The Kanada style in context

It is tempting, as is always the case with great artists, to imagine Yoshinori Kanada as a solitary shooting star who appeared and revolutionized Japanese animation from nowhere, a pure genius whose inscription in a historical context is almost irrelevant to understanding his work. The very nature of this project goes against such a vision, as it aims for two things: 1) not just evoking Kanada, but all those he met and inspired, and their own careers, and 2) a history that takes into account not just the artists, but the evolution of their styles and their relationships with the general context of the animation industry at the time.

Animation, from Pinocchio to Cutie Honey

Animation has an affinity with shape-shifting, to the point that even saying this is cliché. Since one of the first theoretical texts on animation, Serguei Eisenstein’s Notes on Walt Disney, the ability for objects to change forms at will has always been considered essential to the medium. That’s what Eisenstein called “plasmaticness”: the fact that animated objects and characters aren’t made of real matter, but rather of a sort of “plasma” that’s perpetually open to alteration. This is why animation has always been understood through the lenses of fairy tales, fantasies and phantasmagories.