspects of life that Japanese designers have always emphasized in their productions, printed or animated. Something that does not exist in any other culture, comics or animated production, even if there is no doubt that food is part of the lives of human beings, whatever, work, activity, a story you tell.

Therefore regardless of what an artist tells, this will always find the time to insert food in a convivial representation (or not), in all its forms and varieties that Japanese cuisine offers (even if unknown to many).

But it should be emphasized that these representations, in animated productions, are reserved almost exclusively for two-dimensional animations, for classic freehand drawings, just like the Studio Ghibli (among the largest) with his films or television series such as Naruto or One Piece (among the best known) have made known all over the world by alternating moments also dramatic action.

Food is often an element that enriches the characters themselves, but what's more, food proves to add context to the moment. We find examples in "Spirited Away" (the buffet of Chihiro's parents) or in Totoro (the two little sisters who prepare their Bento - the food to take away from home) or in "Howl's Moving Castle" (the kitchen of the Magician in which the protagonist settles) or in "Ponyo" with the discovery of food by the little Ponyo or in "Pom Poko" and the problem of getting food for the Tanuki and so on.

Independence, joy, passion, comfort and much more can be combined with food.

Below is a three-minute montage by Netflix taken from the Ghibli works:

Below ad edited video from the films "The Garden of Words" by Makoto Shinkai and "Flavors of Youth" co-produced by Comix Wave in which the sound has been re-composed with all the effects and the the making-of edited with Premiere Pro:

[ Fra - source ArigatoJapan/Netflix ]
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