Japanese animator and singer-songwriter Manabu Himeda’s latest short is an upbeat, brightly coloured jaunt through town. The animation tells the story of a man who takes his family on drive in a big car. Things go awry though when he drives so fast that his family and friends blow away, as do his clothes and body hair.
Super embarrassed, he then realises that as he’s naked he can just have a bath, which coincidently is where his loved ones all blew away to – a giant bath tub. This is the kind of film where you just have to embrace the bizarre and fully immerse yourself into Manabu’s trippy world. Titled Play Like a Driver, the animation includes English subtitles that allow non-natives to follow the narrative, which become part of the charm of the film.
There’s real beauty in the actual animation of the short, where Manabu’s hand-drawn cartoony characters stretch, warp and merge from scene to scene, matching the fast pace of the song that plays around it. Humorous, weird but utterly joyful, the animator takes a simple narrative and somehow makes it mesmerising.
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